“It wants to use Iraq as a staging ground for actions against Iran, which is not in the interests of anyone in the Middle East,” Robert Fantina said in an interview with the Balkans Post.
Here’s the transcript of the interview:
Balkans Post: According to a New York Times report, Iraqi military and intelligence officials have raised doubts about who fired the rockets that wounded six people and killed an American contractor, setting off a chain of events that brought the United States and Iran to the brink of war. What’s your reaction?
Robert Fantina: The United States has a long and ugly reputation of responses to “False Flag” events. These are events that may have happened, but not as the U.S. proclaims. For example, in 2017, the U.S. government said that the Syrian government used chemical weapons during an attack on Syrians, and then bombed Syria as punishment. Several months later, the U.S. Secretary of Defense said that the U.S. had no evidence that Syria had perpetrated the attack. Yet the U.S. used that attack as a reason to bomb Syria.
The U.S. government is anxious to blame any and all negative actions in the Middle East on Iran, overlooking its own history of unjust and illegal invasion, attacks and government overthrows, not just in the Middle East but around the world. Iran has not invaded another nation since 1798.
BP: What’s your take on the consequences of such escalation in the Middle East, especially in Iraq?
Robert Fantina: Iraq has demanded that U.S. troops leave that country, but the United States has refused to comply. It wants to use Iraq as a staging ground for actions against Iran, which is not in the interests of anyone in the Middle East. The Iraqi nation and its people have never recovered from the U.S. invasion of 2003, which was also started due to a “False Flag”: U.S. government spokesmen, mainly President George Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, lied to their own citizens and the world community by stating that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, based partly on the fact that the U.S. had provided Iraq with such weapons years before. However, by the time United Nations weapons inspectors were combing Iraq, and finding nothing, those weapons had long since been destroyed. But the U.S. wanted to invade, since Iraq has great oil reserves and is strategically positioned for the U.S. to achieve its unjust geopolitical goals in the Middle East, so those non-existent “weapons of mass destruction” were used to justify the invasion and subsequent occupation.
BP: Citing a senior military official, the Washington post reported that a month after a U.S. strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s military is no longer on a heightened war footing, but the United States continues to brace for further retaliation. How do you evaluate these remarks?
Robert Fantina: Iran does not want war with the United States or any other nation. Iran’s leaders know that such a war would be disastrous for the entire world, and would accomplish nothing but untold amounts of death, destruction and human suffering. The retaliation against the assassination of General Soleimani was swift and measured, and it is certainly possible that Iran will take further actions. But its government seeks to protect its people from harm, not arbitrarily and wantonly harm the people of other nations. That is the U.S.’s self-chosen role.
The U.S. government in general, and now even more with the presidency of Donald Trump, has never recognized the benefits of diplomacy. It has acted violently against another nation, and cannot understand that there might be any diplomatic response.
BP: The United States played down Iran’s retaliation after the assassination of Soleimani. For instance it did not immediately announce the number of American soldiers who suffered traumatic brain injuries. What’s your take on the significance of Iran’s retaliation and the U.S. response?
Robert Fantina: Iran’s government will not be goaded into a war with the United States. Of course, if the U.S. government is foolish enough to invade, Iran’s leadership and military are ready to defend their nation. The U.S. wants to portray Iran as both evil and weak, when it is neither. The assassination of General Soleimani was, in the words of U.S. government officials, eliminating a terrorist. Then, the downplaying of the Iranian response was to show weakness.
Yet few people beyond Trump’s base are fooled. General Soleimani was a courageous and beloved military leader, as shown by the outpouring of grief and anger at his assassination. Trump’s downplaying of the Iranian response was insulting to the victims, and showed his own twisted strategy when the truth was finally revealed.
Robert Fantina is an author and activist for peace and international human rights. A U.S. citizen, he moved to Canada following the 2004 presidential election. His books include ‘Desertion and the American Soldier – 1776 – 2006’; Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy’; and ‘Essays on Palestine’, a collection of his writing on the oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel. He has also written about the impact that war has on individuals, in his novel, Look Not Unto the Morrow, a Vietnam-era, anti-war story.