The Real Front in the Middle East

A much more clear and detailed article (than ours) about the impending conflagration with Iran. Certainly, we found the overt mention of Patriot missile deployment the most telling sign of an impending action.

Bush’s Iraq Plan – Goading Iran into War
by Dr. Trita Parsi
Global Research, January 15, 2007
National Iranian American Council (NIAC)

President George W. Bush’s address on Iraq Wednesday night was less about Iraq than about its eastern neighbor, Iran. There was little new about the US’s strategy in Iraq, but on Iran, the President spelled out a plan that appears to be aimed at goading Iran into war with the US. While Washington speculated whether the president would accept or reject the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations, few predicted that he would do the opposite of what James Baker and Lee Hamilton advised. Rather than withdrawing troops from Iraq, Bush ordered an augmentation of troop levels. Rather than talking to Iran and Syria, Bush virtually declared war on these states. And rather than pressuring Israel to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the administration is fuelling the factional war in Gaza by arming and training Fatah against Hamas.

Several recent developments and statements indicate that the administration is ever more seriously eyeing war with Iran. On Wednesday, Bush made the starkest accusations yet against the rulers in Tehran, alleging that the clerics were “providing material support for attacks on American troops.”

While promising to “disrupt the attacks on our forces” and “seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq,” he made no mention of the flow of arms and funds to Sunni insurgents and al Qaeda from Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Instead, he revealed the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf and of the Patriot anti-missile defence system to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to protect U.S. allies. The usefulness of this step for resolving the violence in Iraq remains a mystery. Neither the Sunni insurgents nor the Shia militias possess ballistic missiles. And if they did, nothing indicates that they would target the GCC states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The deployment of the Patriot missiles can be explained, however, in light of a U.S. plan to attack Iran. Last year, Tehran signalled the GCC states in unusually blunt language that it would retaliate against the Arab sheikhdoms if the U.S. attacked Iran using bases in the GCC countries. Mindful of the weakness of Iran’s air force, Tehran’s most likely weapon would be ballistic missiles — the very same weapon that the Patriots are designed to provide a shield against. A first step towards going to war with Iran would be to provide the GCC states with protection against potential Iranian retaliation.

Perhaps the starkest indication of an impending war with Iran is Washington’s recent arrest of Iranian diplomats in Iraq. Around the time of President Bush’s speech, U.S. Special Forces — in blatant violation of diplomatic regulations reminiscent of the hostage taking of U.S. diplomats in Tehran by Iranian students in 1979 — stormed the Iranian consulate in Arbil in northern Iraq, arresting five diplomats. Later that day, U.S. forces almost clashed with Kurdish peshmerga militia forces when seeking to arrest more Iranians at Arbil’s airport.

These operations incensed the Iraqi government, including its Kurdish components that otherwise are staunchly pro-Washington. “What happened… was very annoying because there has been an Iranian liaison office there for years and it provides services to the citizens,” Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hoshiyar Zebari, who is himself a Kurd, told Al-Arabiya television.

Read the rest of it here.

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