The Wall Street Journal reports that the US accepts economic role but rejects the military tie of Tehran to Baghdad.
So, on the one hand "Senior Bush administration officials said the U.S. won't block Iran's efforts to establish financial institutions in Iraq" but on the other hand they aretaking a tougher stance against Iran, in relation to alleged involvement of Tehran in the killings last month of five U.S. soldiers in the Iraqi city ofKarbala . Although " Senior U.S. officials acknowledged yesterday [Feb,1, 2007] that they had no direct evidence to support this claim, and Iran has long denied accusations that it is supplying weapons to Shiite groups in Iraq or that it has expanded its paramilitary operations inside the country."
According to the WSJ, "In late January, Iran's ambassador to Iraq surprised U.S. officials by telling the New York Times that Tehran was preparing to significantly increase its financial and trade ties to Iraq." On Feb 1st, 2007 "senior Bush administration officials said the U.S. accepted the Iranian economic moves and would make no effort to block them."
However, "The willingness to allow Iranian banks to operate in Iraq comes as the U.S. is trying to shut down Iranian financial activity elsewhere in an effort to pressure Tehran to abandon its alleged nuclear-weapons program."
Now I wonder, is it more dangerous if Iranians have economic and financial ties to Iraq, or to the European union? Is it more dangerous--as far as the oh-so-delicate safety of the American lives (which are undoubtedly worth 100 times more than non-American lives) is concerned-- for Iranian-born naturalized citizens of Canada to have American savings in the Royal Bank of Canada, in the Westmount Branch, or for the Iranian National Bank to have a branch in Baghdad?
Wouldn't the cynic be suspicious that what the Americans are really after in Iran, is NOT the WOMD, but an unquestionable economic dominion, made possible by obtaining Iran's natural resources through the black markets of Syria, at slashed prices--if they do not succumb to the wishes of the empire that is?
So Iran has really two choices: Either hand in the keys to the US, so they can take what they wish in peace and in "freedom"; or to have the US break the lock with the bunker buster nukes (an option which will look bad on the American resume of nuclear habits and if allowed to be designed by the European allies, will turn into: let Iranians just smuggle their assets to Syria, and cash them cheap --as they did during the Iran-Iraq-- war, in exchange for bread, and in exchange for more weapons (deals brokered by Israel, of course), for the inevitable time that the US with its culture of instant-gratification, will come to break the lock!)
Now excerpts from the The Guradian (by Jonathan Steele) that I mentioned above:
The real purpose of Washington's heightened talk of Iranian subversion seems to be twofold. The administration is playing the blame game. When the "who lost Iraq?" debate develops in earnest as the presidential election contest hots up, Bush's people will name its fall guys. Number one will be the Democrats, for failing to fund the war adequately and allowing the "enemy" to take comfort from the sapping of American will. Number two will be Iran for its alleged arming of militias and insurgents. Number three will be Syria for allowing suicide bombers through Damascus airport and into Iraq.
The second purpose of Washington's anti-Iranian claims, as the former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski recently suggested, is to prepare a case for a US military strike on Iran. It will be described as defensive, just as the first attacks on North Vietnam two generations ago were falsely said to be an answer to the other side's aggression.
The safest conclusion is that Washington remains confused about what Iran is doing, and frustrated by its own inability to find allies to support a response. All options are being prepared, along with their "justifications". The International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual survey rightly pointed out this week that US power is fading. It can shape an agenda but not implement it globally.
Two stark new events prove that. One was the meeting between the Saudi and Iranian security chiefs to try to stop Lebanon sliding back into civil war. This showed Iran can be a force for regional stability, and that Saudi Arabia is resisting US efforts to isolate Tehran. The other was President Jacques Chirac's comment that it would not matter if Iran developed a nuclear bomb or two as they could not be used productively. Described as a gaffe since it broke ranks with Washington, it expressed the views of many Europeans (as well as the contradiction inherent in the French and British nuclear arsenals), since the French president added that the bigger problem was the push for other nations to follow suit.
As Washington's neocons go into eclipse and the realpolitikers dither, Britain and other European governments need to be far clearer in public than they have so far been. They should point out that the dispute with Iran is not as monumental as Washington claims. Fomenting new divisions in the Middle East or resorting to force are cures far worse than the disease.