Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

U.S. Wages Campaign of Fear against Iran

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

U.S. Wages Campaign of Fear against Iran

Article excerpt

The current Bush administration is promoting a campaign of fear based upon Iran's supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgent groups. One explanation for this might be that since it is becoming increasingly obvious that the neo-conservative plan to remake the Middle East into a pro-democratic, pro-West and pro-Israel region is a failed policy, the administration is now looking for a scapegoat.

It is not rocket science to state that Iran is training and arming selected Shiah Iraqi insurgent groups. It is also known that the al-Maliki government, supported by the Bush administration, relies on 30 seats in the legislative assembly controlled by the radical Shiah leader Muqtada al-Sadr to remain in power.

The Bush administration's campaign of fear fails to mention that wealthy Sunni individuals in Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, perhaps with their government's approval, are supplying money to Iraqi Sunni insurgent groups. The United States, meanwhile, is supporting, training and arming the "police" force in Kurdish Northern Iraq.

Saudi Arabia has said that it wants to develop "peaceful" nuclear capabilities as has Jordan. Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently in Saudi Arabia stating that his country would assist its "friends," the Sandis, in building nuclear reactors. Iran looks around its neighborhood and sees that India, Pakistan, Israel and Russia have nuclear weapons. Iran realizes the United States is, less likely to invade a country with a nuclear arsenal. If Shiah Iran has nuclear weapons, then it is easy to understand why the Sunni government of Saudi Arabia would want to go nuclear. This is the essence of realpolitik.

How can one make sense of all this? By rejecting neoconservative ideology and returning to old-fashioned realism, which has been with us since Thucydides wrote the history of the Peloponnesian War.

The nation-states in the Middle East are acting to preserve their national security within a realist framework. The reason the Reagan and Bush I administrations supported Saddam Hussein and Iraq during its eight-year war with Iran is basic balance of power politics. Saddam may have engaged in acts of genocide against his own people, but the United

States supported him because Iraq was a Sunni secular government that provided a balance of power in confronting Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war, the United States had military and intelligence advisers working with the Iraqi government, army and air force. Saddam may have been an S.O.B., but he was acting in concert with the perceived national interests of the United States. With the administration's neoconservative ideology, realist balance of. power politics gave way to the use of military force to create a Western-style democracy in Iraq. …

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