Friday, 1 August 2008

What If Iran Attacks Israel?

Observant readers on the Left may recognise the following, which is intended solely to PROVOKE discussion.

An attack on Israel will most likely lead to great carnage in the Middle East, and beyond, as supporters of Israel such as the US resort to the tactics of “shock and awe” used in Iraq, in retaliation. There might well be large scale Israeli civilian “collateral” casualties. An attack would strengthen the Israeli regime and license an attempt once more to expand the borders of Israel as happened in the previous Arab-Israeli conflicts. It would strengthen the right-wing Zionist elements who would smash down on its critics, including working class critics, inside Israel, as well as fuelling the measures of the imperialists in its “War on Terror”. It would throw Iraq back into the worst chaos along with much of the Middle East.

Yet the plain fact is that nuclear bombs in the hands of a regime which came into existence by violently removing the existing population, which still violently deprives Palestinians of basic democratic rights, and which has repeatedly used its military might to invade neighbouring states as part of its overall imperialist policies – including as the Documentary “Dead in the Water” demonstrated a willingness to use nuclear weapons against its neighbours - are not something Israel’s neighbours will peacefully tolerate. Ultimately, they will seek to obtain means of defence themselves including the same nuclear weapons and chemical weapons that the Israeli state possesses. They will act to stop it while it can still be stopped including the risk of a nuclear conflict in the Middle East.
The possession of the world’s fift5h largest nuclear arsenal by Israel, and one of the largest chemical and biological arsenals, and given Isreal’s previous expansionist ambitions, it is inevitable that Iran and others will seek to defend themselves against Zionist expansion by whatever means and with or without opposition from the USA and NATO.
In the last reckoning here, Iran is no state’s puppet. It has pressing concerns of it’s own, and will act on them.

In 2007, Israel attacked a nuclear weapons site in Syria. It attacked nuclear installations in Iraq in the 1980s, when the US was backing Saddam against Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, eliminating Saddam’s attempt to develop nuclear weapons. AS “Dead in the Water” demonstrated it was prepared with the knowledge of sections of the US establishment to attack the USS Liberty, and to machine gun its sailors as they attempted to save themselves in the water, merely as a pretext on which the US could blame this on the Egyptions and then launch a nuclear strike on Cairo.

In Iran’s eyes the facts and alternatives here are stark. The Israeli State has shown that it is prepared to take whatever action it sees fit irresoective of the consequences. Given the fact, that Iran has much better air defences than Egypt and other states have had in the past, that its nuclear facilities are known to be in heavily reinforced locations, and that there are many of them, plus the fact that it has threatened to block the oil routes out of the Gulf, it is no wonder that there ahs been talk of Israel launching a tactical nuclear strike against Iran to destroy these facilities and to take out command and control.

Iran and other sympathetic states will act to stop this imperialist and expansionist regime launching such an attack if at all possible.

We as socialists want the Zionist state and the Capitalist class it represents to be sent to hell not by the Iranian and other Islamic fundamentalists, but by the Israeli working class hopefully in the process linking up with Arab workers across the region for the establishment of a Socialist United States of the Middle East. We would like to see the Iranian ruling class go on the same trip as Ohlmert.

We do not advocate an Iranian attack on Israel, nor will we endorse it or take political responsibility for it. But if the Iranians and others attempt to stop Israel attacking them with a nuclear bomb, or chemical or biological weapons – which they have used in the past - in the name of what alternative would we condemn them?

*The inalienable right of every state to have nuclear weapons, and chemical and biological weapons — and here a state whose Zionist rulers, together with the religious fundamentalists both in Israel and in the Bush regime – the so called Endtimers who seek a nuclear armageddon, involving a retaliatory Israeli nuclear strike against Iran in the way a God-crazed suicide bomber sees blowing himself to pieces —? In the belief that it will bring forward the Second Coming

*Because Iran is developing nuclear weapons, and that right should only belong to Israel —?

* Because we are unconditional pacifists? We think military action is never justified, and therefore Iran has no right to attack Israel, not even to stop it using its vast arsenal of nuclear, chemical, biological and conventional weapons —?

*Because we would prefer to live in a world where such choices would not be posed, where relations between states and peoples are governed by reason, and strictly peaceful means —?

*Because for choice we would live in a world where the workers of Israel, Iran, Iraq were united in opposition to all their rulers, and strong enough to get rid of them and bring to the region an era of socialist and democratic peace and understanding —?
*Because Iran would in attacking Israel be acting in the same imperialist manner that Israel has acted for the last 60 years; and that cancels out the genuine self-defence element in pre-emptive Iranian military action against Israeli nuclear weapons —?

*Because Iran is run by clerical-fascists and therefore is undeserving of the right to exist even for the Iranian workers oppressed by those clerical-fascists, and therefore no right to defend itself—? (This will in fact be the underlying attitude of most of the Zionists and imperialists, and of the petit-bourgeois liberals and moralists.)

*Because the Israeli government, imperialist and war-mongering though it is, is a bourgeois democratic power and must be unconditionally supported against clerical-fascists, and totalitarians —?

*Because Iran refuses to accept its place as a subordiniate state and agree to being told what it can and cannot do, by its more powerful neighbour; a state where Iranians are expected to live in conditions only marginally better than their Palestinain brothers, an Arab Palestinian state in which Palestinians have no democratic rights, and therefore socialists, “anti-racists”, and anti-imperialists must be on the side of those who would conquer and destroy it, even, in this case, with nuclear, chemical, biological or conventional weapons —?

*Because we don’t deal in vulgar practical choices but in pure historical essences such as morality, democracy etc. —?

The harsh truth is that there is good reason for Iran to make a precipitate strike at Israel’s nuclear and expansionist capacity. It is that Israel has launched pre-emptive and expansionist wars several times in the past.

Socialists should not want that and can not support it. Our point of view is not that of Iranian or any other nationalism. We want Israeli, Palestinian, Iranian and other workers to unite and fight for a socialist Middle East.
However, least of all should we back Israel, which is the mian imperialist power in the region, a power which has launched previous expansionary wars, which keeps millions of Palestinians in subjection, and which is the main ally of US imperilaism which today occupies a similar role in the world to that of Russia described by Marx and Engels in the 19th century, or argue, implicitly or openly, that homicidal religious lunatics have a right to arm themselves with nuclear weapons — and that those they say they want to destroy should be condemned for refusing to stand idly by while they arm themselves to do the job.

The latter, expressed in duff socialist politics, pretend, one-sided, appeal to morality, to the sanctity of the bouregois demcoratic state, and the supposed progressive potential for imperialism in a fight against clerical-fascism”, will be the response of the kitsch Third Campists, the petit-bouregois liberals and Right Social Democrats to an Iranian attack. International socialists should have no truck with it.

The left needs to discuss these issues in advance, while a, comparitively, calm discussion may still be possible...

But, the starting point has to be proletarian politics not covert attempts to support the actions of one side under cover of pseudo Marxist rhetoric, whilst at the same time playing the role of Pontius Pilate by washing your hands in advance of the inevitable consequences of such an attack.

The above should be read with a recognition that my tongue was placed firmly in my cheek.

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