Together with the mainstream media, the United States government has been so distracted playing a game of chicken with adversary states Syria and North Korea that the establishment almost forgot to tie all these developments back to the end-game of the Middle East: Iran.
However, things are seemingly back on track for the neoconservatives’ agenda to finally confront Iran and do what previous administrations failed to do directly. As the Jerusalem Post notes, U.S. Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis just landed in Israel “to talk ‘Iran, Iran, Iran.”
Mattis and Israel’s Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman previously met in Washington last month to discuss issues such as the war in Syria and the “threats posed by Iran.” Liberman is again set to brief Mattis on the ongoing threats to Israel in the region, including the growing presence of Hezbollah and Iran in Syria.
The Post further notes:
“Known as a hawk on issues related to Iran, last month in London Mattis recalled a statement he made in 2012 in which he stated that the three gravest threats to American national security were ‘Iran, Iran, Iran,’ an echo of Liberman’s statement at the Munich Security Conference in February that main challenges facing the region were ‘Iran, Iran, Iran.’”
After meeting with senior Saudi officials in Riyadh on Wednesday, Mattis told reporters that “everywhere you look, if there is trouble in the region, you find Iran.”
Reuters reported that Mattis also said Iran’s “destabilizing influence” in the Middle East would have to be overcome to end the war in Yemen; the U.S. is currently weighing increasing its support for the Saudi-led coalition currently attacking the war-torn country.
Shortly after the U.S. struck the Syrian government directly at the beginning of April, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, also turned the focus of the war on Syria toward Iran, demonstrating once again America’s unwavering infatuation with a war against the country:
“Then, you know, you have to look at the Iranian influence and the fact that we’ve got to get that out. Syria is in such sad shape, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you look back, so many things could have been done to prevent where we are today. And that’s what we need to focus on now,” Haley said, as reported by Fox News. [emphasis added]
On top of all of this, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also chimed in on Wednesday, saying:
“This deal [the Iranian nuclear accord reached in 2015] represents the same failed approach of the past that brought us to the current imminent threat we face in North Korea. The Trump administration has no intention of passing the buck to a future administration on Iran. The evidence is clear Iran’s provocative actions threaten the U.S., the region, and the world.”
Missing from this oversimplification of world events is the fact that between 1994 and 2002, the U.S. was actually on track to keep a lid on any potential nuclear programs in North Korea and the fact that the second Bush administration destroyed this progress. Rather, Bush taught states like North Korea and Iran a very valuable lesson by invading Iraq in 2003. In Iran and North Korea’s eyes, Saddam Hussein’s biggest mistake was not having nuclear weapons because it would have been a deterrent against a U.S. invasion. The same can be said of Libya, and a similar sentiment was noted by Muammar Gaddafi’s own son when he was interviewed during the NATO air war.
“Many countries, Iran and North Korea are among them, told us it was our mistake to give up, to have stopped developing long-range missiles and to become friendly with the West. Our example means one should never trust the West and should always be on alert – for them it is fine to change their mind overnight and start bombing Libya,” Saif al-Islam Gaddafi told RT.
Also on Wednesday, Tillerson resorted to the still unsubstantiated claim that Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, an allegation that poses a number of direct conflicts with reality.
Iran may support Hezbollah, but this is a group that heavily fights against ISIS, something Trump told us was his number one priority. Iranian involvement in Yemen is almost non-existent in light of the fact the mainstream media has rarely produced a shred of evidence to back up the claim (not to mention the fact that U.N. experts confirmed there was no evidence of large-scale Iranian involvement in Yemen in January of this year). In fact, the Houthi rebels in Yemen are supported on the ground by Yemen’s former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who still retains the support of the armed forces. What is Saudi Arabia’s business in quelling this uprising while supporting a radical jihadist takeover of Syria?
From the Washington Post:
“Yet as [the author] argues in a recent article in the May 2016 issue of International Affairs, the Chatham House journal, Tehran’s support for the Houthis is limited, and its influence in Yemen is marginal. It is simply inaccurate to claim that the Houthis are Iranian proxies.
“Instead, the war in Yemen is driven by local grievances and competition for power among Yemeni actors. The Houthis and Saleh want to overturn the political order that emerged after the uprisings of 2011: Saleh wants to return to power, having lost the presidency in the wake of popular protests, while the Houthis want a greater say in national affairs.” [emphasis added]
Despite these glaring omissions from the Trump administration’s warped narrative, Iran — with its nonexistent nukes and years of crippling U.S.-imposed sanctions — is allegedly the biggest threat to world peace and still somehow retains the revenue to out-sponsor Saudi Arabia when it comes to terrorism. Hillary Clinton’s leaked emails indicate she was well aware that Saudi Arabia and Qatar directly fund ISIS, yet Tillerson is not remotely concerned with this fact.
It is unclear how much of the American public or the world’s population buy this anti-Iranian rhetoric. According to an international poll across 65 countries, much of the international community considers the United States to be the biggest threat to world peace — not Iran or North Korea.
So why does the U.S. consider Iran to be a threat? One way of looking at it is to assess what was aptly described by Noam Chomsky:
“Why is Iran regarded here as the greatest threat to world peace? … They [the intelligence community] say Iran has very low military spending, even by the standards of the region, much lower than Saudi Arabia, Israel, [and] others. Its strategy is defensive. They want to deter attacks long enough for diplomacy to be entertained. The conclusion, intelligence conclusion—this is a couple years ago—is: If they are developing nuclear weapons, which we don’t know, but if they are, it would be part of their deterrent strategy.
Who’s scared of a deterrent? Those who want to use force. As Chomsky concluded:
“Now, why [are] the United States and Israel even more so concerned about a deterrent? Who’s concerned about a deterrent? Those who want to use force. Those who want to be free to use force are deeply concerned about a potential deterrent.”
In case you’re wondering where this is all headed, consider that Israel is preparing for it’s “next war” with Hezbollah, something Israeli military officials have warned will be “bloody.” In response, Syrian officials have cautioned that Syria will support Hezbollah in this conflict, which is unsurprising considering Syria has been on the receiving end of Israeli missiles for years. Further, there are hundreds, if not thousands of Iranians on the ground in Syria as Iran is bound by a mutual defense treaty to the war-ravaged nation.
If the U.S. cannot get to Iran in a more direct way, this will be the roadmap that can bring a conflict with Iran out into the open and pave the way for a direct military confrontation between the United States and Iran.