Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Chatham House and Iran

The Today programme on Radio 4 this morning reported that the Royal Institute of International Affairs (“Chatham House”) – described by John Humphreys as the nearest thing to “a foreign policy establishment” in the UK – reports than Iran is the big winner in the US “war against terrorism”. The US has eliminated two of Iran’s regional rivals: Saddam in Iraq, and the Taliban in Afghanistan (although the downside is that Iran now has unstable neighbours); and the US’s Middle Eastern policy (mindless support for Israel) has similarly helped Iran increase its influence. The report says that the US is playing poker (tiddlywinks would be a better analogy, I think) while Iran is “playing a long game of Chess”. An interview with Edward Luttwak, a Pentagon adviser, revealed clearly enough the US strategy: to try to undermine Iran from within by encouraging various secessionist insurgencies (Azeri’s, Baluchi’s, Kurds, etc). One assumes the CIA and assorted “special forces” are active supplying arms and logistical aid, and God knows what else. (Another example of “blowback” just waiting to happen, a decade or so down the line). Luttwak described Iran as a multi-national and multi-ethnic empire which is “beginning to disintegrate” (this is obviously what the US is hoping for: they positively aspire to anarchy). Caroline Spencer of Chatham House said she saw little evidence that Iran was disintegrating, and that US tactics were encouraging “resurgent (Iranian) nationalism”. Not so long ago we were reading about the discontent with the mullahs and the spread of liberal attitudes among younger Iranians; now it is the religious nutters who appear to be in the ascendant and the US (who have their own religious nutters) is playing into their hands. The Chatham House report suggests that, whatever Blair thinks, the “foreign policy establishment” is deeply unhappy with what passes as US “strategy”.


Post a Comment

<< Home