The Bush administration last week proceeded with its controversial decision to brand a branch of Iran’s armed forces – the Quds unit of the Revolutionary Guards – as a terrorist organization and impose new sanctions on Iran.

Israeli officials have welcomed this American escalation of pressures on Iran, apparently considering it a foreign-policy achievement for Israel, as well as for the formidable array of pro-Israel US pundits who push for a combative policy against Iran.

But, as aptly warned by a number of US politicians and experts, the administration’s initiative against this elite force is a risky proposition that may pave the way to a military showdown with Iran by giving the US carte blanche for strikes against the Guards inside Iran, perhaps as a prelude for assaults on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The administration insists that these moves are part of a diplomatic strategy and not a step toward war.

Actions, however, speak louder than words, and momentum toward war has been generated. Those weighing the merits of this course must consider the probable consequences, for the interests of both the US and Israel, of yet another “war of choice” in light of the Iraq quagmire and Iran’s capability to retaliate.

From Iran’s vantage point, Israel’s inability to resolve the Palestinian issue has much to do with Israel’s knee-jerk blaming of Iran for what has transpired in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Exaggerating Iran’s influence on Hamas and/or blaming Tehran, as Secretary Condoleezza Rice has done, for the failure of the “two-state” solution, simply does not wash.

Iran should not be scapegoated for what is clearly a failed US Middle East policy, one resulting from Washington’s persistent inability to revise its one-dimensional pro-Israel policy and pursue an evenhanded approach. (MORE)


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