It is now 18 long and painful years since the US launched its violent assault on Baghdad, having created the pretext with fabricated “intelligence” about Saddam’s secret weapons of mass destruction – biological, chemical and nuclear.
Such was the crime committed on that day, and ever since against the Iraqi people, that it’s easy to forget what happened in the twelve preceding years, as UN-authorized sanctions reduced the population to penury and destroyed Iraq’s public services and infrastructure.
Through their effects on health care and supply of medicines, the sanctions are estimated to have cost the lives of at least half a million Iraqi children, and debilitated many more before the US-led Coalition of the Willing invasion of 2003 reduced so much of the country to rubble and turned so many Iraqis into refugees.
We might forget also that the Americans lied twice – using the false claims of an imminent threat as the pretext for the attack and subsequent invasion, and the pretence that this was necessary to save Iraqis from their tyrannical regime so they could choose a “democratically” and US-approved leadership.
By the time the secret weapons were found to be missing, those excuses had been rendered irrelevant, as the intent to occupy the country and steal its resources became clear.
Looking back over these years – and further back to the Iran-Iraq war, the Islamic Revolution, the 1967 Israeli war of occupation and the 1953 coup against Mossadegh – an overriding pattern is evident of imperial aggression, occupation and subterfuge, which has no reservations and has no respect for sovereignty or the lives and rights of others.
Along with its partner Britain and forward base Israel, the US treats the whole region as if it were its own, while affecting respect for democratic freedoms and international law. Sanctions, blackmail and lies are its modus operandi.
What is striking about this pattern of lawlessness and hegemony over countries where the US has no legitimate rights is its longevity and endurance regardless of the US leadership, and also its unbreakable partnership with the UK and Israel regardless of their leaderships.
It might also be questioned as to who actually leads this Five Eyes partnership, with some indications that the UK and GCHQ are in control.
It can at least be said that the Atlantic Council and NATO operate seamlessly with the UK’s intelligence agencies and cyber-warfare units like the Institute for Statecraft and Bellingcat, as recently confirmed by the latest Anonymous leaks.
What those leaked documents make clear, however, is that while the military tactics are little different – except in technology – stunning advances have been made in “information control” – or disinformation control – such that it is barely necessary for the Western powers to use military means to win wars any longer – at least in the terms they use to define winning.
A nice illustration of this “power of narrative” is in Joe Biden’s declaration that “America is BACK!” None of the victim countries of America’s endless wars would have noticed that America had gone, so may have had a collective gasp at the old man’s strange assertion. But before there was time to question what this meant, the new US regime started to show us, launching an unprovoked attack on Iraqi militia groups near Syria’s southeastern border with Iraq.
Although Western media accepted the US’s cover story that this was a “response” to an earlier missile strike on the US Ayn al Asad base by unidentified assailants, the bombing of Syrian territory hundreds of kilometers away on a rather flimsy pretext did provoke some guarded criticism from Western partners. Naturally there was immediate and unguarded condemnation of this illegitimate provocation from Syria’s close allies Russia and Iran.
Given the strike served no significant military purpose, and was launched at a time when the Biden regime had considerable capital with the global audience which could be put at risk, it must be seen as a calculated display of US intent toward the Resistance countries, and particularly Iran.
Biden was evidently keen to show – particularly to the Israelis – that he would be just as tough and unrelenting on Iran as Trump, whatever the talk before the US election about getting back to the JCPOA.
And perhaps it worked, as the chance of Iran taking part in new negotiations on the 2015 agreement is now effectively zero.
Well, good riddance!
Contrary to the perception of the JCPOA and its portrayal by all Western countries and media as a significant and historic achievement in resolving the Iranian “nuclear problem,” it was a solution to a problem that didn’t exist.
As the relevant context is more or less missing in discussion of the issue, even amongst Iran’s allies, some details of the history and politics of Iran’s nuclear program must be set down, starting with its origins in the ‘70s when Iran was under US-UK occupation.
In 1967, the US offered to assist in the construction of research reactors using highly enriched uranium in Iran as well as Israel, India and Pakistan.
The US-supplied fuel, at 93.5% uranium was effectively weapons-grade, but the project was ostensibly for civilian research.
Plans for nuclear power plants were slow to get off the ground and suffered setbacks following the ’79 Revolution when reactors in Bushehr were bombed during the Iran-Iraq war.
While the terribly destructive and pointless eight years of war is overlooked and forgotten in the West, the loss of 800,000 Iranian men in defense of their borders against the US-backed Iraq cannot be forgotten by Iranians.
Qassem Soleimani’s heroism and leadership in that war made him a symbol of Iranian resistance to America, and his sadistic and cowardly murder by the US and Israel at the start of the new decade pretty well ended chances of negotiation between the two powers, as Israel clearly intended.
Taking this wider view of the regional conflict, the failure of the JCPOA can be seen as merely symbolic of the acute imbalance between the protagonists, where concessions are only demanded of Iran and conditions for “agreement” are set by her opponents – Israel, the US and UK.
Those same three powers have been collaborating against Iran’s sovereign interests more or less continuously since the Mossadegh government nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) in 1952 in what may be the world’s longest hybrid war.
Iran may point out that her enemies have failed to bring her to heel despite decades of abuse and economic strangulation, and Western commentators may rail against America’s endless wars, but the reality looks a little different to those who profit from wars without end, both financially and strategically.
A simple comparison between Israel and Iran on the nuclear threat issue illustrates this perfectly: Israel has several hundred nuclear weapons that it is prepared to use against a conventional attack, and use preemptively against perceived threats, while Iran has none.
Iranian leaders have repeatedly disavowed any intent to acquire nuclear weapons, but this choice is also pragmatic, given the impossibility of their ever being used offensively against the Zionist state; the response would be devastating and immediate.
And while a defensive nuclear capability might be useful, Iran’s conventional missile defense systems have proven themselves highly effective, in self-defense.
As a result of this acute imbalance, Israel does as it pleases, domestically, regionally and globally in pursuit of its own interests at the expense of its opponents. Its constant unprovoked and illegitimate attacks on targets in Syrian territory, which it claims are against Iranian assets must simply be absorbed by Syria and her Russian and Iranian allies, while Israel’s control over Western media ensures they can continue.
And here the limits of European moderation and cultural and moral superiority that it once claimed are exposed.
Much as the JCPOA is presented as a great achievement – despite its overwhelming bias against Iran – European leaders completely failed to honor the spirit of the agreement, even as they were forced to complement Iran on the rapid dismantling of most of its nuclear program, likely beyond their expectations.
That those same leaders are now indulging the most transparently false claims of Kremlin poisoning by the UK and US by cooperating in their campaign against Russia suggests that their agreement on the JCPOA is not worth the paper it was written on.
As Russia has noted about America, they are evidently also no longer “agreement capable”.
And one is reminded of Tzipi Livni’s declaration to Saab Erekat revealed in the “Palestine Papers” in 2011 that he could have given away all of Palestinians’ rights and it still wouldn’t have been enough. The papers recording secret negotiations had just revealed his overgenerous offers, made in an attempt to secure a settlement.
It is clear now that Livni was correct, even if her attitude and actions were unconscionable; like the “two-state solution” the Israelis never had the slightest intention to give any ground back to the people they stole it from, while maintaining the pretence of being a “partner for peace without preconditions.”
The Biden regime may keep up the pretence that they want to improve relations with Iran and will be prepared to relax sanctions following Iranian concessions, but it must be remembered that the JCPOA was negotiated over years in an effort to get sanctions lifted, following their imposition in 2007 over Tehran’s uranium enrichment program.
When these sanctions failed to work, the US and Israel colluded on the Stuxnet program, which caused many of Iran’s centrifuges to blow apart.
It was never accepted by the US and its close partners that the enrichment was only for Iran’s civilian nuclear program, including medical isotope production and research.
Betraying the terminal duplicity and sheer bravado of Iran’s nuclear-armed opponents, the UK has just declared an intention to increase the number of nuclear warheads in its arsenal by 40%, breaking its own commitment to non-proliferation and the reduction of its stockpile following the end of the Cold War.
Naturally this law-breaking and irresponsible behavior is accompanied by equally duplicitous spin on the UK’s aspirations to be a “soft power superpower” post-Brexit, and including special praise for the BBC as “the most trusted broadcaster worldwide.”
And while the review identifies Russia under Putin as an “active threat,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab cited ‘potential Iranian nuclear proliferation’ as one of the reasons to increase British stockpiles!
Pressed to justify the decision on the BBC’s Today program, Raab said, “Because over time as the circumstances change and the threats change, we need to maintain a minimum credible level of deterrent. Why? Because it is the ultimate guarantee, the ultimate insurance policy against the worst threat from hostile states.”
It’s hard to imagine what “credible level of deterrent” could protect Iranians from such rogue states; better let them bankrupt themselves working desperately against their imaginary threats.