In a sign that U.N. Security Council-based diplomacy is losing steam, a number of sources are reporting that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities may be imminent. France and America also are pushing for tighter economic sanctions against Tehran, without U.N. approval.
Yesterday’s edition of Le Canard Encha®n©, a French weekly known for its investigative journalism, reported details of an alleged Israeli-American plan to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. The frontpage headline read: “A report sent to the Elys©e — Putin tells Tehran: They’re going to bomb you!”
Ironically, the right-wing clamor for war is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Here’s why:
— The success of the right-wing’s push for military action hinges on establishing that the U.N. Security Council can’t stop Iran’s nuclear program. As the Sun notes, the U.S. and French are already considering an effort to proceed “without U.N. approval,” in essence forming a “coalition of the willing” that ignores the U.N. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)
— Russia and China, both members of the permanent five, have rebuffed efforts to increase sanctions on Iran, fearing that they “will be exploited to support a U.S. policy of regime change or military action.”
— That fear, precipitated by right-wing rhetoric, then inhibits the U.N.’s ability to agree on sanctions that could be used “to increase the pressure on Tehran to comply with the Security Council’s demand to suspend uranium enrichment.” The failure to instill a new sanctions regime then allows the administration to push for confrontation.
Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said this week: “Definitely what we are seeing is a confrontation in the making.”
And if the Bush administration can’t establish the need to go to war based on the threat of a nuclear Iran, it appears appears ready to claim that Iran’s cross-border activity in Iraq may justify military action. On that front, Congress — not wanting to appear weak — is facilitating the administration’s case.
Glenn Greenwald writes the “virtual refusal of senior military officials to permit a war with Iran” may be all that stands in the Bush administration’s way.
UPDATE: The AP writes today, “In a setback for the United States, Iran won a two-month reprieve from new U.N. sanctions over its nuclear program on Friday. The Bush administration and its European allies ceded to Russian and Chinese demands to give Tehran more time to address international concerns. … The decision marks another blow for Washington in its diplomatic struggle to toughen existing U.N. sanctions on Iran.”