Hannu Virtanen

Hannu Virtanen
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JUNE 24, 2010 9:11AM

American Empire Dreams are others' Nightmares

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Many recent discussions about America's policies concerning Israel and the Middle East in general have started with aid flotillas to Gaza and what happened with them. It all has got a lot to do with the changing American feelings. The long-time discussion balance in America concerning the policies in the Middle East is clearly somewhat shifting.

It became best evident with the case of Helen Thomas, known as Dean of the White House Press Corps. Helen Thomas submitted her resignation, effective immediately, after comments the legendary White House reporter made recently about the Jewish people, telling them to "get the hell out of Palestine."

And there are definitely new discussions going on in Israel, too.

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Wednesday that Israel's legitimacy is being attacked, during a Knesset discussion on Israel's collapsing international status. 'We know that the attacks on Israel are threatening its existence, since we constantly hear people saying 'go back to Poland or Morocco'. They are essentially telling us to dismantle the Zionist enterprise.' "

That is from Haaretz:

Netanyahu: Israel's legitimacy is under attack
The prime minister speaks at a Knesset discussion on Israel's collapsing world status, and calls on the PA president to enter direct peace talks.
By Jonathan Lis and Haaretz Service


In reality even practical main policies of Americans concerning the Middle East situation might be changing now, not only public feelings over the policies.

The key point to understand is the role of Iran in the Middle East. In overall the plan of neocons of America was originally to treat Iran the same way as was done with Iraq. To occupy the country to get the permanent access to Iran's oil. But Iran was much more difficult to attack than Iraq.

In my view the turmoil concerning Iran's relationship with Israel was purposefully created by some American politicians who wanted to start the war against Iran. They created the problem to Israel, because Americans couldn't easily again declare the war against the nation, which hadn't attacked them (even if they have done so in the recent past against Afghanistan and against Iraq) so they were trying to get Israel to do the first attack, and in general to use Israel as one of their main bases in the fight. After Israel's attack Americans would join to defend Israel from Iran's counter attacks. Israel alone couldn't win the war against Iran. Iran wouldn't stay silent, but would hit back and hard. Furthermore Iran has got allies like Hezbollah and Hamas near Israel.

I think that both recent wars, the war in Lebanon against Hezbollah and the war in Gaza against Hamas were purposefully planned and arranged to prepare for the war against Iran.

From the military viewpoint Americans (and Israel) lost both those wars. Hezbollah was able to show that they can get in their hands such accurate missiles, which can hit any place in Israel. In Gaza Israel (and Americans, who supplied the bombs) tried by bombing to close tunnels, which could be used to bring advanced missiles and other weapons to Gaza. Some tunnels are still there.

The recent aid flotilla incident is a part of 'the game', too. Israel is suspicious of the aid ships that they could be used for supplying weapons to Gaza. Israel had declared the blockade, so the people in the ship knew that Israelis would come to the ships to inspect them. It would be too naive to expect that all the people in the ships were just peace activists. It was too easy to put there other kinds of people, too.

The encounter in the aid ships Israel and Americans seem to have lost, too. The role of Turkey is crucial. Now the ally of Americans and Israel, Turkey seems to be shifting away from the alliance, which was already inconvenient, because they have got close ties with Iran, too.

The plans and policies of Obama's administration for the Middle East are not really clear yet.

But there are signs that Americans might be going back to military options.

1) During the Obama's administration time Americans have already moved their attack weapons meant against Iran to Diego Garcia.

Please see:

Bunker Buster Bombs Ship to Diego Garcia: War Preparations Against Iran?
17 March 2010, 12:30 am
By Rob Edwards
Herald Scotland

2) And Israel is now preparing to use Saudi Arabia's air space to fly to Iran:

From The Times
June 12, 2010
Saudi Arabia gives Israel clear skies to attack Iranian nuclear sites
Hugh Tomlinson



I wrote above: 'Americans might be going *back* to military options during the Obama's administration time', because it seems that Bush already once rejected Israel's plan to attack.

"Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily. But the tense exchanges also prompted the White House to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, a major covert program that Mr. Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Barack Obama."

The above quotation is from:

U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site
Published: January 10, 2009
The New York Times

It remains to be seen if Obama will continue the covert program of Bush, or if he will try another kind of diplomacy, or of he will... start still another war. Against Iran.

As I wrote above, the recent wars and encounters, where Israel and Palestinians have been involved, the war in Lebanon, the war in Gaza, the aid flotilla incident; all of them were related to the American plans what to do with Iran.

Palestinians, people of Israel and Iranians, too have become victims of American empire dreams.

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The United States has a implied policy of containment towards Iran and its nuclear weapons program. The concept of MAD (mutually assured destruction) worked 100% vs. the Soviet Union, and it will work against the Iranians when they acquire their nuclear weapon.

Given the numerous provocative steps that Israel has taken in deploying its military forces in the southern regions of the former Soviet Union and its navy off of the Iranian coast, I have to assume that Israel is a rational actor, generating provocation for the benefits of its right wing red meat eaters in the Israeli electorate as well as to use as a whupping stick against the US government.

If we are to assume that the Israelis are serious in an attempt to go to war against the Iranians, the only option is to conclude that the Israeli leadership (and ipso facto Israeli society) is collectively insane. After all, if Dick *ing Cheney ultimately didn't think that going mano al mano against the Iranians was a good idea, why should we expect Barack Obama to act out on Israel's public call for aggression?

The reactive approaches that the Iranian government would take against its enemies are only too well known to defense planners, but I'll review some of the Iranian war plans for the benefits of those who don't already know. We're talking about rocket and/or air attacks against the giant Saudi refineries, the sinking of supertankers in the Gulf, ballistic missle attacks against Tel Aviv or Dimona (the Israeli Los Alamos), full fledged attacks from Lebanon, and the rekindling of the intifada on the West Bank and Gaza, not to mention increased domestic unrest from Algeria to Indonesia.

And of course, any military operations against Iran would be ineffective due to the widespread dispersal of Iranian nuclear facilities. Such an attack would galvanize the Iranian population totally behind the current regime, thus undermining the chances for reform internally. And of course the Iranian attacks on oil would send the price of that commodity skyrocketing, thus pushing the entire world economy that much further into the toilet.

Last but not least, I think that if the Israelis were to do such things, this would be a galvanizing moment for the EU, which would formally recognize Palestinian independence as well as leading to worldwide boycotts of Israeli goods.

All of these are really good reasons for not doing this. However, I could be wrong, and the Israelis could be a crazy bunch of MFrs.
old new lefty: thank you a lot for your comment.

I agree in general with you concerning your 'reasons for not doing this'.

But I think that the driving force behind the war plans has been mainly the us, not Israel. I think that even Israel has been a puppet of Americans in this case.

The whole energy program of Iran is very strange. Iran has no need for nuclear energy at all. And the nuclear energy program of Iran was originally started by the American assistance, even if it is now mainly supported by Russians... I think that some American intelligence is still there 'to advice' Iranians with the nuclear program.

My feeling is that somehow the whole thing is nowadays partly backed by foreign crazy intelligence agencies trying to do harm to Iran and trying to provoke the war.

Democrats behind Obama are maybe not at all better in this respect than the main republicans behind Bush were. They might be even much worse. There could be many among them who want the war exactly for the reason that they WANT the expected result you predicted:

'attacks on oil would send the price of that commodity skyrocketing, thus pushing the entire world economy that much further into the toilet.'

Of course Cheney and Bush didn't want that to happen.

But Obama might be much more supported by nuclear industries, which are the main competitors of oil and coal industries. And we know that some leading democrats want to push the whole oil industry down. And they are backed by greens who want to push the whole world economy down.

One crucial strange thing is that actually American war industries backed mainly Obama against McCain, even if McCain was singing 'bomb, bomb, bomb Iran'...

Maybe they knew that an experienced man like McCain wouldn't start such a crazy war, but an inexperienced man like Obama could perhaps be pushed to do it?

But does the President really have the power in the us?
The United Arab Emirates ambassador to the United States said Tuesday, July 6, 2010 that the benefits of bombing Iran's nuclear program outweigh the short- term costs such an attack would impose.

"Ambassador Yousef al-Otaiba publicly endorsed the use of the military option for countering Iran's nuclear program, if sanctions fail to stop the country's quest for nuclear weapons.

"I think it's a cost-benefit analysis," Mr. al-Otaiba said. "I think despite the large amount of trade we do with Iran, which is close to $12 billion … there will be consequences, there will be a backlash and there will be problems with people protesting and rioting and very unhappy that there is an outside force attacking a Muslim country; that is going to happen no matter what."

"If you are asking me, 'Am I willing to live with that versus living with a nuclear Iran?,' my answer is still the same: 'We cannot live with a nuclear Iran.' I am willing to absorb what takes place at the expense of the security of the U.A.E."



The rhetoric is getting worse.

I'm not sure if it means that Americans are doing now practical preparations. It could be just rhetoric, too.
Whatever the problems might be with Iran Obama is in a squeeze with the Republican opposition which is simultaneously blaming Obama for not rescuing the USA from the multiple mess caused by the G.W.Bush regime and blocking in Congress any real efforts of Obama to ameliorate the problems with their eye on the coming election. After his questionable election over Gore Bush was characterized as a total dummy and the best thing that ever happened to him was 9/11 when he became Superman in a flight suit. Whether Bush actually arranged that tragedy may not be discernible but it surely was most convenient and the medicine he needed to continue to vandalize the country. The attention of the country is currently focused on the miseries of the financial fiasco and the loss of jobs and homes eating up Obama's political capital. Some sort of international threat such as something cooked up about Iran might give Obama the same kind of political leverage Bush gained with 9/11. It would be, of course, an horrific and insane tragedy in all directions if the USA gets into direct military action over Iran but nothing in world economics and politics makes sense anymore.
Jan Sand: thank you a lot for commenting.

You wrote:
"Bush was characterized as a total dummy and the best thing that ever happened to him was 9/11 when he became Superman in a flight suit. Whether Bush actually arranged that tragedy may not be discernible but it surely was most convenient and the medicine he needed to continue to vandalize the country."

That is true. My feeling is that definitely there must have been American hands behind 9/11. Outside actors couldn't have done it alone.

But it could have been a big coalition of forces. The attack was focused on World Trade Center, one of the best known symbols of the hard core capitalism. Hard core greens and other people believing on 'the anthropological global warming hypotheses' and such things could select such a symbol as the main target of the attack. It was maybe planned mainly by some others, but Bush' administration managed to turn it into their advantage; they probably knew quite a lot about it beforehand, too.
My point was not a definite indication that it was a Bush construct which probably will never be known one way or the other but that it functioned so perfectly to solidify the country behind Bush. Obama is in desperate need of the same type of confirmation. Before his run for president Obama gave no indication of an agenda to spin the country into a new and more sensible direction and I was very suspicious of him during the campaign. As it turns out Obama has done very little to help the nation except reward the financial swindlers who were responsible for the economic collapse. All his current positions are more or less a continuance of Bush's disastrous policies and the interplay between the Republicans and Democrats is some sort of Punch and Judy show farce with lots of noise but little sensible action. The Democrats need something desperately to rescue them from the oblivion the Republicans are pushing them towards. Some brutal pseudo-attack on the USA by Iran would fill the bill nicely.

I have to tell you here that Occam's Razor still works. You can fabricate a lot of fancy conspiracy theories, or you can look at the simplest, most elegant explanation. And 9 times out of 10, the simplest, most elegant explanation is the true one.

When I talk about Obama's motives and intentions regarding Iran, I think that I come from a socio-economic/political background where I can practically be his mindreader. And everything I know and everything I can intuit about the Obama administration tells me that they have absolutely no intention of doing a military run on Iran. There is no electoral calculus that they can somehow improve their standing with the Merkan people if they bomb Iran. Do you think two simultaneous wars in the Middle East are enough for the US now? If we've spent $1T on our little GWOT adventure, how much more money do you think we want to spend by getting into a REAL quagmire, which is where we'd be if we attacked Iran?

If Dick F*ing Cheney and W didn't see fit to attack Iran, what would impel Obama, who shows every manner of being more rationale than the Dynamic Duo of Administration #43?

The Israelis? I still don't trust them any further than I can throw them.
old new lefty: thank you a lot for your further comment.

I think that Obama is quite inexperienced. And his aides include former Bush' aides. And hawks like Hillary Clinton from his own party.

I think that Israel has no power to attack Iran alone.

As far as I understand the situation, Bush already would have attacked Iran, if Russians wouldn't have prevented it. Now Obama's administration has moved new attack weapons to one of the main bases, which was used by Bush' administration to attack Iraq.

And we don't know about Russians, which kind of deal they made after that Arctic Sea ship incident. After that Americans canceled their missiles (against Russians) in Europe. But just two days ago there was news that Poland is again making a deal with Americans to take their missiles inside Poland.

You wrote:

"If Dick F*ing Cheney and W didn't see fit to attack Iran, what would impel Obama, who shows every manner of being more rationale than the Dynamic Duo of Administration #43?"

I think that American Empire is going down and down. Some guys behind the scene maybe don't like the situation so much. They might want to stop the decline. Of course that is not enough to start such a war. But Israelis might be pushing for the war, too.
Whether or not Obama is rational seems irrelevant. His behavior has been pretty much one of a helpless confused and weak leader perhaps under the control of forces too strong to obstruct or perhaps merely that he gives that appearance. If he or his backers can fabricate a horror such as 9/11 to justify an attack on Iran which will maintain him in power it might be he would do so. At present his actions do not betray much moral firmness since his steadfast maintenance of the disgusting and probably illegal Guantanamo despite his promises and his ineffective actions on health and the economy are no encouragement as to his character.
Jan Sand: thank you a lot for your further comment.

I don't think Obama would arrange any horror incident to stay in power. (And I don't think Bush fabricated 9/11, it was some others, about whom we might never know, but Bush turned it into neocons' advantage.)

I think that basically Obama honestly wants peace. But behind him there are many kinds of forces. In principle even all the forces behind him want 'a better world'. But they differ how to achieve it. Some people are really thinking that Iran wants to build a nuclear bomb. Some people want an access to Iran's oil.

I think that they should negotiate with Iran's leaders about the basic development issues, such as energy issues.

In principle Iranians want to build a better Iran. And for sure they don't want any war. They need to become assured that nobody would attack them. As far as I understand the situation Iran wouldn't attack anybody.
Thank you all, for this conversation.

Thank you, Hannu, for your post.
Kim Gamble: thank you a lot for your comment. That prompted me to check your really nice posts.