Is this a dagger?
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Always a healthy mix of propaganda and cliché, Andrew Marr interviewed Tony Blair in August last year on his Sunday morning breakfast show, asking him about his autobiography and whether an attack on Iran might be required in the future.
After much brow-rubbing, Blair concluded that an invasion might in fact be necessary, with Marr nodding sagely. In 2004, however, the distinguished Israeli military historian Martin van Crevald explained in the International Herald Tribune that ‘the world has witnessed how the United States attacked Iraq for, as it turned out, no reason at all. Had the Iranians not tried to build nuclear weapons, they would be crazy’ – especially, we might add, when they’re under constant threat of attack from the US and Britain in violation of the UN Charter (1 August 2004). The Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman was another rare voice of reason in an October 2007 edition of the New York Times, as the rest of the mainstream decided (and still do) that through attempts to increase commercial ties with its neighbours Iran is ‘destabilising’ the region and demonstrating its weak grasp of democracy: ‘But let’s have some perspective, please: we’re talking about a country with roughly the G.D.P. of Connecticut, and a government whose military budget is roughly the same as Sweden’s’ (‘Fearing fear itself,’ 29 October 2007). We spend our time well when we recall that if the US and its allies invade and rampage through Iran’s neighbours, their actions are officially deemed part of ‘stabilisation’ efforts and ‘democracy promotion.’ The exaggerated threat of Iran since the illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq is similar to Hitler’s portrayal of Czechoslovakia as ‘a dagger pointed at the heart of Germany.’
While Britain was helping its Saudi allies with the Al-Yamamah deal (‘the biggest sale ever of anything to anyone by anyone,’ as the Financial Times put it), it was ‘covertly helping to arm the Saudi’s main rival for supremacy in the Muslim world – this was revolutionary Iran, which was ... vigorously instituting a brutal Shia theocracy under Ayatollah Khomeini. At the same time, in flagrant contravention of a UN embargo on supplying either side, Britain was also arming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, which had invaded Iran in September 1980; the ensuing eight-year long conflict would cost over a million lives. Whitehall was arming all sides against each other, another long-standing feature of policy in the region’ (Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs, London: Serpent’s Tail, 2010, p. 160).
The US and Britain have also demanded ‘that the US military base in Diego Garcia ... be exempted from the planned African nuclear-free-weapons zone, just as US bases are exempted from similar efforts in the Pacific to reduce the nuclear threat. Not even on the agenda, of course, is a NFWZ in the Middle East, which would mitigate, perhaps end, the alleged Iranian threat. The enormous global support for this move, including a large majority of Americans, is as usual irrelevant’ (Noam Chomsky, ‘Militarizing Latin America,’ 30 August 2009, www.chomsky.info/articles/20090830.htm). Unless further pressure is put on Whitehall through popular protest, writing to MPs, and sit-down strikes, then New Labour’s bogus ‘evidence based policy-making’ towards Iraq could soon evolve (to use Richard Seymour’s phrase) into the Con-Dem coalition government’s ‘policy based evidence-making’ towards Iran.