Is Iran Next ?

Posted on Tuesday, January 30 at 12:52 by Ed Deak
Ostensibly, President Bush has embarked on a new political and military strategy for the war-torn Iraq. Bush’s new course can be summarized under three headings: more American troops, more Iraqi responsibility, and more US training for more Iraqi troops. If you apply this new plan to Iraq alone, two things immediately catch the eye: almost all the proposals of the Baker-Hamilton report have been ignored, and the plan itself – in the face of the chaos in Iraq – is quite simplistic. In light of the failure of all previous “new strategies” for stabilizing Iraq, there is little to suggest that the newest “new strategy” will succeed any better, despite the additional 21,000 US soldiers. What is interesting and really new in the US administration’s recently announced policy is the way it reaches beyond Iraq, to deal with Iran, Syria, and the Gulf states. Here, unexpected and genuinely new decisions have been announced: an additional US aircraft carrier group will be moved to the Persian Gulf; Patriot anti-aircraft missiles will be stationed in the Gulf states; and the additional 21,000 soldiers far exceed what the American generals had asked for to deal with Iraq. So one wonders about the purpose of this military build-up? One might almost think that Saddam was still alive and in power, so his overthrow had to be prepared all over again. The surprise of Bush’s new policy is its shift of political focus from Iraq to its two immediate neighbors. Bush accuses Syria and Iran of interfering in Iraq, threatening its territorial integrity and endangering American troops, and, more generally, of seeking to undermine America’s allies in the region. If you add to this the seizure, on President Bush’s orders, of Iranian “diplomats” by US forces in the northern Iraqi town of Erbil, a completely new picture of the President’s plan comes to the fore: the “new strategy” does not follow the advice of the Baker-Hamilton report, but harks back to the disastrous strategy of the neo-cons. Iran is now in the superpower’s sights, and the US approach brings to mind the preparatory phase of the Iraq war – down to the last detail. Where does all this lead? Basically, there are two possibilities, one positive and one negative. Unfortunately, the positive outcome appears to be the less likely one. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/fischer9

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