Wake up call for Iranian Communities around the World

by Abbas Edalat, et.al. (source: CASMII)
Monday, July 31, 2006

Wake up call for Iranian Communities around the World: War waged by Israel in Lebanon is prelude to war on Iran

By Abbas Edalat, Foaad Khoshmood, Shahram Mostarshed, Daniel M Pourkesali, Rostam Pourzal, Nader Sadeghi, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, Massy Homayouni, 31 July 2006

The horrific US and UK supported war waged by Israel against Lebanon under the pretext of self defense for the capture of two soldiers by Hezbollah is setting the stage for a US/Israeli military assault on Iran that would lead to a major conflagration in the Middle East and beyond. Only the global antiwar movement and urgent action by a united Iranian community can stop such an aggression.

The reasons behind the current atrocities are misrepresented. The media pretends the Lebanon/Israel border area was calm and peaceful before the unexpected surprise "terrorist attack" by Hezbollah on July 12. In fact, since its withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 which followed a 22 year occupation of the country, Israel has routinely raided and violated southern Lebanon [1][2][3]. It also continues to occupy Shabaa Farms, which Lebanon claims is part of its territory, and continues to illegally hold thousands of Arabs including a number of Lebanese prisoners without charge.

Western media has condemned Hezbollah for starting this conflict and for shooting rockets into civilian areas. These public condemnations usually fail to mention that Hezbollah started shooting rockets only after Israel's aerial bombardment of Lebanon's civilians. Hezbollah leaders have, furthermore, defended their action to capture the two Israeli soldiers in order to facilitate an exchange of prisoners with Israel.

In an article in the Guardian with the title "We are defending our sovereignty", Ali Fayyad, a senior member of the executive committee of Hezbollah asserts: "In the context of the continued occupation, detention of prisoners and repeated Israeli attacks and incursions into Lebanese territory, the capture of the Israeli soldiers was entirely legitimate. The operation was fully in line with the Lebanese ministerial declaration, supported in parliament that stressed the right of the resistance to liberate occupied Lebanon against Israeli aggression. International law also allows peoples and states to protect their citizens and territory [4]."

Following the capture of the two soldiers, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign targeting the civilian infrastructure in Lebanon to which Hezbollah responded by its own rocket attacks against Israel. The Lebanese population does not deserve to be killed and maimed just as innocent Israeli citizens do not deserve to be the target of Hezbollah rockets. An immediate cease fire is clearly warranted but stubbornly rejected by Israel, the US and the UK.

"Existential threat" to Israel

On the one hand Israel has been very blunt about its own strategic and barbaric goal. The army chief of staff, General Dan Halutz, said at the outset that his military would target infrastructure and "turn back the clock in Lebanon by 20 years" if the soldiers were not freed [5]. But, on the other hand, the military assault had been planned at least a whole year in advance and the capture of the two Israeli soldiers is only a pretext.

Backed by the US and the UK, Israel's real intension is far wider than the release of its captured soldiers which could have taken place with a cease fire and a simple exchange of prisoners as it did in 2004. Indeed, at first glance, it makes little sense for Israel to sacrifice 51 Israeli citizens including 33 Israel Defense Forces (IDF) casualties since July 12 [7], for the sake of two IDF soldiers.

Israeli leaders propagate their fear of what they call "an existential threat" to Israel by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Iran-inspired Hamas and Hezbollah mass resistance movements. Indeed Israel suffered its first ever defeat by an Arab force at the hands of Hezbollah in its failed 22 year occupation of Lebanon. Both Hamas and Hezbollah have deep rooted social and political bases. These movements run schools, hospitals and an extensive welfare system, and enjoy the support of the great majority of Palestinians and Lebanese respectively and are democratically elected to defend the interests of their constituencies rather than any external force like Syria or Iran. They have now developed into formidable mass opposition movements to Israel.

But the emergence of Islamic resistance movements against Israel is the product of Israel's nearly four decades of illegal occupation of Palestine, its massive brutality against Palestinians, its wars of aggression against Arab neighbours and its 22 year occupation of Lebanon. According to Professor Stephen Zunes "Hezbollah's strength derives primarily from popular support within the Shiite Muslim minority in Lebanon which has suffered from heightened poverty and displacement as a result of the U.S.-backed Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000" [8].

Israel has only its own leadership to blame for the emergence of armed resistance by Palestinians and Lebanese against its history of ruthless and violent conduct.

Israeli leaders have reacted hysterically to the disclosure of the Iranian nuclear plants at Natanz and Arak in 2002 despite the fact that the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no evidence of any diversion to any nuclear arms activities in Iran [9]. Israel. however, despite its own secret and massive nuclear arsenal and while continuing to refuse any visits by IAEA inspectors to its own nuclear plants, has joined the US in accusing Iran of developing a covert nuclear weaponization program, and has further vowed to stop it.

Israeli leaders have repeatedly called on the West to attack Iran, have threatened to do so themselves and have been making preparations for it. For example, on 5/11/2002, when the reformist Khatami was Iran's president and more than four months before the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Ariel Sharon, the then Israeli prime minister in an interview with the Times made the demand that the US should "attack Iran the day Iraq war ends" [10].

The election of Ahmadinejad, an ex-revolutionary guard leader, as Iran's new president in Summer 2005 signified a major turning point. His bold and radical positions against what he called "the Zionist regime" and his defiance against the US pressures have made him substantially popular both in the Arab street and in the Muslim world at large. This has profoundly increased Israeli leaders' rhetoric of "existential threat" and their resolve to attack Iran. Sunday Times on 11/12/2005 reported that Sharon had instructed the Israeli Defence Force to prepare itself for a massive air assault on Iran in 2006.

The victory of Hamas in January 2006 in the democratic elections in the occupied territories was the last straw. The two pro Iran resistance movements, Hamas and Hezbollah, who like Iran have taken radical positions against Israel, had to be dealt with as the first steps to a military strike on Iran.

Dismantling Hamas and Hezbollah before attack on Iran

It began with the starvation of the Palestinians in the occupied territories by Israel, the US and the EU for daring to vote for Hamas [11], followed by the military strikes at civilians in Gaza and the barbaric destruction of its only power plant, and the clampdown and the incarceration of Hamas parliamentarians and government in June.

Next it was the turn of Hezbollah, whose leaders had in fact predicted that Israel may attack Lebanon to pre-empt any action by Hezbollah if Iran is struck. Sheikh Naim Kassem, the deputy General Secretary of Hezbollah, envisaged the scenario that "Israel fired first to pre-empt any possible Hezbollah action if fellow Shi'ite Iran was attacked [12]."

The actual aim of Israel in its war on Lebanon is thus to annihilate or at least cripple the pro Iran Hezbollah resistance movement, to subjugate the country into a US and Israeli client state much like Egypt and Jordan and to prepare the ground for attacking Syria and Iran. A weakened Hezbollah and the assembly of Western "peacekeepers" in a buffer zone would prevent Hezbollah from taking any strong actions against Israel when Iran is attacked. These goals are to be achieved by inflicting a collective punishment and bombing a whole nation into submission with the complicity and support of the US and the UK governments.

The subsequent events have proven that Israel stands loyal to this aim. Hundreds of civilians, a third of whom are children, have so far been killed. Over 800,000 people have so far been displaced and the Lebanese civilian infrastructure is in ruins. Under the pretext of fighting the "terrorists," a whole nation has been subjected to massive punishment, continuously terrorized for nearly three weeks. Lebanese doctors have also reported the use of phosphorous incendiary bombs on civilians [13]. The military onslaught parallels and in some ways even exceeds the "shock and awe" campaign of Donald Rumsfeld in the assault on Iraq in March and Aril 2003.

Targeting civilians of any nationality, whether by states such as Israel, the US and the UK or by resistance movements such as Hezbollah and Hamas, is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law. The UN relief chief has condemned Israeli strikes as war crimes and illegal under humanitarian law for being indiscriminate and disproportionate [30], but the aggression and the war crimes have continued with the full complicity of the US and the UK. These include the bombing of a UN post on July 26th killing four unarmed UN observers, which the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described as "apparently deliberate," and the horrific massacre in Qana on July 30th in which more than 50 people including 34 children were killed.

Truth as the first victim of war

Israel has right from the start accused Iran for being behind Hezbollah's raid to capture two soldiers and for providing it with missiles and military training. Iran has denied all the charges and as in the past has declared that it only gives spiritual, moral and political support to the resistance movement but no financial or military aid. Though there has been no evidence that Iran was in any way involved in the decision made by Hezbollah to capture the two Israeli soldiers, baseless speculations are commonplace [14].

Meanwhile the pro Israel and US media have followed their leaders, launching a campaign of lies about the origin of the conflict designed to put the ultimate blame on Syria and Iran. Their mainstream news coverage suffers from a deliberate and ruthless suppression of the truth in claiming that the conflict started with the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah.

Never mind that the real timeline for the recent conflict started with the refusal of Israel and its US and European allies to recognize the democratically elected Hamas government in an election proposed and endorsed by the US and the EU. Never mind the crucial events of June 9th when an Israeli missile attack in the Gaza beach massacred a Palestinian family of seven [15]. Never mind another IDF missile attack on June 13th which killed nine Palestinian civilians and two activists [16]. Never mind that on June 24 , precisely one day before the capture of the soldier, Israel kidnapped a Palestinian doctor and his brother from Gaza [17], an event unreported and conveniently suppressed even later in the pro Israel western media.

Never mind the abduction and imprisonment of dozens of democratically elected parliamentary representatives and cabinet members of Hamas government [16] and the destruction of Gaza's infrastructure by Israel in retaliation for the capture of a single Israeli soldier by Hamas fighters.

Never mind that in Lebanon itself the timeline for the present war began, not with the capture of the two Israeli soldiers in July, but rather, as reported in the Guardian on July 20, 2006 by Tariq Ali, [18] several weeks earlier in May when Israel raided Lebanon to assassinate two activists from a Palestinian splinter group and then bombed Hezbollah's strongholds in southern Lebanon. These events lead to more border clashes before July 12. As Fairness and Accuracy In Media (FAIR) noted: "This intense fighting was the prelude to the all-out warfare that began on July 12, portrayed in U.S. media as beginning with an attack out of the blue by Hezbollah [29]." Furthermore, Israel's massive air and land operations could not possibly have been in response to the abduction of the two soldiers. FAIR concluded that Israeli action "was not a spontaneous reaction to aggression but a well-planned operation that was years in the making [29]."

Roots of the conflict

Tony Blair has now sheepishly followed George Bush to declare that an arc of extremists consisting of Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran is the root cause of problems in the Middle East; a charge reminiscent of Bush's axis of evil speech in January 2002.

As Tony Blair was explaining his new thesis on the roots of the conflict, the Israeli elite led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were preparing to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, an act which drew anger in Britain [19]. Menachem Begin who in later years twice became Israel's prime minister, was one of the Irgun leaders in charge of that operation in 1946, in which 92 people died, mostly civilians including 28 British, 41 Arab, and 17 Jewish [19].

While the capture of an IDF soldier in Gaza was denounced so loudly by the pro Israel media, the kidnapping of two Palestinian brothers [17] the night before by IDF was not even mentioned in western newspapers or Radio and TV reports. This is a grim reminder that only Israeli lives are important. Whoever resists Israel is automatically labelled as terrorist, while Israel's own crimes are often forgiven and forgotten. In a July 4th Parliamentary debate, British MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, himself Jewish, while condemning the kidnapping of the Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit reminded his colleagues that such acts were not exclusive to Palestinians. He stated "before Israel gained independence, Jewish terrorists led by two future Prime Ministers of Israel, Begin and Shamir, one of whom was a murderer and an assassin, kidnapped two British sergeants, hanged them and booby-trapped their bodies [20]."

Professor Stephen R. Shalom explains how some 700,000 Palestinians became refugees after Israel was established [27]:

"There is no longer any serious doubt that many Palestinians were forcibly expelled. The exact numbers driven out versus those who panicked or simply sought safety is still contested, but what permits us to say that all were victims of ethnic cleansing is that Israeli officials refused to allow any of them to return."

He then answers the question: "Why did Israel expel the Palestinians?"

"In part to remove a potential fifth column. In part to obtain their property. In part to make room for more Jewish immigrants. But mostly because the notion of a Jewish state with a large non-Jewish minority was extremely awkward for Israeli leaders. Indeed, because Israel took over some territory intended for the Palestinian state, there had actually been an Arab majority living within the borders of Israel. Nor was the idea of expelling Palestinians something that just emerged in the 1948 war. In 1937, Ben-Gurion had written to his son, 'We will expel the Arabs and take their places ... with the force at our disposal.'"

The refugee problem, one of the major injustices against the Palestinian population affecting the present situation, was addressed back in December 1948 by Resolution 194 of the UN General Assembly, which declared that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live in peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so" and that "compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return." But this was never honored by Israel leading to a 58-year old Palestinian refugee problem. Subsequent resolutions 242, 338 and others have called on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian lands. These have yet to be implemented after 39 years.

Given that Israel is currently in breach of over 60 UN resolutions, some passed decades ago, it is grossly hypocritical that the US has demanded, as a precondition for a cease fire, the implementation of the UN resolution 1559 in 2004, which calls the disarming of Hezbollah,[24]. For example Israel is still in breach of international law for not compensating Lebanon after it bombed the Beirut airport back in 1968. (UN Resolution 262)

Numerous Israeli governments have done their own populations as well as those in the neighboring Arab states grave disservice by chronically ignoring the demands of the international community, incessantly pursuing hostile bully tactics and adopting might-makes-right diplomacy.

Israel has also served as the regional guard-dog of the western powers in the Middle East. This role was clearly proven when Israel joined Britain and France to attack Egypt in 1956 when Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal. This is why the West equips Israel with the most sophisticated arms, supports its large nuclear arsenal and labels as terrorists all those who resist this hegemony, principally Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.

Decades of US-backed militarism and expansionist policies have not reduced the ugly specter of terrorism on the Israeli populous. And facilitating another conflict with Iran or Syria will certainly not remedy this situation.

US-UK project for a new Middle East

The Bush administration has shown its full backing of the savage assault on Lebanon and the Israeli war crimes as it has rushed the delivery of at least 100 GBU 28 bunker buster bombs [21] containing depleted uranium warheads by the United States to Israel for use against targets in Lebanon transported, as it has now emerged, through an airport in Scotland [22].

The unconditional support by Bush, Blair and the pro Israel western media for this savage assault against Lebanon and their firm opposition to a cease fire in defiance of the rest of international community is however far more than just another instance of the West's historical acquiescence for Israel's aggressions against Palestinians and Arabs. It is not just more of the same pro Israel policies that the world has seen for some six decades since the formation of that state in 1948. Since 9/11, Israel has also become the US and UK's closest ally in the so-called "war on terror."

By blaming Syria and Iran for the conflict in Lebanon, the US and the UK governments are preparing the public opinion for outright military interventions against these countries, which will represent the next chapter in the unfolding neo-conservative Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

PNAC aims to use the overwhelming military power of the US under the pretext of "democratization" to replace all defiant regimes in the Middle East with pro US client states. Given the rise of China and India as the new economic super powers, the declining US imperial power would have to resort to its military superiority to dominate the whole of the Middle East and Central Asia in order to control vast energy resources.

The US and UK governments have organized a propaganda campaign to blame Syria and Iran for the failures of American policies throughout the Middle East: The latter countries now stand accused of bringing about the catastrophe which has befallen Iraq after the illegal and criminal invasion of that country and for the death of the so-called "Road Map" in Palestine.

The US Senate has unanimously passed a resolution, which supports Israel unconditionally in its criminal assault on Lebanon and demands further political and economic sanctions against Syria and Iran. The House of Representatives has with very little dissent passed a similar resolution.

What has shocked the western public is not just the horrifying war crimes but that such a calamity is committed by Israel with US complicity against a nation under a pro western government, a nation whose prime minister only a few weeks ago met George W. Bush in the While House. The question then is raised why is such a devastating blow to a pro-western government warranted at this time?

In her visit to Lebanon and Israel this week, Condoleezza Rice has opposed any immediate ceasefire on the grounds that one needs to create the conditions for a durable cessation of violence, namely the crippling of Hezbollah. She has proudly announced that the barbaric war waged by Israel to dismantle Hezbollah is the "birth pangs" of a new Middle East.

It is now crystal clear that the American promise for a new Middle East can only be brought about with a forceful regime change in Iran. Thus, the US-UK support for the Israeli attack on Lebanon and the free reign the Israeli military has for its war crimes against the people of Lebanon, are essential and worth the price to remove an important obstacle in the decisive strike against the ultimate enemy: Iran.

Nuking Iran to pre-empt its nukes

The anti-Iran propaganda over Lebanon is now combined with the existing three year US-led campaign to accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons. This campaign has been carried out at the UN Security Council, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and just about every international forum where the US has influence.

However, the IAEA has failed to find any evidence of a nuclear weapons program in the country even after over three years of intensive and intrusive visits to Iranian nuclear plants [9]. Iran has publicly denounced nuclear weapons and calls on the West to respect its inalienable rights to a civilian nuclear program granted by the Non Proliferation Treaty.

These two irreconcilable positions will lead to a major international crisis. Given the Israel-US-UK entrenched positions, the possibility of military confrontation becomes more and more likely.

The double-edged campaign of accusation by Israel-US-UK against Iran over its nuclear program, and "state sponsor of terrorism" in Lebanon has succeeded in creating enough hysteric fear as to make war a serious option. The charges against Iran have the same substance and play the same function as those used in the run-up to the disastrous invasion of Iraq.

Given Bush's terrible performance in the current opinion polls and a serious prospect of a Republican loss in the US Congress in the November elections, the antiwar movement and the Iranian community must consider seriously the chance of a US attack on Iran in the coming months. Such an attack will serve to raise Bush's popularity for the coming elections albeit for a short time.

Israel and the US having already rolled back Lebanon for 20 years would have no qualms about carpet bombing and completely destroying Iran. Iran's Islamic regime has been demonized for decades and its president has called for the destruction of the "Zionist regime."

In fact, as reported by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker [25], the US war on Iran has already entered into its operational phase. Hersh said the administration is fomenting ethnic conflict inside the country, calling for regime change and funding exiled pro-US opposition forces to destabilize Iran under the guise of "democracy."

If as a result of an Israel/US air assault on the country, Iran responds in any effective way, for example by striking American military forces in Iraq which are exposed to guerrilla attacks and missiles from Iran, the voices Cheney and Rumsfeld and other "nuclear hawks" will be strengthened.

As an ex-CIA officer stated in the American Conservative magazine "The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites [26]."

The possible use of nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran was also highlighted in Seymour Hersh last April [25]. Subsequently, George W. Bush refused to rule out the possibility of employing nuclear weapons against Iran.

The "rational justification" for such an extraordinary crime would be that it is the only method to destroy Iran's nuclear plants that are fortified deep underground.

The absurd logic of using nukes against Iran to prevent it from having nukes is beyond any sound mind. In fact, it only makes sense when put in the context of the profoundly criminal and inhuman philosophies employed by its perpetrators. As with Hiroshima and Nagasaki , the "moral justification" for the use of the nuclear bomb would be proclaimed on the grounds of self-defense and saving American lives.

Attack on Iran: a major global conflagration

It goes without saying that such prospects for the present conflict will certainly lead to a major humanitarian catastrophe for Iranian people as well as a major conflagration of violence in the Middle East and beyond. It will not be confined to a sharp increase in the price of oil and a subsequent economic downturn and misery for billions of people around the world.

An assault on Iran, which is considered by Muslims all around the world as leading the resistance against western hypocrisy and the US-UK support for Israeli tyranny, oppression and atrocities, will inflame the wrath of millions of people across the globe resulting in massive unrest and uprisings throughout the Islamic world.

Senator John McCain the Republican hopeful for US presidential elections supports the option of military action against Iran. Asked if the U.S. might find itself embroiled in two wars at once, McCain responded point blank: "I think we could have Armageddon." [28]

Bombings are rarely enough to foster regime change. In times of national emergency the people always flock to the government for protection and national solidarity. This principle was proven in America after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 where public support for George W. Bush was an all time high. Similarly for Iran, the question of internal democratic aspirations was put on hold during the terrible Iran-Iraq war, in which the US and the west were caught selling chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein. Thus the US will not be able to accomplish its goal of regime change in Iran in the short term. But it could very well succeed in ruining the entire country and turning it into another Afghanistan.

War opposition

Only a strong and broad antiwar movement in the US, UK and the rest of the western world can stop this regional and global disaster. The defiance by Russia and China in the UN Security Council can at most delay the imposition of sanctions and military attack on Iran but will not be able to prevent it as the run-up in the invasion of Iraq has proved.

The doctrine of pre-emptive strike has become an integral part of the Bush administration's warfare strategy and the leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties in the US are strongly united in characterizing Iran as US's number one enemy, the principal state sponsor of terrorism and a fundamental threat to global peace and security, which has to be dealt with sooner than later.

Similarly, the disastrous consequences of the Iraqi invasion by Iran will not deter the US in launching a war against the Iranian regime that American leaders accuse of destabilizing the democratic process in Iraq. An assault on Iran will be justified to the US public as the remedy to all ills in the region.

For all these reasons, it is only pressure by the Western public opinion that can change the balance of forces against the warmongers in the US.

Negotiations with Iran without preconditions

At the moment the US with full support from the UK is leading a diplomatic effort in the United Nations Security Council to isolate Iran and justify a military strike. The so-called "incentive" package proposed by the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany requires Iran to suspend its enrichment program before any negotiations begin. In this, the US insists that Iran concede the main objective of the negotiations before they even start. It is either an extremely arrogant plan or one designed to fail on purpose.

Iran has announced that the package is acceptable [23] as a basis for the negotiations but the demand for suspension of uranium enrichment as a precondition for the negotiations is unacceptable.

The US and the UK governments have no interest in negotiations and a resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue by diplomacy, which was shown by the leaked letter of John Sawers, Britain's Foreign Office political director, reported by Times-on-line on 22/3/2006. They have thus formulated the "incentive" package so as to be unacceptable to Iran They are determined to obtain in the UN Security Council a chapter VII based resolution, which concerns threats to global security, and demand that Iran halt its uranium enrichment program. Such a resolution can then be used for imposition of sanctions and military strikes against Iran as Russia and China are well aware of with their defiance to the US and UK pressure.

Iran has the support of the 114 member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) that has defended Iran's peaceful nuclear program in their ministerial meeting in the end of May this year in Malaysia. NAM is second only to the UN in terms of the number of member states and aims to represent the political, economic and cultural interests of the developing world.

Iran has also obtained the support of the 57 nations of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) who in their Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Baku in June this year have demanded negotiations with Iran without any precondition.

Furthermore, there are a number of reports to the effect that Kofi Annan, Mohammad ElBaradei, China, Russia and even Germany support Iran to continue a research and development program for enrichment while suspending enrichment on an industrial scale, a position acceptable to Iran.

In this setting, pressure by the public in the West can actually defeat the disingenuous and vile US-UK led diplomacy in the UN Security Council against Iran. It is thus imperative that the anti-war movement around the world organizes an effective campaign, including lobbying parliamentarians and statesmen, demanding immediate and direct US negotiations with Iran without any preconditions. Without any mandate from the UN Security Council, the US and UK alliance will be in disarray as they will find it extremely difficult to take unilateral military action on Iran.

Iranian community should stand up with a united voice

A key role can and must be played by the several million strong Iranian communities in the western world who can exert a decisive impact on the public opinion and the governments of the countries they reside. The apparent complacency of the Iraqi expatriate community countries and the publicity given by the western media to figures such as Ahmad Chalabi greatly facilitated the illegal invasion of their county with its catastrophic consequences.

Although various groups of Iranians in the west have already raised their voice against any attack on Iran, the overwhelming majority while inherently antiwar have remained inactive and in denial that an assault on Iran can actually take place. It is vital that this complacency be strongly challenged.

Regardless of attitudes towards the Islamic Republic and human rights issues inside the country, Iranians should without any hesitation and reservation stand up and organize themselves in the anti war movement against the rapid escalation of threats against Iran and call for immediate and unconditional negotiations with Iran.

Defending Iran against an imminent illegal military attack by Israel-US-UK is not tantamount in any way to politically supporting the Islamic Republic. It is simply to defend the sovereignty of a nation and the right of self-determination of Iranian people to handle and resolve their own problems without any foreign state intervention.

The war waged by Israel against Lebanon and the charges against Iran have made the task of defending the people of Iran inseparable from defending the people of Lebanon and Syria as well as the people of Palestine. By joining these solidarity movements and calling for an immediate cease-fire in Lebanon and an exchange of prisoners, Iranians should find their allies in opposing an attack on Iran.

Today there is still time to prevent the total annihilation and disintegration of Iran, tomorrow it may be too late.

Notes

[1] Arabic News, "Lebanese personalities condemn the Israeli aggression on Lebanon," 7/2/2005
http://www.arabicnews.com/ansub/Daily/Day/050702/2005070211.html

[2] UN News Center, "Israel violates Lebanese air space despite existing regional tension - UN envoy", 9/13/2003
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=8535&Cr=lebanon

[3] Haaretz, "Lebanon to complain to UN of Israeli land, sea, air space violations," 12/16/2005. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=658601

[4] The Guardian, "We are defending out Sovereignty", July 25, 2006
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,1828134,00.html

[5] The Guardian, "Capture of soldiers was 'act of war' says Israel", July 13, 2006
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1819095,00.html?gusrc=rss

[6] The Globe and Mail, "Toll higher than stated, civilians say," July 26, 2006
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20060726.MIDEDEATHS26/TPStory/

[7] Bloomberg, "Israel Cabinet Decides Against Expanding Operations," July 27, '06
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aa7SembvT3WI

[8] Mother Jones, "The U.S. Congress and the Israeli Attack on Lebanon", July 24, '06 http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2006/07/defending_israel.htm

[9] Washington Post, "No Proof Found of Iran Arms Program", Aug 23, 2005
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/22/AR2005082201447.html

[10] Common Dreams, "Attack Iran the Day Iraq War Ends, Demands Israel," Nov 5, '02
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines02/1105-02.htm

[11] Mother Jones, "Punishing the Palestinians: Congressional legislation aimed at isolating Hamas is unnecessarily harsh and will likely backfire." June15, 2006
http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/columns/2006/06/hamas_backfire.html

[12] The Scotsman, "Hezbollah sees no need to aid Iran if U.S. strikes", May 22, 2006
http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=761002006

[13] Fox News, "Cabinet: Lebanon Faces 'Real Annihilation,' Accuses Israel of Using
Banned Weapons" July 16, 2006.
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,203854,00.html

[14] Minneapolis Star Tribune (AP), "Syria, Iran seen as forces behind abduction of two
Israeli soldiers." July 14, 2006.
http://www.startribune.com/140/story/552647.html

[15] Human Rights Watch "More Evidence on Beach Killings Implicates IDF," 6/15/06
http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/06/15/isrlpa13570.htm

[16] ZNet, "Summer Rains," by Justin Podur, June 19, 2006
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=10500

[17] IndyMedia Ireland, "IDF abducts two brothers," June 26, 2006
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76854

[18] The Guardian, "A protracted colonial war," July 20, 2006.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1824423,00.html

[19] The Times, UK, "British Anger at Terror Celebrations," July 20, 2006
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2277717,00.html
See also "King David Hotel bombing", Wikipedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_David_Hotel_Bombing

[20] UK Parliamentary record July 4, 2006 : Column 209WH.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200506/cmhansrd/cm060704/halltext/60704h0286.htm

[21] New York Times, "U.S. Speeds Up Bomb Delivery for the Israelis," July 22, 2006. http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060722/WIRE/60722009/1117/news

[22] Jerusalem Post, "US Bomb shipment stops at UK airport," July 27, 2006
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153292012697&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

[23] Associated Press, "Iran calls Western incentives acceptable," July 16, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060716/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iran_nuclear

[24] US State Department Briefing, July 20, 2006
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2006/69282.htm

[25] The New Yorker, "The Iran Plans," Issue of April 17, 2006 http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060417fa_fact

[26] American Conservative, "Deep Background," August 3, 2005
http://www.amconmag.com/2005_08_01/article3.html

[27] Z Magazine, "Background to the Israel-Palestine Crisis", by S. R. Shalom, May 2002
http://www.zmag.org/shalom-meqa.htm

[28] NewsMax.com, John McCain Warns of Iran 'Armageddon', April 2, 2006 http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2006/4/2/231135.shtml

[29] FAIR, "Down the Memory Hole: Israeli contribution to conflict is forgotten by leading papers," July 28, 2006.
http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2928

[30] AFP, UN relief chief accuses Israel of violating humanitarian law, July 23, 2006 http://www.campaigniran.org/casmii/page/p/UN-relief-chief-accuses-Israel-of-violating-humanitarian-law


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