PRESIDENT BUSH has laid the basis for military intervention against Iran with his condemnation of Iran’s ‘inexcusable behaviour’ in arresting the 15 British sailors who trespassed into its territorial waters, and with his demand that the ‘hostages’ be freed at once.
Bush brought back into the minds of many of his listeners, with his free the hostages call, the life and death struggle that emerged between the revolutionary regime of Ayatollah Khomeini and that of US President Carter in 1979 after Iranian students occupied the US embassy on November 4 1979, continuing the revolution that had overthrown the Shah.
President Carter made every effort to free the US embassy employees whom he termed ‘hostages’ including a failed military raid on April 25th 1980 during which eight US soldiers were killed.
After the failure of the raid on September 27th 1980, the US’ main ally in the Gulf, Iraq under the government of Saddam Hussein, declared war on Iran.
On January 21 1981 after 444 days, the embassy occupation was ended and 52 Americans were freed on the first day of the Reagan presidency.
Reagan made no attempt to reach an agreement with the Iranian government. He moved immediately to back Saddam sending emissaries such as the late Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld to Baghdad to assist in the direction and prosecution of the war against Iran.
History does not repeat itself, but we can learn vital lessons from it.
Today, for the moment, the would-be world’s policeman, the US, is playing the part of the ‘hard cop’, while its ailing and very much weakened helper, British imperialism, has been reduced to the role of appearing to be ‘reasonable’.
It is the ‘soft cop’. Its job is to show to the world ‘just how unreasonable the Iranians are’, and that the US is right to say that while it is OK for ‘poor little Israel’ to have 200 nuclear bombs, Iran cannot be allowed to have even a nuclear programme for producing electricity for peaceful purposes.
The plan that is emerging is to progressively back Iran into a corner where it will not be able to apologise since it has done nothing wrong by arresting 15 trespassers, and will not release them without a trial.
The response to this by Bush will be to use the UN to heap more and more vicious sanctions onto Iran, to further cripple the country, before striking it with the help of Israel to destroy its nuclear potential.
Yesterday, Scottish Secretary Douglas Alexander said that the diplomacy would continue with a ‘twin track approach’.
We have seen what these two tracks are and the way that they lead inexorably to war.
As Bush said: ‘I support the prime minister when he made it clear there were no quid pro quos. The Iranians must give back the hostages.’ The German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Bush, saying that Britain had the ‘full solidarity of the European Union’.
Lenin long ago made the point that the strategic role of the movement for national liberation was that it would greatly weaken imperialism to the point where the socialist revolution of the metropolitan working class would be able to overthrow it and smash it with socialist revolutions.
Just removing Bush and returning the Democrats will not resolve the crisis. They will carry on where Bush left off.
After opposing, with mass marches and demonstrations, the war against Iraq and the slaughter of the innocents in Palestine and the Lebanon, the working class in the UK and the US must take strike action to stop any war with Iran.
In Britain, this means bringing down the Blair-Brown government and bringing in a workers’ government that will expropriate the bosses, withdraw all British troops from the Middle East and the Gulf and carry out socialist policies at home and abroad.
In the US it means the working class breaking with the Democrats and beginning the open struggle for the US socialist revolution.