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Is the Media Fomenting War between Iran and the US?

Boredom strikingly prevails on the media stage despite the wars in Afghnaistan and Iraq and the forgotten conflictsin other countries.

By Florian Roetzer

[This article published in the German-English cyber journal Telepolis 2/16/2007 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/24/24656/1.html.]

Perhaps we should occasionally look at the world from a cynical perspective. Then "boredom" strikingly appears on the media stage despite the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the forgotten conflicts in other countries. The conflict with North Korea although a country from the "axis of evil" was never stirring for the media. Syria was only mentioned in passing. Iran was always in the sights of the media, not only of the US government and the European states seconding that government. .

If one looks at the cover of the last issue of the Economist, reporting from the trouble spots with their everyday struggles and battles is too tedious to the collective and global attention system, the media, even if hundreds of people lose their lives every day. World history takes place on regional, national and local scales. The world looks spellbound at an event that humanity accumulated - 9/11, followed by the Afghanistan war and then the suspense of the ill-considered spectacle of the military march on Iraq, the first war staged entirely as a media war.

Now after Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and all the revelations about the lies and deceptions of US president Bush, his poodle, British premier Blair, will still not leave the stage. Both have little to report since reporting anything could be a problem. The waiting is unavoidable. The Bush administration plays with fire. With the deployment of troops and widespread information about Iran, the Bush administration stirs up possibilities for an explosion with a thoughtless incident. A military intervention after an Israeli attack on Iran could strengthen Bush against the mood in the military, Congress and the people. Being drawn into a war involuntarily provoked by Iran's leadership would be a possibility for neutralizing the political skirmish and the gradual loss of significance so he could appear again as the supreme commander.
In recent weeks, the Bush Administration has dramatically improved its capacity for striking Iran. It is doubtful that a decision to go to war has been made, but in the weeks ahead officials and war advocates will describe an attack on Iran as both "feasible" and "necessary," particularly if Iran persists in developing its isotope-enrichment program. Even born-again critics of the Iraq war, notably Hillary Clinton, go to pains to emphasize that a nuclear-capable Iran is intolerable and that all options must be kept open to deal with Iran. ...
While many leading Iranian officials fully understand the gravity of the situation, it is nonetheless possible to imagine a series of real or contrived clashes that lead, perhaps unintentionally, to a serious aerial and naval campaign against Iran. Or—to put it simply—to yet another U.S. war of choice.
A. Richard Norton (1), Professor of international relations at Boston University und advisor to the Iraq Study Group

The US media is not playing along as after 9/11 and before the Iraq war. Despite great mistrust, weren't the terror attacks and the war spectacle also media high-points? Wasn't the time before the Iraq war when everyone knew a war was inevitable and desired a "terrific" time with increased tension and permanent new speculations queued up? The theater of war was far away, someway in the Arab dreamland with bloodthirsty warlords, polygamy and an archaic religion competing with Christianity.

Bush is playing the game of expectation like his Iranian counterpart, Hussein and Bin Laden before him. Obviously this is his only chance of making all he bungled forgotten and keeping guard of his power, even if nothing happens any more. According to reports, opposition- and resistance groups in Iran are supported and hidden operations of the secret service are carried out. The presence of two aircraft carriers off Iran's coast and all the accusations that Iran supports the insurgents in Iraq, the arrest of Iranians and the directive that suspected Iranian agents may be shot and killed are manifestations of a power- and intimidation scenario. A serious military conflict could arise through a provoked accident or irrelevant incident.

Bush withdrew the charge that the Iranian government was behind the weapon deliveries to the Shiite militias but insists (2) the dangerous explosives obviously came from el-Kuds-brigades, "part of the government." This reminds (3) politicians and journalists of the time before the Iraq war. The rumor spread by the pentagon that al-Sadr and other leaders of the militia escaped to Iran to wait and see until the military operation in Baghdad was over is only another little stone.
I don't think the administration is about to carry out military action. The military does not want to do this. ... But the administration's actions are increasing the chances for an accidental confrontation. People don't realize how small and narrow the Gulf is, especially as you approach the Straits of Hormuz. The tanker/container and related commerce traffic is incredible and it goes on twenty-four hours a day. We've already got one carrier battle group there and now we're going to put in another one, which will add a huge footprint. When you have, on both sides, nineteen-year-olds manning weapons, it's a formula for an accident that could spin out of control.
Former CIA agent who wanted to remain anonymous. (4)

The Bush administration is in an embarrassing predicament because on one hand a new breakthrough was achieved in negotiations with North Korea. A fax (5) of the Swiss ambassador in Teheran was publicized revealing that the Iranian government was ready for comprehensive negotiations in 2003. The ambassador sent the fax with the "roadmap" for negotiations to the US State Department. (6) Secretary of State Rice did not see the fax at that time. Former deputy secretary of state Armitage said whatever came from Iranians and from the Swiss ambassador was repressed. Tom Casey, the spokesperson of the State Department, declared the document could not have come to the US government on the official way. For a long time, the US had no official relations to Iran. According to information (7) from Flynt Leverett who worked for the National Security Council at that time. Powell and Rice knew the document but the government rejected the Iranian offer. Powell should have said, according to Leverett, he could not "sell the offer to the White House." (8)

For its part, Iran offered to guarantee "full transparency" in the nuclear program to guarantee that the development of nuclear weapons was not occurring. Decisive action against all terrorists including al-Qaida in Iraq, helping stabilize Iraq, stopping the material support of Palestinian groups, not carrying out campaigns within Israel in the borders of 1967, transposing Hezbollah into a political group and recognizing the two-state solution were the themes. On the other side, the US should stop supporting the MEK-terror group and destabilizing Iran from the outside. All sanctions should be ended, the right to civilian use of nuclear energy and regional security interests acknowledged, a Turkish invasion in Northern Iraq prevented and political and religious contacts to Iraq approved.

The question is whether the White House so confident of victory in May 2003 will change course. That the game with Iran is kept open and intensified by the White House is undeniable. There are many noticeable similarities with the experiences from the Iraq war. That this could flow into a military confrontation is not surprising despite the denial of US president Bush. But it also cannot be denied that media and journalists are attracted by speculations about a possible showdown. This fuels the excitement on the stage and strengthens the self-dynamic of events for political rulers. The media could exacerbate the conflict with a heightened crescendo of stimulations, warnings and presumptions creating a global event or climax repressing everything else. Recognizing the evidence for possible developments is the task of the media attention system pointing beyond the threatening dangers. Like so many other things, this is a two-edged sword.

(1)  http://harpers.org/sb-war-with-iran-1-1171385486.html
(2)  http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/02/20070214-2.html
(3)  link to www.washingtonpost.com
(4)  http://harpers.org/sb-war-with-ir-1171457451.html
(5)  link to www.washingtonpost.com
(6)  link to www.washingtonpost.com
(7)  link to www.reuters.com
(8)  http://www.thenation.com/blogs/notion?pid=166196
Telepolis Artikel-URL:  http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/24/24656/1.html

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