(NNPA)—Iran has been threatened with military assault since it was discovered that the Iranians were engaged in developing nuclear power. The Iranians have asserted that, as signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, their intentions are aimed at the development of nuclear power for peaceful purposes, specifically as a domestic energy source.
Israel and the USA, without any actual proof, have suggested the contrary. They argue that the Iranians aim to develop nuclear weapons. The Israelis argue that if the Iranians were to develop nuclear weapons that this would threaten the very existence of Israel. This argument contains a great deal of irony since the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons is Israel, which is neither a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty nor a country that even acknowledges that they possess nuclear weapons.
Iran has been placed under increased economic sanctions by the USA and its allies as a way of forcing them to either halt their nuclear program or redirect it. Several countries, such as Brazil and Turkey, have actively worked for a peaceful resolution of this dispute. At the same time Israel and Israel’s allies in the USA have been beating the war drum arguing that the only way to actually stop the Iranians is through a military strike.
This entire scenario reminds you of the lead up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003: constant allegations regarding the intentions of the Saddam Hussein regime without any real proof until finally the US led an invasion only for us all to find out what we already knew—that there were no weapons of mass destruction being held by the Iraqis.
The entire situation is both sickening and frightening. For Israel to suggest that their existence is threatened by the potential of Iranians weapons is disingenuous. First, as earlier mentioned, Israel possesses nuclear weapons, actually in substantial quantity. It also has delivery systems—missiles—that are more than capable of hitting targets in Iran.
There is actually a more important and powerful reason that Israel has very little reason to worry: the USA. Any threat to Israel’s existence would be met with a violent, overwhelming military assault by the USA. Again, this is a fact of which everyone is aware. Therefore, the saber-rattling and drum-beating, rather than addressing a real threat, is a convenient mechanism to shift the attention of the Israeli population from their own domestic problems (such as their economic crisis) and to shift everyone’s attentions away from the continued occupation of Palestinian territory.
In this situation the US military, in the height of irony, has become a voice for peace, arguing that an attack on Iran by either the USA or Israel would be folly. The Iranians have a strong military and they have the capacity to close the Straits of Hormuz, the passage way between the Arabian/Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean through which about one-fifth of the world’s oil travels.
Not only must there not be an attack on Iran, but steps should be taken to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone. Rather than brushing off the efforts of countries like Brazil and Turkey, the USA and Israel should embrace efforts at peace. The last thing that we need is another war.
(Bill Fletcher Jr. is a senior scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, and co-author of “Solidarity Divided.” He can be reached at email@example.com.)