Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Bleak Outlook on the US-Iran Matter: Part II

Yesterday I posted on the Dutch view of the increasing acrimony between the US and Iran (scroll down to "...Part I). Today, I present a more pessimistic view: that of the Russians who see war as a forgone conclusion. The Russian news service Novosti contains an analysis piece by Pyotr Romanov which even sets out a time line.

The United States and Iran seem firmly set on a path leading to the hell of war. There are hopes for the best - and I myself would be happy to find that I have erred on the pessimistic side. But the way things look, here and now, hopes are increasingly overshadowing a very grim reality.

Assertive statements from the American side and war games in the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side scream equally of muscle-flexing. Both sides, while portraying the other as the new evil empire, are in fact perfectly aware of the danger that its opponent poses, both ideologically and politically. Though neither risks thumbing its nose at third-party peacemakers, neither actually listens to anything they say, either.

There are clear indications that the Middle East is in for yet another major conflict. To adjust a changing world, Iran and the U.S. are equally desperate for a major breakthrough. But regrettably, both seem to think that such success comes easier through the use of force rather than through dialogue or diplomacy.

...There is no need to go through the entire list of pro-war considerations. What has been said is probably enough to realize that, whoever tries to bring peace between America and Iran, be it the United Nations, Western Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency, or Russia, will have their attempts fall on deaf ears.

...For it is no longer a question of "if." It is a question of "when." Rough calculation point to the end of this year.
[Emphasis added]

Romanov's analysis does provide an entire laundry list of reasons why at this point both nations seem to favor war rather than dialogue and diplomacy. Click over to see the list. It contains no surprises as to the causes of the current impasse. What is interesting is the basis for Romanov's belief that the war will commence before the end of the year.

In his opinion, Congress would never let Bush start a pre-emptive war with less than a year left in his term, especially if the midterm elections whittle away his majority in Congress. A war, however, does require some planning and shifting of assets, which should consume several months. What Romanov couldn't have been aware of, however, is that the planning has apparently been underway for nearly two years, according to the UK's Guardian, which yesterday revealed the following:

British officers took part in a US war game aimed at preparing for a possible invasion of Iran, despite repeated claims by the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, that a military strike against Iran is inconceivable.

The war game, codenamed Hotspur 2004, took place at the US base of Fort Belvoir in Virginia in July 2004.
[Emphasis added]

It is clear that the only way to stop this inexorable march toward war is for citizens of the US to make it dramatically clear to Congress and to the White House that we will not stand for another war. Like those opposed to the current bill on immigration reform, we will need to take to the streets as well as the fax machines. According to Romanov, we don't have much time.


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