For several weeks the drums of war kept beating louder in Washington. The target was Islamic Iran that according to Washington warriors was “guilty” of unspecified crimes. Accompanied by the deployment of aircraft carriers and B-52 bombers to the region, Western journalists added their own spice to an already unstable situation. Dire warnings from Washington hawks have been amplified to create the impression that a shooting war with Iran was imminent.
Let us get the facts straight. There is already a war underway against Islamic Iran. Donald Trump’s walking away in May 2018 from the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement with Iran is a declaration of war. Imposing sanctions on Iran’s banking and oil sectors are acts of economic terrorism. Branding Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), an arm of the country’s defence force, is another act of war. So Washington’s cowboys have been acting as outlaws for a long time. Will they dare escalate it to an actual shooting war when their adventures in the region over the last 20 years have already cost them dearly? American forces have got a bloody nose in several theatres: Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Any entanglement with Iran would likely wipe out US forces and that of several of its allies completely.
This explains why the leadership in Iran — both civilian and military — is unfazed by US threats. On May 8, Imam Seyyed Ali Khamenei said that there would be no war. The US knows a war is not in its interests. He said it was “psychological pressure” that the Iranian people and leaders should endure.
On May 12, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that Washington had become “aware” of threatening behavior by “Iran or its proxies.” Lo and behold, the following day, the WSJ reported that according to an initial US assessment, “Iran was likely behind the attack” on two Saudi oil tankers and two other vessels in Fujairah port the same day Pompeo issued his threat. Once their masters had set the tone, the Saudis also intoned on May 14 that two of their oil tankers and two other vessels had been “sabotaged” at Fujairah port. They provided no proof of the alleged attacks or what damage had been caused. Nor was there any oil spill detected in the Persian Gulf. So was there a sabotage of tankers or an attempt to sabotage peace and tranquility in the region?
Whenever there are such claims, the first question that must be asked is: who benefits? It is certainly not Iran. The Islamic Republic has no interest in such provocations that would bring more external forces to the region that have already caused so much devastation and mayhem. Instead, Tehran has repeatedly stressed that foreign forces destabilize the region and should leave. It has also invited regional countries to work jointly for peace and security.
This, however, is neither acceptable to the warlords in Washington nor their equally belligerent Zionist allies. Additionally, the Saudis who have a long history of treachery to Islam and Muslims have been egging on the Americans to attack Iran. They have even said they would finance such an attack. Clearly, the Saudis have more money than brains.
Despite their bluster, the Americans, or at least the generals, know that getting militarily entangled with Iran would be suicidal. If the US military cannot extricate itself with honor from Afghanistan where a ragtag band of Taliban have given it a bloody nose, what chance does it have against Islamic Iran? The US may have sophisticated military hardware but in a relatively closed environment like the Persian Gulf, its forces would be sitting ducks for the highly motivated naval units of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
On May 22, Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards said “Over the past many years, our forces have acquired full control of the Persian Gulf in a way that they [US warships] should get permission from us for their movements in this area.” He further revealed that US ships had Persian translators on board. “This is power,” said the revolutionary commander!
Iran’s military commanders have repeatedly stressed that they will not start a war but if any aggression is committed against them, they will respond vigorously in self-defence. It seems American rulers are beginning to get the message. While the war-mongering choir led by the likes of John Bolton and Mike Pompeo are not likely to give up mischief making, the acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan seems to have backed off from war threats and took refuge behind the excuse that deployment of US troops had “deterred” Iran from aggression. Tehran had no such plans to begin with but if the Americans realize that their bluster is not going to scare Iran, then that is a positive development.