EDITORIAL: Drumbeats of war against Iran
It is profoundly short-sighted to make a decision to go to war based on hypothetical considerations. We are again seeing geopolitical machinations surrounding Iran similar to March 2003 when there was a mad rush to go to war in Iraq.
Many within the United States then insisted it could not wait for nuclear inspectors to complete their work in Iraq because it faced a closing window – the weather was going to get too hot by July to send in ground troops.
Washington rushed into a badly planned military invasion and occupation in which soldiers had to endure combat in Iraq for nine long and very hot years. The drumbeats from the dogs of war are again making noises.
In recent weeks, there has been feverish speculation that Israel was getting closer to mounting a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, but Israel has denied reaching such a decision though Defence Secretary Ehud Barak says Iran is an “existential threat”.
Last Sunday, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said he believed it would be “premature” to take military action against Iran in response to its nuclear programme. In other words, not just yet.
While not ruling out such action, General Dempsey said economic sanctions had to be given a chance to work and he believed that “diplomacy is having an effect”. He also suggested that even if the West opted for a military solution, it had to be better prepared for such a step.
The United States, other European powers and Israel believe that Iran is seeking to build a nuclear weapon but Tehran denies the charge, insisting its atomic programme is for purely peaceful purposes.
However, Iran seems determined to pursue its nuclear programme as its Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi said on Sunday that Tehran was prepared for any “worst-case scenario” in an attempt to defend its nuclear aspirations.
A showdown now seems likely as Iran announced Sunday that it had stopped exporting crude to British and French companies, though only last week it said it was ready to resume stalled talks on its nuclear drive, prompting a cautious welcome from the United States and the European Union.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said Sunday that Israel would not be “wise” to attack Iran over its disputed nuclear programme and that it should give the diplomatic route a chance to succeed though Iran had “increased in its willingness to contemplate utterly illegal activities in other parts of the world”.
Last Saturday in Japan, Mr Barak called on world leaders to tighten sanctions on Iran before the country entered a “zone of immunity” against a physical attack to stop its nuclear programme.
The message was subtle, if not entirely clear, that time was running out for Iran, like Iraq. The result is that oil prices will continue to rise, with disastrous consequences for our struggling economy.