By Daan de Wit
Translated by Ben Kearney
Iran is once again finding itself at the top of the agenda. Pressure is being stepped up on all of the parties involved. This is a new step on the road to the next war - this one against Iran.
These are the facts: first there was the Iranian plot to commit murder on American soil. It was a plot that was quickly debunked, but which still managed to stir up some controversy. Then there was the leak revealing that the British were preparing to lend military support to the U.S. in the event of an attack on Iran. The message: With the fight for Libya winding down, and with the sooner than expected exit from Afghanistan and the final pull-out from Iraq, Iran now finds itself at the top of the list of countries that need to be dealt with. This will also be concluded from the International Atomic Energy Agency report due to be released on Wednesday.
The Guardian writes: 'The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.' This news follows the disclosure that the Israeli government is developing plans for a military strike on Iran. Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak are working hard to convince their cabinet ministers of the need for military action against Iran. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that two ministers, of Foreign Affairs and Intelligence, have since adjusted their points of view. Speaking on Friday of last week, President Shimon Peres said: 'A military strike on Iran is growing more likely than the diplomatic option'.
News of the hard-line view of Iran being taken by the Israeli political leadership may have been leaked by Meir Dagan, former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Earlier he criticized the current Israeli leadership. In June he said: 'I decided to speak out because when I was in office, Diskin, Ashkenazi and I could block any dangerous adventure. Now I am afraid that there is no one to stop Bibi and Barak'. Nahum Barnea, an influential columnist in Israel, wrote recently that: 'There are those who describe Netanyahu’s attitude on the matter as an obsession: All his life he dreamed of being Churchill; Iran gives him the opportunity.' Sources tell Barnea that Dagan is part of a campaign intended to thwart the Iran ambitions of Netanyahu and Barak. According to Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida, Netanyahu has ordered security service Shin Bet to investigate the nature of the leak.
The recent tension surrounding Iran seems to be part of a geopolitical game being played. 'My guess is that this sudden campaign on the part of the Israelis is intended to scare the U.S. and the Europeans into a very strong diplomatic and economic response when the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) report providing additional information on Iran's weaponisation activities comes out next week', says Barry Blechman, a nuclear proliferation expert at the Stimson Center. Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council: 'The bluster on military strikes tends to coincide with periods in which new sanctions are considered'.
Because an attack on Iran is now being talked about more openly than it was at first, this latest news concerning Iran represents the next phase on the road to a military conflict. By discussing it, the topic is now on the table, and the public's attention can be turned to the question of when it is going to take place.