Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Regime change or nuclear setback?

US-Iran tug of war
'Regime change' or nuclear setback?

AMIDST the intense diplomatic activities purportedly aimed at defusing the Iranian nuclear crisis with the West and reports that the US-Israeli combine has already planned and even set a timeframe for military action against Iran, the key question that comes up is: Does the US simply want to set back Iran's nuclear ambitions by decades through military action or is Washington determined to bring about a "regime change" in Iran? The course of events will depend on that. It is known that US President George W Bush has made a commitment to his hawkish neoconservative camp that a "regime change" in Tehran would be one of his priorities in the second term at the White House. However, under the present situation — in terms of both domestic considerations and the geopolitical and military equation in the Middle East, Bush might it tough to deliver on that promise. PV Vivekanand takes a close look.

THERE IS indeed a superficiality in the spiralling crisis between the West and Iran over Tehran's nuclear programme with the Middle East region being aware that it would have to bear the brunt of the fallout of the crisis either way. If Tehran defies the US-led Western effort to pressure it into abandoning its nuclear programme and goes ahead with resuming sensitive fuel cycle work and blocking international inspections, then a "military option" is indeed in the cards, as the US has clearly stated. On the other hand, if a compromise — although unlikely — is worked out for the time being, then the Middle East has to worry out the consequences of having nuclear plants in full steam in the neighbourhood.
One thing is clear: The crisis is not as much about Iran possessing nuclear weapons as it is about the US quest to remove all possibilities of any country posing a challenge to its global supremacy. In Iran's case, Washington has an added incentive: Pre-empting an Iranian-engineered nuclear balance in the region that would set back Israel's grand designs.
Bush on Wednesday his commitment to Israelby vowing that the US would defend Israel militarily if needed against Iran and denounced Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for "menacing talk" against Israel.
"I am concerned about a person that, one, tries to rewrite the history of the Holocaust, and two, has made it clear that his intentions are to destroy Israel," Bush said.
"Israel is a solid ally of the United States, we will rise to Israel's defense if need be. So this kind of menacing talk is disturbing. It's not only disturbing to the United States, it's disturbing for other countries in the world as well," he added. Asked if he meant the United States would rise to Israel's defecse militarily, Bush said: "You bet, we'll defend Israel."