It’s no great secret that Israel wants Iran to be be attacked – ideally (from Israel’s point of view) by or with the Americans. The pretense for this attack is the fear of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program for which the CIA can find no evidence. There has also been plenty of fear mongering in Israel, America and Britain concerning the mistranslation of some bellicose rhetoric from President Ahmadinejad where he is alleged to have stated that “Israel must be wiped off the map”. The Middle East expert Juan Cole and The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) provide us with more accurate translations:
Juan Cole, a University of Michigan Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History, translates the Persian phrase as:
The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad).
According to Cole, “Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian” and “He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.”
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) translates the phrase similarly:
[T]his regime that is occupying Qods [Jerusalem] must be eliminated from the pages of history.
Unsurprisingly, no effort whatsoever has been made to correct this inaccurate translation in the West and the Media still spreads the lie that Ahmadinejad stated that he wanted Israel wiped off the map. As a piece of propaganda this has been extraordinarily effective as it is widely believed and frequently used by politicians in Britain, America and Israel to justify diplomatic and military pressure on Iran. The prevalence of this deliberate misinterpretation can be compared with the scant reporting of this piece of rhetoric from Ehud Olmert a few months ago:
Olmert compares Iran with Nazi Germany
JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday compared Iran’s nuclear ambitions and threats against Israel with the policies of Nazi Germany and criticized world leaders who maintain relations with Iran’s president.
I have reported many times recently of my fears of an immanent attack on Iran by either the USA, Israel or, more likely, both countries in concert. Now comes news that Israel is planning a preemptive attack on Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities using tactical nuclear weapons.
ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.
The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.
Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.
Needless to say this would be an absolute disaster for the entire region and beyond. Iran would have to respond and America would then come to the aid of Israel using the hardware that it has already put in place in preparation for a war with Iran. Despite the USA being stuck in the Iraq quagmire, it is making no attempt to extricate itself, indeed it is digging itself ever deeper into the hole it has dug. America has rejected the findings of the Iraq Study Group report which advised a phased withdrawal from Iraq and consultations with Iran and Syria. What Bush seems likely to do instead is the complete opposite by pouring more troops into Iraq. Bush has replaced his top commanders in the region who expressed doubts about sending in more troops with people who support his plan.
By replacing General John Abizaid as head of Central Command for the Middle East region with a naval officer, Admiral William Fallon, Bush might be planning for the use of the naval assets he has in place in the Persian Gulf. These warships are likely to be more useful for an attack on Iran than putting down an insurgency in Iraq. It would seem then that the preparations have been made. All that is left is the coming battle in Congress. The Democrats have already said they don’t want more troops sent to Iraq and they have the power now to block further funding for Bush’s war. However, they are unlikely to make such a bold move, and when it comes to Iran, the Democrats seem just as belligerent as the Republicans. By expanding the war in this way, Bush may get the support he wants.
The stage seems to be set now for a wider Middle East conflict that will make the Iraq war look like a school playground squabble. The Sunni/Shia sectarian violence which is tearing Iraq to pieces could easily spread to encompass the surrounding states. Israel has already assumed that the war it lost to Hezbollah in Lebanon last summer will resume and will involve Syria too this time. If that war did resume, then what happens to the UNIFIL peacekeepers currently keeping the two sides apart?
It is looking like 2007 could be a very dangerous year indeed.
What will Britain’s role in all this be? Blair has been ratcheting up the hate on Iran for a while now. But would he really be so stupid as to participate in a nuclear strike on Iran? His actions up to now suggest that he might. It could well be the perfect excuse for him to try and remain in office for longer and continue his failed policies at home and abroad. So much for his “alliance of moderation“.
Of course the main reasons for conflict in Iraq and Iran remain the same. Israel will largely be used to provoke the conflict, something it seems eager to do for reasons of its own (war with Iran will give it the cover it needs to resume its invasion of Lebanon and further incursions into Palestinian territory, as well as a show of strength and a boost to Olmert’s standing). But with a state this dangerous and unprincipled (hello GIYUS), one has to wonder about Israel’s plans to join the EU and NATO. Maybe by engaging in a murderous campaign with the USA, Israel might be thinking that membership to those institutions will be easier. I sincerely hope any overtures to those institutions will be flatly rejected because of its behaviour, but if Israel can fool the world yet again into believing that it is a victim rather than the antagonist it undoubtedly is, the international community (bullied by America) might favour such a move. Either way things are looking worse than ever in the Middle East
Happy new year everyone.