The Perils of a Bankers War with Iran

The neocons are not going to get their war with Iran if it’s to be left to their traditional power centers in the Bush Administration to make the call: They’ve lost the Pentagon, and it’s abundantly clear that neither the uniformed brass nor Defense Secretary Gates have any interest in starting another catastrophic war. And the fact that they still have a solid ally in Vice President Cheney doesn’t mean much, because Cheney is far less influential five years into the Iraq debacle than he had been on its eve. Nor is there any significant support (outside of Israel) among U.S. allies for a confrontational path. Still, all is not lost for that merry little band of neocon bomb throwers who’ve spent the Bush tenure quite literally “setting the East ablaze.” There’s always the Treasury.

Well, its Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), dedicated to fighting the “war on terror” etc. via the international banking system. John McGlynn offers fascinating insights into a critical aspect of Bush Administration policy that has scarcely appeared on the radar of most mainstream media. In particular, he warns, FinCEN’s March 20 advisory warning the international banking community that
doing business with any Iranian bank, or bank that does business with an Iranian bank, runs the risk of falling afoul of the U.S. Treasury’s expansive interpretation and enforcement of UN sanctions and of anti-terror money laundering regulations adopted under the post-9/11 USA Patriot Act.

The beauty of this approach, from a neocon point of view, is that it completely skirts all those troublesome international diplomatic forums where the U.S. and its closest allies have failed to convince others to apply meaningful sanctions against Iran — most of the international community is skeptical over the claims being made by the U.S. of an imminent Iranian threat (as, of course, is the U.S. intel community, as last year’s NIE showed) and even more skeptical of the value of sanctions in resolving the issue, rather than in preparing the way for confrontation.

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