The Way I See It

The Way I See It

Canadian Government Support for US-NATO-Israeli Plans to Attack Iran Is Reckless and Indefensible

Canadians Want Peace Not More War

Don Currie Chair Canadians for Peace and Socialism

July 7th 2010

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s right-wing minority Conservative government has chosen the path of imposing more sanctions against Iran thereby supporting plans for a US-NATO-Israeli aerial bombardment of Iran, possibly with the use of nuclear weapons. [1]  

The Prime Minister has placed his minority government in direct opposition to majority Canadian public opinion that opposes more war and wants a diplomatic solution to Canadian Iranian relations regardless of how long it takes.  

Iran must comply with the June 9, 2010 UN Resolution 1929 within 90 days or confront further sanctions.[2]  That could mean hostile military actions by the USA against Iran on the high seas to intercept Iranian ships or ships of other states caring cargo to Iran as early as mid-August.  Such illegal actions would be considered by Iran as acts of war and a prelude to a US-NATO-Israeli attack in its coastal waters and territory necessitating a response.  Iran has stated it will retaliate against US-Israeli attacks.  Iran is mobilizing its defensive forces.

The UN sanctions are so comprehensive and sweeping it virtually guarantees continued non-compliance by Iran.  The resolution is the necessary pretext for gross violations by the USA of Iran’s sovereignty including, as was the case in the lead up to the US attack on Iraq, a UN quasi-legal cover for a future joint US-NATO-Israeli direct military assault.  United States and Israeli naval attack forces are now positioned in the Strait of Hormuz and in the Persian Gulf.[3]   Joint maneuvers have already taken place. In response Iran continues to conduct defensive naval and military exercises in its coastal waters and territory.[4]  It cannot be forgotten that the US imperialists planned the war against Iraq for years before it actually took place.

Yesterday’s meeting (July 6th) in Washington between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu would undoubtedly have discussed all questions related to US-Israeli joint action against Iran.  Any differences, real or imagined between the Obama administration and Israel do not include their joint hostility towards Iran.[5]

Included in the UN sanctions are prohibitions on trade and financial transactions with Iran by UN member states including China and Russia; both having extensive trade and investment interests in Iran. 

China and Russia both gave support to the UN Resolution arguing that it afforded opportunities for further negotiations.  These countries now may become the subject of indirect UN sanctions if they continue with business dealings with Iran.  The likelihood of China breaking its financial dealings with Iran are remote.[6]

Any US-NATO-Israeli attack on Iran would be a provocation on China and Russia’s doorstep in a region where they have long standing relations with Iran and that would be a cause for the mobilization of their respective defense forces.   Majority support for UN resolution 1929 cannot cover up underlying conflicting interests and power relationships among Security Council members.   The resolution is not unifying, it is destabilizing.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently wound up a tour of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic, where the US maintains a military base.  Azerbaijan borders Iran and shares a long coastline on the oil rich Caspian Sea.  During her visit Clinton made provocative anti-Russian statements in Georgia standing alongside US educated and trained Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili.[7]  The USA uses Georgian and Azerbaijani airspace to fly military supplies to Afghanistan.  The US military is upgrading its bases in these states to accommodate heavier equipment and traffic indicating it intends to remain in the region for the foreseeable future.

US military maintains bases on the territory of compliant states with or without the consent of the people who live there.  There is little doubt that US military presence and arrogance was a root cause of the recent tragic violent upheavals in Tajikistan.  The reckless and aggressive US policy in the region resulting in more destabilizing and wider wars is real and deliberate.  

The intent of the US and its NATO allies to deliberately worsen relations with Russia and China will continue because it is part and parcel of the strategic aims of US imperialism in the oil rich region stretching from the Caspian to the Gulf.  The US has only its own interests in mind when oil is the prize.   Oil addiction is the cocaine of US foreign policy guaranteed to remove any notions of restraint, in particular from the minds of the rich and powerful that derive their lavish lifestyles from oil investments, including ongoing dividends from BP that is presently wreaking disaster on the US states along the Gulf of Mexico. 

The US is already involved in two military debacles in the region, Iraq and Afghanistan.  A failed policy has never prevented US strategists from creating another one.  To add another dimension to a failed policy is a measure of the growing internal conflict among domestic US imperialist forces that quarrel fiercely until agreement is reached on the one issue they all approve of, military aggression to seize and control oil and its routes to the USA.   

The USA led propaganda campaign demonizing Iran is a set piece.  It is the template that was used in the lead up to the Bush war on Iraq.  First the US alleges its security is threatened.  The threat emanates from an adversary possessing weapons of mass destruction.  A campaign is waged in the UN for sanctions.  Sanctions include conditions that no sovereign state would comply with.  Defiance of the will of the “international community”, a euphemism for the USA and its closest NATO, allies is alleged.  Provocations are created to prove the allegations.  The defiant state is deemed to be a “rogue” state fit only to be destroyed and rebuilt on the US model.  Ipso facto war is the only remedy.  Regime change is justified.

The US anti-Iranian policy is worked and re-worked through all international forums, cajoling and bullying all states to give up independence of thinking and action.  US approval of a state is measured by how creatively that state sells the US-NATO line to the public.

The Harper Government is a willing participant in this sinister charade.  The Conservative minority government has abandoned all pretext of an independent Middle Eastern and Central Asian foreign policy of peace that would align Canada with the diplomacy of such states as Turkey, Brazil, and Lebanon[8] striving in the UN to advance proposals that would reduce the danger of war in the Persian Gulf.

The statements of Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon at the G8 Foreign Ministers in the Gatineau last March and at the Muskoka and Toronto G8 and G20 meetings of June 22, 2010 boasted of the sanctions his government had imposed on Iran.  Cannon threatened dire consequences unless Iran restricted its nuclear program stating Canada will hold Iran accountable for its actions and condemned Iran for its alleged violation of UN Security Council Resolutions.  Cannon accused Iran of threatening peace and security in the region and with an obvious unstated reference to North Korea commenting that any state failing to comply with international standards will “result in consequences”.  Cannon went on to say that Canada stands ready to implement additional sanctions.  Cannon wound up with a broadside at Iran’s human rights violations.  The Minister offered nothing on behalf of his government to ease tensions.  The Harper Government has opted for the path of confrontation with Iran that leads directly to war.

The reckless stance of the Canadian Government,  if not opposed will commit Canada to direct military involvement in another US-NATO instigated war in the Middle East, this time involving the possible use of nuclear weapons.  Such a war can take place before Canadian forces have ended their military mission in Afghanistan in 2011 and may be used by the Harper government as the pretext for ongoing Canadian military engagement in Central Asia and the Middle East far beyond 2011.   

The fundamental stance of the Harper regime is to place the strategic interests of the USA and Israel above the interests of the Canadian people that in their majority want peace and are opposed to further Canadian involvement in US-NATO instigated wars.  The Canadian people never gave majority support to Canadian participation directly or indirectly in the US instigated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and will undoubtedly react the same way to involvement in another foreign imperialist war against Iran.

The latest UN sanctions against Iran are provocative and are designed to make it impossible for Iran to participate in any peace process that would not involve the loss of its sovereignty and its right to supply its own energy needs from the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  What other countries of the world take for granted, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, the Canadian government asserts does not apply to Iran.  Cannon in his G20 speech said Canadian sanctions “are designed to restrict Iran’s nuclear program.”

Cannon’s sanctimonious stance ignores the sale of Canadian uranium to an array of states that possess nuclear weapons and claim to use the radioactive ore to generate nuclear energy for peaceful uses only. Ironically one those states scorned and pilloried by Prime Minister Harper is China that recently signed a long term deal with Canada.[9]

Lawrence Cannon pretends that the Canadian people will overlook the utter confusion and double standards in Canadian foreign policy as applied to the uses of nuclear energy.  The policy of the Harper Government of uncritically promoting the strategic goals of the USA-NATO-Israel on Canada, have led the Harper minority government into the swamp of duplicity and deceit that threatens the peace and security of Canada and its peoples.

The UN sanctions against Iran are also the pretext for more intrusive interference by the internal security forces in the civil and democratic rights of Canadians.  The Harper government’s regulations amending the previous regulations implementing previous UN sanctions against Iran, has further restricted the rights of Canadians having business dealings with Iran.  The new regulations are an invitation to abuse and frame-up reminiscent of the worse days of the cold war.

In the June 7th issue of Macleans magazine, published two days before the June 9th UN resolution 1929 was adopted, a Canadian citizen was arrested and charged with importing centrifuges from the USA for transshipment through Canada to Iran.  The RCMP admits the devices can be sold legally in Canada without penalty but not sold to Iran.  The case is pending.

The question that will occur to anyone that thinks about the matter is why is it that a country such as Iran that has achieved such a high level of science and technology and has reached the point where it has a nuclear industry, needs to illegally import centrifuges and other rather common devices from its mortal enemy the USA?

The people of Iran regardless of their differences about their internal politics, and there are many and they are serious, will nonetheless as people, never agree to the imposition of UN sanctions on their right to the development of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

The danger of the use of nuclear weapons against civilian or military targets does not emanate from Iran.  It arises from the USA and Israel.  Israel is the only state in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons.  Therefore Israel is the only country that poses a threat of using them.

Iran has signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and in spite of all of the propaganda to the contrary has not violated its terms.  Neither has Israel - how could it since it refuses to sign the NPT.

The International Atomic Energy Commission which complains it doesn’t have adequate access to inspect Iranian nuclear facilities in spite of having made hundreds of such inspections since 2005 has never been allowed to make even one inspection of Israeli nuclear production and its arsenal of nuclear weapons.[10]  Why doesn’t the Canadian government refuse to carry forward any sanctions against Iran until Israel ceases to defy all UN resolutions condemns Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and its possession of nuclear weapons. 

The reason why the threat of a US-Israeli attack on Iran is serious is not that it is legal.  It is serious because both of these countries act illegally and acknowledge no constraints on their actions except when confronting a power equal or greater than their own.

The USA is the only country in the world that has used the atomic weapon against civilian populations, the first demonstration of the use of a weapon of mass destruction and it did so without asking for anyone’s approval.  It did it with impunity.  Why should any state believe that it would not do so again?

Foreign Affairs Minister Cannon and Prime Minister Harper with full approval of Michael Ignatieff must be compelled to answer the question, what is Iran’s defense against the most powerful military state in the world?  Why shouldn’t it believe it is threatened with nuclear attack?  The suggestion that Iran’s concerns about US hostility stated in open debate in the UN are groundless defies all recent history of US and British policy towards Iran.

The US possesses more nuclear weaponry and the ability to deploy them to target than all of the other nuclear states combined.

The USA which has never renounced the first use of nuclear weapons, seeks to deploy them in space, maintains a network of over 750 military bases around the world, has deployed nuclear weaponry on land sea and air and can now from its own territory using advanced satellite technology and drones can remotely control the sending of nuclear devices thousands of kilometers to their targets.

The USA is whipping up a frenzy of hatred against two lesser states, Iran and North Korea that pose no military threat to continental USA, have no military bases outside their territory, are in a developmental stage in bringing science and technology to their economies for the benefit of their peoples and have one main thing in common.  These countries have carried out revolutions the USA does not approve of and like Cuba, and now Venezuela, stand as defiant symbols of the determination of all states to live in this world without the approval of US imperialism.

UN resolution 1929 will not stand because it demands that the Iranian people live on their knees.  That will never happen.

The left progressive and peace movement in Canada have only one course at this time.  To unite and do everything we can to oppose the planned US-NATO-Israeli war on Iran and the Harper Government’s collusion in that sinister enterprise.  And defeat the Harper administration at the first available opportunity.

Left Turn Canada!