I hope it’s not going to be another summer when the Daily Telegraph is the paper that knows what’s going on. I don’t mean that its reports are true, but that they are uniquely informative because they tell us what the Bush junta wants us to believe, and so what it is planning to do. In the summer of 2002 it was the only British paper which wrote as if war with Iraq were inevitable as well as desirable; for the last few years, after the catastrophe in Iraq, became apparent, the Telegraph has been pretty subdued. But now I see Con Coughlin mongering war again.
Intelligence estimates suggest as much as 90 per cent of the hardware being used by insurgents in southern Iraq originates from Iran. Iran’s escalating involvement in confronting coalition forces has prompted John Bolton, America’s former UN ambassador, to call for US air strikes on Iranian camps training and equipping insurgent groups.
With American troops now fighting alongside British forces based in southern Iraq, the prospect of the coalition becoming involved in direct military confrontation with Iran becomes more likely by the day. The Iranians are terrified the US-led coalition might turn Iraq into a success story, and are doing everything in their power to prevent it. Coalition commanders are convinced the only way to prevent the Iranians from undermining the coalition’s hard-won gains is through direct military confrontation.
Parenthetically, is he the last man on earth to refer to “coalition forces”? Short of calling suicide bombers “martyrs”, it’s difficult to think of any name for the combatants which more clearly expresses enthusiasm for the war. But that’s not the point. What this story tells us is nothing about Iran or its military. It is that the Bushies really really want to bomb Iran, and are using exactly the same propaganda as they did before the Iraq war, even down to the resuscitation of exile groups who turn out to be true lovers of democracy:
Were it not for the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), we would never have known that Iran had concealed the development of its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz from UN nuclear inspectors who regularly visit the country.
Having started life as a militant group dedicated to the overthrow of the Shah, the PMOI transformed itself into the most effective resistance movement against Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution after it realised Khomeini had no intention of allowing Iran to become a democratic republic.
And yet the British Foreign Office has put the group on its list of banned terrorist organisations, together with al-Qa’eda. The initial decision was taken by former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, as part of his attempt to promote cordial relations with Tehran. This perverse situation is unlikely to pertain for much longer after the PMOI this week won its appeal to be taken off the proscribed list, which bans the group from raising funds in the UK.
Dr Mariam Rajavi, the PMOI leader who lives in exile in France, warned in an interview with The Telegraph, that the West would be “sleep-walking to disaster” if it didn’t wake up to the threat Iran posed not just to the Middle East, but to the wider world. “Iran is being run by a religious dictatorship that wants to export its ideals throughout the world,” she said. “This religious fascism has similar aims to the fascism of Adolf Hitler – world domination. Western governments are deliberately turning a blind eye to what is going on, but I fear that one day very soon they will wake up to the grim reality of what is really going on.”
When I read this, I remember how the Heritage Foundation used to tout a very similar line around right-wing journalists in London in the 1980s; only then the misunderstood terrorists fighting against
communism Islamofascism were Jonas Savimbi’s Unita movement in Angola.