By Kourosh Ziabari
Those who mastermind the U.S.-directed psychological operation against Iran have obliviously forgotten that we’re now accustomed to seeing the uninteresting, exhausting charade of “will attack Iran”; you put the subject for it, either the United States or Israel.
Over the past five years, Iran has been recurrently under the threat of an imminent war which the mainstream media have overwhelmingly talked of; a war against Tehran to overthrow the Islamic Republic and bring to power a “democratic” regime which the “international community” favors.
Since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad assumed office in 2005 as the Iranian head of state, he made attempts to reverse the passive, submissive stance of Iran towards the Eastern and Western superpowers and proposed new theories for an innovative international order. He accelerated Iran’s nuclear program and made remarkable advancements in nationalizing the peaceful use of nuclear energy in Iran. He put forward insightful and astute questions: “why should Israel possess nuclear weapons in violation of the international law”, “why should Israel occupy the lands which don’t belong to it”, “why should Israel repeatedly threaten its neighbors and wage wars against them”, “why should Holocaust be used as a pretext to suppress the Palestinian nation?”, “why should Iran be deprived of the peaceful uses of nuclear power while the United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China have thousands of nuclear weapons?”
These questions were not digestible for the United States and its stalwart allies around the world; therefore, some measures should be adopted to suffocate this man and the people he represents internationally. The reason was simple. Ahmadinejad and Iran would not make concessions and thus should be silenced at any cost. So, who is going to pay the price for silencing Iran? Are the military options plausible?
The answer is simply “no”. Iran is different from Iraq, Afghanistan and all of the countries which Israel attacked during its period of existence in the Middle East. The people of Iran have demonstrated that they react to the aggressive powers categorically. So, the best option would be to stage an all-out psychological operation in which the means of coercion, falsification, distortion, fabrication and intimidation might be used.
The project was set off almost five years ago, when the U.S. and European mainstream media gradually began trumpeting for an imaginative war against Iran. The first man to set in motion the project was Scott Ritter, the former chief United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq. He told the media on February 19, 2005 that George Bush is laying the groundwork for an all-out attack against Iran: “President George W. Bush has received and signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran planned for June 2005. Its purported goal is the destruction of Iran’s alleged program to develop nuclear weapons.” With what was described as Ritter’s “greatest skepticism”, he also talked of the possibility of a regime change in Iran, pushed by the neoconservatives who were trying to persuade the ex-President Bush to broaden the extents of war to topple the Islamic Republic.
The primary threats looked so realistic and actual that even deceived the veteran investigative journalist, Seymour Hersh, who wrote in a January 24, 2005 article in the New Yorker that U.S. is getting prepared to launch a military strike against Iran. He quoted a high-ranking intelligence official as telling him: Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”
In 2006, the gossips were strongly suggesting that there’ll be an attack against Iran, either by Israel or the United States. In August 2006, the former chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Major General Hamid Gul emphatically proclaimed that Iran will be attacked by the United States. Interestingly, he also specified the exact time of the attack. Talking to the Pakistani Parliament, he predicted that “America would definitely attack Iran and Syria simultaneously in October.”
Along with the previous predictions, however, General Gul’s prediction about an imminent assault on Iran transpired to be futile.
The same events continued to happen in 2007; futile predictions and empty threats, either by those who were involved in the conflict with Iran or those who did not have a role.
On January 24, 2007, the Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum that there’s a possibility of U.S. attacking Iran: “It’s a 50/50 proposition, and we hope that it won’t happen. Attacking Iran would be counterproductive.”
The atmosphere created by the United States and its allies was so imposing and impressive that had influenced everyone, from the most pragmatic, down-to-earth journalists to the most adventurous, overconfident politicians. Quoting the Kuwaiti paper Arab Times, John Pilger wrote in a “New Statesman” article dated February 5, 2007 that Bush will attack Iran, and also gave the military details of the attack according to the statements of a Russian military official: “The well-informed Arab Times in Kuwait says that Bush will attack Iran before the end of April. One of Russia’s most senior military strategists, General Leonid Ivashov, says the U.S. will use nuclear munitions delivered by cruise missiles launched from the Mediterranean.”
Untruthfulness and falsehood had pervaded the mainstream media and they had simply failed to take seriously the possibility of losing their reputation as a result of proposing unrealistic, improbable and pointless predictions. They were only after serving the interests of their governmental owners and trumpeting for a non-existing war which was about to be waged against Iran.
On March 5, 2007, the Reuters AlterNet quoted analysts that there could be a chance for a possible military strike against Iran. This time, the attacker was destined to remain unspecified: “Risk analysts say there could be an up to one-in-three chance that the United States or Israel will attack Iran by the end of this year, and markets may not be doing enough to hedge against the impact.” This employment of the “United States or Israel” was the newest psychological operation tactic; spreading uncertainty and ambiguity to overawe and subdue Iran.
In 2008, the most entertaining charade of the game was initiated by John Bolton, a politician who seemed to be enormously interested in playing the role of a new Nostradamus. His prophecy was that Israel would attack Iran before the new U.S. President swears in. The magnificent foretelling by Mr. Bolton was grandiloquently featured by the Daily Telegraph in a report titled: “Israel ‘will attack Iran’ before new US president sworn in, John Bolton predicts”.
Anyway, the new U.S. President swore in and nobody attacked Iran.
The war threats against Iran have been renewed several times since John Bolton publicized his prediction. The famous “proverb” of “all options are on the table” was uttered by the successor of George W. Bush; the same man whom we trusted in once for good and deceived all of us with his promise of change. Mr. Bolton’s newest forecast has been released recently: Israel has until week’s end to strike Iran’s nuclear facility. The psychological warfare machinery is being activated again as each newspaper and website represents one arsenal. Jeffrey Goldberg is taking steps to become the Judith Miller of war against Iran and the world once again watches the funny advertisement of human rights by those who are terrifically massacring “humans” in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan, getting prepared for a new bloodshed in Iran. The thing is not that Israel will attack Iran. The thing is that Israel won’t dare attack Iran, but its unremitting propaganda won’t cease. The thing is that we should hear these sentences incessantly: “Israel will attack Iran… will Israel attack Iran?”
Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian freelance journalist. He has interviewed political commentator andlinguistNoamChomsky, member of New Zealand parliament Keith Locke, Australian politician Ian Cohen, member of German Parliament Ruprecht Polenz, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, former U.S. National Security Council advisor Peter D. Feaver, Nobel Prize laureate in Physics Wolfgang Ketterle, Nobel Prize laureate in Chemistry Kurt Wüthrich, Nobel Prize laureate in biology Robin Warren, famous German political prisoner Ernst Zündel, Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff, American author Stephen Kinzer, syndicated journalist Eric Margolis, former assistant of the U.S. Department of the Treasury Paul Craig Roberts, American-Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud, former President of the American Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Sid Ganis, American international relations scholar Stephen Zunes, American singer and songwriter David Rovics, American political scientist and anthropologist William Beeman, British journalist Andy Worthington, Australian author and blogger Antony Loewenstein, Iranian geopolitics expert Pirouz Mojtahedzadeh, American historian and author Michael A. Hoffman II and Israeli musician Gilad Atzmon.
K Ziabari is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.
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