New Internationalist

A War Too Far

Issue 393

Iran, Iraq and the New American Century by Paul Rogers.

Bush and Blair, contemplating the twilight of their time in power, must realize that their political epitaph will consist of four letters: Iraq. Blair has little choice in the matter but Bush and his minions, in their belligerence over Iran’s development of nuclear capacity, are eyeing a bequest to the future that would trump even the bloody shambles of the Iraq invasion. Open talk in Washington’s wilder circles is of a pre-emptive military – perhaps nuclear – attack on Tehran, either directly or through the proxy of Israeli forces. Such an act would certainly give all who have to cope with the aftermath an inheritance without parallel. Meanwhile the open warfare between Israel and Hizbullah that is currently tearing Lebanon apart – and the linking of Hizbullah with Iran and Syria – bring such an outcome frighteningly closer.

Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at Bradford University, is a seasoned observer of imperial folly in the Middle East and his A War Too Far is a lucid and invaluable bridge that links the past idiocy of the Iraq invasion with the planned madness of the Iranian endgame strategy. Professor Rogers has drawn on his weblog to compose a week-by-week analysis of the Iraq war, the insurgency and the gradual shift in the United States’ focus of antagonism to Iran’s new rulers.

Rogers’ contention is that the neoconservative quest for hegemony in the Middle East has provoked a virulent and widespread backlash and raised the prospect of a ‘30-year war’ for control of the region’s resources.

We are hurtling towards the ‘tipping point’ for such a calamitous scenario and all the signals are set to danger. Chief among these are the US Administration’s misunderstanding of Iranian attitudes and its crass misreading of Tehran’s recent diplomatic posture.

To be sure, Iran’s newly elected President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has adopted a deliberately intractable stance over nuclear power and some of his speeches have been inflammatory in the extreme. But Ahmadinejad’s rise to power is emphatically not some inconvenient anti-Western aberration, as is clear when viewed in the context of the three decades of Iran’s development since its Islamic Revolution. The wilful selective amnesia exercised by the neocons in pretending that the Iranian confrontation has arisen in a political vacuum is both dangerous and delusional.

Peter Whittaker

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