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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


"Threats" from Iran

You may have heard that the Boris Karloff-like "I am coming to you...You will explode after...minutes" "threat" to U.S. warships in the Straits of Hormuz quite possibly came from "a heckler widely known among sailors in the region by the ethnically insulting term 'the Filipino Monkey.'" Although if you read the San Jose Mercury News like I do, you would have had to have been paying close attention, since after days of banner headlines about the Iranian "provocation" and Bush's bellicose response, this particular story was buried in the fine print well inside the paper.

On a nearby page, but far more prominent in size, was a story today about the proposed U.S. arms "sale" (no doubt at least partially subsidized by U.S. taxpayers) to Saudi Arabia. And while the Iranian "provocation" was being exposed as a likely "heckler" on one page, this more "serious" story was busy pushing the counter line, but oh-so-subtly:

The sale is a key element in the U.S. strategy to bolster the defenses of its Arab allies in Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing majority Sunni Muslim Gulf nations against threats from Shiite Iran.
Here's the thing: the only "threat" that "Shiite Iran" has uttered against anyone, much less the "majority Sunni Muslim Gulf nations," is its "threat" to retaliate against the United States or Israel should it be attacked. Other than that it has threatened no one in the slightest. But any reader of this article will now have the information safely stowed away in their subconscious that Iran is making "threats" that need to be countered (with precision-guided bombs, no less).

And of course you noted the completely gratuitous attempt to play the religious angle, as if Iran has designs on attacking Saudi Arabia because one is majority Shia and the other majority Sunni. To the extent that their are tensions between the two, and no doubt there are, they have everything to do with the fact that one of the two is the lackey of U.S. imperialism and the other its foe, and nothing whatsoever to do with religion.

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