A dangerous flashpoint has emerged in world politics. There is widespread fear that the United States and its allies might launch a military operation against Iran at any time. A US aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers are already deployed in the region. The alleged sabotage of four oil tankers, two of them Saudi, and the attack on a major oil pipeline are being linked in certain circles – without an iota of evidence – to Tehran. There is no need to repeat the fact that scenarios of this sort are often manufactured to justify military aggression.
For more than a year now since unilaterally repudiating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal forged between Iran and six world powers, the US has not only reimposed economic sanctions on Iran but has also forced other states that trade with that country reduce to drastically their interactions with Tehran. America’s targeting of Iran is a grave travesty of justice for the simple reason that the United Nations’ nuclear inspection agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has reiterated over and over again that Iran has complied with the nuclear deal. It should not, therefore, be punished with old or new sanctions. This is also the position adopted by the other signatories to the deal, namely Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
But US President Donald Trump is determined to act against Iran partly because of the growing influence of the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a segment of the Israeli lobby.
Though Israel has harbored deep distrust of the Iranian leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution because of the latter’s proven commitment to the Palestinian cause, it is only in recent years that it has begun to sense that a combination of three factors renders Iran and its people a formidable challenge to Israel’s goal of establishing its hegemonic power over West Asia. Iran’s oil and gas wealth has been reinforced by its scientific knowledge and capabilities underscored by a passionate devotion to the nation’s independence and sovereignty derived from both its historical experience and its attachment to a spiritual identity.
US President Donald Trump is determined to act against Iran partly because of the growing influence of the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu and a segment of the Israeli lobby
Besides, the Iranian government is a staunch defender of the Syrian government, which refuses to yield to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights, in itself a gross violation of international law. Iran is also linked to Hezbollah, which has successfully resisted Israeli attempts to gain control over Lebanon, thus threatening the tiny nation’s sovereignty.
There is also perhaps another reason Israel and the US are hell-bent on targeting Iran at this juncture. Very soon, leaders of those two states will announce the so-called “deal of the century,” a farcical attempt to resolve the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict. Because the deal, from what little is known of it, is so palpably unjust to the Palestinian people, the Palestinians and the majority of the people of West Asia are expected to reject it outright. According to various sources, the deal condemns the Palestinians to perpetual apartheid.
Iran and its allies can be expected to spearhead the opposition. That explains to some extent why Iran has to be hobbled immediately.
As an aside, it is ironic that Israel is showing such hostility to Iran when the Iranian constitution not only recognizes the Jews as a minority but also provides the community with representation in its legislature. This is unique in West Asia. Israel’s failure to appreciate this is perhaps proof that its real commitment is not so much to the well-being of the Jews as the triumph of its Zionist ideology with its goal of expansionism and hegemony.
It is not simply because of Zionism or Israel that the US administration is seeking to emasculate Iran. Weakening and destroying Iran is foremost on the agenda of another of Trump’s close allies in the region. The Saudi ruling elite also saw the Iranian revolution of 1979 as a mortal threat to its position and power because it overthrew a feudal monarch, was opposed to US dominance of the region and sought inspiration in a vision of Islam rooted in human dignity and social justice.
As Iranian influence in West Asia expanded, especially after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, the Saudi elite became even more apprehensive of Iran and wanted the US to curb Iran’s role in the region. In this regard, it is worth observing that if Iran has become more influential in the region in the last 15 years or so, it is not only because of the astuteness of the Iranian leadership but also because of the follies of the Saudi and US ruling elites. The overthrow of Saddam Hussein through an Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, for instance, paved the way for the ascendancy of Shiite politicians more inclined toward Iran.
How and why Saudi and Israeli elite interests and ambitions are intertwined in the US push against Iran is not highlighted in the media, including the new media. Consequently, only a small fraction of the public understands the real causes for the escalation of tensions in West Asia centering on Iran. This is largely because the media conceal and camouflage the truth, that a lot of people see the victim as the perpetrator and the perpetrator as the liberator. Or as Malcolm X once put it, “If you are not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”