By Tomás Rosa Bueno (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran)

In international politics, if an action seems reckless or callous and the ones taking it are not certified loonies, usually it’s because it was made to look that way, on purpose. To send a message.

Take Israel’s attack in international waters on a civilian flotilla that resulted in the death of nine Turkish passengers. There were many ways that flotilla could have been prevented from reaching a Gaza port that did not imply resorting to violence; and then again, if they didn’t care about killing a couple of passengers to send a first-level warning to all would-be humanitarian Gaza friends, they could have waited until the flotilla had actually breached the blockade and reached the territorial waters where they arguably have a right to patrol and control, making whatever harm that befell the blockade-breachers their own “fault” and giving Israel’s actions at least the appearance of legality. But no, they had to do it in international waters in a way that made it sure that violence would erupt. And killed nine unarmed civilians in the process.

You can say whatever you want about Israel’s military, except that they are incompetent – and they’re certainly not loonies. All the subsequent half-baked excuses about “unexpected reaction” by the victims and the obviously biased unilateral “investigation” of the incident are part of the show: Israel did not make an “error” in deciding to attack the flotilla as it did, nor was the job “botched”. The message was loud and clear: we will do whatever it takes to prevent the breaching of the Gaza blockade, and we do not care what the rest of the world thinks. So loud and so clear that despite the show of international indignation about the killing of nine civilians in international waters and despite all the saber-rattling about sending “hundreds” of flotillas, so far not one thing has been done to hold Israel accountable for its actions, and the Gazans are still abandoned to their fate, being collectively punished for having cast the wrong ballot four years ago.

Furthremore, there was a second message being sent: they’re mad dogs, look at what they have done and think of what they may do if we don’t appease them. That this “appeasement”, in the form of sanctions against Iran, serves another purpose is just part of the game: we give you an excuse, you watch our back, and we both talk about something else while we do it. More than ever, what you do does not matter, the important thing is what you are seen to be doing – and “seeing” is open to manipulation of all sorts.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 is another example, in a larger scale. Once the Afghan precedent was set and making a case for war based on flimsy and – as was proved later – downright false evidence, in the face of the largest worldwide mass demonstrations in recent history, the war plan was followed through to the final invasion and occupation of a sovereign country, resulting in the nearly complete destruction of Iraq’s economic infrastructure and in uncountable thousands of civilian deaths. Again, the message was clear: we do not care what the world thinks of it, we do not care about international law: we will wage pre-emptive wars of aggression against any country, any time we deem fit, for any reason we consider appropriate.

Those who said that Israel only employed the means at her disposal to keep potentially dangerous goods from reaching the hands of Gaza “terrorists” were right after all, and we were wrong as usual: the very dangerous idea that common citizens could side-step governments and take the Gaza affair into their own hands to end the blockade had to be quenched by any means, and a message had to be sent to prevent any other such initiatives in the future – the safety of those who own Israel and command the use of her military might was at stake. And those who cited the needs of “world security” in response to the accusations of “oil-grabbing” as the driving force that led to the invasion of Iraq were also right, as we were again wrong: the war against Iraq was/is not about oil (though having direct control of the world’s third largest oil reserve is a nice side effect): it was about sending a message, and setting a precedent: we have the right to decide who can do what, and we will enforce this right by any means, including by waging wars of aggression and killing civilians. And, through manipulation, blackmailing and threats, we will do so with full support from the very institutions that were created to keep us from doing it.

At a time when the emergence of new world powers is challenging the owners of this world on all fronts, it was urgent to draw a line: we can learn to live with trade competition and we can even encourage it within certain limits to make ourselves more competitive, but we will not surrender the total control we have on the world’s destinies. We will continue to take the ultimate decisions, and you will continue to abide by them. Bully your own neighbors all you want, as long as we keep bullying you – and, through you, your neighbors too.

There is a war going on, and they have been preparing for it, and fighting it, even before their adversaries realized there was a dispute. Iran is the current battleground of this war, the place where they will take a further step in securing their power. This is why Turkey and Brazil could not be allowed to negotiate a way out of the Iranian nuclear standoff, this is why the Tehran Declaration had to be ignored and a new round of sanctions had to be imposed on Iran: the only solution acceptable for them is that the Iranians forgo their right to develop their own nuclear technology for civilian purposes, regardless of their being entitled to it under international laws and standing international treaties. And this “solution” has to be reached through their own efforts and means, not through the intervention of meddling upstarts like Brazil or Turkey. These countries have to be kept in their place as part of the problem and cannot for a moment think they can provide a solution.

The current goal of the nuclear powers, which they have been pursuing steadily for the past two decades, step by step, is to make the development of the full cycle of nuclear technology for civilian purposes a monopoly of those who already have it, the so-called NPT nuclear states. The means to this end are the Additional Protocol to the NPT Safeguards, making intrusive inspections mandatory for all countries (except the nuclear states, of course), and the prohibition of international nuclear technology transfers, through new rules on nuclear trade imposed by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). Once the Iranian precedent is set, and they have established their right to force a country to renounce its rights, they will go about solving the remaining “problems”: Brazil, Turkey, Argentina, South Korea, Pakistan, South Africa and ultimately India, already the object of heavy bullying in NSG talks.

While Turkey takes a firm stand in the NSG against additional restrictions on the international trade of nuclear technology and continues to be heavily involved in the Iranian nuclear-program negotiations, Brazil, yielding to undeclared constraints from unstated parties, stays home licking its burned fingers and generally promises to behave. But as the Iranian example clearly shows, “behaving” is not a guarantee of being left alone, and the Brazilians may be assured they are the next in line for this special brand of “compliance enforcement” if they abandon the battleground now and allow the curbing of Iran to take place.

Tomás Rosa Bueno is Brazilian-born freelance translator, has lived and worked in more than 20 countries in four continents, including Russia, North Africa, Mexico, Turkey, most of South America, most of Western Europe. Has written first-hand reports for a variety of independent media outlets on events such as the 1973 military putsch in Chile, Portugal’s Carnation Revolution in 1975, the landless movements in Brazil during the 80s, and the 2001/2002 popular assemblies movement in Argentina. Currently living in Bariloche, Argentina.

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  1. Cold Wind on the 25. Jul, 2010 remarked #

    Oh Brazil! keep your wits and courage about you. Listen and you will hear the thrashing Of Empire in its death throes. There is not enough wealth in the whole world to save Empire from the financial collapse and ruin that is presently enveloping it. The military collossus that defends Empire cannot endure. Keep your wits and stay close to God.

  2. Bubba on the 25. Jul, 2010 remarked #

    I applaud your article but would disagree with the view that they have a ‘right’ to patrol Gazan waters. They have no right other than the one they have accorded themselves. This self imposed right has no legal basis and exposes them to legal ramifications in any western country that would care to pursue an action. The fact the no ‘western nation’ has decided to pursue action is a glaring indictment of just how broken western politics has become. No one should, even for one second, believe that the ‘brokenness’ of the western system extends only to the support of Israel. This is merely one symptom, albeit a potentially fatal one.

  3. Rehmat on the 26. Jul, 2010 remarked #

    While Hillary Clinton tried to assure her bosses at AIPAC that the latest sanctions are the toughest ones – The Israeli Hasbara media outlets in the US were disappointed with the ‘watered-down’ contents of the 10-pages-long resolution, which is full of old lies against Islamic Republic and looks so ridiculous. While it extends arms embargo against Islamic Republic, it also put travel ban on head of Iranian nuclear center, Javad Rahiqi plus his forein assest being frozen! The resolution ran short of Israel’s earlier successes at the UNSC – 15-0 and 15-14 votes (no country had voted against the resolutions in the past), plus Lebanon’s pro-US prime minister’s refusal to sit on Israel’s lap even after the last minute call from Hillary Clinton to Lebanese President Gen. Michel Suleiman (a Christian). Well done Hizbullah!

    Professor James M. Lindsay, former director of National Security Council and member of powerful Jewish think tank, CFR, wrote in an article titled ‘Security Council’s Muddled Message to Iran’ that the sanctions are “unlikely to produce the results he (Obama/Bibi) most wants …. And the high-stakes game of chicken over Iran’s nuclear program will continue”.


  4. Egoigwe on the 26. Jul, 2010 remarked #

    Very well put, Tomas Rosas… thank you. The question is; whose mad dog is Israel? We know it is a nation bequeathed to the Rothschild Dynasty via the Balfour declaration and it would seem today, America is being primed to fulfill an even wider role in compliance enforcement and territorial expansionism.

    America’s emerging role as a gun-for-hire is made all too manifest by its Israeli handlers. The gloves are off and there are no pretensions any longer as to rule of law and international acquiescence. Democratic tenets are just now a pain in the neck.

    This would perhaps explain why the degradation of America has become imperative. Once stripped of its wealth and freedom, it becomes really easy to whip it into line and get it to perform the desired goal of a bigger and better global mad dog. The junkie gets its oil fix and its kids die for our global conquests. That would be the price to pay.

  5. Rehmat on the 26. Jul, 2010 remarked #

    Senator Joe Lieberman (aka Mr. Israel) along with Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham flew all the way to Tel Aviv to let Israeli Defense Minister Gen. Ehud Barak and other military officers that he has been told Pentagon is ready to strike Iran. Lieberman’s “secret” was published in Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post, while the Zionist-controlled American mainstream media kept Lieberman’s view secret from the US public. Though they make military threats – they also have come to the realization that bombing Islamic Republic is not worth the consequences.

    All such trips doing Israeli PR work around the world by US government official, Senators and Congressmen are paid by the US taxpayers.


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