Via: Black Agenda Report.
The Obama administration’s behavior toward Iran is eerily reminiscent of George Bush’s mobilization for war against Iraq in the half-year before the actual invasion. A recently leaked Pentagon directive and a host of other factors are “consistent with preparations for a general mobilization, as begun against Iraq by the Bush regime in the summer of 2002.”
President Obama’s plans for all-out assault against Iran are at roughly the same point of preparation and likelihood of execution as George Bush’s plans for Iraq in the summer of 2002. As with Bush’s deployment of forces deep into Iraq months before his successful request for War Powers in October, 2002, and more than half a year before full scale invasion in March, 2003, there is still time to halt Obama’s methodical movement toward full-scale war – but not much.
This week’s deliberate leaks of Pentagon orders to deploy U.S. special operations forces in Iran, Yemen, Somalia and even U.S.-allied Saudi Arabia are designed to acclimate the public to escalating U.S. operations in the region and within Iran, itself. The Administration also thought it prudent to prepare the public for when Americans are inevitably captured or killed in Iran or elsewhere they have no right to be, under international law. U.S. special operations soldiers are authorized to infiltrate “friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces.” The reconnaissance aspects of the missions “could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran,” said the designated receiver of the leaked documents, The New York Times.
Predictably, the Times raised no questions of its own about the legality of the new policy, which is said to have gone into effect in September, beyond noting that “Many in the military are also concerned that as American troops assume roles far from traditional combat, they would be at risk of being treated as spies if captured and denied the Geneva Convention protections afforded military detainees.” But sending armed troops into another nation’s territory to “’prepare the environment’ for future attacks” is not mere spying – it is an act of war, in preparation for aggressive war, the “supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole,” under the Nuremburg Principles.
The Times interprets the document as authorizing military operations to gather intelligence on Iranian nuclear facilities and to “identify dissident groups that might be useful for a future military offensive.” In fact, under both Bush and Obama, the U.S. has contacted, encouraged and armed Iranian Kurds, Arabs, Baluchs and other minority groups and dissidents to carry out attacks against Iran. The “new” directive, code-named Avocado, allows the Pentagon to carry out these aggressions without the participation of the CIA, according to the Times.
The Atlantic’s interpretation of the directive says it allows “combatant commanders to put together task forces for almost any purpose, and draw from almost any existing military unit.” This is consistent with preparations for a general mobilization, as begun against Iraq by the Bush regime in the summer of 2002.
Marc Ambinder, the Atlantic’s reporter, writes that “Even during the Bush administration, the military did not insert American personnel into Iran, which is what the Avocado execute order now permits.”
Whether this is a “first” or not, the Obama administration is clearly making itself ready to launch an attack on Iran that is eerily similar to the Iraq mobilization of 2002. The September 23, 2002 issue of the New York Times reported that “elite Special Operations troops have been told to separate from the military temporarily and to join C.I.A. units that could be used in any campaign. Those troops would bring their counterterrorism skills to covert missions while allowing the Pentagon to maintain that no uniformed combat forces were in action.“ Under the Avocado directive, already in force for the last eight months, the Pentagon is empowered to mount far more, and farther ranging missions into Iran and elsewhere in Obama’s ever-expanding theaters of war, without playing second-fiddle to the much smaller CIA. And there is no longer even the pretense that U.S. combat troops are not involved, as in mid-2002.
Like the Bush Administration during the run-up to the Iraq invasion, the Obama regime bullies aside all efforts to defuse the manufactured Iran “crisis,” most recently by dismissing the Turkish-Brazilian agreement to swap Iranian nuclear fuel stocks. Obama seems as fully committed to war as his predecessor in the half-year before the Iraq invasion– but with no significant anti-war movement to contend with, and a Black population that is still drunk on the delusion that the First Black President shares their anti-war instincts.
Only 500 or so days into his administration, Obama has picked up the pieces of Bush’s imperial policies, and rushes forward to expand the Empire by force of arms.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.