Per Frank Brodhead’s Iran War Weekly:
While huge majorities of the US public oppose war with Iran or US intervention in Syria, Congress and the mainstream US media have stepped up the pressure for a more aggressive stance on both fronts. With these factors in mind, we might ask whether President Obama’s speech this week at the National Defense University – in which he tried to dispose of liberal pressures on his policies re: drones, Guantanamo, and “the war on terror” – should be read as a move away from a confrontation in the Middle East, or as an attempt to secure his liberal base before more intense confrontations with Iran and Syria.
Following a series of generally unfruitful meetings regarding Iran’s nuclear program, further diplomacy is now on pause until after Iran’s presidential election, which will take place on June 14th. This week Iran’s Guardian Council disqualified the two presidential aspirants who might have challenged the policies of Iran’s Supreme Leader and the ruling conservative circles; but the fact that the candidate who has emerged as favored to win has been Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator may be significant in the future.
Towards Iran, the US Congress has now done everything but declare war. In the House this week, a committee reported out a bill that moved toward a full trade embargo – or economic war – against Iran; while by a vote of 99 to 0 the Senate passed a “sense of the Senate” resolution essentially endorsing any military action Israel might take against Iran, and calling on the Obama administration to support whatever Israel does.
Leading media outlets in the United States are also pushing hard for a more aggressive policy towards Iran, perhaps increasingly so. Several articles linked below illustrate this; the media’s spinning of the latest report by the UN’s IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program is a model of news-as-propaganda. One reason for this may be the greater salience of Hezbollah, generally viewed in “the West” as a proxy for Iran, in the fighting in Syria. While Hezbollah’s role in the fighting is largely confined to areas of importance to Hezbollah (the Lebanon-Syrian border) and Shi’ism (a shrine desecrated earlier by Opposition forces), Hezbollah’s historic conflict with Israel and its designation by the United States (and perhaps soon by the EU) as a “terrorist” organization have added a new element to the internationalization of Syria’s civil war. As this weekend’s news suggests, the war is well on its way to spilling over into Lebanon.
Once again I would like to thank those who you who have forwarded this newsletter or linked it on your sites. Please read the rest of this issue of Iran War Weekly at WarIsACrime.org. If you would like to receive the IWW mailings, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.