VANCOUVER

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

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Because we have been waiting for you for a decade

Crazy Robot Army

The U.S., Iran, and the Rise of the Machines

By AM JOHAL

This past week Iranian officials met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, opened a nuclear reactor at Bushehr and developed a more formal alliance with Syria. The US withdrew their ambassador to Syria after the former Lebanese Premier was assassinated. After the Presidential elections in November, John Kerry met with Syrian leaders. News reports this week also confirmed that the Pentagon would be spending $130 billion on a plan to build a robot army for ground wars called Future Combat Systems that would eventually increase the US military budget by 20 per cent within five years to over $500 billion. There is a twenty-year time frame to have battle-ready units in place. This will have grave implications for human rights and the Geneva conventions which combatant forces are obligated to follow under international law.

Last week in Vancouver, former American Marine Sergeant Jimmy Massey openly talked about committing war crimes on the front lines of Iraq, specifically talking about his platoon shooting 30 civilians in a 48 hour time period at the Rashid checkpoint on the outskirts of Baghdad. It is understandable there have already been 5,500 deserters since the war began. Recently, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh wrote in the New Yorker that the Bush Administration had authorised the Pentagon to send commando forces to the Middle East with a special focus on Iran in order to carry out reconnaissance missions on potential military targets.

Many now see the early propaganda campaign beginning for what could turn out to be strategic military strikes carried out by US or Israeli forces.

Iran has been on the American radar since Bush’s “Axis of Evil” speech in 2002. Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been severed since 1979 when 52 Americans were held hostage in Iran for 444 days following the toppling of the Shah and the subsequent taking of power by Islamic hardliners. Incidentally, the CIA was involved in Iran in the 1953 coup, overthrowing an elected nationalist regime to return the Shah to power. At the time, the British and American governments were fearful that the elected regime would nationalise its oil industry and sent in CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt (grandson of Theodore) to destabilise the regime. At the time the Dulles brothers, serving as Secretary of State and head of the CIA respectively, had previously worked on files of Iranian oil companies and had involvement in the coup. The father of the Gulf War, general Norman Schwarzkopf, spent $10 million from the CIA to organise opposition to the Iranian leader and later trained the Savak, the Iranian secret police.

The issue of Iran’s development of nuclear weapons has reached the UN Security Council several times while the European Union and some of its member states are currently attempting to avoid an altercation. The International Atomic Energy Agency is also monitoring Iran’s compliance with international agreements.
Germany, France and Britain have negotiated an agreement that would have Iran voluntarily suspend uranium enrichment for economic incentives. American concerns are centred on twenty disputed centrifuges and the terms of their usage.

During the lead up to the US Presidential election in 2004, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made public comments related to possible Israeli involvement in pre-emptive strikes on Iranian targets, similar to the ones that Israel made against Iraq in the early eighties to thwart their development of nuclear weapons. With the Bush Administration’s reputation for unilateralism, there will certainly be an escalation of tensions between the US and Iran over the next eighteen months.
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