By Ludwig Watzal
The West wages a war of sanctions, sabotage and assassinations against the Iranian people. The sanctions are not ‘smart’ but murderous. There is also a psychological and cyber war going on against the country’s nuclear scientists and installations, led by the US Empire and its client state Israel. According to international law, both countries engage in illegal occupation, which represents a regional and global threat to the peace. Currently, we are witnessing a remake of the prologue that led to the attack on Iraq.
After Iraqi forces were driven out of Kuwait in 1991, Iraq was put under a sanction regime that reduced the once most advanced country in the Arab world to Third World status. UNICEF estimates that 500,000 children died in the course of US sanctions in excess of forecasted child mortality. The then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on “60 minutes” that in spite of these deaths, “the prize is worth it”! President Barack Obama awarded her the “Presidential Medal of Freedom” for her great services rendered to Empire.
This time, the US and Israel may not give Iran such a long period of time as they gave Iraq because Israel has been telling the US and the world for the last 20 years that “next year” Iran will have nuclear weapons. These Israeli predictions have the same value as the doomsday scenarios by Christian fundamentalists. Although US intelligence agencies and even some serious Israeli military and former intelligence people say that Iran is not building nuclear weapons and is no “existential threat” to anybody, the US Congress, Israeli PM Netanyahu and President Obama together with the belligerent neoconservative crowd continue to beat the war drums. For a European observer it is difficult to grasp that those former Bush hawks, who have been totally discredited by leading the US into two disastrous wars, can still frame the discussion.
In the July/August issue of “Foreign Affairs”, Kenneth Waltz, the leading representative of neo-realism in the field of international relations, argued that Iran should get the bomb because its possession of a nuclear bomb will contribute to regional stability rather than undermine it. Waltz wondered why the imbalance caused by Israel’s nuclear arsenal needed so long to be restored. According to Waltz’ reasoning, drawing on the Cold War, nuclear powers do not wage war against each other. Extending this argument, this would mean that nuclear proliferation would make the world more secure. This argument has some merit in the light of US aggression and its quest for hegemony since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Might there be another agenda behind this view? “Foreign Affairs” is the Flag Publication of US Empire. Perhaps the US and its allies have by now amassed so much nuclear arms that no country acquiring some modest nuclear potential can attack the US and its allies, and the US and its allies have found that destabilizing countries does not require nuclear weapons. We have seen that in the numerous interventions. By proliferation of nuclear weapons, the producers of these weapons may however reap profit and siphon the resources of the purchasing countries, or trapping them again in debt.
So far, the US has been the only country that used nuclear weapons against a population (if depleted uranium is disregarded). As a matter of fact, the use of the atom bomb by the US induced the Soviet Union to develop its own nuclear arsenal. If Iraq would have possessed nuclear weapons, the US would probably not have attacked that country. The Iranian leadership may have a good reason to acquire nuclear capabilities because Iran is encircled by countries the US has occupied or in which it operates military bases. On top of that, Israel threatens regularly to attack Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. Iran’s leaders, however, do not think so and have made it clear that they oppose such weapons on principle.
The problem of the West is not Iran’s presumed nuclear weapons program but rather Israel’s uncontrolled nuclear industry, which is controlled by ideological and possibly “messianic” zealots, such PM Netanyahu and Ehud Barak. Iran has signed the Treaty on Non-Proliferation, which Israel has not done. Inspectors from the IAEA are going in and out of Iran’s nuclear facilities whereas nobody has ever inspected Israel’s nuclear stockpile. While Iran has not attacked any country in over 200 years, Israel, since its establishment in 1948 has repeatedly committed aggression against Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Iraq and even against distant Tunisia. While Israel is considered by many political observers as a colonial power, Iran throughout its modern history has been a victim of Western aggression
The West should take at face value the religious edict by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that his country will not seek nuclear weaponization because this would contradict Islamic and moral considerations. If President Obama’s speech on a nuclear free zone in the entire Middle East is not just near rhetoric then Israel’s 200 nuclear warheads have to be the prime target of concern. That is why the peace movement should not only oppose threats, economic and military aggression against a peaceful country but also speak out for a nuclear free zone in the Greater Middle East.
– Dr. Ludwig Watzal works as a journalist and editor in Bonn, Germany. He runs the bilingual bog “Between the lines”- http://between-the-lines-ludwig-watzal.blogspot.de. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.