By Gulamhusein A. Abba
The hysteria over Iran’s nuclear capabilities having reached such a stage as to call for immediate bombing of its nuclear facilities is deliberately and insidiously being whipped up by Israel to achieve its own ends.
Israel has been itching to bomb Iran ever since Iraq was neutered, leaving Iran the only country in the region that can be expected to stand up to Israel.
The main purpose of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest visit to the White House was to get President Barack Obama’s backing for his plan. He did not get the green signal he sought.
But Obama allowed him to get away with this statement –¦Above and beyond that there are two principles you reiterated yesterday that Israel must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself against any threat and that, when it comes to Israel’s security, Israel has a right, a sovereign right, to make its own decisions…. Israel must reserve the right to defend itself…..my supreme responsibility as Prime Minister of Israel is to ensure that Israel remains the master of its fate."
True, Obama could not possibly have denied that. However, he could and should have reminded Netanyahu that Israel, in exercising that right, must always remember that Israel, as any other nation, has a duty not to take any action that can result in grave harm to the world as a whole, especially if that action is unwarranted and unnecessary and is being maliciously or mistakenly being taken under cover of "defending Israel," and that if, in spite of being advised against it, Israel goes ahead and takes such action, Israel cannot expect and will not get any support from the U.S.
In fact, if Israel is preparing to take any such action, other countries that will be adversely affected have a right to take any action that may be required to prevent such an action.
By remaining silent at Netanyahu’s enunciation of Israel’s right, Obama missed the opportunity to make the U.S. position forcefully clear to Israel and to Americans.
While Obama did not give Netanyahu the green signal to go ahead with his bombing plan and seemed to back away from it, saying that there was still a window of opportunity for a diplomatic solution, he seems to have succumbed to Israel’s pressure, saying recently that the window had narrowed.
A brief look at relevant facts will show that there should be no call for bombing Iran because of its progress on its nuclear energy program.
Iran has repeated again and again that it has no intention of acquiring a nuclear arsenal and that its nuclear program is meant only for civil not military purposes.
The New York Times, no friend of Iran, reported on Feb. 24 that though Iran had accelerated its uranium enrichment program, "American intelligence analysts continue to believe that there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb. Recent assessments by American spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program years earlier, according to current and former American officials. The officials said that assessment was largely reaffirmed in a 2010 National Intelligence Estimate and that it remains the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies."
According to a report by Time’s journalists James Risen and Mark Mazetti, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in his Jan. 31 Senate testimony stated explicitly that there was no evidence that Iran had made a decision on making a concerted push to build a weapon.
Other top Obama administration officials, including CIA Director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, share Clapper’s assessment.
Even if it is assumed that Iran was bent on acquiring nuclear weapons, the question arises whether bombing its nuclear facilities is the only way to stop it and if so, is it necessary to take that action at this stage?
The answer to the last question hinges on how close is Iran to having a nuclear weapon.
Estimates on this have differed wildly in the past and continue to do so even now.
According to the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Iran is a year away from a nuclear bomb. In 1984 Sen. Alan Cranston said Iran was seven years away. In 1992 Netanyahu, who was then a member of Israeli parliament, said three to five years.
President Obama himself initially stated that `’There is a window of opportunity” to try and solve the issue through diplomacy, indicating that in his opinion Iran is nowhere close to acquiring a nuclear bomb.
Early in January of this year Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said: "Are they [Iranians] trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No. But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability. And that’s what concerns us."
Iran has agreed to open up for inspection by U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency at Parchin, the military facility southeast of Tehran where the U.N. nuclear watchdog suspected that development work relevant to nuclear weapons may have taken place.
Iran offered to return to talks on resolving the dispute over its uranium enriching program and, according to the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain had accepted the offer and had voiced backing for efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the long-running row.
So, there is no evidence that Iran is preparing to acquire nuclear weapons. All that exists is a suspicion that Iran so intends, and, because of this suspicion, we are trying to compel Iran to abandon efforts to advance its nuclear program meant for civil and peaceful purposes, specially to meet its energy needs so that its industry can grow.
Even though Iran does not violate any international requirement by continuing to advance its nuclear capability, we are preparing to go to war with Iran on this!
In view of all the above, clearly not only is there no justification for going to war now with Iran on the question of its nuclear program, but there is no justification even for continuing any sanctions on it on that account, much less imposing new "crippling" sanctions.
We the people must rise up and demand that we do not go to war with Iran on this.
Unless we do this we will find ourselves in another unnecessary and costly war. And this time it will be ugly.
– Gulamhusein A. Abba is a writer and activist with more than 50 years in journalism. He is presently sponsoring a weekly TV show THE STRUGGLE. He is also involved in efforts to secure a just peace for the Palestinians, humane and just treatment of undocumented immigrants, socialistic economic solutions, and, US foreign policy, specially with reference to the Middle East. He is chairman of The Danbury Committee for World Peace and of Justice for Palestinians Committee and is a member of the Danbury Alliance, an advocacy group for the rights of immigrants and just and humane treatment of undocumented immigrants. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit: defyingjustice.blogspot.com