Saturday, February 25, 2012

Post #194 - By the Bullets (pun intended)

These points were enumerated in a piece done by LeRoy Moore, PhD, for the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center a few years back; I present them, with minor updates as needed, since they remain quite relevant:

Concerns of the US government
  • The administration seeks regime change to create a government more to US liking, one that would facilitate US access to Middle East oil.
  • US, Israel and to a lesser extent France, Germany and Britain say Iran poses a nuclear threat (reminiscent of the WMD claim used to justify war on Iraq).
  • Cooking the evidence: In 9-06 the House Intelligence Committee reported Iran had already enriched uranium to bomb-grade level and was thus a “strategic threat to the US.” The International Atomic Energy Agency refuted this claim. Today (February 2012), reports are that Iran is "approaching" weapons-grade levels.
  • The White House and the Pentagon say Iran has supplied weapons used in Iraq against US troops. Like the WMD claim for Iraq, no irrefutable evidence has been provided.
  • In 2003 Iran sought negotiations with the US re. its nuclear program. It was rebuffed. Bush said he would talk to Iran only after it ceases enriching uranium. Obama is more open to talks, but has also increased sanctions and other economic pressures.
  • Even if Iran intends to make a bomb, specialists say it is anywhere from a year to 10 years away from the accomplishment. (Depending on whom you ask.) There is thus ample time for talk.
The rattling of swords
  • US and UN sanctions look like an effort to gain Security Council support for an attack, which is strongly resisted by China and Russia.
  • US has plans for a 5-day air and naval attack on about 1500 targets, to destroy the possibility of a retaliatory response. No ground war is envisioned, though some experts have said an attack might require some boots on the ground. There has been a large naval buildup in the Persian Gulf, and there are reports that the US will launch air attacks from Bulgaria, Romania, and perhaps elsewhere, if Israel does not do it first.
  • “The war before the war”: According to various reports US covert forces have been on the ground in Iran for several years or longer, defining targets, collecting intelligence, readying dissidents, and engaging in disruptive actions.
  • Bush thought that congressional authorization to attack Iran is not needed, that the post-9/11 authorization to wage war on terrorism covers Iran. To date Congress has done nothing to stay the hand of the occupant of the White House, if an attack is decided upon, with the exception of a letter recently prepared by two members of Congress, urging restraint.
  • The much-discussed nuclear option entails attack on buried nuclear facilities with nuclear bunker busters. Physicians for Social Responsibility estimates that such an attack on two buried sites could kill 2.6 million within 48 hours.
  • The Israeli wild card: The London Sunday Times, as early as January 2007, reported details of Israel’s plan to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities with nuclear weapons. Recent reports out of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv indicate that many think its implementation is imminent.
Iran, the US, Israel and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
  • Both Iran and the US are signatories to the NPT.
  • Non-weapons states like Iran are permitted under NPT Article IV to pursue a nuclear program for peaceful purposes. Weapons states like the US are obliged under Article VI to move in good faith toward complete nuclear disarmament.
  • Iran insists it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful purposes. The IAEA says it has no evidence of a bomb program (comfirmed as recently as February 25, 2012, in a Washington Post article). The CIA said the same thing.
  • The US, with its persistent failure to disarm and its ongoing push to modernize its nuclear weapons enterprise, is clearly in violation of the NPT.
  • Israel has never been called to account for defying the NPT to create nuclear weapons in secret, nor has the US been called to account for condoning Israel’s violation of international law. Israel has a very sophisticated nuclear arsenal.
  • Today Iran is surrounded by nuclear powers with advanced weapons systems.
Background: Iranians remember things we forget
  • Britain occupied Iran in WW II and controlled its oil until 1951 when newly elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, a strong opponent of foreign intervention in Iranian affairs, nationalized the oil industry.
  • In 1953 the CIA orchestrated a coup to oust democratically elected Mossadegh and replace him with Shah Reza Pahlavi, who could be relied on to assure US access to Iranian oil. The Shah’s SAVAK secret police, trained and aided by the CIA and Israel’s Mossad, enabled the Shah to rule Iran with an iron fist.
  • In 1979 the bloodless Khomeini-led revolution [though it got bloody later one, AP] ousted the US-supported Shah.
  • To counter US meddling in Iranian affairs, Iranian students seized US embassy personnel and held them hostage for 444 days from 11-4-79 till 1-20-81.
  • The US sided with Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s 1980-88 war against Iran.
  • Supreme power in Iran rests with Ayatollah Khamanei, not with President Ahmadinejad, who has been quoted as saying that Israel should be wiped “off the map.” In fact he quoted the deceased Ayatollah Khomeini saying that Israel’s Zionist regime should be replaced by a government willing to make peace.
What Congress should do now
  • Outlaw the use of nuclear weapons against any non-nuclear weapons state: If Congress fails to act and the US makes a nuclear attack on Iran, members of Çongress will themselves be complicit in crimes of war and against humanity.
  • Forbid a US attack on Iran: Given the consequences, Congress needs to enact legislation that makes a US attack on Iran illegal.
  • Threaten the president with impeachment if he attacks Iran: Rep. Kucinich favored this approach during the Bush administration. Impeaching him after an attack will help no one, and Congress, if it fails to do its duty beforehand, will be complicit in any crime that Mr. Bush commits.
What Congress should do for the long term
  • Require the administration to negotiate all outstanding issues with Iran without pre-existing conditions.
  • Initiate steps, first, to bring the US and Israel into conformity with the NPT and, second, to achieve global nuclear abolition in keeping with the NPT.
Sources and resources:
  • Seymour Hersh on plans for a nuclear strike against Iran, New Yorker 4-17-06
  • Physicians for Social Responsibility estimate of effects of nuclear attack on Iran
  • Physicists petition to President Bush to reject the nuclear option for attacking Iran
  • Retired AF Colonel Sam Gardiner on troops already on the ground in Iran
  • Independent analysis of Iran’s nuclear program by Institute for Science and International Security
  • US plans for attack from Bulgaria and Romania: merica_poised_to_strike_at_irans_nuclear_sites_from_bases_in_bulgaria_and_romani a.php
  • TIME on war plans, including number of targets:
  • Global economic strategy:
  • On Ahmadinejad:

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