Category Archives: Iran

America’s Kurdish adventure will end in tears

AT THE end of World War I, many ethnic groups were able to get a patch of land for themselves, with the area and population therein largely dependent on the extent to which they had pleased the imperial powers that came out as victors of that war – France and Britain.

The Kurds were one group that missed the bus and ended up scattered over four countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They are a restless lot and the countries in which they lived often had to keep them quiet by one means or another.

The late Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein gave them a limited measure of autonomy. But there was always the implicit understanding that if the Kurds got too ambitious, then they would be met with blanket slaughter. Dictators like Saddam — and his neighbour, the late Hafez al-Assad of Syria — do not do things by half-measures and for years the Kurds were content to remain within their allocated freedoms.
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Is Hersh right or wrong?

THE well-respected American investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, has come under a lot of fire from conservatives recently after he published an article in the New Yorker, saying that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran was making any moves towards building a nuclear bomb.

Hersh is a legendary figure in journalistic circles; he broke the story of the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and, more recently, was responsible for exposing the abuse by American forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Some of the criticism came from the Wall Street Journal which was very careful to avoid citing Hersh’s credentials but, instead, concentrated on pointing out where he had gone wrong in the past. For an investigative report, getting it right 50 percent of the time is better than most and Hersh is far better than that.

The WSJ piece, written by a cantankerous gent named Bret Stephens (partial article here; the skinflints at WSJ charge for rubbish like this) dwells heavily on what Hersh has got wrong in the last four or five years. It does not give the reader any idea about the major triumphs that this intrepid man, one of the few newspapermen in the US with even a shred of integrity after the Iraq invasion of 2003, has recorded.

Other criticisms dwell on Hersh’s characterisation of the Iraq invasion as a “mistake”; this is correct as the march to control Saddam’s oil was a deliberately planned mission by Dubya and his cronies. The possibility that Sy indulging in sarcasm appears to have escaped people.Hersh, more than anyone else, knows the background of what led up to the Iraq invasion.

If Hersh is right in pointing out that Iran is nowhere near a nuclear weapon, then a huge amount of the fear factor that is being drummed up by Israel and its cohorts in the US dissipates immediately. Even Israelis, such as the former Mossad chief, Meir Dragan, have gone on the record, saying that Iran poses no danger at the moment.

But if the fear that hangs over the Middle East is lifted, then it becomes difficult for Israel to continue to get the support it does in the US. Support which translates into lobbying muscle, aid and diplomatic support. Hence anybody who writes an article like Hersh did will be targeted.