U.S. pro­pa­ganda war against Iran doomed to fail

Tehran Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jour­nal­ist from New Delhi Syed Za­far Me­hdi

At a time when the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is fac­ing back­lash at home over its mil­i­tary sup­port for the Saudi-led coali­tion in Ye­men and dis­grace­ful de­feat in Afghanistan af­ter 18 years of war, spin doc­tors in Wash­ing­ton are look­ing for con­ve­nient scape­goats to es­cape ac­count­abil­ity.

Last week, five hu­man rights watch­dog bod­ies is­sued a terse state­ment, say­ing the U.S. will bear shared re­spon­si­bil­ity for what may be the largest hu­man­i­tar­ian catas­tro­phe in decades if it doesn’t end sup­port for the Saudi-led coali­tion in Ye­men. Iron­i­cally, Saudi jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi’s bru­tal mur­der has brought the spot­light on Saudi regime’s war crimes in Ye­men.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. im­posed war, which has stretched into its 18th year now, has turned out to be an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity. Even the top-notch U.S. of­fi­cials have ad­mit­ted de­feat there, thereby em­bold­en­ing ter­ror­ist groups like Tal­iban and ISIS to up the ante.

Amidst this hul­la­baloo, the ‘as­tute’ ad­vi­sors of Trump have come up with an in­no­va­tive ‘idea’ to es­cape cul­pa­bil­ity for Ye­men and Afghanistan. Only that this idea doesn’t seem to work.

A few days ago, Pen­tagon un­veiled what it called “new ev­i­dence of Iran’s on­go­ing mis­sile pro­lif­er­a­tion”, claim­ing that Tehran’s sup­port of Houthi rebels in Ye­men has “deep­ened” and it has been pro­vid­ing “ma­teriel sup­port” to the Tal­iban in Afghanistan.

A select group of jour­nal­ists were in­vited for a brief­ing in Wash­ing­ton by Brian Hook, U.S. spe­cial rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Iran. Hook be­gan by say­ing that the U.S. deeply val­ued its “part­ner­ship with the UAE, Bahrain and Is­rael”. That is how the agenda was set for the brief­ing.

UAE is an in­te­gral part of the Saudi-led al­liance that has wreaked havoc in Ye­men, with the U.S. sup­port. Bahrain, where Al-Khal­ifa regime has been com­mit­ting hor­ren­dous war crimes, is home to the Amer­i­can Fifth Fleet. Is­rael, a key U.S. ally, has been il­le­gally oc­cu­py­ing the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries and bru­tal­iz­ing na­tive Pales­tini­ans.

Af­ter the ini­tial round of lav­ish praise for these three regimes, with ter­ri­ble hu­man rights record, Hook spoke about the imag­i­nary ‘dan­gers’ posed by Iran’s ‘dan­ger­ous pro­lif­er­a­tion of mis­siles across the Mid­dle East’. The agenda was clear: to spread mis­in­for­ma­tion against the Is­lamic Repub­lic, which dares to say ‘no’ to the ‘Big Satan’ and all its al­lies, in­clud­ing these three regimes.

He con­ve­niently for­got that his coun­try’s com­mit­ment un­der Ar­ti­cle VI of Non Pro­lif­er­a­tion Treaty (NPT) to work to­wards to­tal dis­ar­ma­ment has turned out to be hog­wash. He for­got that U.S. ally Is­rael has re­fused to open its nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties for UN in­spec­tions and re­fused to ad­here with the res­o­lu­tion re­gard­ing non-pro­lif­er­a­tion.

Dis­play­ing pieces of what he said were ‘Ira­nian weapons sup­plied to mil­i­tants in Ye­men and Afghanistan’, a tried-and-tested ploy to in­tim­i­date Iran, Hook ac­cused the Houthis’ of ‘reck­less use of ad­vanced weapons pro­vided by Iran’.

He didn’t men­tion the bil­lion dol­lar arms deal be­tween the U.S. and Saudi Ara­bia, the same arms be­ing used to slaugh­ter Ye­me­nis. He didn’t talk about the block­ade of aid sup­plies trig­ger­ing world’s worst hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis with thou­sands of deaths over the past three years and more than 22 mil­lion peo­ple in need of as­sis­tance.

Iran, he said, has ‘no le­git­i­mate in­ter­est’ in Ye­men, other than to ‘ex­pand its sphere of in­flu­ence and to cre­ate a Shia cor­ri­dor of con­trol’. So, what in­ter­est does the Saudi regime have in Ye­men and what in­ter­est does the U.S. govern­ment have in sup­ply­ing arms to Riyadh.

Per­ti­nently, the U.S. State Depart­ment had ad­mit­ted in leaked ca­bles that Houthis were not Iran’s proxy and they re­ceived nei­ther fund­ing nor weapons from Iran. That’s what hap­pens when you don’t do your home­work well. Or maybe, ig­no­rance is bliss.

He went on to ac­cuse Iran of arm­ing the Tal­iban, the same mil­i­tant group that was on CIA’s pay­roll once. The same mil­i­tant group that has been hold­ing ‘se­cret par­leys’ with the U.S. of­fi­cials in Qatar. The same mil­i­tant group the U.S. wants to keep alive to jus­tify its oc­cu­pa­tion of the war-torn coun­try.

Tal­iban spokesper­son punc­tured his claim say­ing the mil­i­tant group has weapons de­pots spread in var­i­ous parts of Afghanistan. He said the U.S. govern­ment was just seek­ing to de­flect global at­ten­tion from its fail­ures in Afghanistan by lev­el­ing such un­founded al­le­ga­tions.

As a re­minder, on the af­ter­noon of Oct.

7, 2001, when the U.S. and its al­lies started the deadly air raid in Afghanistan, Rums­feld said the ob­jec­tive of the ‘cam­paign’ was to dec­i­mate the Tal­iban and al Qaeda hide­outs in the coun­try. As of to­day, the war has com­pleted 17 years, con­sumed thou­sands of lives, and cost U.S. tax­pay­ers more than

$150 bil­lion. All this without achiev­ing the stated ‘ob­jec­tive’.

And it’s not Iran sup­ply­ing weapons to the Tal­iban. It is the United States. The Spe­cial In­spec­tor Gen­eral for Afghanistan Re­con­struc­tion (SIGAR), a U.S. govern­ment watch­dog body, in a re­port last year de­tailed the hor­ri­ble job Pen­tagon does at keep­ing weapons that even­tu­ally end up in ter­ror­ist hands. And some of the weapons are from Soviet war days when Amer­i­cans and Tal­iban were fight­ing to­gether. Hook per­haps needs lessons in his­tory.

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