Febuary 16, 2007

Commentary:

Iran: new element of the war

By Humberto Caspa, Ph.D

Last week, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, questioned American unilateralism in the world stage. He especially condemned the Bush Administration for “fomenting instability around the globe.”

Putin’s scathing remarks against American policy before senior American and European officials in Munich, Germany, made worldwide headlines, but his policy on the U.S.-Iran conflict only produced dilapidated sparkles despite being the most controversial point he made at the meeting. Besides disingenuously denouncing the Iranian government for seeking nuclear capabilities, he basically gave his country permission to sell weapons to any country willing to make direct deposits to Russian banks.

In other words, if the United States were to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, Russia would have no problem in providing armaments to the Iranian government. What type of weapons? Only the Kremlin can determine that.

Given the above conditions, and especially given U.S. defense and intelligence officials disclosed information about an apparent meddling of Iranians in the Iraq war, the conflict in the Middle East is getting a lot gloomier. Since the Iranians are providing weaponry to Shiite insurgents, as the report seems to state, they are fostering instability and exacerbating a civil war in Iraqi territory.

What role does Iran play in the Iraqi war? Where do the Russians fit in the conflict? How would Iran respond to an American-led preemptive strike?

To begin with, Iran may be nurturing advocates in Iraq, but it isn’t the culprit for the recent sectarian violence. It was a U.S.-led invasion, which has destabilized the region and has fractured Iraq intro three contenting fractions, Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, who have never reconciled their difference. Two of them are now fighting an undeclared Civil War, while the Kurds are on the verge of getting pulled into the conflict.

One wonders why President Bush continues to defy the conventional wisdom, and deny the new phase of the War. Iraq is in midst of a Civil War. On the contrary, he appears to be suggesting that democracy in this country still is possible. Someone in the White House ought to help him out on this one.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration again is trying to convince the American people to stand up against an alleged Iranian aggression. We don’t know yet whether officials and intelligent sources are fabricating information to pull Iran into the war. But we know that this isn’t the first time. We all remember the phony weapons of mass destruction (WMD) argument, upon which the Bush Administration formed its case against Saddam Hussein.

Unfortunately, the President still holds the strings of the Iraqi War, and he continues to have the power to make the next moves. Given the recent developments in the region, it looks as though the Bush Administration has found a perfect timing to get Iran into the war-game.

The American people aren’t naïve. They could be misled once but not twice. Most of us understand that a preemptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities would deepen hostilities against the United States across the world. And it would also unleash a terrorist backlash against American interests here and abroad.

Let’s not forget that the United States is a multinational and multiethnic society. Among those minority groups, the U.S. is home to a good number of well-respected Iranian-Americans and a few others who hold nationalistic ideas. How will these people react if a preemptive attack goes through? Only time will tell.

Finally, the Russian military might has never disappeared in spite of an economic downturn after the Cold War. Putin’s remarks in the latest European summit should worry all of us as well as the whole world. If the U.S. does attack Iran, Russia would be involved right behind the scenes, providing all kinds of weapons to them.

Instability in the world is the rule of the game today. Putin may be short and unpopular in our country, but this time he has said the right things. Many people like I are anxiously waiting the 2008 election. We need to get rid of the person who espouses instability in the world; then perhaps we’ll be OK.

Dr. Humberto Caspa, Adjunct Professor at California State University, Long Beach. E-mail: hcletters@yahoo.com

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