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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/25/11

Iranian Influence In Iraq? Inconceivable!

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THE most revealing argument that the Bush administration made in their day against Iran was their reference to Iran's oil and the influence Iran gains by trading with regional actors like Russia, Pakistan and China. Then-U.S. Intelligence Director John Negroponte said in a Feb. 2006 Senate Intelligence committee hearing, that a combination of rising demand for energy and instability in oil-producing regions was increasing the geopolitical leverage of key producing states.

"Record oil revenues and diversification of its trading partners are further strengthening the Tehran government." Negroponte warned.

Did the Bush administration want war with Iran? They were certainly angling for one. The Bush regime saw a short term plus in their efforts to further isolate Iran and those who would dare to trade with them.

"I think everybody understands that with a growing Iranian missile threat," then- Secretary of State Rice said in Berlin, "-- which is quite pronounced -- that there needs to be ways to deal with that problem, and, that we're talking about long lead times to be able to have a defensive counter to offensive missile threats," she said.

Then-VP Dick Cheney in Sydney took it upon himself to complain about China's 'military buildup' and their shooting down of an old weather satellite that year. Cheney wasn't really concerned with any actual threat from China. He was just carrying water for his military industry benefactors, like Lockheed and Boeing who were shopping around Europe for governments willing to buy into their 'missile defense' protection scheme they mapped out with the military industry executives who'd infected the Bush regime even before his ascendance to office.

"Last month's anti-satellite test, China's continued fast-paced military buildup are less constructive and are not consistent with China's stated goal of a peaceful rise," he said. Cheney was well aware of efforts reported underway for years to sell missile defense systems in Central Europe which accelerated that year, including reports about a deal underway with Britain's Blair to take his country's defence dollars in return for the false security of hunkering his citizens underneath a U.S. missile 'umbrella', hiding from anticipated reprisals from Bush's continuing and increasing militarism.

However, the reasoning behind the Bush administration's planned deployment of those 'missile interceptors' to Europe had nothing at all to do with some Cold War threat from Russia or China, according to Secretary of State Condi Rice, who told reporters during a trip to Germany that February, "There is no way that 10 interceptors in Poland and radar sites in the Czech Republic are a threat to Russia or that they are somehow going to diminish Russia's deterrent of thousands of warheads." Even General Peter Pace, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff said last week in Jakarta that he wouldn't directly tie China's satellite shooting to any threat. "We should not assume anything about the Chinese anti-satellite test other than they now have the capacity to shoot down a satellite," he told reporters.

What was it then which compelled the U.S. State Dept. and the Pentagon to ramp up the peddling of these missile systems to these European countries, unsettling decades of peaceful cooperation with their communist neighbors? There was a familiar theme which accompanied the incessant fearmongering militarism by the Bush regime. Secretary Rice spelled it out after claiming Russia had nothing to fear from the new, planned expansion of U.S. military influence in their backyard.

"I think everybody understands that with a growing Iranian missile threat," Rice said in Berlin,"-- which is quite pronounced -- that there needs to be ways to deal with that problem, and, that we're talking about long lead times to be able to have a defensive counter to offensive missile threats," she said.

However, Iran had(has) no intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S. continent. Iran's longest range missile is the Shahab-3, which has a target radius of 620 miles. The Pentagon has been claiming for almost a decade that Iran is developing up to three new generations of the Shahab to increase its range. There was absolutely no evidence that Iran even possesses missiles threatening the U.S or had threatened the U.S. with missiles, yet, this entire escalation of concern supposedly prompted the Bush regime to step up the hawking of these dubious systems throughout Europe is predicated on their claims of an Iranian threat.

It was not enough for the U.S. to illegally invade and occupy a sovereign nation in the face of Russian and Chinese objections, the Bush regime was also intent on pressing their aggression and military posturing against Russia and China's economic ally, Iran, to the point of destabilizing the balance of weaponry in Europe which had allowed the decades-old deescalation of tensions and relative peace to prevail. And, they wanted us to believe that the target of their own destabilizing aggression was the most pernicious threat to world peace and security.

It was, in fact, the invasion and occupation of Iraq which emboldened Bush to promote the agenda of his PNAC cronies (who had petitioned for years for the invasion and occupation of the spokes of their 'evil axis') to posture against Iran as a mortal enemy. Yet, it was also the consequence of that invasion and occupation that Iran was advantaged to expand their influence and presence in their former nemesis', U.S. sponsored regime in Iraq.

"If we were to leave before the job is done, if we were to fail in Iraq, Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons," Bush explained in 2007.

That's the argument of republicans responding to President Obama's announcement of the stepped-up withdrawal from Iraq of all but a handful of U.S. troops. Most of the criticisms from republicans in and out of Congress centers, not on the success or failure of the Maliki regime, but on the curious notion that Iran is 'emboldened' by the move and will somehow force themselves on the U.S. advantaged Iraqi government.

Rep. Michele Bachmann: "President Obama's decision represents the end of the era of America's influence in Iraq and the strengthening of Iran's influence in Iraq with no plan to counter that influence.

Gov. Rick Perry: "I have deep concerns about the conditions left behind. My longtime concern about Iran's growing influence in Iraq is coming to fruition, and that ultimately hurts America and our allies. Iran's influence and the potential creation of an Iranian puppet state in Iraq will have disastrous consequences in the Middle East and around the globe."

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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price
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