Monday, August 21, 2006

Iran in the new Middle East

A clear picture has started to emerge after the cessation of hostilities in the Middle East. The USA after losing its global propaganda war has started to lose its proxy wars in the Middle East while its Deputy Sheriff, with all of its military might, has failed to muster its will on Hezbollah. This leaves limited options available to Americans to counter their demise in the region, as their dream of “the new Middle East” has collapsed spectacularly. This dream has turned into a nightmare and it has been buried beside the infamous “New World Order”.

This conflict has changed the dynamics of the region. It will force Americans to think hard before dealing with Iran. However, history shows that Americans have failed to learn lessons form their debacles. What would be effects of this conflict on the American strategy to deal with Iran?

Iran has emerged as a stronger player after Israel’s defeat meanwhile Iran has also increased its influence in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki also criticised Israel for its actions in Lebanon, which is a clear sign of his pro- Hezbollah stance. He cannot afford to annoy Iraqi Shias by supporting Israel. Americans are trapped in a quagmire of “the new Middle East”. If they try to attack Iran then they will face strong opposition in Iraq because of radical pro-Iranian elements.

Americans also know that in case of a ground invasion of Iran they will be hunted down by Iranian guerrillas. Like Israelis were hunted down by Hezbollah’s. Iran has more population and resources than Hezbollah. Americans will not like to create another Vietnam. Public opinion in the USA is turning against the policies of the Bush Administration. The defeat of the pro-war, pro-Israeli, three-term incumbent Senator Joe Lieberman, in Democratic Senate primary, by a novice politician Ned Lamont is a clear indication of a new trend.

The former US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage said, “If the most dominant military force in the region—the Israel Defence Forces—can’t pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million”, according to US Journalist, Seymour Hersh’s article in the New Yorker magazine. Hersh also broke the story about Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

Further, a European intelligence officer told Hersh, “The Israelis have been caught in a psychological trap. In earlier years, they had the belief that they could solve their problems with toughness. But now, with Islamic martyrdom, things have changed, and they need different answers. How do you scare people who love martyrdom?” Iran has the same “psychological trap” ready for Bush. Is he prepared to encounter it?

The other trap, which Bush should be worried about, is regarding oil prices. Oil prices will go through the roof because of an attack on Iran. It will have a profound effect on the world economy. High oil prices will lead to a worldwide recession.

The Western people usually spare their politicians for killing hundreds of thousand innocent civilians around the world. But, they will not digest a global recession because of the American adventurism in Iran. They are very particular about the effects of political decisions on their income.

Before the Israeli defeat, the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice was pushing the idea of “the new Middle East” where every move would be made with the permission of Americans. She used all tricks available to delay a cease-fire. So Israelis could crush Hezbollah to reduce Iranian influence in the region. Do these tricks show true intentions of Americans behind their plan of “the new Middle east”?

During this war, Americans supplied weapons to Israel to kill civilians in “the new Middle East”. However, the American President, George Bush was trying to cover it up by diverting the attention of the world away from the reasons of the conflict. The reason behind this conflict is the Israeli occupation of the Arab land and the American desire of a regime change in Iran. Bush said, “we've launched a forward strategy of freedom in the broader Middle East .... But they also know that young democracies are fragile and that this may be their last and best opportunity to stop freedom's advance”.

The forward strategy of freedom is an American ploy to suppress people in the Middle East with the help of dictators to secure oil supplies. Therefore, Israeli attack on “young democracies” of Palestine and Lebanon is a way to stop “freedom’s advance” in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Bush kept on spinning the truth by claiming that Israelis had won the war against Hezbollah to show that Iranian influence had declined. However, Israeli public opinion does not agree with Bush’s claim about a victory.

Israelis are shocked that they cannot defeat Iranian ally. Infighting and calls for heads to role have intensified in Israel after the cease-fire. Israeli army's Chief of Staff, Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, sold his shares hours before he went to advise the Government to go for a war. Why he sold his shares? Did he worry that effects of war would reduce the value of his shares? One of the most prominent Israeli newspapers Haaretz called for an “immediate resignation” of Halutz for failing to defeat Hezbollah. Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert also confessed the defeat by saying that "there have been failings and shortcomings” and “we must ensure that next time things will be done better."

It is obvious that the American plan of “the new Middle East” has collapsed. However, Americans and Israelis can learn a lesson from this experience by allowing Palestinians to exercise their right of self-determination. They can also avoid confrontation with Iran and resolve outstanding issues within the framework of established international standards. This time a preemptive war against Iran will cause an irreparable damage to the USA.


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