It's impossible to understand the goals of the Bush administration without looking at a map. The entire Middle East and Central Asia is referred to in military parlance as CENTCOM; the central battlefield in the global resource war. This region extends from Sudan in the south to Kazakhstan to the north; from Egypt in the west to Pakistan in the east. This is where the vast majority of the world's remaining resources lie and it will continue to be the primary area of focus for American foreign policy throughout the century.
Once we observe the sharp black outline of America's newest battlefield, the illusions of the "war on terror" are quickly dispelled. This is the geographic reality of the present conflict. The war on terror is merely public relations fluff.
A careful look at the region illustrates the crucial importance of integrating Iran into the overall plan. American industry must dominate this area if it hopes to maintain its edge on competitors in China and Europe. Iran and Syria are the unfortunate obstacles to that plan. Most of the other countries are either clients of the United States or are willing to comply without major resistance. Sudan may be the exception to this rule, but a strategy is already materializing (pushed by Ambassador John Bolton) at the UN to send in "Peacekeepers" who will carry out Washington's orders. This will place Sudan's oil and natural gas reserves under western control and divide the resources among the former colonial powers. Those who believe that "humanitarian intervention" in Sudan will reduce the suffering of the people in Darfur are sadly mistaken. We only need to look at the "liberation" of Iraq or the "Marshall Plan" in Afghanistan to realize that no attempt will be made to establish security in the hinterland. "Humanitarian intervention" is a tragic ruse invoked to disguise aggression and exploitation. We should not expect genuine aid from the international community or the many "lofty-sounding" institutions (World Bank, International Monetary Fund) that advance the exclusive interests of private industry.
The Bush master-plan cannot fully succeed without affecting regime change in Tehran and integrating Iran into the schema for regional domination. Iran has nearly 10% of the world's remaining oil as well as natural gas reserves that are second only to Russia's. Iran occupies an area that is critical to future pipeline routes that will link East to West; feeding the new giants of energy consumption in China and India. The Bush administration has no intention of allowing that wealth and power to fall into the hands of the Mullahs.
The present standoff over Iran's imaginary nuclear weapons-programs is merely a device for Washington to demonize Iran before taking military action. As IAEA Chief Mohammad ElBaradei has said repeatedly, there is "no evidence of a nuclear weapons program or the diversion of nuclear weapons material". Nevertheless, the administration has skillfully manipulated public opinion by providing a steady stream of misleading accusations which has weakened resistance for another war. The UN has played a vital role in this charade by fostering the belief that there is great uncertainty about Iran's nuclear activities, when in fact there is not.
The astonishing success of commercial media in co-opting public opinion for Washington's wars of aggression has exceeded all expectations. On any day, it is possible to find between 500 to 2,500 articles written on the topic of Iran (from different sources Reuters, AP, NY Times, Washington Post, ABC etc) written from the very same perspective, invoking the same talking points, language, buzz-words and quotes, and creating the same impression that Iran is in "noncompliance" with its treaty obligations. Without question, the corporate propaganda system is the most impressive weapon in the Pentagon's arsenal. It's clear that the administration would be incapable of pursuing its current war-strategy without the combined efforts of the corporate media.
An attack on Iran involves great risk and there is the real prospect that escalation might lead to nuclear war. As the increasingly inflammatory rhetoric indicates, however, the plan is going forward and will not be derailed by the reluctance of Congress, the thousands of protestors on the streets, or the ineffective braying at United Nations.
Those who dismiss the likelihood of an attack on Iran as "madness", fail to appreciate the true nature of fanaticism. The Bush administration is less guided by reason than it is by moral rectitude; neither plays any role in their decision-making process.
The bombing of Iran could take place some time as early as in the next two weeks or, as Condoleezza Rice likes to say, "At a time of our choosing."