Preparing For Peace And War
Iran has been repeatedly accused by the United States and by other Western powers of supporting international terrorist organizations.
by Claude Salhani
UPI Contributing Editor
Washington (UPI) Aug 08, 2007
The Middle East has seen a flurry of intense diplomatic activity over the past few weeks with the U.S. secretaries of state and defense visiting the region in preparation for a peace conference called for by President Bush. Or is the visit of the two high-ranking U.S. officials to America's allies intended to muster support for a possible military strike against Iran? From the ancient Romans to the ancient Chinese (and to the modern-day Israelis) one can find the dictum counseling rulers, "If you wish for peace, prepare for war." And now one can include the United States on that list.
Indeed, alongside preparations being put in place for next fall's attempts at peacemaking in the Middle East by the White House, so are preparations for the eventuality of a new war proceeding -- this one involving Iran.
The motives for going to war against Iran are the same that were given for the invasion of Iraq; that the country was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction -- until that excuse fell off the radar screens and the front pages of most newspapers. This was replaced by the search for al-Qaida and its sympathizers, who abounded in Iraq, but only after the U.S.-led invasion.
The major difference between Iraq and Iran is in Iran's case Western intelligence services have detailed knowledge of the Islamic republic's alleged nuclear facilities. The United States has at its disposal meticulous information of Iran's nuclear processing plants given to them courtesy of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. The MeK, which remains on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations, has been trying hard to have its status changed.
In Iraq's case, almost five years since the start of the war, WMDs remain to be found. Chances are they never will be. And regarding the terrorist connection no links have been established between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers. Furthermore, prior to the invasion of Iraq, terrorist attacks in Iraq were unheard of, unlike today, where hardly a day goes by without dozens of attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S. forces claiming scores of innocent lives. That, however, is not to say that Saddam had not supported terrorist groups in the past, especially when it suited his political ends.
Iran, on the other hand, has been repeatedly accused by the United States and by other Western powers of supporting international terrorist organizations.
So, what kind of reception would the U.S. secretaries of state and defense have faced during their recent Middle East tour? Regarding Bush's peace initiative, chances are that feedback from Middle East rulers was positive. No one really wants to see another war. Of the so-called frontline states, Egypt and Jordan have already signed peace deals and established diplomatic relations with Israel. In the Palestinian territories, President Mahmoud Abbas, greatly weakened by the loss of the Gaza Strip to Hamas, seems to have had the wind taken out of him and his Fatah faction. Abbas is ready to talk peace with Israel.
The giant Saudi Arabia is ready for peace, too. A giant due to the political clout it carries over many of the Arab world's leaders, thanks to its enormous financial means, and due to the prestigious position the Saudi king holds as the guardian of the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina, giving him sway over many of the world's 1.4 billion Muslims.
While discreet, Saudi Arabia has been very active in trying to broker an agreement between Israel and the Arabs. There have been several high-level meetings between Israeli and Saudi officials, prompting one Israeli official to say the day of a photo-op between Israeli and Saudi officials is not far off. However, a very well-informed Saudi journalist told this reporter that though the Saudis are working toward a rapprochement with Israel, do not expect to see a handshake make the front pages just yet.
That leaves Syria, the last of the frontline states, along with Lebanon, to remain in a state of belligerency toward Israel. Syria and Israel are trapped in a Catch-22 situation. Syria wants the Golan Heights, which was captured by Israel in 1967, before it makes peace with Israel. Israel wants a peace treaty with Syria before it contemplates even thinking about handing the strategic Heights back to Syria, which is still in a state of war with Israel and allied with Iran, whose president keeps calling for the destruction of Israel.
Strange how one way or another, the ball keeps coming back into Iran's court.
Source: United Press International