THE West’s escalation of its onslaught on Iran could see Britain sending military reinforcements to the Gulf shortly, following the passage of HMS Argyll into the Persian Gulf on Sunday, said Defence Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday.
The British ship was part of an international warship flotilla, headed by a US aircraft carrier that passed through the Strait of Hormuz, to give a clear signal to Iran that any effort by it to defend itself by blocking the Strait and cutting the oil supply line, will be treated as a declaration of war.
Iran has threatened to close the Strait in retaliation for sanctions against its oil exports by the US and EU.
In total, 35 per cent of the world’s tanker-born oil passes through the Strait to Europe, India, China, South Korea, Australia and Japan.
The European Union agreed to the new sanctions on Monday to ban all new oil contracts with Iran and freeze the assets of Iran’s central bank in the EU.
Foreign Secretary William Hague said the EU sanctions represented ‘a significant increase in peaceful and legitimate pressure on the Iranian government to return to negotiations over its nuclear programme’.
Part of this ‘pressure’ has been the assassination by Mossad of a number of Iranian nuclear scientists in the last two years.
Another part of the ‘pressure’ is the current assault being carried out on Syria, Iran’s main ally in the region, with Syria now awaiting the next stage of ‘legitimate pressure’ – open imperialist intervention into the country and the imposition of a bloody civil war.
The imperialists believe that overthrowing Assad and then disarming the Hezbollah movement in the Lebanon, via an Israeli invasion and an internal Lebanese civil war, is the perfect build-up for the coming attack on Iran, which they are determined to carry out as part of their plan to drive into the oil and gas-rich areas of Central Asia bordering Russia.
However, the position of the imperialist powers is not one of strength, despite their overwhelming firepower.
They are being driven forward by the deepening and desperate economic collapse of their banks and industries that has forced them to attack the working class at home, with the aim of destroying all of its gains, including welfare states, at the same time as they are being driven outwards to try to redivide the world, to put the former colonial peoples back into chains so that they can steal their oil and gas.
This is a war on two fronts, with their rapacious foreign policies an extension of their savage attacks on the working class ‘at home’.
In this war on two fronts, the imperialists are on the high wire, without a balancing pole – one serious defeat and they are gone.
In Libya they seemed to the naive to have won something with their murderous adventurism, but now the green flags are flying again and it is becoming obvious that a further imperialist intervention will be required to keep their hold on Libya’s oil.
In Nigeria recently the country’s powerful trade unions had their bosses and government by the throat, and that was without even using the oil weapon, their wmd, to win the fight.
The result was a very temporary compromise with the increase in the price of oil halved.
At the same time as this struggle for oil is taking place in north and west Africa, the imperialists are goading Iran into cutting the oil supply line in the Strait of Hormuz.
Such an action, in combination with a Nigerian oil strike and Libya restoring a revolutionary regime and taking back its oil, would be a colossal blow at imperialism that would make the three-day week in 1974 under Heath look like a playful frolic.
What the working class of the world requires is the building up of the revolutionary leadership of the Fourth International to direct the struggle of the working class of the world for the victory of the world socialist revolution.
This will be in alliance with the movement of national liberation and will see the workers of the oil-rich states taking common action against imperialism, providing the working class in the EU and the US with the greatest revolutionary situation that has ever been seen under capitalism.
This is the risky business that imperialism is being driven into. We must see to it that it pays the ultimate price for its arrogant attempt to restore imperialist domination, and is destroyed forever.