The drums of war against Iran were beating stronger and faster this week.
The neocons around George Bush want to escalate the war in the Middle East in an attempt to extricate the US from the Iraq quagmire – and see an attack on Iran as the best way to do this.
The justification for such an attack has shifted of late – from stopping Iran’s nuclear programme to retaliation for Iran’s alleged support of resistance movements in Iraq and Lebanon.
And the targets have also broadened, with US warmongers talking about a general attack on Iran’s infrastructure as opposed to “surgical strikes” directed at nuclear facilities.
Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the US this week and was met by a feverish wave of jingoistic hysteria. “The Evil Has Landed” read the New York Daily News front page. The New York Post described him as a “madman”.
This follows a week of steadily building hostility towards Iran coming from the US administration and its allies.
On Friday of last week the US state department hosted a meeting with British, French, German, Russian and Chinese officials to try and agree increased sanctions against Iran.
The US also wants other countries to agree to blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
Last month Bush designated the Revolutionary Guards a “terrorist organisation” – a move widely seen as preparing the legal justification for a military attack on Iran.
Meanwhile France’s new foreign minister Bernard Kouchner – one of the few French politicians to back the US-led attack on Iraq in 2003 – warned that the French should “prepare ourselves for the worst”, adding that “the worst is war” against Iran.
The warmongering comes as the occupation of Iraq becomes ever more unpopular in the US.
As veteran anti-war radical Noam Chomsky puts it, “They’re desperate. Everything they touch is in ruins. Under these circumstances, they’re unpredictable. They might go for broke, and hope they can salvage something from the wreckage.”
An attack on Iran would be catastrophic for the people of Iran and the wider Middle East region. It threatens to plunge the world into flames. But this is a price Bush’s neocons are willing to pay in their pursuit of imperial power.
None of this makes war inevitable – but it does mean the global anti-war movement must redouble its efforts to end the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, and bring all the troops home.