by Patrick Cockburn
The demonization campaign against Iran has the earmarks of a prelude for a military attack by the U.S. and Israel against Iran. The propaganda is very similar to that heaped upon Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2002. In both cases, an isolated state with limited resources is portrayed as posing a genuine threat to the region and the world.
Iran has long been denounced in Washington as the source of much of the evil in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and its Sunni allies see the hand of Tehran behind protests in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province. As the last US forces leave Iraq by the end of the year, there are dire warnings of Iraq becoming an Iranian pawn.
This demonization of Iran at times seems to set the stage for a military attack on Iran by the US and Israel. The propaganda build-up is very similar to that directed against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in 2002. In both cases, an isolated state with limited resources is presented as a real danger to the region and the world. Unlikely and sometimes comical conspiracy theories are given official credence, such as the supposed plot of an Iranian-American used-car dealer in Texas teaming up with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington. Iran’s nuclear program is identified as a threat in much the same way as Saddam Hussein’s non-existent WMD.
It therefore came as a shock when the distinguished Egyptian-American lawyer Cherif Bassiouni, who led the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry into this year’s unrest, said flatly in his 500-page report last week that there is no evidence of Iranian involvement in events in Bahrain. This had been a core belief of Bahrain’s royal family and the monarchs of the Gulf. Fear of Iranian armed intervention was Bahrain’s justification for calling in a 1,500-strong Saudi-led military force on March 14 of this year before it drove demonstrators from the streets. Bahrain even got Kuwaiti naval vessels to patrol the coast of the island in case Iran should try to deliver weapons to the Shia pro-democracy protesters.
No doubt the kings and emirs of the Gulf sincerely believe their own conspiracy theories. Many of those tortured during the brutal repression in Bahrain have since given evidence that their torturers repeatedly asked them about their links to Iran. Middle-aged hospital consultants were forced to sign confessions admitting that they were members of an Iranian revolutionary plot. After accepting the Bassiouni report, King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa said that, though his government could not produce clear evidence, Tehran’s role was evident to “all who have eyes and ears”.
Edited by Neobond, 08 December 2011 - 11:29.
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