Revolution #126, April 13, 2008

Alert: U.S. Escalates Moves Against Iran

Over the past weeks, there have been many ominous signs that the U.S. is, at the very least, escalating its full-court press against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and may be preparing a military attack.

During much of 2007, there were numerous reports that the U.S. was weighing options for striking Iran and was actively preparing and positioning its military for doing so. This trajectory seemed to temporarily slow with the release of a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) in early December, which reversed the 2005 NIE by stating that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Whatever the precise state of current U.S. military plans and preparations, Iran remains “public enemy number one” for the U.S. rulers in the Middle East—the main obstacle to their agenda of defeating Islamic fundamentalist forces that pose obstacles to unfettered American dominance and the restructuring of the entire region more tightly under imperialist control.

Within weeks of the NIE’s release, the U.S. spun a routine encounter between U.S. warships and Iranian patrol boats in the Persian Gulf into what was portrayed as a provocative “incident” supposedly demonstrating Iran’s belligerence. Bush traveled to the Middle East to rally opinion and allies against Iran, declaring “Iran was dangerous, Iran is dangerous, and Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” The U.S. rammed through a new set of UN sanctions against Iran. Bush and Cheney have claimed that Iran says it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, even though the Iranian regime denies it has a nuclear weapons program.

More recent developments include:

During a February 5 testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell (who oversaw the drafting of the new NIE) said that he felt the NIE should have highlighted that Iran continues to press ahead on the key part of building a nuclear weapon—enriching uranium.

On March 11, Adm. William Fallon, head of U.S. Central Command, who had publicly spoken out against war with Iran, was forced to resign. (See “The Fallon Resignation and the New Dangers of U.S. War on Iran” in Revolution #124, online at

In mid-March, Cheney traveled to talk to U.S. allies in the Middle East. While his exact agenda was shrouded in secrecy, discussion of Iran was reportedly a high priority. In 2002, Cheney traveled to the region to lay groundwork for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. And there have been recent press reports that Israel and Saudi Arabia are stepping up their civil defense preparations.

In a March 30 national TV appearance on Meet the Press, CIA head Gen. Hayden declared that he personally felt Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain charged that Iran is supporting al-Qaeda in Iraq—a charge for which there is no evidence and which is most likely a deliberate lie.

All this is taking place against the backdrop of heightened tensions across the region. The political situation in Lebanon is deadlocked, and elections for a new government have repeatedly been postponed. There have been recent reports that three U.S. warships now sit off the coast of Lebanon. Gaza remains under murderous siege by Israel. Meanwhile, the U.S. grip on Iraq remains precarious. (See “The failed offensive against Sadr’s Mahdi Army: the U.S., Iraq, and Iran” on page 6.)

The U.S. imperialists blame Iran for all these difficulties. Indeed, whether Iran is directly involved in any particular incident, its influence is growing across the region, largely as a result of how the Bush regime’s “war on terror” is—in many ways—backfiring in Iraq and Afghanistan.

No one should be lulled into a false sense of security because things aren’t unfolding in the same way as in the run-up to the 2003 U.S. war on Iraq when there was obvious military buildup and preparations for a massive ground invasion. Any U.S. attack on Iran would be quite different. The Bush regime could be planning a blitzkrieg-type air assault, launched with little or no warning (perhaps after some “incident” with Iran). The Israeli military may carry out the initial attack. War could be triggered accidentally, or by miscalculation on either side. Or conflict in Lebanon, Gaza, or elsewhere could be a tripwire that touches off a U.S.-Iranian confrontation.

The U.S. imperialists have staked the future of their empire on victory in the Middle East. But things are not going as planned for them. More and more, the U.S. rulers see Iran gaining—which is intolerable for them. Given all this, people need to be very alert—and to step up resistance to the U.S. “war on terror” aggression, whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon—or Iran.

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