Skip to main content

Washington and Tel Aviv lurching toward a war with Iran

by Bill Van Auken

Events of the past few days have made it clear that US imperialism—working in close tandem with its main ally in the Middle East, Israel—is set on a course of direct military confrontation with Iran.

Barely a week and a half before the May 12 deadline for President Donald Trump to announce his decision on whether or not his administration will renew a waiver of unilateral US sanctions that were shelved as part of the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu staged a theatrical presentation claiming to have “proof” that “Iran lied” about its nuclear program. He went on to express confidence that Trump would “do the right thing,” i.e., scuttle the nuclear accord—the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA—that was reached between Iran and five major powers: the US, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia.

Trump hailed Netanyahu’s theatrical presentation as confirmation that he had been “100 percent right” in his denunciations of the nuclear accord as a “horrible deal.”

In reality, international nuclear experts, European representatives and even ex-Israeli intelligence officials all dismissed Netanyahu’s performance as a farce. The Israeli government, which claimed to have stolen hundreds of thousands of files from Iran, produced not a single shred of evidence that Iran has engaged in any form of nuclear weapons program for the past 15 years, much less that it has violated the terms of the JCPOA. Repeated reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency, including one as recent as February, have established that Tehran is abiding by the stringent restrictions on uranium enrichment and intrusive inspections regime imposed under the agreement.

Netanyahu’s performance recalled nothing so much as Colin Powell’s 2003 presentation of what he described as “evidence, not conjecture” of Iraq’s nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction” used to justify the US war of aggression against Iraq a month later. Powell at least told lies that purported to substantiate American false claims of Iraqi malfeasance; Netanyahu presented nothing.

The Israeli presentation—delivered in English—was stage-managed in direct consultation with Trump, with whom Netanyahu spoke shortly before going on the air, and the new US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, who had met with him and other officials in Tel Aviv the day before.

Behind all of the chaos and scandals of the Trump administration, what has clearly emerged in Washington is a war cabinet, with the elevation of John Bolton to the post of National Security adviser and Pompeo’s confirmation by the Senate, with the indispensable support of the Democrats, as secretary of state. Both are fervent advocates of war against Iran.

Bolton has described the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran as a “massive strategic blunder,” insisting that US policy should be one of “ending Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution before its fortieth anniversary,” next February. Regime change in Tehran, according to the new national security adviser, should be promoted through direct military action. “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” was the headline of an opinion piece he wrote for the New York Times shortly before the agreement was reached on the JCPOA.

The US-Israeli war against Iran has already begun. Strikes carried out by US-supplied Israeli F-15 fighter jets on Syrian military bases on Sunday night killed as many as two dozen Iranians. It marked the fifth round of such Israeli attacks on Syria since September. All of them have been aimed at the assets of Iran. Along with Russia, Tehran is the main ally of the Assad government, which Washington and its allies have sought to topple in a seven-year-old war for regime change.

Reports from Israel have also indicated a major redeployment of tanks, troops and armored personnel carriers to the country’s northern borders with Syria and Lebanon.

On the list of the potentials for most likely live hostility around the world, the battle between Israel and Iran in Syria is at the top of the list right now,” a senior US official told NBC News Tuesday.

The intimate collaboration between Washington and Tel Aviv in preparing such a war has been made evident by the extraordinary flurry of meetings between top-level US and Israeli military and security officials flying in and out of both countries’ capitals. This has been supplemented by the dispatch of Pompeo, before he even set foot in the State Department, to the Middle East, where he not only consulted with Netanyahu and other officials, but also met with Saudi and Jordanian officials in an attempt to solidify a bloc of reactionary monarchical Arab regimes behind the US-Israeli war drive.

Behind this drive to war lies not any supposed concern about an Iranian nuclear threat—Tehran has no bomb and never initiated any real program to produce one, while Israel’s own arsenal includes an estimated 200 to 400 nuclear warheads. Rather, what are at play are naked imperialist interests.

As a regional power, Iran stands as an impediment to the drive by US imperialism to assert its hegemony over the oil-rich and strategically vital Middle East.

The European powers are increasingly at odds with Washington. After the visits of France’s Macron and Germany’s Merkel apparently failed, despite their obsequiousness, to persuade the Trump administration not to blow up the Iranian nuclear accord, discussions between them and British Prime Minister May over the weekend apparently centered on whether or not there was any prospect of salvaging the agreement without the US. There are both the fear of a major regional war spilling over into Europe in the form of violence, political crisis and a renewed flow of refugees, as well as definite profit interests at stake.

While US banks and corporations have been largely locked out of the Iranian market by continuing nonnuclear-related US economic sanctions, European interests, including the French oil conglomerate Total, have signed lucrative agreements. Most of them have produced little thus far because of fears that Washington will upend the nuclear accord and begin sanctioning foreign firms doing business in Iran.

Filling this vacuum, China has forged significant economic ties with Iran, including a recent $10 billion line of credit from the Beijing government for Chinese firms to launch infrastructure projects, including power facilities, dams and transportation hubs. Beijing sees Iran as a key segment of its “Belt and Road” mega-project, linking China to Europe, and is anxious to shift a growing share of its oil imports from regional producers like Saudi Arabia that are aligned with Washington. In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced plans to increase bilateral trade to $600 billion over the next decade.

In Iran, as elsewhere, US imperialism seeks to counter the decline of its economic domination through a turn to military aggression. While the European capitalist powers have joined in US military actions, particularly with the participation of the UK and France in the April 14 missile attack on Syria, their hopes of reaping a share of the booty from imperialist intervention can never be realized by serving as the tail of the American dog. Inevitably, they must turn to their own rearmament for a struggle of each against all for the redivision of the world. This process is already well under way.

To the extent that Washington has sought to placate Europe with the postponement of the implementation of trade war tariffs and that it has ratcheted down, temporarily, tensions on the Korean peninsula, it is to better concentrate war preparations in the Middle East.

The drive toward a war between Israel and Iran, beginning in Syria, is unfolding in tandem with the continuing US military intervention in that country, which is evolving into a confrontation with pro-government force backed by Iran and Russia.

Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis Monday indicated that the more than 2,000 US troops presently deployed inside Syria would not be going anywhere anytime soon. “We do not want to pull out before the diplomats have won the peace,” he said. “You win the fight—and then you win the peace.”

The reality is that the US military force, augmented by proxy ground forces based upon the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, is staying in place to secure an American zone of influence consisting of approximately a third of Syria’s territory on its northeastern borders with Turkey and Iraq. The area also contains the country’s oil and gas reserves. From their supposed mission of fighting ISIS, this US force is now turning to confronting attempts by the Syrian government, backed by Russia and Iran, to regain control of this territory and its resources.

With Russia also in discussions with Damascus on providing advanced air defense systems to Syria, the prospect for a clash between Russian forces and those of the US and Israel are steadily growing.

The developments in Syria and the threats of confrontation with Iran constitute a grave warning to working people in the US and throughout the world. Driven by the crisis of its system, world capitalism, with America’s ruling class and its military in the lead, is preparing for a world war that would be fought with nuclear weapons.

Source:


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

CIA had an agent at a newspaper in every world capital at least since 1977

Joel Whitney is a co-founder of the magazine Guernica, a magazine of global arts and politics, and has written for many publications, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. His book Finks: How the C.I.A. Tricked the World's Best Writers describes how the CIA contributed funds to numerous respected magazines during the Cold War, including the Paris Review, to subtly promote anti-communist views. In their conversation, Whitney tells Robert Scheer about the ties the CIA’s Congress for Cultural Freedom had with literary magazines. He talks about the CIA's attempt during the Cold War to have at least one agent in every major news organization in order to get stories killed if they were too critical or get them to run if they were favorable to the agency. And they discuss the overstatement of the immediate risks and dangers of communist regimes during the Cold War, which, initially, led many people to support the Vietnam War.
globinfo freexchange
James Jesus Angleton wa…

False flag operations set up by private companies

globinfo freexchange
Here is another sector soon to be occupied entirely by private companies: staging successful false flag operations and the subsequent suitable psyops.
As the World Socialist Web Site reported early this year:
Cambridge Analytica’s parent company is British-based SCL. Formerly Strategic Communication Laboratories, it is a private behavioural research and strategic communication company, founded in 1993 by Nigel Oakes.
As with Oakes, SCL’s board members include scions of the British ruling class, from former military officers and defence contractors to major Conservative Party donors.
SCL boasts of providing “data, analytics and strategy to governments and military organizations worldwide,” notably the British Ministry of Defence, the US State Department and NATO. It states that it has carried out “behavioural change programs” in more than 60 countries. One of its first contracts in 1999 was promoting Indonesian President Abdurrahma…

Former Pentagon official confirms: Trump prepares for war with Iran

globinfo freexchange
Right after Trump's sudden announcement that he will withdraw the US forces from Syria, we had some mixed reactions. Some liberals reacted angrily, but most of the reactions from the liberal machine were rather moderate, or at least not as intensive as someone would normally expect.
On the other hand, Trump's supporters and all those who had enough of the pro-war neoliberal establishment, felt a kind of vindication, as it appeared that Trump would eventually keep its promise for an 'anti-interventionist' policy.
But the blog wrote immediately a 'not so fast' article to explain that most of the Americans and all those who are tired of the US endless wars, should not rush to celebrate. We estimated that Trump's move is probably a sign that he is going to re-organize troops and go after the big target called Iran.
Indeed, shortly after the move, Trump, suddenly again, announced that he will also pullout troops from Afghanistan.
And then, about…

It’s the US imperialism that has been defeated in Syria, but it’s now gathering forces to go after Iran

globinfo freexchange
And all of a sudden, the US president Donald Trump decided to withdraw the US troops from Syria, declaring victory over ISIS.
No one, of course, understood why the ISIS was suddenly defeated now. So this must be a typical excuse by the American leadership to withdraw forces from a battlefield that it is no longer 'profitable' and affordable.
Comparing with other, relatively recent cases, in which even the liberal establishment was calling Trump to bomb Syria, the reactions from the US political status were rather moderate. We would expect the media pundits and the corporate puppets of the US political scene to fire back against Trump with much more anger. It didn't happen.
We will have to wait of course because the unpredictable Donnie may change his mind in the blink of an eye. And then, we will have to make a completely different discussion. Yet, if it's true, and the US troops will, indeed, leave Syria, it would be one of these very rare cases that …

How neoliberalism manufactured consent to secure its unlimited power

From David Harvey's A Brief History of Neoliberalism
Part 10 – How Margaret Thatcher systematically destroyed the British industry along with the trade unions
While there were many elements out of which consent for a neoliberal turn could be constructed, the Thatcher phenomenon would surely not have arisen, let alone succeeded, if it had not been for the serious crisis of capital accumulation during the 1970s. Stagflation was hurting everyone. In 1975 inflation surged to 26 per cent and unemployment topped one million. The nationalized industries were draining resources from the Treasury.
This set up a confrontation between the state and the unions. In 1972, and then again in 1974, the British miners (a nationalized industry) went on strike for the first time since 1926.
The miners had always been in the forefront of British labour struggles. Their wages were not keeping pace with accelerating inflation, and the public sympathized. The Conservative government, in the midst of power …

The desperate efforts of the Western neoliberal establishment to build a new propaganda machine

globinfo freexchange
The UK government and other Western governments and the US in recent years have had increasing difficulties persuading enough of their populations as to the legitimacy of the foreign policies that they have been pursuing.
And at the same time, Western countries have been going through a period of political crisis and economic crisis.
Piers Robinson, Chair in Politics, Society and Political Journalism at the University of Sheffield, further explains:
I think a lot of this drive is as much about trying to shore up shaky official narratives and trying to shore up political systems in a situation of political crisis, as it is actually about countering Russian propaganda.
I would suspect that that's a little bit of an excuse here to really what's going on of problems much closer to home.
This is not just to do to UK, this is Europe-wide. And there are also indications from the documents that they are intending to start to have some kind of impact within the United…

Confirmed: Germany builds its own imperialist empire

globinfo freexchange
Almost two years ago we identified Germany's efforts to develop its military in the context of its ambition to build its own sphere of influence.
As we wrote, Brexit will give the chance to Germany to increase influence due to the change of power balance, especially now that France appears weak - crawling behind Berlin's austerity, sado-monetarism and neoliberal destruction. These conditions (created in the Greek experiment), are necessary to Germany in order to retain a model in favor of its surpluses. These could become the solid ground upon which Germany could build a strong, modern military machine.
Therefore, Merkel knows that the economic domination is not adequate for a country to become a major power. It is also important to have a strong military presence in its “sphere of influence”, or, its financial/debt colonies, if you prefer. The German military presence in Lithuania is a first step towards this direction as the Baltic countries have already be…

Τι το'θελες ρε Κούλη;

globinfo freexchange
Άλλη μια άθλια παράσταση (μάλλον τη χειρότερη ως τώρα) έδωσε από το βήμα της βουλής ο αρχηγός της αξιωματικής αντιπολίτευσης, Κυριάκος Μητσοτάκης.
Δεν ξέρουμε αν ήταν δικής του έμπνευσης, ή αν το άθλιο θέαμα που παρακολουθήσαμε ήταν έμπνευση των επικοινωνιολόγων του. Αν ισχύει το δεύτερο, μάλλον πρέπει να τους απολύσει. Αν ισχύει το πρώτο, τότε το μόνο που κατάφερε ο Κυριάκος ήταν να φανερώσει οριστικά και αμετάκλητα τον μεγάλο εκνευρισμό του και ίσως και πανικό του.


Γιατί, όμως, πανικοβάλεται ο Κυριάκος;
Πρώτον, γιατί βλέπει ότι, έστω και σε αυτές τις άκρως αμφιλεγόμενες δημοσκοπήσεις, η ψαλίδα ΝΔ-ΣΥΡΙΖΑ, κλείνει.
Δεύτερον, γιατί αντιλαμβάνεται ότι δεν είναι χρήσιμος πλέον σε κανέναν από τους έξω. Γιατί ο Τσίπρας έγινε το καλό και υπάκουο παιδί των Ευρωπαίων, αλλά και ο πιο πιστός υποτελής των Αμερικανών.
Τρίτον και ίσως το κυριότερο, γιατί η πολιτική ένδεια της παράταξής του δεν έχει προηγούμενο. Πράγματι, η γαλάζια παράταξη δεν έχει απολύτως τίποτα να προσφέρει στη…

The difference between Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn and what the US elections won't allow you to decide

globinfo freexchange
A country that has been completely taken over by the banking mafia and the corporate power will never allow people to decide on the most important issue: the abolition of the dominant system that works against them.
Professor Richard Wolff explains:
Because of Bernie Sanders, particularly, we now have the word Socialism floating around, but typically it's about, more or less, really among Democrats. Like Mr. Sanders is ambiguously an independent but he's also a Democrat.
So, the ‘Socialists’ seemed to be the Democrats who want to do more for people. Social welfare, social supports, state supports, versus those who don't want to do quite so much - the centrist Democrats, like Clinton and Obama.
But the real question is a program of change. Socialism is a change of system it goes away from capitalism to do something else. It would be interesting if we could have an election ‘do we want that?’, ‘would we like a different system?’.
There are countries doing t…

The IMF is dismantling Argentina all over again

Part 1
In September, Argentine president Mauricio Macri accepted the 2018 Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award. In attendance were many of world’s neoliberal power players and policy makers, among them International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde.
Facing the crowd, Macri gleefully admitted that “with Christine, I have to confess we started a great relationship some months ago,” referring to a series of loan agreements with the IMF amounting to $57.1 billion dollars. “I expect that this is going to work very well, and we will end up with the whole country crushing on Christine,” he continued.
This dynamic of chasing an improved image with the world’s big banks and the dominant economies in the West is emblematic of Macri’s priority to secure a relationship with the IMF and improve the country’s image with global financial institutions. But it comes at a devastating cost for the majority of the population who will suffer from neoliberal policy prescriptions of…