23 July 2006

UK Govt Sources Confirm War With Iran Is On

In the last few days, I learned from a credible and informed source that a former senior Labour government Minister, who continues to be well-connected to British military and security officials, confirms that Britain and the United States

"... will go to war with Iran before the end of the year."

As we now know from similar reporting prior to the invasion of Iraq, it's quite possible that the war planning may indeed change repeatedly, and the war may again be postponed. In any case, it's worth noting that the information from a former Labour Minister corroborates expert analyses suggesting that Israel, with US and British support, is deliberately escalating the cycle of retaliation to legitimize the imminent targeting of Iran before year's end. Let us remind ourselves, for instance, of US Vice President Cheney's assertions recorded on MSNBC over a year ago. He described Iran as being "right at the top of the list" of "rogue states". He continued: "One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked... Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards."

But the emphasis on Israel's pre-eminent role in a prospective assault on Iran is not accurate. Israel would rather play the role of a regional proxy force in a US-led campaign. "Despite the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration has not reconsidered its basic long-range policy goal in the Middle East..." reports Seymour Hersh. He quotes a former high-level US intelligence official as follows:

“This is a war against terrorism, and Iraq is just one campaign. The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone. Next, we’re going to have the Iranian campaign. We’ve declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah—we’ve got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.”

Are these just the fanatical pipedreams of the neoconservative faction currently occupying (literally) the White House?

Unfortunately, no. The Iraq War was one such fanatical pipedream in the late 1990s, one that Bush administration officials were eagerly ruminating over when they were actively and directly involved in the Project for a New American Century. But that particular pipedream is now a terrible, gruelling reality for the Iraqi people. Despite the glaring failures of US efforts in that country, there appears to be a serious inability to recognize the futility of attempting the same in Iran.

The Monterey Institute for International Studies already showed nearly two years ago in a detailed analysis that the likely consequences of a strike on Iran by the US, Israel, or both, would be a regional conflagaration that could quickly turn nuclear, and spiral out of control. US and Israeli planners are no doubt aware of what could happen. Such a catastrophe would have irreversible ramifications for the global political economy. Energy security would be in tatters, precipitating the activation of long-standing contingency plans to invade and occupy all the major resource-rich areas of the Middle East and elsewhere (see my book published by Clairview, Behind the War on Terror for references and discussion). Such action could itself trigger responses from other major powers with fundamental interests in maintaining their own access to regional energy supplies, such as Russia and particularly China, which has huge interests in Iran. Simultaneously, the dollar-economy would be seriously undermined, most likely facing imminent collapse in the context of such crises.

Which raises pertinent questions about why Britain, the US and Israel are contemplating such a scenario as a viable way of securing their interests.

A glimpse of an answer lies in the fact that the post-9/11 military geostrategy of the "War on Terror" does not spring from a position of power, but rather from entirely the opposite. The global system has been crumbling under the weight of its own unsustainability for many years now, and we are fast approaching the convergence of multiple crises that are already interacting fatally as I write. The peak of world oil production, of which the Bush administration is well aware, either has already just happened, or is very close to happening. It is a pivotal event that signals the end of the Oil Age, for all intents and purposes, with escalating demand placing increasing pressure on dwindling supplies. Half the world's oil reserves are, more or less, depleted, which means that it will be technologically, geophysically, increasingly difficult to extract conventional oil. I had a chat last week with some scientists from the Omega Institute in Brighton, directed by my colleague and friend Graham Ennis (scroll down about 2/3's to see Graham's letter published in The Independent), who told me eloquently and powerfully what I already knew, that while a number of climate "tipping-points" may or may not have yet been passed, we have about 10-15 years before the "tipping-point" is breached certainly and irreversibly. Breaching that point means plunging head-first into full-scale "climate catastrophe". Amidst this looming Armageddon of Nature, the dollar-denominated economy itself has been teetering on the edge of spiralling collapse for the last seven years or more. This is not idle speculation. A financial analyst as senior as Paul Volcker, Alan Greenspan's immediate predecessor as chairman of the Federal Reserve, recently confessed "that he thought there was a 75% chance of a currency crisis in the United States within five years."

There appears to have been a cold calculation made at senior levels within the Anglo-American policymaking establishment: that the system is dying, but the last remaining viable means of sustaining it remains a fundamentally military solution designed to reconfigure and rehabilitate the system to continue to meet the requirements of the interlocking circuits of military-corporate power and profit.

The highly respected US whistleblower, former RAND strategic analyst Daniel Ellsberg, who was Special Assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam conflict and became famous after leaking the Pentagon Papers, has already warned of his fears that in the event of:

"... another 9/11 or a major war in the Middle-East involving a U.S. attack on Iran, I have no doubt that there will be, the day after or within days an equivalent of a Reichstag fire decree that will involve massive detentions in this country, detention camps for middle-easterners and their quote 'sympathizers', critics of the President’s policy and essentially the wiping-out of the Bill of Rights."

So is that what all the "emergency preparedness" legislation, here in the UK as well as in the USA and in Europea, is all about? The US plans are bad enough, as Ellsberg notes, but the plans UK scene is hardly better, prompting The Guardian to describe the Civil Contingencies Bill (passed as an Act in 2004) as "the greatest threat to civil liberty that any parliament is ever likely to consider."

As global crises converge over the next few years, we the people are faced with an unprecedented opportunity to use the growing awareness of the inherent inhumanity and comprehensive destructiveness of the global imperial system to establish new, viable, sustainable and humane ways of living. Unfortunately, we have no other option. There is still light, however dim it may seem in this overwhelming smog of escalating calamity...


  1. Dear Nafeez,
    I have long suspected that some years ago, the corporate class realised that Climate Catastrophe was unstoppable and have calculated that given their technological and financial power could, if adequate steps were taken, survive it relatively intact.

    It would of course mean sacrificing possibly billions of people including even a significant section of their domestic populations but who would in any case be 'surplus to requirement' in a post apocalyptic situation.

    It solves the classical problem Capital has always had which in the past 'general war' had been the 'solution' to, namely consuming the over-abundance of capital, redistribution of markets, eliminating competition et al.

    It is the only way one can explain the apparent indifference to the facts of climate change, which I contend are not simply down to being motivated by short term gain.

    The vast increase in productive power facilitated by the IT revolution means that comparable levels of productive capacity would be available without the need for mass employment. The possession of the bulk of the 'Intellectual Capital' that makes it all possible, means that starting up again would be possible. They would also have vast military/security power at their disposal to protect their interests (aka Jack London's 'The Iron Heel', prescient eh).

    Furthermore, with the world's raw materials now held 'captive' in the 'South', without the local populations 'in the way', once the dust has settled, they would be available for exploitation.

    Far-fetched? No more than starting WWI and II or as we are witnessing, III.


    Go well


  2. Dear Nafeez,

    I agree with a lot of what is said in the article. However could you please check on Peak Oil. The "Peak Oil" scam was exposed years ago for what it was a price hike scam. Sure we have peaked if oil is 10USD a barrel but at reasonable barrel prices above this we are swimming in the stuff.

  3. if only you were right my friend, my heart could rest easy...

    unfortunately, the fact is that the bulk of the best academic and scientific literature on this subject confirms the reality of peak oil; the only questions are that of precise timing, and the general consensus among geologists is that the peak is either imminent or will happen within the next few years. some believe it may already have happened.

    the best evaluation of the debate in my view is Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over". it's simply incorrect to say that peak oil has been proven a scam. these assertions are simply not grounded in solid peer-reviewed research. peak oil has still not been officially acknowledged by any government, and people like FTW have been fighting for years to get this urgent reality noticed in the mainstream. they're only now beginning to have limited success in doing so...


  4. There's a recent article floating around here and there that takes on Greg Palast's recent 'dismissal' of the Peak Oil issue. Reading it (and still liking Palast generally) I concluded that Peak Oil is coming and Palast is somewhat off base with his dismissal of the issue in his latest book.

    Ruppert's CROSSING THE RUBICON is powerful but I'm still not as convinced as he is that Peak Oil is the driving motor behind the 9/11 attacks. Part of it perhaps (just as Palast mentions he has a long oil-company document discussing plans for the Iraq invasion) but the whole thing still seems more complicated than that. Pick the dozen or so odd 9/11 facts (Israeli art students etc) of your choice and they all seem to paint to something more complicated, possibly a combination of factors and interests. Of course, given the fact that I'm writing this on the comments blog moderated by the guy that wrote an entire book on this very topic, I shouldn't necessarily expect anyone to be blown away by my powers of deduction here.

    Was the document A CLEAN BREAK completely brought about by Peak Oil? Is the Project for the N.A.Century solely motivated by same? As the comic book guy from The Simpsons frequently says: "I think not!" Anyway, there seem to be a variety of interests at work here - big oil / oppressive government / corporate profit / Israel and so on...

    I find the current push to war and recent events in the M.E extremely depressing, but this is zero comfort to the poor souls who have to experience it directly. Good work with this blog Nafeez and please keep it up.

  5. Nafeez,
    First, thanks for your work and writings. I was just curious if you had read greg palast's new book "armed madhouse". He has an interesting take on the motivations of big oil in Iraq that I had never heard before and found intriguing. thought you might too.
    be well,

  6. Former President Bill Clinton spoke at Aspen Ideas Festival in July 2006. He was interviewed on July 7 by James Fallows of “The Atlantic Monthly” on the three issues that now look different from when he was president. (In addition to Peal Oil, Clinton mentioned Climate change and AIDS). This is an excerpt from the Minnesota Public Radio broadcast on July 11, 2006. (This conversation starts around the 9:00 minute mark)

    MPR: A conversation with Bill Clinton

    Clinton: “This is very important…I was reading a book the other day by a guy just bashing the living Hell out of me, about, saying that he was certain the CIA briefed me once a week on how America was running out of oil and that I did nothing serious about it. Of course he ignored what we tried to do and got our brains beat out doing. But that’s not true.

    To the best of my knowledge, I never had a security briefing which said what some of these very serious, but conservative petroleum geologists say, which they think that, either now or before the end the decade’s out, we’ll reach peak oil production globally, and with the rise of China and India and others coming along, unless we can dramatically reduce our oil usage, we will run out of recoverable oil within 35 to 50 years. And that would mean that quite…in addition to climate change, we have a very short time in the life of the planet to turn this around.

    So I think that we all need to start thinking that as we propose…practical solutions to climate change, what we…we all need to keep this in the back of our mind. There’s a good chance that these people who have a living all these years studying petroleum deposits know what they’re talking about, and we may not have as much oil as we think. So we need to get in gear.

    But it, it’s a blessing. It’s a bird’s nest on the ground. America needs a source of new jobs. And we should be leading the way. Furthermore, if we don’t, the Chinese and the Indians will never follow suite, and we’re cooked anyway.”

    James Fallows: “Let me follow up with one just further aspect on this climate change issue. As you’re well aware, this is one of many cases in the U.S. where the facts are determined by political orientation more-or-less. There is a set of…that the very success of your former vice-president, Al Gore’s movie, has made people both persuaded by his argument, and identifying with him, and with your administration, with the Democratic Party. How do you think this issue either will, or should be resolved, in terms of having a common set of facts and action plan agreed on?”

    Clinton: “Well, I think first of all, in order to get broad bi-partisan support and have it bite with the American people, you have to put the climate change issue into the context of...first, you have to inject this oil depletion issue. This needs much more serious debate. It is almost not discussed at all by the mainstream media, and very few people know about it. You’ve got to read these books by geologists or people who talk to them, to you know, form an…to get a grip on the facts.

    Secondly, we need to present it in terms of a national security and economic development argument as well as climate change…”

    (Excerpt near end of this segment)

    “This decade’s news jobs are in clean energy, and we haven’t seized them, and that’s why we are in the economic…kind-of doldrums, even though we have good growth numbers, good productivity numbers and low unemployment. So that’s how you make it bite. You’ve got to have a…you have to present it in a way that’s not just climate change.

    ..and I should note that Clinton first publicly mentioned Peak Oil in London (March 2006)...

    “We may be at a point of peak oil production. You may see $100 a barrel oil in the next two or three years.”
    – Bill Clinton in a speech at the London Business School, March 28, 2006

    ...and AL Gore has been meeting with member of ASPO (Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas), and this is what he said last month on TV...

    “We almost certainly are at or near what they call peak oil, defined as having recovered a majority of the oil reserves at a certain price, affordability range.”
    - Al Gore on Larry King live/CNN, June 13, 2006

  7. If its all a gigantic plot, then why are articles like this

    - being written?

    Religious loonies, both muslim and christian, are trying to drag us back to the Dark Ages.

    I suggest we hang all the priests, including those called "commisar".


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