When the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1905 ( so misappropriately named the Iran Threat Reduction Resolution), the clock started ticking on another war in the Middle East. What the neocons and AIPAC succeeded in doing was to hurt Iran where it hurt the most. Not only did the House resolution order the Obama administration to impose a worldwide embargo on Iranian financial transactions, but it ordered the US to seek a worldwide embargo on Iranian oil.
This is the major reason why Iran has been appearing to act so irrationally lately. The recent military exercises in the Straits of Hormuz have created the dry tinder that increases the chance of a major conflagration if one military accident occurs between Iran and the US Navy. And the careful structuring of media 'events' in the mainstream media have been warming the American public up for another Middle Eastern war-- with a good possibility that this could occur shortly before the presidential election.
And yet in the last few days, there have been a series of significant (though very low key) events that offer the promise of a major game change. Pay very little attention to the Navy's rescues of Iranian fishermen from the hands of Somali pirates. No, the first thing that happened of major import was the January 11th assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist by two motorcyclists attaching a magnetic bomb to the scientist's car.
These kinds of actions are ultimately traceable to Israeli intelligence. But the really astounding thing was that one day later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton categorically denied that the US had anything to do with the incident. Whenever this has happened before, the US has been as silent as a tomb. And political analysts have chalked up the US denial not only as a reassurance to the Iranians, but as a subtle rebuke to Israel.
One day after that, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani publicly agreed to re-establishing talks with the US, EU, and others about its nuclear program. No petty functionary, Larijani is Ayatollah Khamenei's closest ally and a rival to President Ahmadinejad. There may very well be a serious behind the scenes shift inside the US government to engage Iran in prolonged, no-holds-barred, freeranging talks.
Perhaps this is due to the fact that both sides know that H.R. 1905 is exactly equivalent to FDR's embargo of steel exports to Japan in 1941. While it was not a declaration of war, the embargo(s) set up everything needed on both sides to make war inevitable. And so, for the first time since President Obama has taken office, he may very well be in the process of living up to one of his campaign promises and do what it takes to get serious in developing American-Iranian relations, rather than posturing and bullying.
The turd in the swimming pool is, of course, Israel. The Netanyahu government has made nothing but bellicose sounds about attacking Iran, most recently stating that there is now only a nine month window before Iran's nuclear programs will be beyond influence. Israel still appears intent on taking out at least some Iranian nuclear installations, come hell or high water.
With GOP candidates outdoing themselves as to who's most warmongering as far as the Iranians go, there's justified paranoia aplenty for an October Surprise that would spike oil prices to $200 a barrel just before November. After all, this is an old trick of Republicans. Go back to William Casey's secret visit to Paris in 1980 to meet with representatives of the Iranian government while Jimmy Carter was fighting for re-election.
The only thing is -- Secretary of State Clinton is strongly hinting that American-Israeli relations could be severely jeapordized if Israel were to pre-emptively attack Iran this year. If Israel attacks Iran this year, the Obama administration appears to be very willing to go on a full offensive, saying in no uncertain terms whose knife is cutting the juglar vein of the world economy.