As you probably know, the Obama administration has just publicly charged that Iranian government agents have been plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Washington is now using this outrageous claim to try and rally support for new sanctions against the Islamic Republic, isolate it in the international arena, and prepare world opinion for the possibility of a U.S.-led military attack. (Click here for the Iranian response.)
Why do I say the charge is outrageous? Think about it for just one minute.
The U.S. government is claiming that the alleged assassination plot was hatched by members of the Quds, a military force the Associated Press today describes as “Iran’s special foreign actions unit.”
But when the Quds want to carry out a highly sensitive military operation, one that could have enormous repercussions for Iran’s own security and its relations with its neighbors, who does this elite unit supposedly turn to? A hit man for a Mexican drug cartel! Who presumably, if he were caught, would go to his grave rather than admit he was hired by Iranians!
Here’s what U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had to say on the matter: “The idea that they would attempt to go to a Mexican cartel to solicit murder-for-hire to kill the Saudi ambassador, nobody could make that up, right?” (Associated Press, 10/12/11).
Sure they could, Madam Secretary. You could. So could the same people who lied to us about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, ties to al-Qaeda and responsibility for 9/11. You guys lie all the time. That’s your job.
Iran hasn’t attacked another country in more than 200 years. Its government works day and night to improve its relations with its mainly Muslim neighbors. But as ludicrous as the assassination plot charge is, it comes at a very serious time.
The U.S. has at least temporarily succeeded in derailing the Egyptian revolution, whose success could have seriously undermined Washington’s strategy for control of the Middle East. The government of Libya has been overthrown, opening up Africa’s largest oil reserves to Western exploitation. The Syrian government, which for all its failings has at least been willing to stand up to the U.S., is looking increasingly shaky. Pro-U.S. despots in Yemen, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia seem to be weathering the storms of the Arab Spring. All this is encouraging the still powerful neocons in Washington to push harder for a more aggressive stand against Iran, the one country in the region economically, politically, and militarily capable of opposing U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, home to two-thirds of the world’s known oil reserves.
Progressives in the US. have one overriding international obligation: to do all we can to prevent “our” government from attacking, imposing sanctions, embargoes, or blockades, or interfering in any way in the internal affairs of those countries formerly colonized, exploited, or oppressed by the US. or other Western powers. This is the acid test for any U.S. activist who wants be considered part of progressive humanity.
This Saturday, Oct. 15, will see protests around the country against the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I urge all of us to strongly support and attend these protests and to raise the demand “No War, Sanctions, or Internal Interference in Iran!” as well as “Stop the U.S./NATO War against Libya!” and “Money for Jobs, not for War!”
The time to stop a war is before it starts. Please, let’s do it this time.
for a World of Justice & Peace for All,
Phil Wilayto is a co-founder of Defenders for Freedom, Justice & Equality, Richmond, Va. (www.DefendersFJE.org); the author of In Defense of Iran: Notes from a U.S. Peace Delegation’s Journey through the Islamic Republic; and a board member of the Campaign Against Sanctions & Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII). Wilayto may be contacted at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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