Bombing for Ethnic Cleansing and Hegemony Rights

In this post-Orwell and post-Kafka age, Israel can threaten to bomb Iran to preserve Israel’s ethnic cleansing rights in Palestine, and the United States can put “all options on the table” in dealing with that dire Iranian threat in order to maintain and strengthen U.S. hegemony in the Middle East (and show that Obama is no wimp), with the firm support of the Western establishment (and Saudi Arabia). This all takes some breath-taking double standards and hypocrisy, but the power of the real axis of evil — the United States and Israel — the long-standing demonization of the target, the complicity of the EU, the subordination and instrumentalizing of the UN and ICC, and  the Pravda-matching subservience of the mainstream media, make it all possible.

It all rests too on the imbalance of power and “perils of dominance,”  which Gareth Porter argues was  “the road to war in Vietnam” (title and subtitle of his excellent book). If you have overwhelming power, you think you can get away with anything, and that you can push up against the edge in threatening war, waiting for the target to recognize prospective defeat and surrender in advance. If they don’t surrender, you can hope to win more or less easily with your superior power, and preserve your (or your client’s) ability to ethnically cleanse and/or maintain your prime bullying power in a region, and your credibility.

Given this imbalance and structure of interests and pressures, and this kind of policy calculus, Iran’s getting a nuclear weapon capability would be a benefit to peace, as it would to some modest degree diminish the axis of evil’s freedom to dominate and ethnically cleanse. The West’s support of Israel’s buildup of nuclear weapons was destabilizing and peace-threatening, as well as supportive of  large-scale ethnic cleansing. It was, and remains, a violation of the spirit and letter of the UN Charter and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The claim that Iran poses a threat because of its nuclear activity is valid, but only in the sense that it might slightly weaken U.S. hegemony, Israel’s freedom to dispossess, and U.S. and Israeli aggression rights.

The double standard here is breath-taking. Israel is now openly threatening to attack Iran, and the media report it without the slightest indignation, and a good chunk of the political class openly approves the idea and urges U.S. support  of this planned aggression. The reservations of the liberal media and politicos rest on the possibility that the attack might lead to a really major military conflagration and might cause oil prices to skyrocket and recessionary conditions to intensify. There is no problem for the mainstream that this would be a gross violation of the UN Charter. Ban Ki-Moon is silent about this threatened violation of the Charter that he is supposed to be enforcing (but actually betrays on a daily basis  as he serves as a U.S. puppet). Steven Pinker’s “Better Angels” once again seem to be in hiding.

When Ahmadinejad made his statement that Israel would some day be wiped off the map, this was given huge publicity in the West as showing the sinister quality of the Iran government and the threat it posed to Israel and the West. But Ahjmadinejad never explicitly threatened an Iranian attack on Israel, and there is solid evidence that his much cited and stripped down statement was mistranslated and misinterpreted—that he was actually paraphrasing Khomeini’s earlier statement that Israel would one day be transformed from an ethnically exclusive state to a more tolerant one, as the Soviet Union was transformed, not by force but by political processes. But while Ahmadinejad’s statement outraged Western officials and pundits, although in its valid form and substance it contained no threat of an Iranian attack,  Israel’s very clear and explicit threat to attack Iran arouses not the slightest indignation and demands for counter-action in the Free World. The double standard and associated lying run deep here.

It is also sick comedy that the excuse for this possible attack is that Iran may be close to nuclear weapons capability. That Iran needs this, and needs the weapons themselves, for elementary defense, is made obvious by the Israeli threat and the failure of the West to constrain Israel. In fact, the United States and other Western states have connived to allow Israel to become a nuclear weapons state outside the supervisory reach of the International Atomic Energy Agency, while engaging in righteous indignation and threats over Iran’s imperfect cooperation  with the IAEA, again an object lesson in double standards and hypocrisy.

It is also almost amusing to see how carefully the mainstream media (and politicos) play dumb over Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons, as if this is a natural right and raises no questions about inequality of law and rules enforcement and about why only Israel has the right of self-defense. In the “world’s greatest newspaper” (Paul Krugman, referring to the New York Times), David Sanger and David Broad have written literally scores of  articles on IAEA reports and claims about Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s supposed lack of cooperation, with only the rarest passing mention of Israel’s nuclear arms.  (This same newspaper could also write 70 editorials on the imminent U.S. attack on Iraq, between September 11, 2001 and March 21, 2003, without once mentioning international law or the UN Charter.) This is great war propaganda service.

The same double standard, propaganda service, and just plain poor journalism, is evident in the reports and comments on Israeli and Iranian “terrorism.” A string of Iranian scientists have been assassinated, facilities and military personnel have been bombed, and sophisticated cyber-warfare has been used to damage Iranian nuclear programs. It is fairly openly acknowledged that Israel’s Mossad has been working with the Iranian terrorist Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO), in carrying out these assassination and bombing attacks. Although this was admitted by several U.S. officials on NBC news (Brian Williams, “Israel turns to terror gang to kill Iranian scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News,” February 9, 2012), it is treated in very low key in the mainstream media, with no indignation or calls for action against this state sponsorship of terrorism, perhaps because the United States is the indirect sponsor as the funder-protector of Israel itself.  With this sponsorship, Israel has a right to invade Lebanon, drop and leave perhaps a million cluster bombs there in the few days before its exit in 2006,  ethnically cleanse Palestinians and Bedouins, terrorize Iran, and threaten and perhaps directly bomb Iran.

But Iran is an official (U.S.-official) sponsor of terrorism, so attention, gullibility and indignation are in a different realm altogether when it is charged with terrorism. It will be recalled that it was regularly charged with the crime of  supplying weapons to one of the contesting parties in Iraq at the height of the Iraq fighting, when the only legitimate supplier (and major direct killer) was that distant invader protecting itself from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. So Iran’s behavior there was villainous.

More recently Iran was alleged to be behind an alleged planned assassination attempt against the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington D.C.  Iran officials were supposed to have hired an Iranian expatriate living in the United States to contract with operatives of a Mexican drug cartel to do the assassination job. Amazingly, the man hired was a troubled and incompetent individual, and the Mexican he contacted was a DEA agent, a remarkable coincidence. This effort violated all rational principles of  intelligence operations on the part of Iran, and flew in the face of its recent attempts to spruce up diplomacy and mend its relationships with its Arab neighbors (including Saudi Arabia). This assassination plot, which, of course, never got off the ground, would have been damaging to Iran’s national interests even if successfully carried out. On the other hand, it served well the interests of the powerful war parties in the United States and Israel. This was almost surely another combination false flag and entrapment operation, and as Juan Cole describes it, “falling down funny.”

The follow-up terrorist actions in India, Georgia and Thailand also have the smell of  false flag operations. In the Delhi bombing of an Israeli car, it is notable that nobody was killed or badly injured, and Gareth Porter shows that the bomb effort seemed designed not to do serious bodily injury. (Porter, “Who was behind the Delhi bombing?,” Aljazeera, March 2,  2012.)  Also, Iran has a strong interest in maintaining India’s goodwill, as it is an important outlet for Iranian oil and gas in defiance of Western efforts to get India to cut these off. Contrary to Israeli claims, the Tbilisi and Bangkok bombings  did not use the “same kind of devices,” and as Porter says, these bombing efforts were contrary to Iranian interests but strongly suggestive of Israeli false flag operations. Interestingly, also, these terrorist actions, unlike those carried out by Mossad and MKO in Iran itself, didn’t result in any deaths. But in the Free Press they provided confirmation of Iran’s terrorist proclivities, while the treatment of Israel’s sponsored real killings in Iran have gotten something close to a free pass.

• First published in Z Magazine, April 2012

Edward S. Herman is an economist and media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy and the media. Read other articles by Edward.