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Is Iran next for US shock and awe?
Monica Hill
volume:  
volume 33
issue 1
February 2012
imagestuff
The USS John C. Stennis cruising the Straits of Hormuz in November 2011. Photo by Kenneth Abbate / U.S. Navy. Inset: Iran’s corrupt election ignites intense outrage in 2009. Photo by Hamed Saber.

Military families and friends fiercely embrace traumatized and exhausted soldiers from Iraq. The White House victoriously announces the war is over. Yet the press and politicians shout fear and danger — this time against Iran.

How real is the threat of war? That revolves around two powerful forces pitted against each other. One is worldwide revulsion against war and poverty by workers and other determined protesters. The other is an alarmed ruling class desperate to smother dissent and salvage its rotting economic system.

A driving force in this human drama is the global economic depression. Its miseries have ignited massive opposition against dictators and presidents, the likes of which today’s ruling class has never seen. Alas, the poor masters in Iran and the United States have not only insoluble economic problems. They are beset by militant political dissent!

Why Iran? Iran is a major and historic power in the energy-rich Middle East and Central Asia, not under any other country’s thumb. Oil is its primary resource — it holds the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and second-largest natural gas reserves. Eighty percent of Iran’s exports are related to oil flowing mostly to Europe, Russia, China and Japan.

U.S. capitalism has long sought control of the region, which is the trade passageway between the east and west. Significantly, Iran lies between Iraq and Afghanistan, those decimated countries and peoples from the last two U.S. invasions.

Endless sanctions, trade blockades and austerity measures, induced by the United States, have taken their toll on Iranians. Unemployment has shot up to 34 percent. Inflation is raging near 40 percent, personal and political freedom is non-existent, political dissidents languish in prisons and are often executed.

The United States could care less about democracy or women’s rights or separation of church and state in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In competition with China, Russia and the European Union, Empire America is hungry for dominant military and economic power there. That’s why they’re all playing some very scary war games.

The nuclear card. The major pretext for making war on Iran is the unsubstantiated threat of nuclear attack. Iran insists its nuclear program is for energy and cancer treatment radioisotopes, not nuclear weaponry.

On the nuclear question in general, no sane person supports nuclear proliferation. But it is absurd for the U.S. to hype hysteria about nuclear attacks when it is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons against another nation. For America to posture as the world’s protector against such weapons is quite preposterous.

Not just saber-rattling. The United States is already waging covert war on Iran. Five nuclear scientists have been assassinated, the most recent in mid January, 2012. Joint U.S. and Israeli efforts have bombed nuclear research facilities over the last decade. Just recently they sabotaged Iranian nuclear facilities with a computer worm.

Iran’s nuclear program was initiated with U.S. help. But ever since the “hostage crisis” and counter-revolution in 1979, the U.S. has demonized Iran and bullied businesses and banks in numerous countries into blocking investments and financial transactions with Iran.

Determined to maintain its military primacy in the region, Israel is delighted with the escalating sanctions and furiously fanning flames for war. According to the Jerusalem Post, the White House will be deploying several thousand troops to Israel to establish “joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East.”

Israel relentlessly harasses other countries to join in launching air attacks against Iran, just as the U.S. grasps for a “coalition of the willing” to share the blame and cost of its invasions. As in the United States, Israeli rulers are beleaguered with popular protests and desperate to distract dissidents.

Resistance accelerating. The rebels of Iran rose up in June 2009 in the millions. They fought against vicious repression and for democracy, jobs, and release of political prisoners. That insurrection was crushed, but nobody forgot the lessons. As Yassamine Mather, Iranian exile and organizer says, “The working class, student, youth and women’s movements in Iran have not only Ahmadinejad in their sights, and not only Khamenei. They want to see the defeat of the whole, oppressive Islamic state.”

The movement is more broad-based than in 2009. In southeast Iran, 6,000 petrochemical casual laborers went on strike last September to win equal status and pay with permanent workers. Six hundred expelled temporary teachers organized a sit-in at the Parliament building.

Steel workers spent three days at a governor’s mansion demanding back benefits after their plant was privatized and closed. Kurdish dam workers went on strike for six months of back wages. In every case, the lowest-paid, most discriminated-against workers are leading the charge. On May 15, 2011 students organized a nationwide strike and closed down 30 university campuses.

International solidarity. Political repression never stops protest. It provokes it — in Iran, the United States, Israel, and far beyond.

At this stage it is not likely that the U.S. will start a conventional–weapon war against Iran, let alone press the nuclear key. But it is clear they intend to keep feeding fear and trying to suppress dissent.

Standing in solidarity with Iranian workers and other warriors for democracy, and organizing a sustained anti-war movement in the U.S. is the urgent task. This reduces the threat of imperialist war and adds to the building blocks of today’s global revolutionary movement.

Send feedback to Monica Hill at fsnews@mindspring.com.