U.S. Hawks Hover Over Iran

“It is time to take military action against the Iranian government elements that support terrorism and its nuclear program. More diplomacy is not an adequate response.” says William Kristol.

by ­William Echols
Global Research
October 20, 2011

Whether calls for war against Iran are meant to placate American allies in the Middle East who cannot stomach its supposed nuclear ambitions, are an attempt to reassert US dominance in the oil rich region, or are the last signs of a flagging empire lashing out in self-denial, those who are longing for it to be morning again in America might very well expedite its imperial twilight.

William Kristol in the set of Fox News one of the "official" homes of neoconservatives.

History seems to be repeating itself as the hawks who called for the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein are now rattling their sabers for war against Iran. But why are those who once called for a new American Century hopelessly stuck in a bygone era?

­In a bellicose diatribe published in the latest edition of the Weekly Standard, senior editor William Kristol accuses Iran of having the blood of American soldiers on its hands. Claiming that “force” is the only language the regime understands, he proceeds to call on the US Congress to “consider authorizing the use of force against Iranian entities that facilitate attacks on our troops, against IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and other regime elements that sponsor terror, and against the regime’s nuclear weapons program.”

In an October 17 Foreign Policy initiative (FPI) Bulletin, executive director Jamie Fly toes the same line, proclaiming:

“Until now, the president has chosen to be the hapless victim of Iran’s machinations. It is time for President Obama to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors and stand up to tyrants who kill Americans and threaten our interests.

“It is time to take military action against the Iranian government elements that support terrorism and its nuclear program. More diplomacy is not an adequate response.”

Speaking to Fox News on Monday, former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said it was “unfortunate” that Iran did not fear a possible military response in light of recent allegations of an Iranian assassination plot on US soil. Somewhat ironically, Bolton also described President Barack Obama’s recent decision to send 100 troops to stem off a humanitarian crisis in Central Africa as “damaging to our efforts to preserve our military budget.”

It is little wonder that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asserts the latest accusations that Iran sought to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the US was eerily reminiscent of the weapons of mass destruction claims which provided the casus belli for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“In the past the US administration claimed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They said it so strongly, they offered and presented documentation and everyone said ‘yes, we believe in you, we buy it’,” Ahmadinejad said in a live interview on Al Jazeera television.

Ahmadinejad’s cause for alarm might seem justified under the circumstances. Ever since George W. Bush’s January 29, 2002 State of the Union Address, wherein Iran (along with Iraq and North Korea) were labeled as the “Axis of Evil”, neo-conservative policy wonks and senior-level government officials have had the country in their sights. And much like Iraq, the case for war is as mercurial and adaptive as the public opinion it caters to.

Kristol for his part was one of the key proponents for regime change in Iraq, outlining the case in a 2003 book he co-authored entitled The War Over Iraq: Saddam’s Tyranny and America’s Mission. But his desire to effect regime change in the Middle East has earlier roots.

In a 1996 Foreign Affairs article, William Kristol, challenging what he believed was “a tepid consensus that accepts decline of US power in the world as inevitable,” called for a neo-Reaganite foreign policy which would pursue “benevolent hegemony” and “wield its authority unabashedly.”

By June 1997, William Kristol, along with several other prominent neo-conservatives who would have high-level administrative positions in the Bush administration (including Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Elliot Abrams), not to mention his brother Jeb Bush, signed off on a statement of principles intended to usher in this halcyon era of American military strength and moral clarity. This statement of principles would come to define the Project for a New American Century.

The four key principles called for increased defense spending and force modernization, the strengthening of ties with democratic allies and the willingness to confront regimes hostile to American interests, the promotion of political and economic freedom abroad, and the “need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.”

Subsequently, on January 26, 1998, the group sent a letter to then-President Bill Clinton urging his administration to implement “a strategy for removing Saddam’s regime from power.”

The history of what happened when a sympathetic Bush administration coupled with the tragic events of 9/11 provided the pretext for implementing this neo-Reaganite foreign policy is well-trodden territory. The question is, why are they doing it again?

On most counts, the allegations against Iran seem to defy logic. Writing for Time Magazine, former CIA field officer Robert Baer claimed that the plot as described by FBI Director Robert Muller was something one might find in “a truly awful Hollywood script.” He went on to say that “none of it measures up to Iran’s unsurpassed skill in conducting assassinations.”

But while the idea of an Iranian-American used-car salesman attempting to organize a hit on the Saudi Arabian ambassador via the proxy of a Mexican drug cartel seems out of character for the fiercely professional Quds Force – a special unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard responsible for extraterritorial operations – the far-fetched tale seems a perfect match for the American imagination. Such a flourish for the theatrical has been on display before, most notably, when then US Secretary of State Colin Powell held up a vial he said could contain anthrax while speaking to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003.

However, with US national debt at some 15 trillion dollars, a potential $1 trillion in defense spending cuts on the table, and a recent report carried out by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University predicting that the cost of war in Afghanistan and Iraq could reach some $4 trillion, does the American public have the stomach or the means to prosecute another war?

When taking all of those factors into account, the murky world of realpolitik and multilateralism that many neo-conservatives helped bring about by aggressively pushing America towards the brink of imperial overstretch during the Bush years does not sit well with an ideology that views the world within a good vs. evil binary. Kristol for his part saw America sinking into the abyss during an era when the United States economic and military dominance ushered the term hyperpower into the collective consciousness.

But as an entrenched economic crisis limits the United States’ ability to project its military dominance and a decade of war has evaporated its moral currency around the world, it has become clear that many of the neo-conservatives pushing for war against Iran now ultimately have their own chief ideologues to blame for America’s precipitous decline. Whether calls for war against Iran are meant to placate American allies in the Middle East who cannot stomach its supposed nuclear ambitions, are an attempt to reassert US dominance in the oil rich region, or are the last signs of a flagging empire lashing out in self-denial, those who are longing for it to be morning again in America might very well expedite its imperial twilight.

Islam as a Geopolitical Tool to Control the Middle East

by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Global Research.ca
July 4, 2011

As Washington and its cohorts march towards the Eurasian Heartland, they have tried to manipulate Islam as a geo-political tool. They have created political and social chaos in the process. Along the way they have tried to redefine Islam and to subordinate it to the interests of global capital by ushering in a new generation of so-called Islamists, chiefly amongst the Arabs. 

The Project to Redefine Islam: Turkey as the New Model and “Calvinist Islam”

Turkey in its present form is now being presented as the democratic model for the rebelling Arab masses to follow. It is true that Ankara has progressed since the days it used to ban Kurdish from being spoken in public, but Turkey is not a functional democracy and is very much a kleptocracy with fascist tendencies.

The military still plays a huge role in the affairs of the state and government. The term “deep state,” which denotes a state run secretly from the top-down by unaccountable bodies and individuals, in fact originates from Turkey. Civil rights are still not respected in Turkey and candidates for public office have to be approved by the state apparatus and the groups controlling them, which try to filter out anyone that would go against the status quo in Turkey.

Turkey is not being presented as a model for the Arabs due to its democratic qualifications. It is being presented as the political model for the Arabs, because of a project of political and socio-economic “bida” (innovation) involving the manipulation of Islam.

Although very popular, the Turkish Justice and Development Party or JDP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or AKP) was allowed to come into power in 2002, without opposition by the Turkish military and the Turkish courts. Before this there was little tolerance for political Islam in Turkey. The JDP/AKP was founded in 2001 and the timing of their founding and their electoral win in 2002 was also tied to the objective of redrawing Southwest Asia and North Africa.

This project to manipulate and redefine Islam seeks to subordinate Islam to dominant World Order capitalist interests through a new wave of “political Islamism”, such as the JDP/AKP. A new strand of Islam is thereby being fashioned through what has come to be called “Calvinist Islam” or a “Muslim version of the Protestant work ethic.” It is this model that is been nurtured in Turkey and now being presented to Egypt and the Arabs by Washington and Brussels.

This “Calvinist Islam” also has no problem with the “reba” or interest system, which is prohibited under Islam. It is this system that is used to enslave individuals and societies with the chains of debt to global capitalism. It is in this context that the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is calling for so-called “democratic reforms” in the Arab World.

The ruling families of Sauda Arabia and the Arab petro-sheikhdoms are also partners in the enslavement of the Arab world through debt. In this regard Qatar and the Arab sheikhdoms of the Persian Gulf are in the process of creating a Middle East Development Bank that is intended to give loans to Arab countries to support their “transition towards democracy”. The democracy promotion mission of the Middle East Development Bank is ironic because the countries forming it are all staunch dictatorships.

It is also this subordination of Islam to global capitalism that is causing internal friction in Iran.

Opening the Door for a New Generation of Islamists

The hope in Washington is that this “Calvinist Islam” will take root with a new generation of Islamists under the banner of new democratic states. These governments will effectively enslave their countries by placing them further into debt and selling national assets. They will help subvert the region extending from North Africa to Southwest and Central Asia as the area is being balkanized and restructured in the image of Israel under ethnocratic systems.

Tel Aviv will also wield wide influence amongst these new states. Hand-in-hand with this project, different forms of ethno-linguistic nationalism and religious intolerance are also being promoted to divide the region. Turkey also plays an important, because it is one of the cradle for this new generation of Islamists. Saudi Arabia too plays a role in supporting the militant wing of these Islamists.

Washington’s Restructuring of the Geo-Strategic Chessboard

Targeting Iran and Syria is part of the larger strategy of controlling Eurasia. Chinese interests have been attacked everywhere on the global map. Sudan has been balkanized and both North Sudan and South Sudan are headed towards conflict. Libya has been attacked and is in the process of being balkanized. Syria is being pressured to surrender and fall into line. The U.S. and Britain are now integrating their national security councils, which parallels Anglo-American bodies from the Second World War.

Targeting Pakistan is also connected to neutralizing Iran and attacking Chinese interests and any future unity in Eurasia. In this regard, the U.S. and NATO have militarized the waters around Yemen. At the same time in Eastern Europe, the U.S. is building its fortifications in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania to neutralize Russia and the former Soviet republics. Belarus and Ukraine are being put under increasing pressure too. All these steps are part of a military strategy to encircle Eurasia and to either control its energy supplies or the flow of energy towards China. Even Cuba and Venezuela are under increasing threat. The military noose is globally being tightened by Washington.

It appears that new Islamist parties are being formed and groomed by the Al-Sauds with the help of Turkey to take power in Arab capitals. Such governments will work to subordinate their respective states. The Pentagon, NATO, and Israel may even select some of these new governments to justify new wars.

It has to be mentioned that Norman Podhoretz, a original member of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), in 2008 suggest an apocalyptic future scenario in which Israel launches a nuclear war against Iran, Syria, and Egypt amongst its other neighbouring countries. This would include Lebanon and Jordan. Podhoretz described an expansionist Israel and even suggested that the Israelis would militarily occupy the oil fields of the Persian Gulf.

What came across as odd in 2008 was the suggestion by Podhoretz, which was influenced by the strategic analysis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), that Tel Aviv would launch a nuclear attack on its staunch Egyptian allies ruling Cairo under President Mubarak. Despite the fact that the old regime still remains, Mubarak is no longer in power in Cairo. The Egyptian military still gives orders, but Islamists may come to power. This is occuring despite the fact that Islam continues to be demonized by the U.S. and most of its NATO allies.

Unknown Future: What Next?

The U.S., the E.U., and Israel are trying to use the upheavals in the Turko-Arabo-Iranic World to further their own objectives including the war on Libya and the support of an Islamic insurrection in Syria. Along with the Al-Sauds, they are attempting to spread “fitna” or division amongst the peoples of Southwest Asia and North Africa. The Israeli-Khaliji strategic alliance, formed by Tel Aviv and the ruling Arab families in the Persian Gulf, is crucial in this regard.

In Egypt the social upheaval is far from over and the people are become more radical. This is resulting in concessions by the military junta in Cairo. The protest movement is now starting to address the role of Israel and its relationship to the military junta.  In Tunisia too, the popular stream is headed towards radicalization.

Washington and its cohorts are playing with fire. They may think that this period of chaos presents an excellent opportunity for confrontation with Iran and Syria. The upheaval that has taken root in the Turko-Arabo-Iranic World will have unpredictable results. The resilience of the peoples in Bahrain and Yemen under the threats of increased state-sponsored violence indicates the articulation of more cohesive anti-US and Anti-Zionist protest movement.