45 years after the Bay of Pigs Cuba still among US list of targets

Campaign News | Sunday, 16 April 2006

Iran tops "Evil 7"

By US journalist Circles Robinson

Havana 16 April: As Cuba remembers the 45th anniversary of the CIA directed Bay of Pigs invasion (April 17-19, 1961) the island?s media and observers of US-Cuba policy remind us that little has changed in Washington?s intentions to destroy the Revolution, and White House papers confirm it.

"America is at war," begins George W. Bush in his introduction to the latest US National Security Strategy (NSS) guidelines. "We seek to shape the world, not merely be shaped by it," he confides.

"The path we have chosen is consistent with the great tradition of American foreign policy. Our approach is idealistic about our national goals? and realistic about the means to achieve them," states Bush.

The NSS document then goes on to set the priorities. It lists North Korea, Syria, Cuba, Belarus, Burma and Zimbabwe as candidates for future aggression, calling them tyrannies and/or sponsors of terrorism, with Iran clearly topping the list as today?s chosen land.

"We face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran," warns the report.

This statement is probably the most significant in the 54-page document. A little over three years ago, Iraq was Washington?s public enemy No.1 and despite talk of diplomacy, Pentagon plans to attack were well advanced and the rest is history still unfolding. The fabricated justification alleging WMD was what being "realistic about the means" signifies in real terms. A year earlier, and riding on 9/11, Afghanistan was No.1.

On April 11, when the president was telling a group of international relations students at John Hopkins University that talk of an attack was still premature, Israel, the closest US ally, and the Middle East?s nuclear weapons power, said Iran should be "confronted by a broad and determined coalition." The following day Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for "strong steps" from the UN Security Council.

The fact is that the US has been itching to launch a full-scale attack against Iran for years; what better place to try out the latest in "tactical" nukes. The only deterrent has been Iran?s defense preparation and the unknown effects of such an attack on the region and the world. When the US backed Saddam Hussein in his 1980-89 war on Iran, it wanted to help topple the Iranian Revolution; however, the resolute Iranians proved a much tougher match than expected.

CUBA CAN SHARE ITS EXPERIENCE Preparing to defend against a superpower aggressor is not something that takes place overnight and can involve virtually an entire population. Cuba, more than any country, can share its experiences.

From the time the Cuban Revolution triumphed on January 1, 1959 no time was lost in the preparation for what would inevitably come in the form of the Bay of Pigs invasion 28 months later. Just as with Iran, the US has longed to turn the clock back on Havana to the days when the "friendly" dictator Batista and Meyer Lansky?s boys ran the Caribbean island.

Analogical to current events, it should be remembered that the US denied plotting an invasion of Cuba well into the invasion itself.

The Bay of Pigs fiasco was defeated in less than 72 hours and the Kennedy administration got cold feet about sending in more troops or bombers. Subsequently, successive US governments have enforced a fierce blockade against Cuba.

For its part, Iran believes it has the right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop a nuclear power program to diversify its energy sources. President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and other Iranian authorities have repeatedly said that Iran?s nuclear program is being developed for peaceful domestic energy purposes.

However, the US maintains a policy that says only its allies should be allowed to develop such nuclear technology. The irony is that the original idea of Iran developing nuclear energy came when the United States sold it a reactor back in 1959. At that time Iran?s dictator, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah, was in power and Washington supported the idea.

Of the world?s currently operating 443 nuclear plants, 383 or 86.45 percent are in developed countries-North America (122), Europe (174), Japan (56) and Russia (31).

Since it refuses to buckle under US pressure, Iran is now close to facing sanctions when the UN Security Council meets in the coming weeks and Washington prepares its ultimatums, which could soon include military action.

"Suddenly it looks like the policy is not tough diplomacy, but the path to war," Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington told the Los Angeles Times.

US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon routinely draft plans to undermine or attack countries that fail to respond to hardball diplomacy or outright threats.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, (R-Tenn) tried to calm fears this week of a pending attack by saying, "We believe there has been much overstatement in the American press with regard to the use of military force in Iran."

To put the "overstatement" into perspective, in the last 50 years the US has carried out military and CIA operations in among other countries: Puerto Rico, Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Guatemala, Egypt, Lebanon, Panama, Iraq, Laos, Cuba, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Cambodia, Oman, Chile, Angola, Libya, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Grenada, Honduras, Bolivia, Virgin Islands, Liberia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Haiti, Zaire, Albania, Sudan, Afghanistan, Colombia, Philippines and Pakistan. Whose next?

*Circles Robinson is a US journalist living in Havana. His articles can be read at: www.circlesonline.blogspot.com


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