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7 November 2011
This article is part of the series The coming war against Iran.
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New steps on the road to a military conflict with Iran
By Daan de Wit
Translated by Ben Kearney

The information war that is currently raging around Iran is part of the ongoing conflict with the country. It is one component of the preparations for war against Iran that have been underway for years, and which follow the template used to conquer Iraq.

Other components of this conflict involve the sanctions, the test-firing of a long-range missile by Israel capable of carrying a nuclear payload and striking Iran, the sabotage carried out on Iranian territory, the cyber attacks, the military exercises over Sardinia and the attacks on Iranian nuclear experts. The attacks are most likely part of a 400 million dollar American program initiated under President Bush and continued under President Obama ‘for the expansion of covert operations in Iran intended to destabilize and overthrow the regime, possibly with the help of military intervention.’

Under Bush, a nonviolent solution to the 'Iran problem' was actively avoided. Instead, a course was laid for a military confrontation - a strategy that would not seem to have been relinquished by the Obama administration. The Teheran Times reporting in early November: 'Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said that Iran has one hundred indisputable documents that prove the United States’ involvement in terrorist actions and assassination plots in Iran and the region and will release them to the public.' It remains to be seen whether this will make much of a difference. The war against Iran started a long time ago. A military conflict is merely one phase within this war, just as it was with Iraq.

Debka File, a publication that gives voice to the Israeli military establishment, claims that all of the remaining Israeli ministers who were previously against an attack on Iran are now behind it. The article ends with words that exhibit a tone reflected in a lot of the recent news about Iran: the hope for a self-fulfilling prophecy: 'The former routine putdowns from Washington sources asserting a) that Israel was not up to a lone military operation and that anyway b) it would only have the limited effect of putting the Iranian weapons program back four years, are no longer heard - especially since the US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta visited Israel last month.' During this visit, Panetta did not manage to secure a pledge that the U.S. would be consulted before Israel carried out a strike. This would indicate that Israel feels confident of receiving American assistance in the event of retaliation by Iran. Also contributing to this assurance on the part of Israel is the ample presence of American troops in the region. As the troop presence in Iraq is being scaled back, the number of troops in Kuwait and the rest of the region is conversely being increased.

Discussions about the Middle East are often couched in terms of stability. An example of this is top American military commander Mike Mullen, who before retiring expressed concern regarding a war against Iran on account of the instability that it would cause. With 'instability', Mullen is referring to a disruption of the existing balance of power. But this balance of power is already disproportionate: Israel is the only country in the Middle East that possesses a nuclear weapon. Were Iran to become a nuclear power as well, the balance of power would become less skewed. Both countries would at that point be in a position to annihilate one another, and as a result would think twice before doing such a thing. So it remains to be seen whether Mullen is right, or whether exactly the opposite will occur should Iran acquire a nuclear weapon. No matter what, a war against Iran will be a detriment to market balance and the price of oil. A war with Iran could have an extremely disruptive effect, especially in these unstable times.

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