By Iqbal Jassat
Is America preparing to go to war with Iran?
It is a question dominating discussions around dinner tables as well as boardrooms. Confined not only to the Middle East, where heightened concerns about the fall out for the volatile region’s future forms part of the focus of debates; but also the wider world.
Europe, Central Asia, the Far East, and Africa will not be immune from the spill off of the dreaded war if the Trump administration which is heavily stacked up by neocon war hawks, commences a bombing campaign coupled with air, naval and ground troops invading Iran.
South Africa as a developmental state, bedeviled as it is with looting and corruption having resulted in colossal losses to its fiscus, thus compounding massive inequalities, monumental job losses, crippled health care and a myriad of socio-economic problems, can ill afford further fuel hikes if America pulls the trigger on Iran.
Though uncertainty abounds whether Donald Trump will pull back from the brink or whether his looney sidekicks National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Pompeo will relentlessly push him to the edge, the current tensions prevailing in the world has sparked a combination of fear and outrage.
Both sentiments are to be expected. Fear, justified due to the devastating consequences of wars as is evident in war-torn countries. And outrage due to the fact that America doesn’t possess any moral or legal ground to lay waste on yet again a Muslim-majority country.
Incidentally, unlike Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria – countries seen to be or have been closely allied with America’s regional interests, Iran is a fiercely independent power in its own rights. And in contrast to the Assads, Saddams and others who allowed themselves play second fiddle to successive US presidents, the revolutionary leadership of Iran is firmly committed to resisting America’s hegemonic designs.
So if America under the commander-in-chief Donald Trump opts to ape the colonial ambitions of his buddy Benjamin Netanyahu by following an Israeli script endorsed by Bolton and his ilk, what and where is the hold-up?
It cannot be the United Nations, which regrettably has turned into an irrelevant doormat of America’s unilateral actions.
It cannot be the Arab block, who are exasperated by the delay and who have been agitating for war.
Nor can it be a pliant media when it is known that due to a substantial portion of America’s mainstream media imbibing white supremacist values, support for a war is indeed unconditional.
The only obstacle is global public opinion which refuses to buy fake news and false contrived propaganda.
And this phenomenon in the age of a highly politicized and active social media platforms, cutting across man-made boundaries and all forms of restrictions in their legitimate demands for tangible evidence, is powerful – not a pushover.
Public opinion in America itself is reflective of a high degree of skepticism. Though Trump’s national security team has been leaking “intelligence” about Iranian “threats”, many questions abound about the credibility of the intelligence.
That these leaks have provided cover in vain attempts to justify escalating tensions, including moving American air attack assets to the Persian Gulf, the difficulty faced by Bolton and other senior officials is how to neutralize growing public discourse which warns of an intelligence deception comparable to the fraudulent pretense for war in Iraq is being pulled off.
And to make it worse, there’s credible evidence that Israel is playing a key role in this subterfuge.
According to Mondoweiss editor-at-large James North, Netanyahu has long tried to provoke America to attack the Islamic state. And Israeli intelligence has been the source for some of the extreme claims about the alleged Iranian threat to Middle East peace. In line with what is publicly known about Trump, North writes that the US president has admitted that his top donor, the pro-Israel gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson advised him to hire Bolton.
North notes that none of the mainstream media coverage explains that Israel is a big factor instigating the rising American hostility to Iran. Unfortunately, South Africa’s media platforms have also failed to link Israel’s role in provoking the US to strike Iran and to adopt an editorial stance against it.
As if on cue, June 13 saw an attack on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz which was immediately blamed on Iran. If it was intended to be the “September 11” pretext for war, it has thus far failed.
North argues that Trump’s walking out on the JCPOA, threat to halt all Iranian oil sales and warnings to countries who disregard his unilateral sanctions with dire consequences are all acts of war. He reminds readers that sanctions against Iraq caused the deaths of 500,000 children whose deaths Sec of State Albright said “was a price worth paying”.
Indicative of groundswell disdain for fomenting a new war are various media reports which insist that claims by the White House about Iran don’t reflect “intelligence” in any technical sense of the word. “No one has cited a single piece of hard evidence that justifies these claims of threats, let alone any that are ‘new,’ as press leaks have suggested. All of them appear to be deliberate and gross distortions of actual facts.”
Though the odds are seemingly stacked against Iran, the court of public opinion remains unconvinced of any justification for war on Iran.
– Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the South Africa-based Media Review Network. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle. Visit: www.mediareviewnet.com