by Finian Cunningham and Michel Chossudovsky
The year 2012 may become known as a watershed for humanity – the year when mankind was precipitated into a global conflagration involving nuclear weapons. The signs are indeed grimly ominous as formidable military forces converge on the Persian Gulf in the long-running stand-off between the United States and Iran.
On side with the US are its European allies in NATO, primarily Britain, Washington’s Middle East client states: Israel and the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf – all bristling with weapons of mass destruction. Recent naval exercises by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz have also displayed a fierce arsenal of missiles and military capability, and Iran has strategic alliances with Russia and China, both of whom will not stand idly by if their Persian partner is attacked.
As we have consistently analysed on Global Research, the conflict between the US-led powers and Iran has wider ramifications. It is part and parcel of Washington’s bid to engineer the social and political upheavals across the Arab World in order to redraw the region in its strategic interests. It is no coincidence that fresh from NATO’s conquest of and regime change in Libya, the focus has quickly shifted to Syria – a key regional ally of Iran. As Michel Chossudovsky has pointed out “the road to Tehran goes through to Damascus”. Regime change in Syria would serve to isolate Iran. Subjugating Iran and returning it to Western tutelage is the prize that Washington and its allies have been seeking for the past 33 years ever since their client the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was deposed by the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Iran is an energy-rich colossus, with oil and, more importantly, natural gas reserves that put it, with approximately 10% of global reserves, in the world’s top three oil economies alongside Washington’s client states of Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In sharp contrast, the US has less than 2% of global oil reserves.
The conquest of Iran’s oil riches is the driving force behind America’s military agenda. – MORE
Consider this sharp exchange at TPM today:
hgorwellian – [I]f everyone in the Middle East wants to attack Iran, why don’t they, um, attack Iran themselves?
oleeb – Because then they wouldn’t be able to publicly condemn the US and Israel for attacking Iran. If you look at it from their perspective, why should they if they can get Uncle Dumbshit to attack and become embroiled in yet another middle eastern war? I’m glad our government has thus far resisted *. There is no good argument for attacking them. Even if they get a nuclear weapon it is no threat to the US and if they were to use a nuclear weapon they would be obliterated by hundreds of our nuclear weapons raining down on them in response. They may not be friendly to the US but the Iranian leadership is not insane. – LINK
Couple of related material
“If Saudis and Israelis appear more prone to cooperation than antagonism these days, the actual fault line of the lobbying conflict is not found in ethnicized lobbying arms connected to state geopolitics, but rather between pro-militarist forces and populist movements in the Middle East and their Western supporters. The fundamental error of Mitchell Bard’s conception of the Arab Lobby is the association of disparate—and diametrically opposed—groups under a single umbrella, based on little more than a common language.
A far more accurate depiction of the battle over Middle East influence would place both Saudi Arabia and status quo forces in Israel on one side, advocating a steady import of advanced weapons, the perpetual presence of U.S. troops, and the stifling of democratic aspirations of oppressed majorities. On the opposing side would be activists and isolated politicians opposed to foreign occupations, militarization, and outside influence in the Middle East.” – MORE“
There are two major conflicts that have been brewing in the Middle East, one for decades, the other for much longer. Those two conflicts are interrelated; they feed upon each other. The Israel/Palestine conflict has been front and centre for a long time and we do have a sense, more or less, of how it affects our policies here. It is less so with the second conflict, the one opposing Shiite Iran (& its allies) and Sunni Saudi Arabia (& its allies).
Afghanistan is where the struggle between those two powers is being waged, with the support of the US and the West, those two having sided with Sunni Saudi Arabia, which this strategist thinks is rather unwise:
[A] U.S.-Iranian grand bargain has become essential to avoiding something close to strategic failure in Afghanistan. The Islamic Republic will […] continue supporting its longstanding Afghan allies in resisting a Taliban onslaught backed by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. But, in the absence of a broader strategic understanding, those efforts will be seen, in Washington, and elsewhere, as undermining whatever political arrangements the Karzai government has reached with the Taliban. And that will fuel a regional proxy conflict with Afghanistan as the main battlefield, and with the United States drawn increasingly into supporting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. – LINK
All that may be moot though. The dice seems to have been cast. The U.S. (and the West) do not appear to have any intention of leaving the region at all. Even more ominously, a storm is gathering involving those other pesky Shiites in Lebanon. Neutralizing them will deprive Iran of an essential flank in its struggle with Saudi Arabia, leaving the region, especially Lebanon itself, opened to aggression mainly from the Saudis and, of course, from Israel.
In the latter case, it will be more spaces to colonize and water galore, the Palestinians deprived of a useful ally, what’s not to like? And that, when all the noise has been silenced, may ultimately be the main reason why the US and the Western powers are sending their sons & daughters to die or to get maimed in Afghanistan.
And more … A thoroughly depressing read!
By all accounts, even if you were to get a legal separation of Israel and Palestine and the formation of a Palestinian state, the prospect of contiguity and economic viability in that Palestinian state diminishes with every passing day. So it’s one of those things where everybody who looks at this is horrified but nobody knows what to do about it. What’s not going to happen is that the President of the United States will stand up and publicly issue an ultimatum for the Israelis and enforce it. That is not going to happen. Absent that the Israelis are not going to make substantive changes or take the gamble of the Arab League Peace Plan. That being the case, I understand why Secretary Clinton is going to the Far East on her first trip instead of to the Middle East. What would she bring? They already appointed George Mitchell. So what else does she have to offer? There’d be nothing on the table.
So, if I sound very negative about this, it’s not because I don’t respect the Saudis’ views. I understand their views. I just don’t see a game-changing event here. In the history of the Middle East in my lifetime there’s always been some unpredictable, game-changing event that made things happen. Whether it was the 1967 war, or Sadat suddenly getting rid of the Russians and going to Israel, or whatever it was. In this case, I don’t believe that the Israeli campaign in Gaza was a game-changing event. – Link [via Syria Comment]
From Moon of Alabama:
“To me it seems that all the ‘reporting’ of Arab ‘fear’ uses exactly one Arab source – the foundation of the Saudi businessman Abdulaziz Sager and its ‘experts’. Note that Sager also argued for military rule in Iraq.”
Here is Prospects for Peace‘s Daniel Levy on where he sees a possible avenue for peace:
A different approach would require the US conducting back-to-back talks with the Israeli side and with a Palestinian (or Palestinian plus Arab states) interlocutor, in which one attempts to address the key legitimate needs and concerns of each party. It will be the role of the US and international partners to produce a proposal and implementation plan. One should take a leaf from the pages of Don Corleone, and make them an offer they can’t refuse, and do not then get sidetracked by conversations about industrial parks in Nablus or Jenin.
Naturally, one does not only have to contend with the Israeli/Palestinian track, and there is some value to the adage that one way to get out of an intractable problem is to expand it. In other words, work on a comprehensive peace effort that involves Syria and the Arab states as well and that seeks to put into effect the Arab Peace Initiative that would give Israel peaceful and normal relations with the entire Arab world. A sincere good-will effort should be made with Israel’s next prime minister, particularly if it is Mr. Netanyahu, to propose an eminently reasonably plan for Israel’s future peace and security that is also predicated on ending the occupation. Iran too will have to feature, as Israel’s concerns on this front will need to be allayed without resorting to military action. A trade-off is imaginable in which the US is given space to pursue the engagement option with Iran while the US gives Israel cover as increased calls are heard for a WMD-free Middle East, also probably providing Israel with a broader set of security guarantees. If Mr. Netanyahu or any Israeli leader is finally put in the position of having to make real choices, then don’t be too surprised if they choose well. – Link
Whereas the Iran-US track is in a class of its own, with negotiations on or off depending on who is reporting, the situation is not so clear and the level of urgency not so strident as regards the other actors involved: Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, …
Already two views have emerged: “Obama must make Saudi Arabia a major priority”, says former top Middle East analyst Flynt Leverett.
According to Marc Gopin of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, “[t]he key to the future of the Middle East is a revolution in the Syrian/American relationship that will help to re-balance the American historical bias in favor of reactionary forces in Israel.”