Obama hardens threat of war against Iran
By Peter Symonds
5 March 2012
In his most explicit threat against Iran to date, US President Obama
declared yesterday that he would “not hesitate to use force” to prevent
Iran from building nuclear weapons. The speech was pitched not just to
his immediate audience—the pro-Israeli American Israel Public Affairs
Committee (AIPAC)—but to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who
he meets today.
Obama spelled out the meaning of his oft-repeated phrase that “all
options are on the table” in relation to Iran. “That includes all
elements of American power,” he said, “a political effort aimed at
isolating Iran, a diplomatic effort to sustain our coalition and ensure
that the Iranian program is monitored, an economic effort that imposes
crippling sanctions and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any
Obama’s only note of caution was against “too much loose talk of war”,
as he urged Israel to allow time for punitive sanctions to force Tehran
into negotiations. However, he also left no doubt that the US was
prepared to attack Iran. Citing US President Theodore Roosevelt’s maxim
“speak softly and carry a big stick,” Obama added menacingly: “Rest
assured that the Iranian government will know of our resolve.”
Obama’s comments come after months of intensifying pressure on Iran,
which includes the imposition of an embargo on Iranian oil by the
European Union and US sanctions aimed on the Iranian banking system
aimed at blocking its oil exports. These measures, which are on top of a
broad range of existing penalties, come into full force in July.
The US military has also been building up its forces in the Persian
Gulf, including the stationing of two aircraft carrier battle groups in
In comments to the media last week, US Air Force Chief of Staff, General
Norton Schwartz, confirmed that plans for attacking Iran had not only
been prepared, but had now been sent to the president and the defence
secretary. “What we can do, you wouldn’t want to be in the area,” he
declared. Unnamed Pentagon officials told the press that the options
included wide-ranging attacks on every aspect of Iran’s military,
security and intelligence apparatus.
Israel is also making barely disguised threats to attack Iran’s nuclear
facilities. In his meeting with Obama today, Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu will press for the US to spell out “red lines” that
would trigger American military strikes against Iran.
Speaking in Canada on Friday, Netanyahu insisted that “the international
community” should lay down requirements for any negotiations with Iran.
“I think the demands on Iran should be clear: dismantle the [Fordow]
underground nuclear facility in Qom, stop [uranium] enrichment inside
Iran and get all the enrich uranium out of Iran.” Such preconditions
virtually assure that Tehran would not agree to talks.
Sections of the Israeli military and political establishment have been
pressing for an attack on Iran in the coming months. An article in the
British-based Telegraph on Saturday reported that Israeli “military
planners have concluded that never before has the timing for a
unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities been so auspicious.”
The Telegraph pointed to the “near civil war” in Iran’s ally Syria as a
key factor in Israeli military calculations about Tehran’s ability to
retaliate against an Israeli attack. “Iran’s deterrent has been
significantly defanged. As a result some of those opposed to military
action have changed their minds,” a source close to Israel’s defence
chiefs told the newspaper (Louboutin Outlet).
In discussions with Obama, Netanyahu will exploit the threat of an
Israeli strike to extract US guarantees and “red lines” for an American
attack on Iran. Iran has denied that it is building a nuclear weapon,
and there is no evidence that it is doing so. Israel, however, is intent
on destroying any Iranian potential to construct a nuclear bomb, thus
preserving its own military supremacy as the only country in the Middle
East with nuclear weapons.
A pre-emptive attack by Israel or the US would be in complete breach of
international law. Unlike Israel, Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-proliferation Treaty and its nuclear programs meet its obligations
on the treaty. Waging an unprovoked war of aggression was the chief
crime for which Nazi leaders were convicted at the Nuremburg Trials
following World War II.
The AIPAC lobby group has been pressing the Obama administration to
accede to Israeli demands. Much of Obama’s speech yesterday was devoted
to the record of his administration’s unequivocal support for Israel,
including the staunch US defence in the UN of Israeli crimes such as the
2008 invasion of Gaza and its supply of advanced weaponry, which
includes bunker buster bombs that would be used in any attack on Iran.
In a lengthy interview with the Atlantic last week, Obama reiterated his
determination to halt Iran’s nuclear program, by military means if need
be. “I don’t bluff,” he declared. Obama did, however, warn against any
immediate Israeli strike, declaring: “At a time when there is not a lot
of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally [Syria] is on the ropes, do
we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a
Obama’s comments also underscored the fraudulent character of US/Israeli
allegations about Iran’s nuclear programs. “Our assessment, which is
shared by the Israelis, is that Iran does not yet have a nuclear weapon
and is not yet in a position to obtain a nuclear weapon without us
having a pretty long lead time in which we will know if they are making
that attempt,” he admitted.
A New York Times article yesterday went further, noting: “Recent
assessments by American spy agencies have reaffirmed intelligence
findings in 2007 and 2010 that concluded that Iran had abandoned its
nuclear weapons program.”
Commenting on previous tensions with Netanyahu, Obama told the Atlantic
that any differences that had emerged were “tactical and not strategic.”
While Israel has been hinting at an attack on Iran within months, the
Obama administration has urged that the US and EU sanctions due to come
into full force in July be given time to take effect (Swiss Replica Watches).
Obama is clearly calculating that a war on Iran before the November
presidential election would send oil prices skyrocketting, creating
further social distress and impacting on his chances for re-election.
Whatever the exact outcome of today’s haggling between Obama and
Netanyahu, it has the character of two gangsters plotting the details of
their next crime. Any attack on Iran would be an utterly reckless
enterprise that would inevitably inflame tensions throughout the Middle
East and has the potential to trigger a broader regional and
SOURCE : WSWS.org