Sunday, July 20, 2008

"...a boycott and divestment movement against Israel (due to its occupation of Palestinian territories) will go into overdrive."

"No Attack on Iran!"

By Bill Fletcher Jr.
Former President and chief executive officer of TransAfrica Forum

-Guest Columnist-

July 9, 2008

On the Web at:

It feels like every few months there is a need for an outcry against a possible U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran. For a few moments, the drum beat of war recedes only to emerge again with the same rationale: Iran is allegedly a threat to the U.S.A. and to world peace.

I thought that the matter was settled, at least for a while, when this past fall US intelligence agencies revealed that Iran had no nuclear weapons program and had, in fact, abandoned such plans several years ago.

This seemed to take the wind out of the sails of the Bush administration for a few weeks until they decided to change their tune and focus on alleged Iranian involvement in the Iraq war. Specifically, it was claimed that the Iranians were arming Shiite groups in Iraq.

The situation became downright silly when Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain visited Iraq and kept alleging that Al Qaeda-linked groups were based in Iran.

For someone who supposedly knows so much about world affairs this error either betrayed the early onset of dementia or it was a calculated political manipulation.

Al Qaeda, and its allies, are Sunni-based and have a mutual hostility with the Iranian Shiite regime. In any case, not to let the facts get in the way of provoking a war, Sen. McCain eventually corrected himself but continued to blame the Iranians for all sorts of alleged evils.

It is most interesting, though, to listen to the arguments that are raised against Iran. Whether the Iranians are arming the Iraqi Shiites is actually secondary to something more important: The USA illegally invaded and occupied a sovereign country, plunging that country into chaos.

The bottom line is that it is the U.S.A., before ANYONE else, which should not be in Iraq. Focusing on Iran misses the point entirely, something that is clearly intentional.

The renewed focus on Iran and nuclear power remains very curious. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It possesses no documented weapons. Israel is not a signatory to the agreement. It possesses, according to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, 150 such weapons.

Iran has not invaded another country during the 20th (or now 21st century). Iran possesses limited technology for a delivery system. No one has been able to document any effort to develop nuclear weapons. And, even if it is in the minds of some of the Iranian leaders, the construction of such weapons is years off. So, what is going on?

In case you missed it, the Bush administration lied its way into an invasion of Iraq, suggesting that the Hussein regime had all sorts of dastardly intents. Nothing was ever proven, and in fact, it appears that some of Saddam Hussein’s reluctance to discuss his military capabilities derived, quite ironically, from a fear of revealing Iraqi weaknesses to Iran!

So, with the U.S.A. and Israel suggesting that an attack on Iran is inevitable, we the people of the U.S.A. have to ask ourselves two questions: (1)What will we do to prevent an attack? and (2)What should we do if there is an attack?

Preventing an attack necessitates making our elected officials aware that we oppose such a move and we wish them to draw the line. As Congressman John Conyers has pointed out, an attack on Iran without the approval of Congress will be an illegal act. Congress needs to be prepared to make that point clear.

Yet, Israel may become the “sub-contractor” for the U.S.A. in attacking Iran. Israel can and has been restrained by the U.S.A. in the past. Israel must understand that should it attack Iran current global discussions already underway concerning a boycott and divestment movement against Israel (due to its occupation of Palestinian territories) will go into overdrive. There would probably be no way of stopping such a movement even if one wanted to.

So, in that sense, what to do to stop an attack is linked to what to do if an attack takes place. Our elected leaders must understand that we will not sit back.

Oh, one more thing in case you think that this is something that you can ignore: If you are currently concerned about the price of gas, you had better be petrified thinking about what will happen should there be another war and should the Iranians decide to block oil exports from the Persian/Arabian Gulf. Just a friendly reminder....

(Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies and the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum. He is the co-author of ‘‘Solidarity Divided’’ which analyzes the crisis of organized labor in the USA. He can be reached at this column was distributed by the NNPA.)

Related links:

Israel jawboning US into striking Iran (PRESS TV, 12-16-2007)

Nuclear hypocrisy in Iran’s treatment (FCN, 03-12-2006)