[Marxism] The coming war with Iran
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 22 07:03:09 MDT 2006
The Coming War with Iran
by Pham Binh
On April 18, Bush said that "all options are on the table" in trying to
curb Iran's nuclear program. The U.N. Security Council voted a few weeks
ago that Iran must stop enriching uranium by April 28. Currently, the U.S.
is gearing up for a diplomatic offensive to get U.N. sanctions on Iran in
an attempt to pressure the Iranian regime and create a diplomatic crisis
that will serve as a pre-text for war. Essentially, the Bush
administration is using the same script they used for Iraq in late
2002-early 2003, although the war would be one of major air strikes, not
regime change through ground invasion.
Behind Bush's talk of diplomacy is a smokescreen for an impending war with
Iran. On April 8, journalist Seymour Hersh published an article in New
Yorker magazine that exposed that the U.S. military has already put
commandos on the ground in Iran to help target sites for bombing and that
the Pentagon is drawing up plans to attack Iran, some of which include the
use of bunker-buster nuclear weapons.1
The ruling classes of Iranian and the U.S. are on a direct collision course
with each other over Iran's nuclear power program. The logic of the
situation has made a U.S. (or U.S./Israeli) attack on Iran a question of
when and how, not if.
Why Iran Isn't Backing Down
Iran's President Ahmadinejad has dug in his heels and insisted that nuclear
power is Iran's right. His stance, portrayed in the U.S. as being
"hard-line," is based on a number of factors. First of all, he won their
presidential election on a populist program of fighting government
corruption and stopping cuts to social services carried out by his
reformist-neoliberal predecessor, Khatami. Yet even after his election,
40% of Iran's population still lives below the poverty line. The
confrontation with the U.S. over nuclear power helps him maintain popular
support through nationalism.
But short-term political calculations are only a small factor in Iran's
stance. If present consumption trends continue, Iran -- today the world's
third largest oil exporter -- will become an oil importer in the next 15
years.2 Nuclear power would cut down on domestic oil consumption and allow
Iran to sell more oil and to increase its revenue by billions. Increasing
government revenue is extremely important because in 1998 fuel and food
subsidies for Iran's growing population used up virtually all of the
country's $16 billion of oil income for that year. That is why developing
nuclear power is imperative for Iran's ruling class and why backing down in
the face of U.S. intransigence is not a viable option.
While the U.S. media is trying to whip up racist fears about "crazy"
anti-U.S. Muslims armed with A-bombs, the fact of the matter is that having
a nuclear weapons program makes strategic sense for Iran's ruling
class. The country's neighbors, Iraq and Afghanistan, are being occupied
by U.S. troops, and Israel, Russia, Pakistan, and India all have nuclear
weapons. In fact, it would be insane for them not to have nuclear
ambitions in this situation.
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