Mustafa Domanic at PostGlobal

Mustafa Domanic

Istanbul, Turkey

Mustafa Domanic is an online activist and blogger. He contributes to several blogs on Turkish current affairs as well as global political issues including Close.

Mustafa Domanic

Istanbul, Turkey

Mustafa Domanic is an online activist and blogger. He contributes to several blogs on Turkish current affairs as well as global political issues including more »

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Nuclear Capacity Needed to Deter America

The American intelligence reports’ recent assertion that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 does not change anything about the current situation as long as it does not fundamentally change the minds of American policymakers. Judging from President Bush's dismissive response, this doesn't seem to be the case. The truth is, Americans do not need a pretext to continue their bullying of Iran, which is precisely why Iranians want to and in fact should build nuclear capacity.

The National Intelligence Estimate report is only one interesting development that seemingly reveals cracks on the American front in the bound-to-be-long history of conflict over Iran's right to nuclear armament. I am curious about how such a vague report that doesn't rule out any possibility was co-signed by all American intelligence groups and submitted to the White house in the midst of American efforts to isolate Iran internationally. It is not hard to imagine that once the report was submitted, the White House did not have much choice but to release it given the leak scandals it has faced before. Looking at this from the Middle East perspective, such a break during a time of struggle seems way too un-American. That leads me to think that there is something larger at work here.

I don't buy the arguments that the current American administration has learned from the failures of pre-war Iraq intelligence and that the new report reflects a change of methods for the intelligence community. In my view, the move towards relaxing intelligence assumptions is not the way Americans chose to go after 9/11 and despite the unpopularity of the Iraq war, American public opinion has not changed on tightening security. I find it hard to believe that the Bush administration's post-9/11 choice of intelligence heads chose this approach naively. All this makes me think that more than a true break in alliance, this is merely a change in tactics for the Americans. Perhaps America's post-Iraq awareness of the unpopularity of pre-emptive strikes has led them to alter their methods and combine different strategies in dealing with Iran.

With the uncertainty of elections looming over American policy, this report will act as the foundation of the narrative for the switch in tactics in case a Democratic president takes office. Probably, the report intends to send a message across to others involved in the conflict that America is sincere in trying soft-power; sort of a cease-fire offer. Experience tells us that declaring a cease-fire during a time of internal change is a clever yet common move. I certainly don't think America's eagerness to stop Iran should be ruled out in the shadow of this report.

Because recent headlines in the American press about Iran usually revolve around her nuclear ambitions, the American public tends to forget the background of the conflict with Iran. It started roughly in 1953 when a coup d'état backed by America and Britain removed the elected Prime Minister Mosaddeq in favor of America-friendly Shah of Iran. Back then, the American-British coalition did not have any reasons for ousting him, other than their stakes in Iran’s nationalized oil companies and the fact that they disagreed with Mosaddeq's ideology. Today, much remains the same except the western alliance cannot rally another coup to overthrow the current regime. It is not just that they are no more capable of it, but they have seen how badly it backfired as well. But this does not mean that they will not resort to their second favorite tool of coercion: force. In the current case, there are strong indications that the use of force is still the first option even when soft-power is also combined into the general strategy. I think Anton Chekhov's maxim that, "if a gun is hanging on the wall in the first act, it will always go off by the play's end" explains this situation pretty well. With public talk and planning of strikes on Iranian targets and with Israel's actual bombing of Syrian buildings suspected of being nuclear-research related, the gun is hung high and visible on the wall. I do not doubt it will go off.

On the other hand, it is worth remembering that it was not the Iranians who hung this gun on the wall and who opened the curtain for this play. After meddling with Iran’s democratic system, America tried to support secessionism there and also supported Iraq's assault on Iran. It cost millions of Iranian lives and an incredible amount of wealth. Today, United States still helps military groups destabilize Iran and slyly accuses Iran of meddling in Iraq and seeking regional domination – whereas her own aspiration for global domination is no secret to anybody.

Therefore I believe the Iranians should find much wider support from international community to protect themselves from this unending American aggression and the only way to do that is to have a nuclear deterrent. The greatest danger in the Middle East is American meddling. Bush's earlier remarks about assuming the Middle East was a chaotic place before American intervention were a grave distortion of truth. Without America and with its own commodity wealth, the Middle East can still be a prosperous and peaceful region.

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