, by SYED TAUSIEF AUSAF
It is time for George W. Bush, who has just 15 months left in office, to think of his legacy. As it is becoming increasingly clear that the $3 trillion wars in Afghanistan and Iraq cannot be deemed political or military successes, the Bush administration’s focus is now swivelling on Iran. Ahmedinejad’s unstoppable nuclear zeal at Natanz, despite sanctions from the EU and UN, coupled with the rise of conservatives in March 14 elections must be riling hawks in Tel Aviv and Washington.
No US official till date has been able to give a convincing explanation about America’s nuclear global double standards. Israel has been allowed, nay assisted, to develop nukes in its secretive Dimona plant. The IAEA has not been given access to it for a surprise inspection. Mohammed El Baradei did some chest-beating over it some years ago, but rules are changed for America’s allies. If defence pundits are to be believed, Tel Aviv has dozens of nuclear capable missiles capable of targeting cities as far as Moscow. But Iran’s nuclear project, to Washington, is necessarily evil. The west prefers to play deaf when the Iranians scream that Bushehr is not developing an atomic bomb and that their nuclear project is for civilian purposes.
Iran’s flexing of atomic muscles poses a direct threat to Israel’s military supremacy in the region. Plus Iran’s unwavering support to Hamas and Hizbollah, which resist the Israeli aggression, puts off the Jewish state and its godfather across the Atlantic. Therefore, Bush’s last wish before America gets rid of him is to ensure eternal security for the Zionist entity.
Neocons’ dream of a greater Israel and an altered map of the Middle East is likely to remain a dream as Democrats’ comeback is certain, but the Bushians would do anything to unarm Iran before valediction songs are played to them. And of late Middle East observers have noticed some (very) strong signs that suggest Iran (or Bushehr) is in the crosshairs.
- Dick Cheney is arriving in the Middle East today. The official purpose is to help revive the battered peace process and get Arab allies like Saudi Arabia to do more to curb Iran’s influence in Iraq. But they all know that taking the House of Saud into confidence is a prerequisite before any war is planned in the region. One may recall Bush’s ‘foreign minister’ Tony Blair’s visits to all Gulf capitals before Iraq blitz. Cheney’s talks with King Abdullah are likely to focus on the consequences of Iran (mis)adventure.
- A White House leak has thrown light on Cheney’s plan for Iran attack. In the scenario concocted by Cheney’s war managers, Washington’s first step would be to tell Israel to fire missiles at Iran’s uranium enrichment plant in Natanz. Tehran would retaliate, providing the US with an excuse to attack military and nuclear facilities in Iran. This was revealed by an official close to the vice-president. Strategists at the Pentagon, apparently at Cheney’s request, have developed detailed plans for the attack.
- Speaking to France’s Le Figaro newspaper on March 7, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tel Aviv would not act alone against Tehran. Between the lines, he said something is cooking between the Zionists and Washington as to how to denuclearise Tehran. He clearly said that Israel “does not rule out a military solution in the nuclear row with Iran” and that “it will not unilaterally launch the attack.”
- Two US warships have arrived in the region. They have taken up position in the eastern Mediterranean off Lebanon, replacing the USS Cole. The USS Ross and the USS Philippine Sea are capable of handling a full-fledged war. The Ross is an Aegis-guided missile destroyer and the Philippine is a cruiser.
- Top US commander Admiral William Fallon, critical of Bush’s plan to destroy Iran, was pressured to resign. One neocon military specialist Max Boot, criticised Fallon last November for his pubic comment ruling out a strike against Iran and then suggested in January that Gen. Petraeus should replace the “unimpressive” Fallon at CENTCOM.
Bush is bound to fail in his efforts to open a third front. The public support at home for another lunacy is zero. The morale of marines is not up in Iraq as the war continues to drag on without an end in sight or even a chance for withdrawal in a way that does not look like a retreat. In Afghanistan, ‘the coalition of the willing’ (or sinning?) is struggling to prevent a return of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Gulf neighbours of Iran and firmly behind their Persian neighbour. Riyadh has already made it abundantly clear that it won’t allow its soil to be used for strikes against Iran. The UAE and Bahrain have further boosted their time-tested ties with the Iranians.
Bush is all set to go down in the annals of history as a warmonger.
[The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]