PARIS, 28 June (IPS) According to a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, operation for regime change in Iran has already started, with US special military bases established in neighbouring Azerbaijan and the CIA hiring the outlawed Mohajeden Khal Organisation (MKO) for covert operations inside Iran.
“We now know that the war had started much earlier. Likewise, history will show that the US-led war with Iran will not have begun once a similar formal statement is offered by the Bush administration, but, rather, had already been under way since June 2005, when the CIA began its programme of MKO-executed terror bombings in Iran” ”, says Scott Ritter, in an article published on 23 June 2005 by the online service of the Qatar-based Aljazira Television, one day before the first round of presidential elections in Iran.
The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun.
The race, won by Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadi Nezhad, a fundamentalist Muslim of 49 years who was also Mayor of Tehran was described by Washington as “undemocratic” marred with frauds and riggings. While President George W. Bush reiterated his support for the Iranian freedom fighters, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, the State Secretary said the outcome “sends Iran backward, as it goes against the democratic process seen in Afghanistan and in Iraq”.
“Normally, this would represent a good turn of events. But with everyone's heads rooted in the events of the past, many are missing out on the crime that is about to be repeated by the Bush administration in Iran - an illegal war of aggression, based on false premise, carried out with little regard to either the people of Iran or the United States”, Mr. Ritter said.
Most Americans, together with the mainstream American media, are blind to the tell-tale signs of war, waiting, instead, for some formal declaration of hostility, a made-for-TV moment such as was witnessed on 19 March 2003.
“As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah's to an "axis of evil" (together with the newly "liberated" Iraq and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for the spread of "democracy" to the Iranian people
"Liberation and the spread of democracy have become none-too-subtle code words within the neo-conservative cabal that formulates and executes American foreign policy today for militarism and war, the former nuclear arms inspector noted, adding, “By the intensity of the "liberation/democracy" rhetoric alone, Americans should be put on notice that Iran is well-fixed in the cross-hairs as the next target for the illegal policy of regime change being implemented by the Bush Administration.
“The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil is taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities”, according to Ritter.
The ethnic links between the Azeri of northern Iran and Azerbaijan were long exploited by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and this vehicle for internal manipulation has been seized upon by CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special Operations units who are training with Azerbaijan forces to form special units capable of operating inside Iran for the purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and mobilising indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran.
Logistical planning is well advanced concerning the basing of US air and ground power in Azerbaijan.
Given the fact that the bulk of the logistical support and command and control capability required to wage a war with Iran is already forward deployed in the region thanks to the massive US presence in Iraq, the build-up time for a war with Iran will be significantly reduced compared to even the accelerated time tables witnessed with Iraq in 2002-2003.
But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan. American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when striking targets in and around Tehran.
As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran.
In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly 24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military hostilities commence.
This is not all, for the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mojahadeen Khalq Organisation, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.
“It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labeled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq”, Mr. Ritter said.
Perhaps the adage of "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist" has finally been embraced by the White House, exposing as utter hypocrisy the entire underlying notions governing the ongoing global war on terror.
America and the Western nations continue to be fixated on the ongoing tragedy and debacle that is Iraq. Much needed debate on the reasoning behind the war with Iraq and the failed post-war occupation of Iraq is finally starting to spring up in the United States and elsewhere.
But Americans, and indeed much of the rest of the world, continue to be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran.
As such, many hold out the false hope that an extension of the current insanity in Iraq can be postponed or prevented in the case of Iran. But this is a fool's dream. ENDS US IRAN 28605
Editor’s note: Scott Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, 1991-1998, and author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of America's Intelligence Conspiracy, to be published by I B Tauris in October 2005.
Some editing and phonetisation of name and highlights are from IPS