“Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we're being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I'm liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That's what's insane about it.”
-- John Lennon
Just when it seemed unlikely that domestic and international events would unfold to test an already incompetent US government, along comes the acceleration of the movement to destroy Iran. That effort has been well documented over the past few years in scores of articles and position papers from the usual suspects in the media, think tanks, and the Net. What’s missing in that coverage, though, is an understanding of the consequences of such an action, or “consequence management” in Pentagon parlance. More’s the pity in this discussion, comes the knowledge that the majority of Americans who are calling for military action -- from all strata of society -- do so as if they were casually ordering a pizza from Dominoes. Just pick up the cell phone and, while salivating, order the Iranian War Special. Sit back and enjoy the pizza while watching the war coverage on television and gruesome videos on the Net. Ooo ahhh, look at that Spectre Gunship at work! Whoa! Look at those body parts flying around. Pass me another piece of pizza!
That attitude is indicative of an intellectually bankrupt society. Does anyone in the USA think anymore? An attack on Iran would result in thousands of casualties for both US and Iranian military personnel, most of whom are youngsters. Civilian casualties would be in the many thousands. The ripple effect from such an action would cause a chain reaction of events that would spiral out of control. With no country, or group of countries, capable of de-escalating such a conflict --save for Russia and China -- a world war could ensue. Certainly, the US government is no position to cope with the fallout, particularly if it deploys and uses tactical nuclear weapons. For some sane commentary on the matter, one has to rely on the lucid commentary of Martin Van Crevald over in Israel. His piece in Forward titled, “Knowing Why Not to Bomb Iran is Half the Battle,” should be force-fed to supporters of an Iranian invasion.
Hello United Free Kurdistan
According to a Reuters bulletin dated April 20th, Turkey has increased its troop presence in Kurdish dominated Southeastern Turkey by 40,000 -- bringing the total to 290,000. The Turkish government made that move because the American-backed Kurdish government in Northern Iraq/Kurdistan is likely to supply the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) with arms and intelligence on Turkish military movements in Hakkari, Van, Sirnak and other major cities in the country. It is likely that insurgents in Iraq have been training the PKK in the tactics that have been wildly successful against US forces in Iraq. Turkey has been ruthless in its oppression of the Kurds, as Saddam Hussein was, and that practice, according to the Kurdish National Congress (kncna.org), continues to this day with the Turkish Army’s secret police, Jitem, terrorizing the Kurdish population. Reliefweb.net reports that the Kurdish language was not legalized until 1991 and the Turkish government had engaged in forced displacements as late as 2002 to break up concentrations of the 20 million Kurds who reside in Turkey. Separatist statements by Kurds or talk of recognizing the Armenian Genocide results in doing some hard time in a Turkish jail.
The Turkish government has frequently complained about the duplicity of the US government as it plays its Kurdish cards. The US has largely stayed away from Turkey’s battle with its Kurds while actively supporting Kurdish groups in Iran and Syria with funds and arms. The creation of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq has infuriated Turkish leaders. When Condoleezza Rice visits with Turkish officials in late April, these matters are sure to be topics of discussion.
Meanwhile in Iran, there are approximately four million Kurds who have suffered a similar fate as their Turkish compatriots. The Kurds in Iran are split on the type of revolt they want to run. One group formed in January 2006, the Kurdish United Front, wants to work within the Iranian system to gain equal rights. They likely receive funds from the US government via the KNC and other outlets. A Kurdish insurgent group known as Pejak -- supported by the US government and working with US Special Forces and intelligence agencies on the ground -- advocates the violent overthrow of the Islamic government in Iran.
Back in Turkey, the Kurds are not the only problem. There are accusations by opponents of Turkish President Recep Ergodan that Turkey is becoming a theocracy. Facing an election in 2007, the last thing Ergodan needs is to be perceived as an Islamic radical and incur the wrath of opponents supported by the Turkish military, which is to say the US military. The World Peace Herald carried a story titled, “Turkish PM Tied to Islamic Forces”: “In increasingly bitter verbal exchanges with President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, Mr. Erdogan rejected charges that he is leading Turkey away from its secular system toward Islamic fundamentalism. Mr. Sezer's latest broadside was a statement to the War Academy that ‘religious fundamentalism has reached dramatic proportions. Islamic fundamentalism is trying to infiltrate politics, education and the state, it is systematically eroding values…’”
So, as the bombs fly over Iran, the Kurds would be likely to seize the day and fight for the recognition of a Kurdish state that deletes portions of present-day Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq from the map. This is no idle dream. The American based KNC openly advocates a United Free Kurdistan. One day, there will be a Kurdish state. That could be done in a non-violent fashion rather than as a consequence of a misguided military adventure against Iran. Finally, an invasion of that country would likely involve Turkish assets of some kind. As a member of NATO, Turkey houses tactical nuclear weapons and, as reported by Ramin Jahanbegloo in the Daily Star, “Participation by Turkey in a US/Israeli military operation is also a factor [concerning Iran], following an agreement reached between the Turks and Israelis.”
Central Asia and the Middle East would become a bloodbath one minute after an attack on Iran.
Bye Bye Pakistan
In Pakistan, the US is having its cake and eating it too. US weapons and technology are being used by the Pakistani dictatorship of President Musharraf to suppress a revolt for independence by the people of Balochistan, also home to Pakistan nuclear tests in 1998 and an energy-rich province. The USA is also funding anti-Pakistani insurgent groups in Balochistan in order to infiltrate drug operations, the black market for nuclear weaponry, Taliban remnants, and assorted Islamic resistance groups like Al Qa’ida that have taken up residence in the hinterlands of Balochistan. The US State Department’s 2004 country report on Pakistan was effusive in its praise for Pakistan indicating that it was the key ally in the Long War on Terror and that Pakistan has its internal affairs under control. Yet the situation on the ground is quite different.
A February 2006 piece carried by Sindh Today has the following headline: “Chemical Gas, Gunship Copters Used Against Baloch People”: “Balochistan, the area’s largest and resource-rich province of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, has recently taken another blood bath where many innocent people have been killed in an [Pakistani] army action. [Pakistani] Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao has claimed that no children or woman have been killed in the recent operation but photographs released show that many innocent children were brutally killed in bombardment, as they can not be termed as terrorists.”
Pakistan is suppressing news on the seriousness of its fight against the Baloch. The number of killed in action (KIA) its Army has incurred combating the Baloch revolt is well over 100 with thousands wounded. Musharraf portrays these troopers as casualties in the fight against foreign terror when, in fact, it’s akin to a civil war: the Baloch are fighting for independence.
India Monitor reported in January 2006 that “Senator Sanaullah Baloch, a vocal and influential member of the Balochistan National Party . . . said that if conditions continued to be as oppressive for the people of his home province, we will have no option but to exercise our national right for self-determination for a separate state . . . Today every Baloch knows that Pakistan is a viable state only because of Balochistan...Pointing to the natural resources and the strategic importance of the province in the region, he said that the information revolution had made the world very small and today the Baloch people could not be fooled, and wanted their rights.” (The dynamics of Kashmir, which threaten Pakistan’s stability, are beyond the scope of this piece).
As Iran is pummeled by US air strikes, and the Kurds make their move, what will the Baloch do? How will rebel groups like Al Qa’ida respond? Will they rally to their Iranian comrades? Would the Pakistani military use a tactical nuke to wipe out all its problems in Balochistan? What about India's reaction? What will Turkmenistan and the rest of the Stans do? Would Armenia side with the Turkish Kurds? How will the US troops in Iraq handle the fallout?
In another stellar example of incompetence, the USA-Indo nuclear deal struck by President Bush with Prime Minister Singh this past March was suppose to be a signal to Russia and China that the US is almighty. The USA seemingly gave no thought to what the deal with a country that refused to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty might create. Pakistan has vowed to increase its nuclear weapons capability. China has offered to build reactors for Pakistan and can tinker with America's prosperity via currency manipulation. Russian nuclear forces are being upgraded. Saudi Arabia is alleged to have purchased tactical nukes and is starting its own commercial and military nuclear capability. In South America, Brazil has ramped up production of its nuclear capabilities and will not allow inspectors into certain nuke facilities. And there can be no question that Venezuela will develop a nuke program or, like Saudi Arabia, just buy the weapons outright on the black market.
You Say You Want a Revolution
Domestic factors in the USA have to be added to this already volatile brew. The Red, White and Blue Revolt of retired US military generals such as Gregory Newbold and Anthony Zinni carried out in the US mainstream media is fascinating. Their call for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation is unprecedented in American wartime history and indicates that the only credible opposition to a civilian leadership gone mad is the military and big corporations. That other party called the Democrats is part of the problem and not the solution. As for President Bush, he dutifully does what he's told by Cheney and Rumsfeld.
Take note that the generals are key players in investment companies like Globesecnine (Newbold is co-founder of globesecnine.com) and Anthony Zinni is a board member of Veritas Capital (along with a who's who of former US military leaders). Wall Street helps fund these groups and they may have figured, finally, that Rumsfeld is bad for the military and business (read Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch.org for more on that relationship). US intelligence agencies like the CIA are always involved overtly or covertly in the investment/stock trading business, and likely have involvement in these investment firms. They are saying something too: revenge is sweet.
With rebellion in the military and corporate ranks, and the potential for more indictments of Bush Administration's insiders (Karl Rove?) in the Valerie Plame/Joe Wilson CIA case, one has to wonder how this group of people could possibly manage the day-after realities of an Iranian assault.
The USA is operating as if it really is an unchallenged superpower. What kind of superpower has increasing poverty, homelessness, unemployment and can't even rebuild one of its premier cities -- New Orleans -- after a hurricane? What kind of superpower refuses to make concessions, to negotiate and treats other nations like China and Russia as inferior entities? What nation is the Paper Tiger now? It never had to be this way.
So what about Iran? The simple answer, in two parts, to all this madness is to turn the Iranian matter over to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a NATO-like security coalition led by China and Russia. Iran is soon to become a member of that group anyway. Let the SCO monitor Iran as it builds its nuclear commercial and military capability. Iran wants to be a key energy player in a region it knows is dominated by Russia and China. The USA wants that black gold to come West and have geopolitical control over Central Asia. It's never going to happen. It is inevitable that the Kurds and Baloch will have their independent states, the Iranians and Brazilians will have their nuclear power/weapons, the Chinese will have their ascendancy, the Russians will return to the world stage, and the Palestinians will get a fair shake one day.
Secondly, negotiate. More than ever, the USA needs to get back to the negotiating table. Maybe some grand brain out there should read NSC-68, Sec IX, authored in 1950 and designed to deal with the former Soviet Union. “The free countries must always, therefore, be prepared to negotiate and must be ready to take the initiative at times in seeking negotiation. They must develop a negotiating position which defines the issues and the terms on which they would be prepared -- and at what stages -- to accept agreements... The terms must be fair in the view of popular opinion... This means that they must be consistent with a positive program for peace -- in harmony with the United Nations' Charter and providing, at a minimum, for the effective control of all armaments by the United Nations or a successor organization.”
Talking? Negotiating? Why not the SCO?
What an insane thought.
John Stanton is a Virginia based writer specializing in national security and political matters. He is the author of A Power But Not Super and co-author of America's Nightmare. Reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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