Saturday, February 18, 2012

Is Iran Next?

“The thing that convinces people that their religion is true, is that the more they study it the more they realise that God hates the same people as they do” - Anonymous

We live in dangerous times. How volatile and dangerous capitalism can be is clearly demonstrated by the bitter diplomatic exchanges between the West and Iran.

There will probably be a news-flash on TV, and we will be informed that the RAF, along with the USAF’s bombers, and the Israeli Air Force have carried out overnight bombing raids across Iran, targeting nuclear facilities, radar stations, airfields and anti-aircraft bases.

The government and their media pundits will assert if Iran’s nuclear programme is not halted, they will be able to lob a nuclear missile at the West at a few minutes warning and that Iran is supporting international terrorism and that its people, secretly harbouring thoughts of Western-style democracy, are crying out for regime change. A familiar narrative.

Iran will be no military push-over like Iraq which had been exhausted by over a decade of perpetual bombardment and sanctions. True, a lot of Iran’s military hardware is no match for the state-of-the-art weaponry the US and Israel will deploy. In 2006 it was reported that America alone had at its disposal 200 strategic bombers plus numerous Tomahawk cruise missiles. Using just half the available force, 10,000 targets could be attacked almost simultaneously. This strike power is sufficient to destroy all major Iranian political, military, economic and transport centres. Nevertheless, Iran is capable of delivering damage to US forces or any other country within striking distance of its missiles perceived as being pro-American. With Iran controlling the Strait of Hormutz, oil tankers could easily be bombed as well tankers and platforms elsewhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Iran could escalate the conflict, giving the nod for its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, for retaliatory attacks on Israel.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which carries out regular inspections in Iran, despite the headlines claims to the contrary, has found no proof of a nuclear weapons programme in Iran. Moreover, according to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory it does in fact have the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes, on condition they inform the IAEA of their progress. The hawks misinformation machine is at work creating fear that the West is in danger from Iranian nuclear weapons unless, we are supposed to infer, America or its ally Israel pre-emptively attacks Iran. Iran is a rising power with ambitions of exerting influence in a region crowded with nuclear powers. It may well be that Iran feels a little threatened surrounded by those countries who do possess nuclear weapons; the United States, Israel, Russia, Pakistan and India. As such it is very likely to acquire nuclear weapons at some point. It might be willing to barter the nuclear weapons option for international recognition of its status as a regional power, but that is precisely what the US and its allies are unwilling to grant. The US seeks to prevent Iran from going nuclear because it would shift the balance of power in the Middle East, making American nuclear capabilities less intimidating and depriving Israel of its regional nuclear monopoly. Indeed, a nuclear armed Iran could result in Saudi Arabia or other Gulf States from acquiring their own, too. But while the risk of accident or miscalculation does increase with the number of nuclear powers, there is no serious reason to suppose that they would be any more dangerous than those other states already in possession of nuclear weapons.

Preparations for an attack on Iran are well advanced. American spy-drones probe the country’s air defences. CIA-trained MKO terrorists infiltrate Iran on sabotage and assassination missions. Accusations against Iran are elaborated and repeated ad nauseam. Pressure is exerted on other countries to impose trade sanctions and assist in the war plans. Resolutions are pushed through at the U.N. Security Council to create spurious “legal” justification for aggression.

The war propaganda provides a highly distorted and incomplete picture of the real reasons.If we seek the reason why Iran is seen as a threat we must also look at the geo-politics. Iran is strategically placed, straddling the Middle East and Central Asia and must be at least neutralised if the US is to control the region's oil supplies. Control over oil has various aspects. One is control over price – gaining the leverage to ensure the continued flow of cheap oil to the American economy. The other is control over who buys the oil. The US wishes to be in control of its distribution, to whom, and on its own terms. There is a seriously concern about the onset of peak oil production and that a rising competitor - China - is prevented from gaining a stranglehold on world resources. The two countries may appear to be on friendly terms, but both are jockeying for position in expectation of a possible showdown. Should China grow in economic strength, sell off its dollar holdings, US world domination will be threatened. Therefore, to protect future US global resource flows, Iran has to be warned don't mess with American interests. The US seeks to gain and maintain control over the hydrocarbon resources of the Middle East, a region that contains 55 percent of the world’s oil and 40 percent of its gas. The occupation of Iraq marked an important step toward that goal. The collapse of the Soviet Union enabled the US to establish a temporary global geo-political predominance, though at the cost of enormous military expenditure that exceeds that of all other countries combined. Iran's unforgivable crime - leaving aside its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment programme - is to have enviable oil and gas reserves, to control access to the Persian Gulf , which is a vital oil and gas transhipment route to Europe, Japan, and the rest of the world. Securing energy supplies is a basic condition for the continued existence of every nation state.To put it in context; a billion barrels of oil will last the world at current rates of consumption—just 12 days. Studies show that existing supplies will not meet capitalism’s future needs. Thus struggles for access and control of them are inevitable.

We hope we are wrong - for the sake of workers who will die as a result of an attack upon Iran- but history shows that where the interests of mega-business are threatened, spilling blood is of no consideration. Before the slaughter begins yet again, SOYMB once more take the opportunity to declare our heart-felt solidarity with the workers of all countries, and their true common cause. We appeal to workers to organise consciously and politically and to use the power at their disposal to head off the threatening bloodshed, and secure the space we need in order to build a world of peace and stability. We appeal to the workers of all lands to join with us in campaigning for a system of society where there are no leaders, no classes, no states or governments and no borders; a world where the earth's natural and industrial resources are commonly owned and democratically controlled and where production is freed from the artificial constraints of profit and used for the benefit of all; a world of free access to the necessaries of life. A world without waste, or want, or war.

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