Arabs with Iran

Thursday, March 16, 2006 12:59 AM

Regarding the bogus "crisis" with Iran, below is the unofficial view from Cairo, from the wise man of Egypt, Salama A. Salama. Sunday on American television, Congressman John Murtha, a former Marine officer, said that the U.S. had no capability left with which to attack Iran in any event due to the quagmire in Iraq, or words to that effect. This is a mistake, it seems to me. The U.S. has tremendous, uncontested air power; a bomb, smash and run tactic with cruise missiles is all that is contemplated for Iran. Cheney/Bush have no plans to invade Iran with ground troops. In fact, Cheney/Bush may have no intention to bomb Iran at all.

The current White House public relations campaign of disinformation to hype and manufacture a crisis could be nothing but a ploy to provide the justification for Tel Aviv by itself to launch a "preemptive" strike upon Iran, after the UN Security Council declines, despite Ambassador John Bolton's heroic efforts, to give Washington the green light for war. Cheney has stated months ago that an Israeli attack on Iran might be a good idea, or words to that effect.

Naturally, Washington would be regarded by the Islamic world as the enabler behind the attack, just as Washington is considered ultimately responsible for Tel Aviv's ongoing occupation of Palestine. The comment from the White House will be that Israel, like any nation, has the right to defend itself. So simple, isn’t it? Tel Aviv acts, America gets the "blowback".

Arabs with Iran

Salama A Salama [AL-AHRAM, Cairo] // March 16th, 2006

The Arabs opposed the war on Iraq not because they loved Saddam but because they knew that the use of military force to bring down his regime would be futile. They knew that invasion would turn into a catastrophe of unspeakable proportion. They were right, as it turned out; Bush and his neo-conservative associates were wrong. The invasion of Iraq did not bring about the reform the neo-cons promised, but led to untold horrors as well as sectarian violence.

The Arabs have no reason whatsoever to believe US claims concerning Iran's nuclear programme. The war on Iraq may have one merit: it has proven, among other things, that US policy is full of lies. The war on Iraq proves that Washington has its own agenda. Now the neo-cons and the Zionists are in cahoots again. They don't want to see any regional power, aside from Israel, develop nuclear capabilities. The next stop is Iran, and that's likely to be just as costly for the American people as it is for everyone in this region.

Arab countries, especially in the Gulf, have close religious and historical links with Iran. Minor differences arise, but Iran will never even consider attacking its neighbours, neither with nukes nor any other weapons. This was the message Arab countries told Condoleezza Rice and this is what President Hosni Mubarak said during his recent European tour. And Egypt is not even on the best of terms with Iran. In this region, people want to see the Iranian crisis resolved through diplomacy, not violence.

The deteriorating situation in Iraq is only one of the reasons the US is angry with Iran. But picking up a fight with Tehran may not be the best policy. A few days ago, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guard of infiltrating Iraq. We know that Iran has the wherewithal to meddle in Iraqi affairs. To cut a long story short, the Iranian crisis is not just about nukes.

US policy is likely to run into Russian and Chinese opposition. Both Moscow and Beijing have their own reasons for rejecting sanctions on Iran. And it's not just that Iran has strong economic ties with Russia and China. China is less than amused by the nuclear cooperation agreement the US and India have reached. US policy is trying to undermine Beijing's influence in Asia. The US is trying to contain China; in just the same way it once did with the Soviet Union.

Europe has so far been humouring the Americans, but only reluctantly. The Europeans depend on Iranian oil and don't wish to see another conflict causing further disruption to oil supplies.

President George Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney have seen their popularity hit rock bottom because of Iraq. Bush couldn't get Congress to support an agreement for a Dubai company to run US ports. How could he expect the nation to rally behind him in another military adventure is anybody's guess.

As for the Arab world, no one is worried about Iran. No one is afraid of Iran's current or future nuclear capabilities. The opposite is true in fact. The US has turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear weapons. The US has stifled any hope for credible international monitoring in the region. The US doesn't want to hear of a nuclear-free zone established in the region. These are the facts of which the Arabs are fully aware.

The US may press ahead with its agenda, but it mustn't expect the Arabs to side with it -- not anymore. Frankly speaking, the Arabs don't want to see Iran losing this fight.

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