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Behind the Plan to Bomb Iran

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Message Ismael Hossein-zadeh
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See this page for links to articles on OpEdNEws that articulate both sides on the issues in the middle east. It is the goal of OpEdNews to air opinions from both sides to stretch the envelope of discussion and communication. Hate statements are not accepted. Discussions of issues and new ideas for solutions are encouraged. .
It is no longer a secret that the Bush administration has been methodically paving the way toward a bombing strike against Iran. The administration's plans of an aerial military attack against that country have recently been exposed by a number of reliable sources. [1]

There is strong evidence that the administration's recent public statements that it is now willing to negotiate with Iran are highly disingenuous: they are designed not to reach a diplomatic solution to the so-called "Iran crisis," but to remove diplomatic hurdles toward a military "solution." The administration's public gestures of a willingness to negotiate with Iran are rendered utterly meaningless because such alleged negotiations are premised on the condition that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment program. Considering the fact that suspension of uranium enrichment, which is altogether within Iran's legitimate rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is supposed to be the main point of negotiations, Iran is asked, in effect, "to concede the main point of the negotiations before they started." [2]

The administration's case against Iran is eerily reminiscent of its case against Iraq in the run up to the invasion of that country. Accordingly, the case against Iran is based not on any hard evidence provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but on dubious allegations that are based on even more dubious sources of intelligence. Iran is asked, in effect, to prove a negative, which is of course mission impossible-hence grounds for "noncompliance" and rationale for "punishment."

The administration's case against Iran is so weak, its objectives of a military strike against that country are so fuzzy, and the odds against achieving any kind of meaningful victory are so strong, that even professional military experts are speaking up against the plans of a bombing campaign against Iran. [3] Furthermore, predominant expert views of such a bombing campaign maintain that it would more likely hurt than help the geopolitical and economic interests of the United States.

So, if the administration's "national interests" argument as grounds for a military strike against Iran is suspect, why then is it so adamantly pushing for such a potentially calamitous confrontation? What are the driving forces behind a military confrontation with Iran?

Critics would almost unanimously point to neoconservative militarists in and around the Bush administration. While this is obviously not false, as it is the neoconservative forces that are beating the drums of war with Iran, it falls short of showing the whole picture. In a real sense, it begs the question: who are the neoconservatives to begin with? And what or who do they represent?

The neoconservative ideologues often claim that their aggressive foreign policy is inspired primarily by democratic ideals and a desire to spread democracy and freedom worldwide-a claim that is far too readily accepted as genuine by corporate media and many foreign-policy circles. This is obviously little more than a masquerade designed to hide some real powerful special interests that lie behind the fa├» ┐ Żade of neoconservative figures and their ideological rhetoric.

The driving force behind the neoconservatives' war juggernaut must be sought not in the alleged defense of democracy or of national interests but in the nefarious special interests that are carefully camouflaged behind the front of national interests. These special interests derive lucrative business gains and high dividends from war and militarism. They include both economic interests (famously known as the military-industrial complex) and geopolitical interests (associated largely with Zionist proponents of "greater Israel" in the Middle East, or the Israeli lobby).

There is an unspoken, de facto alliance between these two extremely powerful interests--an alliance that might be called the military-industrial-Zionist alliance. More than anything else, the alliance is based on a conjunctural convergence of interests on war and international convulsion in the Middle East. Let me elaborate on this point.

The fact that the military-industrial complex, or merchants of arms and wars, flourishes on war and militarism is largely self-evident. Arms industries and powerful beneficiaries of war dividends need an atmosphere of war and international convulsion in order to maintain continued increases in the Pentagon budget and justify their lion's share of the public money. Viewed in this light, unilateral or "preemptive" wars abroad can easily been seen as reflections of domestic fights over national resources and tax dollars.

In the debate over allocation of public resources between the proverbial guns and butter, or between military and nonmilitary public spending, powerful beneficiaries of war dividends have proven very resourceful in outmaneuvering proponents of limits on military spending. During the bipolar world of the Cold War era that was not a difficult act to perform as the rationale-the "communist threat"-readily lay at hand. Justification of increased military spending in the post-Cold War period has prompted these beneficiaries to be even more creative in manufacturing "new sources of danger to U.S. interests" in order to justify unilateral wars of aggression. It is not surprising, then, that a wide range of "new sources of threat to U.S. national interests" have emerged in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union: "rogue states, axis of evil, global terrorism, Islamic radicalism, enemies of democracy," and more.

Just as the powerful beneficiaries of war dividends view international peace and stability inimical to their business interests, so too the hard-line Zionist proponents of "greater Israel" perceive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors perilous to their goal of gaining control over the promised "Land of Israel." The reason for this fear of peace is that, according to a number of the United Nations' resolutions, peace would mean Israel's return to its pre-1967 borders; that is, withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But because proponents of "greater Israel" are unwilling to withdraw from these territories, they are therefore fearful of peace and genuine dialogue with Palestinians-hence, their continued disregard for UN resolutions and their systematic efforts at sabotaging peace negotiations. By the same token, these proponents view war and convulsion (or, as David Ben-Gurion, one of the key founders of the State of Israel, put it, "revolutionary atmosphere") as opportunities that are conducive to the expulsion of Palestinians, to the territorial recasting of the region, and to the expansion of Israel's territory. [4]

The military-industrial-Zionist alliance is represented largely by the cabal of neoconservative forces in and around the Bush administration. The institutional framework of the alliance consists of a web of closely knit think tanks that are founded and financed primarily by the armaments lobby and the Israeli lobby. These corporate-backed militaristic think tanks include the American Enterprise Institute, Project for the New American Century, Center for Security Policy, Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, National Institute for Public Policy, and Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.

These think tanks, which might appropriately be called institutes of war and militarism, are staffed and directed mainly by the neoconservative champions of the military-industrial-Zionist alliance, that is, by the proponents of unilateral wars of aggression. There is strong evidence that the major plans of the Bush administration's foreign policy have been drawn up largely by these think thanks, often in collaboration, directly or indirectly, with the Pentagon, the arms lobby, and the Israeli lobby. These war mongering think tanks and their neoconservative champions serve as direct links, or conveyer belts, between the armaments lobby and the Israeli lobbies on the one hand, and the Bush administration and its Congressional allies on the other.

Take the Center for Security Policy (CSP), for example. It "boasts that no fewer than 22 former advisory board members are close associates in the Bush administration. . . . A sixth of the Center's revenue comes directly from defense corporations." The Center's alumni in key posts in the Bush administration include its former chair of the board, Douglas Feith, who served for more than four years as Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Pentagon Comptroller Dov Zakheim, former Defense Policy Board Chair Richard Perle, and long-time friend and financial supporter Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In its 1998 annual report, the center "listed virtually every weapons-maker that had supported it from its founding, from Lockheed, Martin Marietta, Northrop, Grumman, and Boeing, to the later 'merged' incarnations of same-Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and so forth." [5]

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Ismael Hossein-zadeh is a professor of economics at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of the newly published book, The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism His Web page is
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