President George W. Bush has given the Israeli military the go-ahead to prepare for an imminent attack on Iran. Israel is also using U.S. bases in Iraq to prepare for the attack.
The British Sunday Times of July 13 reported: “Despite the opposition of his own generals and widespread skepticism that America is ready to risk the military, political and economic consequences of an airborne strike on Iran, the president has given an ‘amber light’ to an Israeli plan to attack Iran’s main nuclear sites with long-range bombing sorties, [a Pentagon] official told The Sunday Times.
“‘Amber means get on with your preparations, stand by for immediate attack and tell us when you’re ready,’ the official said. But the Israelis have also been told that they can expect no help from American forces and will not be able to use U.S. military bases in Iraq for logistical support.”
No U.S. support? The Jerusalem Post reported on the same day: “On Friday, sources in the Iraqi Defense Ministry told a local news network that IAF [Israeli Air Force] war planes were practicing in Iraqi airspace and were landing on U.S. airbases in the country as a preparation for a potential strike on Iran.”
Once again the most powerful forces of U.S. corporate power—the military-industrial-petroleum complex—are using Israel as their proxy to threaten war on surrounding countries in the region. Israel is armed, financed and politically and diplomatically supported by Washington. It cannot act on its own or without explicit permission from Washington.
At the same time that the White House is giving the Zionist military a go-ahead to bomb Iran, the U.S. Congress is moving ahead to escalate tensions in the region and possibly provoke an incident that would “justify” U.S. military action. House Resolution 362 and Senate Resolution 580 both require that the president begin a blockade of Iran.
The House resolution “demands” that the president impose “stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains and cargo entering or departing Iran.” Enforcing this would require a U.S. naval blockade of the Straits of Hormuz, which is an act of war according to international law. Approximately one-fourth of the world’s oil, including that from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, passes through the Straits of Hormuz, which are 21 miles wide at their narrowest point.
These two resolutions have received widespread bipartisan support from members of both houses of Congress, and are expected to pass without debate or vote. A staffer in Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office said that once the House resolution hits the floor, it will “pass like a hot knife through butter.” Some have speculated that the bill will be put on the floor “under suspension”—meaning it will pass without even a vote.
Both resolutions accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons, despite the fact that Washington’s National Intelligence Estimate report last December made it clear that every major U.S. intelligence agency believes Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.
Nor do the resolutions refer to the real nuclear threat in the region: the U.S., the only country that has used nuclear weapons and currently has a massive nuclear-armed naval armada in the region. It also does not mention the apartheid settler state of Israel, which is thought to have at least 200 nuclear weapons.
At the same time, two leading senators announced on July 15 that they had reached a bipartisan agreement to expand economic sanctions targeting Iran. Senators Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Banking Committee, and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) called Iran “a threat to U.S. interests.” Dodd, a former candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for president, said: “This bipartisan bill strengthens economic sanctions against Iran, and authorizes divestment from companies that do business with Iran’s key oil sector.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. is involved in “covert operations”—acts of terrorism—inside Iran. In the July 7 New Yorker, Seymour Hersh revealed that Congress has approved $400 million to fund covert operations in Iran. These operations include providing support to armed groups opposed to the Iranian government, kidnapping members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and taking them across the border to Iraq for interrogation, the manipulation of Iran’s currency, and other acts intended to destabilize the regime.
Hersh reports that these types of operations have been ongoing at least since last year, but the recent congressional appropriation signals a significant expansion of these actions.
It is clear that the Bush administration is determined to push forward with its agenda of endless war to control the oil reserves of the Middle East. It is equally clear that members of Congress—both Democrats and Republicans—are on board, just as they collaborated in authorizing the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
It is imperative that progressive activists and organizations, particularly in the U.S., mobilize to stop another brutal war and demand an end to the illegal sanctions and covert operations targeting Iran.
Stop War on Iran, (www.stopwaroniran.org/) an international grassroots campaign, has issued an Emergency Call for protests, marches and other actions on the weekend of Aug. 2. Local organizers are planning events in more than 50 cities, including Los Angeles, Tucson, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Chicago, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis, Jersey City, Albuquerque, Buffalo, New York, Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Houston, Salt Lake City, Virginia Beach, Washington and more. An updated list is available at http://www.StopWarOnIran.org.
Now is the time to take to the streets. Only a massive grassroots mobilization can stop another bloody and illegal war. To get involved, or for more information, see http://www.StopWarOnIran.org.
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