Provoking A War With Iran

(2 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

In January a young Iranian nuclear scientist was killed in a Tehran car bomb explosion, the fifth scientist to be killed since 2007. There were accusations by the Iranians that this was carried out by the Israelis with the blessings of the United States to stop Iran’s nuclear energy program. Of course there were the obligatory denials by the Israelis and the US through the State Department even though Israel had previously hinted about a covert campaign with Iran and told a parliamentary panel that 2012 would be a “critical year” for Iran in part because of “things that happen to it unnaturally”.

Robert Baer, the long-time senior CIA officer who spent 21 years working the Middle East, was on MSNBC’s ‘Hardball’ saying that he believes Israel is assassinating Iranian scientists in an attempt to provoke Iran to fight back and draw the US into a full-scale war. Baer has made this argument before considering Israel’s “track record of assassinations, from the Palestinian perpetrators of the Munich Olympic attack of 1972, to the killing of senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel room in early 2010″:

“If you look at the choice of target it really could only be Israel,” says Robert Baer, a former CIA agent in the Middle East, currently working on a book on assassination called The Perfect Kill. “If it was an internal group, like the MeK (Mujahedin-e-Khalq) it would be security official or policeman who had been torturing their guys. If you look at the motivation, it must be Israel.”

However, Baer adds that it is quite likely that Israel is acting in tandem with an Iranian dissident organisation. “To do this in the middle of the day, with a limpet charge and then getaway, you need a lot of people on the ground,” he says. ” You need an extensive network of the kind only someone like MeK can provide.”

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has labeled this, not murder, but terrorism

   Part of the problem here is the pretense that Terrorism has some sort of fixed, definitive meaning. It does not. As Professor Remi Brulin has so exhaustively documented, the meaning of the term has constantly morphed depending upon the momentary interests of those nations (usually the U.S. and Israel) most aggressively wielding it. It’s a term of political propaganda, impoverished of any objective meaning, and thus susceptible to limitless manipulation. Even the formal definition incorporated into U.S. law is incredibly vague; one could debate forever without resolution whether targeted killings of scientists fall within its scope, and that’s by design. The less fixed the term is, the more flexibility there is in deciding what acts of violence are and are not included in its scope.

   But to really see what’s going on here, let’s look at how a very recent, very similar assassination plot was discussed. That occurred in October when the U.S. accused Iran’s Quds Forces of recruiting a failed used car salesman in Texas to hire Mexican drug cartels to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. Let’s put to side the intrinsic ridiculousness of the accusation and assume it to be true […] when that plot to kill the Saudi Ambassador was “revealed,” virtually every last media outlet – and government official – branded it “Terrorism.” It was just reflexively described that way. And I never heard anyone – anywhere – object to the use of that term on the ground that targeted assassinations aren’t Terrorism, or on any other ground.

There is quite a bit of evidence to support this. The New York Times reported that there is more truth to the plot to draw Iran into a war than not:

   The campaign, which experts believe is being carried out mainly by Israel, apparently claimed its latest victim on Wednesday when a bomb killed a 32-year-old nuclear scientist in Tehran’s morning rush hour.

   The scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, was a department supervisor at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant, a participant in what Western leaders believe is Iran’s halting but determined progress toward a nuclear weapon. He was at least the fifth scientist with nuclear connections to be killed since 2007; a sixth scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, survived a 2010 attack and was put in charge of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization […]

   “I often get asked when Israel might attack Iran,” Mr. (Patrick, director of the Iran Security Initiative at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Clawson said. “I say, ‘Two years ago.’ ”

   Mr. Clawson said the covert campaign was far preferable to overt airstrikes by Israel or the United States on suspected Iranian nuclear sites. “Sabotage and assassination is the way to go, if you can do it,” he said. “It doesn’t provoke a nationalist reaction in Iran, which could strengthen the regime. And it allows Iran to climb down if it decides the cost of pursuing a nuclear weapon is too high.”

Now flash forward to recent events with the attempt to kill Israeli embassy personnel in New Delhi and Tbilisi, Georgia. The Israelis were quick to accuse Iran without any evidence that there was any Iranian involvement and, of course the US media was quick to parrot the accusations as retaliation:

The rare coordinated attempts on the lives of Israeli diplomatic representatives came a month after the latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist and were set against an escalating war of words between Israel and Iran over a possible Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. The attempted attacks also coincided with the fourth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, a leader of Hezbollah, a militant Shiite Lebanese group backed by Iran.

India has stated that they have no evidence that Iran was involved but they have their own motivations, as does Russia, to protect Iran. Both India and Russia are ignoring the international sanctions to get Iran back to the table for discussion of their nuclear program. But. as Glenn Greenwald noted in his article about media the push to a war with Iran the media failed to mention

….the glaring irony that the mode of attack in India is virtually identical to the one used to kill numerous Iranian scientists (“a magnetic bomb was slapped onto {the} car by a passing motorcyclist”). One thing is crystal clear, as macgupta put it in the comment section: “In any case, no matter who the perpetrators are, these attacks are a sign that we are moving closer to a war with Iran.

The Guardian has analysis of why Iran seems an unlikely culprit for the attacks on Israeli diplomats:

Tehran has good relations with Thailand, India and Georgia. Why would it endanger that by planting bombs there?

Let’s assume that sections of the military and security apparatus in Iran are responsible for the string of bombings in Georgia, Thailand and India. What would be the motive? The argument that Iran is retaliating for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran is not plausible. If Iran wanted to target Israeli interests, it has other means at its disposal. It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves, if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?

And why India, Georgia and Thailand, three countries that Iran has had cordial relations with during a period when Iran is facing increasing sanctions spearheaded by the United States? A few days ago, India agreed a rupee-based oil and gas deal with Iran and resisted US pressures to join the western boycott of the Iranian energy sector. As a net importer of 12% of Iranian oil, India’s total trade with Iran amounted to $13.67bn in 2010-2011. What would be the motive for damaging relations with one of Iran’s major trading partners and regional heavyweights?

In December of 2010, Greenwald appeared on Morning Joe with Joe Scarborough to why Iran is not a threat to the US or Israel. His argument still holds true.

Is this another run up to another unnecessary war in the Middle East? If it looks like a duck …….

2 comments

    • TMC on February 17, 2012 at 10:05 am
      Author
    • Xanthe on February 18, 2012 at 12:55 am

    during the lead up to Iraq War2.  Our people are low spiritually and economically – yet, how can we possibly allow ourselves to be duped again — really, it’s sucking the spirit from me.

    And won’t gas prices be high again with all the posturing — that’ll put more gas on the fire (excuse the pun).

    Look also for currency war due in part to this Iran hysteria – they are talking about using rupees for petrodollars.

    Woe is us.      

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