By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
For the time being it seems we avoided the global disaster of an all-out confrontation between US, Israel and their allies on the one hand, Iran and its allies. Going to the edge of the precipice and then backpedaling has become a quite usual pattern as far as the Iranian question is concerned, since 2006, the first time the Neocon Party of War pushed hard for an attack on Iran, most probably with “tactical” nuclear arms.
Is this sui generis truce the end of the story? No, it is not. As experience proved time and again, the forces promoting this war are very strong to accept defeat, as for the deep underlying causes pushing to such a confrontation remain very much at work. This is what makes a near certainty the return, sooner or later, in one form or another, of the war scenario. And it is hard to imagine that this situation of oscillation between a pseudo-peace and an open war can last forever. Only very deep and very radical changes in the world system can ban for good the war perspective.
The article that follows was written just before the recent Iranian missile attack to the US bases in Iraq. But we believe everything said here is still valid and maybe more valid after the attacks.
A world in chock
“Cry ‘Havoc!’ And let’s slip the dogs of war”. It is Marcus Antonius who says that in front of the assassinated Ceasar (Act 3, Scene 1, line 273 of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar). And it is Richard Haas, president of the CFR, the most prestigious, bipartisan US think tank on foreign policy, who is using this phrase to begin his article in the Financial Times. Haas grasps well the dramatic nature of the moment. He also warns the scope of the conflict is the whole world. But then, his analysis degenerates, and could not be otherwise, into a rather deplorable attempt to discuss a legal basis justifying General Soleimani’s assassination in Baghdad and a not-so-convincing search for a place for diplomacy after a murder which probably took place exactly to wipe out any such place. The article is absolutely indicative of the embarrassment, despair and shock of a large part of the international establishment.
Die Zeit, perhaps the most serious newspaper in Germany, compares General Soleimani’s murder with that of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo, back in 1914, by which WWI was launched. The same analogy is adopted by Mediapart, one of the few remaining media outlets in France with some element of credibility and seriousness.
In the meantime, the Israeli PM Netanyahu has used a supposed “tongue lapsus” to remind that Israel is a “nuclear power”.
We urge our readers to study very carefully New York Times ‘ shocking reportage on Israeli and American extremists’ decades-long effort to wage war on Iran, the fierce conflict over this issue for years, between Obama and Netanyahu, and the equally fierce battle inside Israel, between Netanyahu on the one hand, Israeli army and services on the other. You must read it if you want to know what is happening in the Middle East and what can happen to you tomorrow.
The war with Iran has come much closer, but it will not be conventional, says Soraya Lennie of London’s SOAS University, Britain’s “colonial school”.
First but also the Second World War
The unprecedented shock of the international system is also reflected in the astonishing lack of any serious reaction of the “international community” to one of the most serious and dangerous crises humanity is facing. They speak saying nothing or they put on the same footage the offender and the victim of the offense.
But shocks you suffer only if you have made very wrong assessments of the situation and of the the forces in action, or if you take your wishes as realities.
Unfortunately, there is no analogy only with the outbreak of World War I. It can also be established with the situation prevailing during the period preceding World War II in Europe, between 1933 and 1939-41. Then, as it happens now, the world was in front of the emergence of an extremist core in the center of the Western system, but it sharply underestimated its dynamics and its potential. European capitals believed they can handle the situation by maneuvering, appeasing, compromising. Some, who understood nothing of the force they were facing and of its project, were even believing it is possible to cooperate or even ally with it. We know too well where all that has finally led.
Anyway, the analogy with WWI seems to have crossed simultaneously a lot of minds after Soleimani’s assassination. Many former senior US intelligence officials, now critical of the policy of their government, adopted also this analogy, in a memorandum addressed to President Trump with the plea not to double the Iraqi “madness” in Iran.
The memorandum is signed, among others, by Graham Fuller, former vice president of the National Intelligence Council, Daniel Ellsberg, known in particular for his Pentagon Papers, the former technical director of the NSA Edward Loomis, the senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, daily briefer on USSR of five US Presidents. Our readers can watch a debate of this writer with Ray McGovern on Iran and Trump, three years ago, just after Trump’s election.
In the memorandum, the intelligence veterans criticize the President and his son in law Kushner for pursuing blindly Netanyahu’s policy on Iran, as Bush and Cheney followed blindly Ariel Sharon’s policy by invading Iraq. They also recall Netanyahu’s own confession of the way he fooled President Clinton to make him believe he was working on implementing the Oslo agreements with the Palestinians, while he was working to destroy them.
The period ahead is very critical, not only for the factors we know but also because of the possibility of the War camp launching a second provocation as the first, Soleimani’s murder, did not suffice for the launching of an all-out war.