By Iqbal Jassat
Special to PalestineChronicle.com
In the midst of tension between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the big question is not whether Iran will be bombed or not. Rather, as many informed analysts are warning, the question is: when will the bombing campaign begin?
Recent events in the highly volatile region of the Middle East suggest that many insiders and those close to America’s military heartbeat in Iraq and Israel are convinced that the clock is ticking!
The only surprise in the wake of an imminent war seems to be the silence within the international diplomatic community in the corridors of the United Nations. The discomforting signal from there is that they appear to be resigned in acceptance of yet another disastrous war. This acceptance of America’s bullying tactics and determination to engulf millions of people in a bloody conflict – at the behest of Israel – is a tragic commentary of the impotence of the UN.
What then are the pointers indicating that President Bush will undertake a huge escalation of tension and conflict leading to war during the remainder of his presidency?
Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah and Khalid Mesha’al – leaders of Hizbullah and Hamas respectively – tried to interpret signs of preparations for conflict taking place in Israel.
During his talk marking the annual Quds Day rally in solidarity with Palestine, Nasrallah noted that in recent weeks, Israel has expanded its over flight violations of Lebanon up to the Bika’a valley in the north “to an unprecedented scale at a time without war”.
According to British analyst Alastair Crooke, these leaders recall that it was Ehud Olmert who in spite of warning of risks flowing from “incidents” on the border with Syria launched an aerial incursion into Syria.
While this military bombing spree is viewed as a flagrant violation of Syria’s sovereignty, Crooke points to an ulterior motive in Israel’s aggressive conduct: Israel’s military experiment of September 6 demonstrated that the diplomatic community remained passive. It was a “test-run” seeking to gauge international reaction to an “accidental” war against Syria and from which point of ignition its architects’ confidently expect its flames to spread to its ultimate target: Iran.
Another indicator is the intense Israeli military build-up on the Golan Heights, occupied by Israel since 1967. Major General Wolfgang Jilke, the Austrian commander of the UN Observer Force deployed on the Golan Heights, voiced his concerns in an interview with Der Spiegel, on September 9.
Crookes’ investigation reveals that Jilke has alerted public opinion to the danger of clashes breaking out due to Israel’s unprecedented concentration of troops and military build-up now entering its fourth month. The escalation in activities involves a massive surge of military exercises and enormous construction activity. In addition, the Israeli army is digging many kilometres of trenches, which according to Jilke, are clearly aimed at preparing for a military offensive involving heavy artillery and air force.
While some purging of neo-conservative elements within the Bush administration seemed to suggest that in conjunction with America’s failure to chart its intended course in Iraq, war mongering will come to an end; this is a ruse!
The current architect of a new war, David Wurmser is from the same rightwing pro-Israeli camp of neocons. He is cited as having floated a scenario in which an engineered provocation will result into an “accidental war” that would escalate quickly into a conflict whose trajectory ultimately would be Iran, according to Crooke.
– Iqbal Jassat is the chairman: of Media Review Network in South Africa – www.mediareviewnet.com.