Rumours about airstrikes on Iran are getting stronger and stronger here in Europe, especially since the Dutch secret service AIVD has halted an operation in that country “because it expects airstrikes by unmanned American planes” according to various Dutch media (for example SpitsNieuws, in Dutch). I get the uncanny feeling that the New American Century crowd in the US is trying to get the most out of their man in the highest office – while he is still up there.
It is evident that the US intervention in Iraq has shifted the balance of power in the region; not towards the US and her allies however, but towards arch enemy Iran. Liberated from a belligerent and anticlerical dictator with a lifetime record of suppressing especially Shia Muslims as a nextdoor neighbour, Iran is gearing up to become the major player in the region. A look at the spread of Shia Muslims across the Middle East shows a new balance of power in the making, with Sunni Muslim world leader Saudi Arabia as a counterpart to an alliance of Shias in the north. There is even potential for a Shia superstate from Southern Iraq through Iran and Azerbaijan back to Syria and Lebanon.
All of this was crystal clear from the beginning – none of this should come as a surprise. But noone was listening – the New American Century was crying havoc about Saddam as early as 1998: Does the United States really have to bear this burden? Yes. Unless we act, Saddam Hussein will prevail, the Middle East will be destabilized, other aggressors around the world will follow his example, and American soldiers will have to pay a far heavier price when the international peace sustained by American leadership begins to collapse.
“Unless we act […] the Middle East will be destabilized” – the same thing could be said of the present situation, if it weren’t for the fact that because the US acted, the Middle East is now less stable than ever before. And yet they want to “act” again? Suppose they ultimately succeed in removing Ahmadinejad and the clerics from power – which country is next in line for regional superpower status? Pakistan? Saudi Arabia? Syria? And do we really want that or is that going to lead up to yet another intervention?
“…[A]nd American soldiers will have to pay a far heavier price…” Indeed. Until someone stops this hopeless cycle of utterly predictable mayhem.