Published on openDemocracy, by Paul Rogers, July 3, 2008.
The architects of the “war on terror” in the George W Bush administration will soon be leaving office. But the four months until the United States presidential election on 4 November 2008 could be momentous. In Iraq and Iran, what happens in the next four months – or does not happen – will shape events in the next four years and even beyond (see Washington’s choice: subdue Iran, secure Iraq, 12 June 2008).
The current level of conflict in Iraq is lower than for most of the period since the start of the war in March-April 2003, but it continues at a substantial level. The United States military’s losses have also been on a declining trend, but it still lost twenty-nine people in June 2008, an increase from nineteen in May. But this is far from the only index of the fragility of the current security environment, as two recent incidents and one longer-term factor show …
… It is troubling, then – a matter of concern to those in Israel and Washington who seek to resolve the Iran issue by force – that Obama is ahead of John McCain in the opinion polls. Perhaps, in such uncertain and unpredictable circumstances, now is the time to pre-empt Iranian nuclear developments – whatever the costs – rather than wait for an Obama victory and the nightmare prospect of talking to the enemy?
These, then, are the four months that will determine the future of the region and much of the world – not least the long-term security of the state of Israel – for years ahead. Iran and Iraq at the heart of present concern, though the security deterioration in other areas deserves to be noted: Afghanistan and Pakistan (see Julian E Barnes & Peter Spiegel, Afghanistan Attacks Rise, U.S. Says, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2008), and parts of north Africa (see Michael Moss, Algerian militants win new lease on life as Al Qaeda affiliate,
International Herald Tribune, 1 July 2008). Whether the incoming White House tenant faces the ashes of a new landscape of war or merely the fallout of the old one, the world is in for a long and bumpy ride.
(full long text).
And remember this old article, but still valuable: The Real Reasons Why Iran is the Next Target: The Emerging Euro-denominated International Oil Marker, by William Clark, 27 October 2004.