If we listen to the speech of Bush administration officials, or of vocal senators, it seems unavoidable that the Bush regime will unleash yet another military disaster against the Imamate in power in Tehran.
Readers of our work in the past certainly have read my earlier commentaries which suggested such an attack was all but imminent.
I am now of another opinion.
Iraq has so shattered the U.S. military capability, and so undermined its credibility in the Middle East, that it seems unlikely that the U.S. empire could muster up enough wherewithal to mount an effective campaign.
Also, any attack on Iran would only serve to further destabilize Iraq, where its 60% Shia majority would not sit idly by as their fellow Shias fall under the American gun.
The Iraqi armed resistance has been largely a Sunni affair, but surely an attack in Iran would bring armed Shias into the fray.
This, the U.S. neither wants nor needs.
There is another reason: good old American greed.
The big oil companies are licking their collective lips to try to get a taste of the black gold sitting there. Iran has the second highest proven oil reserves in the world, right after Saudi Arabia. Oil
companies all around the world are slaking their thirst in the black lake, like ENI (Italy), Gasprom (Russia), Petronas (Malaysia), Shell (Dutch-UK), and Total (France).
Back when Dick Cheney still had his desk at Halliburton, he spoke out against US sanctions on Iran, calling them "unproductive." Similarly, when former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, was going through his confirmation hearings, he noted: "differences with Iran need not preclude greater interaction, whether in commerce, or increased dialogue."
It is a rare day when Powell and Cheney agree on something, but this was
just such a day.
And while Bush threw a monkey wrench into the corporate wrangling with his "axis of evil" rhetoric, Big Oil has its interests, which cannot be served if Iran turns into a bigger, bloodier Iraq. Business likes stability to extract its profits.
The latest grades on the Iraq adventure, coming from usually supportive
sources like the Brookings Institution, are "F" for failure.
In the words of Philip H. Gordon, writing in a recent edition of
"Bush has gotten the United States bogged down in an unsuccessful war, overstretched the military, and broken the domestic bank. Washington now lacks the reservoir of international legitimacy, resources, and domestic support necessary to pursue other key national interests."
While there is no love lost between the Iranians and the Americans, they each have their own interests, and neither is served by a military conflict at this time.
If Iraq were the bustling, bright, shiny Shangri-La that neocon warmongers promised, perhaps things would be different.
But it isn't.
By any sane measure, it is a disaster, getting worse, more deadly, more unstable by the day.
Even seemingly immortal empires reach their limits.
This is America's.
So, there will be harsh words.
There will be saber rattling.
But this is mere bombast.
After all is said and done, deals will be made, dollars will cross palms, baksheesh will open locked doors, and oil will flow.
It's nothing personal.
It's just business.
[Source,/i>: "U.S. Policy Towards Iran Takes a New Turn", Class Struggle (Aug-Sept. '06) [Iss. #52], pp. 18-24.]
Column Written. 9/14/06. Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal