It is hard to keep track of all the potentially disastrous developments in the near and Middle East these days and the Harper government is up to its neck in them, apparently with a view to making its aggressive foreign policy stance permanent. From being the first country to walk out of the UN when Iran’s President Ahmadinejad got up to speak, to musing about keeping significant numbers of troops in Afghanistan well past the July, 2011 deadline, to Harper’s literal blank check for anything Israel decides to do in the region, and we have the most irresponsible and ideologically driven foreign policy of any of the G7 countries. It’s a policy of unbridled brinkmanship. The only thing that stops this from having catastrophic results is that Canada does not have the military power to express the worst of its policies. The image is one of a radical right wing regime ranting and raving while others are actually attempting to find solutions.
The Harper government’s determination to keep Canadian troops in Afghanistan represents its determination to integrate its defence and foreign policies with that of the US. By staying in Afghanistan Harper can continue to rationalize the continuation of his on-going plan to create a ‘war-fighting’ military to permanently replace Canada’s peace-keeping role. While Defence Minister McKay claims that fighting the Taliban would be a thing of the past in a new post-2011 role, analysts argue that this will be almost impossible as the Taliban will increasingly take the fight to foreign troops regardless of what NATO and the US might want. So long as the stated goals of the US are creating a viable state under Hamid Karzai and defeating the Taliban, all foreign troops will be fighting and dying as the Taliban gain strength.
The on-going debate and breathless waiting for Obama’s rethink on Afghanistan has pushed out of the media any analysis the only reasons the US and NATO are so determined to stay in this disastrous quagmire. The most important reason is still the long-delayed gas pipeline from the Caucasus through the southern part of the county. The pipeline would go through Kandahar and depend in part on Canada for protection. MacKay’s musings about the nature of the mission post “withdrawal” could well be a trial balloon to test Canadians’ resolve to get out completely.
The second reasons is NATO’s fear that it will be fatally wounded regarding future out-of-Europe adventures if this one fails.
Harper seems determined to appear even more aggressive regarding Iran than the US – more evidence of his uncritical support for Israel which has been seeking a US green light to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities (and its air force) for over a year. That explains Harper’s hyperbole regarding the secret enrichment facility so dramatically “exposed” by Obama at the G20. Harper declared that Iran “…constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security.”
This, of course, assumes two things: that Iran is actually building a nuclear weapon and, two, that it would actually use it. It is interesting that the US and the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) both state that there is no evidence that Iran is building a bomb. The US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) two years ago reported to President George Bush that Iran very likely abandoned its attempt in 2003. This remains the US position. The IAEA just this week reiterated its position in the light of British statement that Iran’s program has been re-started (a position backed by Canada). The UN’s chief weapons inspector, Mohamed El Baradei, stated there is “no credible evidence” that Iran is developing nuclear weapons.
In normal circumstances no one would take the other assumption seriously – that Iran would actually be insane enough to use a bomb against Israel (with its 200 warheads and one of the most powerful and sophisticated armed forces in the world). That almost no one in the mainstream media ever questions this assumption reveals how easy it would be to take the few steps to disaster that an attack on Iran would entail. Unable to get past Ahmajinedad’s inflammatory rhetoric and Holocaust denial, the media, consciously or otherwise, serves Israel’s ultimate objective by reinforcing the image of Iran having a first strike nuclear policy – an absurdity, but one Israel hopes will continue to frame the issue.
Even a cursory analysis of the situation in the Middle East leads to the inescapable conclusion that the “grave threat to international peace and security” comes not from Iran but from Israel, the US and its pit bull sidekick Stephen Harper.
NOTE: Since writing this on Saturday, I came across a Newsweek Magazine story reveals that Intelligence Agencies in the US have updated and confirmed their 2007 assessment that Iran is not seeking to produce a nuclear weapon. “[Intelligence] officials…said that U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed since the formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran’s “Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities” in November 2007.”
See story on the left under “In other news…”
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