War with Iran “Imminent”?

In many respects, there is an overwhelming sense of déjà vu with regards to the build-up to an attack on Iran, an event which is looking increasingly likely following the deployment of thousands of US troops to Israel. The parallels with the lead up to the Iraq War – the fabricated evidence of programs of “weapons of mass destruction”, the heavy sanctions, indiscriminately punishing the entire population for the perceived crimes of their leaders, the repetitive and misleading propaganda – are so obvious as to need little elaboration. Prior to the recent US deployment to Israel, the Iranians have threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz hot on the heels of war games and the test firing of “long-range” missiles, as tensions between Tehran and Washington escalate to unprecendented levels. Of course, the idea that Iran poses an “imminent threat” is nothing new, as Scott Petersen’s timeline of warnings since 1979 clearly demonstrates – the difference being, this time we may be fast approaching the point where the propaganda pays dividends for the warmongers and an attack is launched.

Michel Chossudovsky makes clear the dangers of such war games in his recent article, “When War Games Go Live. Preparing to Attack Iran. “Simlulating World War III”, in which he outlines the history of war planning in the context of Iran and the envisioning of World War 3 by the American planners. “Theater Iran Near Term” – codenamed TIRRANT – dates back to 2003 and demonstrates for just how long the American military has been planning for such a conflict, as well as highlighting the way in which the military structure yearns for “another 9/11”: “Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.” (a false flag attack blamed on Iran would complete the sensation of déjà vu). The recent manouevering points towards the fulfilment of these plans up to the 0perational stage, which could include the pre-emptive use of nuclear weapons by the US.

Another indication that war with Iran may well be imminent is the recent article in Foreign Affairs, the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, entitled, “Time to Attack Iran. Why a Strike is the Least Bad Option.” In it, those who speak against military action “fail to appreciate the true danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond [emphasis added].” While this represents the position of the hawks, saner establishment heads have been warning against an attack. Former US assistant secretary of state James Dobbins writing for the RAND Corporation in November 2011, stated, “The Iranian leadership will need to be persuaded over the next year or two that actually building, testing and deploying nuclear weapons, as North Korea has done, will only increase their isolation, reduce their influence and ultimately increase the regime’s vulnerability to internally driven change. Threats of military action, and even more its actual conduct, will only have the opposite effect: reducing Iran’s isolation, increasing its influence, promoting domestic solidarity, and reinforcing the case for building and deploying nuclear weapons as soon as possible.”

If this is indicative of a rift between the elite planners, one can only hope that it is the cooler heads which prevail.

Perhaps the real concern at the present time is the potential for a false flag operation – or “accidental confrontation” – used as a pretext to launch an attack on Iran. As history shows, far from being exceptional, such staged events are a regular component of military conflicts. High-level American officials have already admitted that the US uses false flag terror; some recent high profile plans not put into operation, such as George Bush and Tony Blair’s plans to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire, even made it into the mainstream news.

As Michel Chossudovsky laments, 2012 has begun with no credible and coherent anti-war movement, something sadly lacking from the otherwise ominous déjà vu with early 2003. While efforts to force the US to “deal with Iran” through the proper channels in respect of international law are well-intentioned, history has demonstrated that the US will readily bend or ignore those laws which stand against their vested interests. Indeed, the US and NATO are persistent violators of international law and do so with virtual impunity; from Kosovo to Afghanistan and Iraq to Libya and elsewhere, the disregard for life is self-evident in the 100,000s of dead men, women and children. But there is nothing approaching the level of anti-war sentiment today as there was in the build up to the invasion of Iraq. Perhaps it is the relentlessness of the current wars that has taken an accumulative toll on anti-war activists, who have slowly become innured to news of war; or perhaps it is the continuing collapse of the global economy, forcing many to deal with problems closer to home as instability approaches their doorsteps.

When combined with the state of the economy, the new round of sabre-rattling in the Middle East amidst warnings from China and Russia that such an attack would precipitate World War 3, one can’t help but feel a far more ominous feeling of déjà vu, with a dark period of history some 70 years ago.

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