Hysteria over this week's arms report is misplaced, and US attempts to cast Iran as the villain of the region can only backfire
By Jonathan Steele
The Guardian, Friday May 30 2008
".....On the other hand, in order to minimise anti-occupation resistance from Iraq's Sunni nationalists, Washington is financing new Sunni militias and encouraging anti-Shia and anti-Iranian prejudice among them. On the international stage it pursues the same strategy by trying to create an anti-Iranian alliance of Sunni-led Arab states. If Iran can be portrayed as a regional threat, it will be easier - so the thinking goes - for the US to pose as the indispensable policeman in the Gulf.
A new US approach is urgently needed. Peace and stability can only be reached in Iraq with Iran's cooperation, and this will not happen until the US president announces a timetable for leaving Iraq. As for stability in the region, this will not be decided by a few adjectives in an IAEA report, nor by UN security council sanctions. Whatever one's view of Iranian intentions, even the most sceptical analyst does not believe Iran could acquire a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it for several years.
The more immediate danger is that the Gulf becomes a theatre for artificial Sunni-versus-Shia tensions, deliberately stoked by outsiders. There is no axis of evil. There is no arc of crisis. There is just a series of states which need sovereignty and mutual respect, and the chance to trade and work together."