by Robert Naiman
The Bush Administration is once again escalating its confrontation with Iran. Clearly they have multiple motivations for doing so. They’re trying to “change the channel” from the failure of the “surge,” ahead of the September Congressional debate on Iraq. They would dearly love to split off from the Democratic opposition on Iraq Members of Congress who share the AIPAC goal of confronting Iran. And they want to undermine negotiations taking place between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency over Iran’s nuclear program.
But details have emerged from the recent escalation that strongly indicate what many have long suspected: the Bush Administration’s fundamental conflict with Iran is not about its nuclear program or alleged weapons smuggling – so far unproven – into Iraq.
It’s simply a great-power struggle for influence. And while there’s nothing too shocking about that, people in the United States should ask themselves – and be asked by others – what sacrifices we are really willing to bear so that the Bush Administration can try to keep Iran from having the influence in Iraq that they would normally have – and almost certainly will have – if there is a democratic government in Iraq, given that 60% of the Iraqi population is Shiite and has strong cultural and religious ties to their co-religionists in Iran. How many U.S. soldiers’ lives is that goal worth? How many billions of U.S. tax dollars? read more