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The American Awakening - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What did President George W. Bush read at the Oval office on December 3, 2007? He read a report compiled by sixteen American intelligence agencies concluding that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003, contradicting a previous assessment that Tehran was working towards and even close to building a bomb. This confirms that the Iranians were telling the truth all along, and that the reports of Mohammed al Baradei were also professional despite the storm that was deliberately raised about his work in order to justify taking measures against Iran. Where does this leave the threats issued by President Bush in October when he suggested that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to “World War III” and Vice President Dick Cheney promised, “Serious consequences if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.”

The publication of this report by 16 American intelligence agencies against the rhetoric of the American president is a very strong indication that American people and American institutions have had enough of the bloody wars and conflicts launched by the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia in addition to its support of the Israeli war on Lebanon and all that it entailed. This also indicates that today there is more awareness in the US of the damage caused to the reputation and credibility of the country by these policies. American administration claims that its ultimate objective is to spread freedom, democracy and the rule of law in these countries whereas the actual results have been death, destruction and catastrophe.

The third indication of this report is that it shows the gap between the American president, his vice president and their allies with the Israeli lobbyists in Washington on the one hand, and American voices calling for wisdom, for American national interests to be taken into account and for putting an end to bloody military action that has proven disastrous on all counts, on the other hand.

Yet even after the publication of this report, President Bush continued to reiterate that “Iran still constitutes a danger and a threat”. The Vice President Dick Cheney stated that this report will make it more difficult to “isolate Iran”, but the question is why would they want to isolate Iran or impose economic or diplomatic sanctions on Iran, if Iran, that is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is only exercising its legitimate right to possess nuclear energy for peaceful purposes?

Had American intelligence agencies issued such a report prior to the war on Iraq to show that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction (as was discovered later), they would have saved the lives of millions of people, both Americans and Iraqis, and would have saved the land of Mesopotamia from being looted and from losing its most precious archeological heritage. Let us remember that the information about Iraq at that point claimed that Iraq had the capacity to launch a chemical war and that turned out to be false, the aim of which was to coax the US to launch a military strike against Iraq.

What is interesting to note now is that apart from George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, it was the Israelis who were upset the most by the report issued by the American intelligence agencies. News began to circulate that if the US does not want to strike Iran, Israel would consider the option. A poll conducted in Israel showed most Israelis are against a military strike against Iran. Does Israel want to use the US, once again, to create another disaster in the Middle East by destroying another country after Afghanistan and Iraq and launching a murky and purposeless war? Through engaging the US in what is a so-called war against terrorism, Israel is confiscating Palestinian lands, expanding settlements and imposing collective punishment on millions of Palestinians and practicing the most horrific case of racist, ethnic cleansing against them [see Haaretz Dec. 9. 2007]. When Mershimer and Walt published their papers, and then their book, about the influence of the Zionist lobby on American foreign policies they were attacked and criticized. But the course of events shows that Mershimer and Walt, and now the American National Intelligence Report, demonstrate the need for American policy makers to review their sources of information and to take information compiled for them by Israeli sources and lobbyists about the Middle East, the Arabs and the Muslims with a pinch of salt. By doing so, they may be able to serve American national interests and be real catalysts for freedom, peace, security and human dignity in the world.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

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