The US and Britain have torn apart Iraq and now they want to do the same to Iran. The US military has been studying ethnic and religious tensions in Iran as part of its preparations for war.
The study was commissioned by the Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA), which specialises in producing intelligence for low ranking soldiers.
This suggests that plans for war are advanced.
According to the Financial Times, the military wants to determine attitudes towards the central government and examine if Iran is prone to the same tensions that are tearing Iraq apart.
As with the planning for the war in Iraq, the Pentagon has recruited exiles to help with its survey. A similar group of Iraqi exiles told the Bush administration that US soldiers would be welcome when they invaded, and fed them false information about weapons of mass destruction.
The US plans for Iraq involved dividing the country into semi autonomous regions dominated by ethnic groups, and distributing government ministries according to sect. The result has been to drive Iraq towards civil war.
Now the White House has asked the US Congress to make available £43 million to fund a propaganda campaign aimed at Iranians.
Among the exile groups surveyed by the military are the Kurdish Democratic Party, who support the occupation in Iraq, and the followers of the deposed Iranian royal family, who hope a US invasion will restore the monarchy.
Many groups representing Iran’s minorities refused to cooperate with the study because they fear the US is planning to break up the country.
A similar study on Iraq by the MCIA produced “culture smart cards” that are handed out to US troops in Iraq.
The cards instruct soldiers how to distinguish between ethnic and religious groups, and provide useful instructions in Arabic such as “surrender”, “do not resist”, and “lie on your stomach”.
Among the notes on the smart cards are a brief guide to ethnic and religious groups that describe Sunni Muslims as hostile to Shias because they blame them for “undermining the mythical unity of Islam”, while “Kurds are distrustful of Turkmen as they have competing claims over Kirkuk”.
Iran is right to fear the presence of US and British troops on its borders with Iraq and Afghanistan.
Several bombs have been set off in the southern province of Khuzestan, home to Iran’s Arab minority. The Iranians have accused Britain and the US of being behind the bomb attacks.