The very recent rebuff of the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, in which Mr. Obama refused to meet him in person exploded like a bomb shell over the news media. Mr.Netanyahu had earlier lambasted the American administration for refusing to obey his demands to specify clear redlines for Iran, which would trigger a military strike.
Editor’s Note: Obama is taking a stronger stance than one would have expected. I did not think that he would launch an attack on Iran but I did not think that he would treat Netanyahu in this way. Phil Weiss thinks that Netanyahu has gone too far—a defeat of the hardline segment of the Israel Lobby.
Obama must think he has the election won (he is ahead by a larger margin in the polls) and the Israel Lobby would not dare to antagonize him by smear tactics—and that such war-for-Israel tactics could not be hidden from the general public might also cause the Israel Lobby to hold back. But peace is not secure. Obama still has put himself in a position where he will have to act militarily against Iran in the near future—or face the full-scale attack from the Israel Lobby. We will see, won’t we?
by Kam Zarrabi
There are signs that the tide is shifting, and it’s about time.
By rebuffing Netanyahu, the US president demonstrated that the top US soldier Martin Dempsey was not just talking off the cuff but representing the president’s final position on a possible Israel strike to preempt Iran’s nuclear program.
If there were any doubts as to which party would come out on top in the November elections, the Democratic Party Convention left little for the rival Republicans to wish for but some miracle. The Republican hopeful, Mitt Romney, and his sophomoric co-runner, Paul Ryan, tried everything, from poorly scripted lies and fabrications to showing themselves off as Israel and its Zionist supporters’ lap dogs, to disgrace themselves; they succeeded in that.
The whole scenario looked much like the 2008 Republican campaign, where John McCain and Sarah Palin, with Joe Lieberman standing right behind them, threw out the last bits of credibility that honest conservative Republicans could still claim.
Republican Jewish Coalition Bars Ron Paul From Presidential Debate, Saying He’s Too “misguided and extreme”
This year, as was the case in 2008, the Republican candidates have been trying extra hard to capitalize on the pre-cooked and well-indoctrinated public sentiments against the Iranian regime and the hyped allegations regarding its so-called nuclear „ambitions” and support for international terrorism. Mr. Romney went as far as callingRussia America’s #1 geopolitical foe.
The ironic aspect of the Republican candidates’ disgraceful, almost seditious, kowtowing to their Zionist benefactors is that, as surveys show, the Democrats continue to enjoy a good majority of the Jewish vote.
I have long maintained that President Obama and his State Department headed by Hillary Clinton are not unaware of or are disinterested in geopolitical facts or what entails America’s best global strategic interests. What I have always said is that the American administration has been suffering a paralysis inherited from decades of subservience to special interest groups and lobbies that have ruled over the public domain, and a traditional downgrading of the relevance of international affairs.
Mr. Obama knew very well that he was not God Manifest on Earth, capable of implementing plans that he knew full well would result in what was in the best interests of the nation at home and abroad – not during his first term in office, anyway. He had to play ball, to appease, and to accommodate in order to stay alive and continue to trek along the difficult path toward achieving his objectives.
In today’s world, foreign affairs and America’s integrated role in global goings-on, must, and have, taken the center stage of political debates. Eleven years ago, it was the terror attack on America’s homeland that awakened the nation to the fact that there was a world out there and people in it that somehow didn’t see it as we did, who had grievances against our policies and actions in their homelands.
At the time, America responded in no uncertain terms; Bombing the shit out of them, whoever they were and wherever they lived,even though we didn’t really know who they all were and where they lived! This knee-jerk reaction, a natural human response, led to the quagmire we find ourselves in today after ten years of war, thousands of deaths and injuries suffered by our country, not to mention trillions of dollars that could have been better spent, plus the devastation of two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, and the deaths of over a million non-combatants in those lands. Just to think that a Bin Laden and a small group of zealots could have initiated such a horrendous chain of events is mind boggling.
Bin Laden triggered an already loaded cannon that was prepared in advance by thinkers and planners who penned their strategy in a document dating back to 1996 in Israel, titledA Clean Break, Securing the Realm. A year later, the Neoconservative think tank in Washington, The Project for the New American Century, PNAC, carried the torch and championed the move to initiate the attack on Iraq using the 9/11 terrorism as the casus belli.
I wrote at that time that I didn’t believe for a minute that the decision to attack Iraq was based on faulty intelligence regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Our very good intelligence was fully aware that no WMDs existed to seriously endanger our troops. We knew invading Iraq was to be a cake walk, and it was. Otherwise, why hasn’t South Korea, with or without American support, invaded North Korea to remove that REAL threat from the face of the map? Is it because North Korea does possess nuclear weapons and is, in fact, trigger happy, as well?
We now admit, at least most sane people do, that the Iraq war was ill-advised, but some still maintain that the ten-years-long military engagement in Afghanistan was somehow for a legitimate cause, even though it should also be brought to an end very soon. After all, itsRaison d’être, Bin Laden, is dead and gone!
We see now how the next flashpoints, Syria and perhaps Lebanon, are being triggered by the same influence peddlers that haven’t given up as yet. And, don’t think for a second that Obama and his Sate Department and Pentagon are not aware of all that.
The President has been blamed by many for following in George W. Bush’s footsteps in his approach to the Islamic Republic of Iran. He has been criticized by many honest Iran specialists (I say „honest” because the so-called „Iran specialists” we see interviewed often in our mass media are anything but!) for not demonstrating more flexibility and conciliatory approach toward Iran. They constantly flag up the points about Iran’s legitimate rights to peaceful nuclear research, or the lack of any evidence as to Iran’s violations of its NPT agreements, as though the White House or the State Department or the Pentagon are unaware of the facts. Even Netanyahu and his advisors know that Iran is not and will not be a nuclear threat to Israel, as Israel’s own intelligence services have repeatedly stated.
Obama’s seemingly harsh, even harsher than was George Bush’s, rhetoric against Iran and the ratcheting up of the economic sanctions, supposedly even „crippling”, have been, in my opinion, well measured and calculated, not to bring Iran to its knees to throw in the proverbial towel, but to appease his hawkish detractors and the wrongly motivated Israel supporters. Obama simply needs his second term in office to show his true resolve, and he is going to get his chance.
President Obama knows what the Israeli leadership wants, and so does the Israeli leadership: It is not a war with Iran, alone or with American support. A war with Iran would not serve anyone’s purpose or best interests.
1- Attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities would, as attested by practically all experts in that field, not only be ineffective, it would enrage and encourage Iran to expand its activities toward developing nuclear weapons in earnest in order to exact reprisal some day.
2- The retaliatory measures in response to any unprovoked attack would be enormously costly for Israel, as well as for the US forces in the region and the global energy markets.
3- The global condemnation against such an attack would result in incalculable damage to Israel and to American prestige and standing, considering that over 75 percent of the global community of nations support Iran’s position.
4- Such an unprovoked attack would trigger groups such as the Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Palestinians to wreak havoc against Israeli targets.
5- Attacking Iran would definitely result in major regional disturbances and expand the theater of war beyond easy containment.
Those who believe that an Iran in possession of nuclear weapons would be worse than any or all the points mentioned above, should consider the following:
1- Will such eventuality lead to a belligerent Iran preemptively attacking Israel, the US forces, Europe or even the United States as some intellectually challenged hawks predict?
The answer is no. People who have weathered through over thirty years of political, diplomatic and economic harassment and sanctions and have survived, are certainly not stupid or suicidal. Any unprovoked assault by Iran, a country with no history of attacking any other country in recent history, would be committing mass annihilation by nuclear armed countries like Israel or the United States.
2- Will a Nuclear armed Iran trigger an arms race in the region?
The answer is, again, no. Why didn’t the Israeli nuclear arms. or Pakistan’s, trigger such an arms race? Besides, why would the Gulf Arab states, our own friendly, obedient clients, need to worry about „protecting themselves” against Iran, when the United States military might is ready and capable of defending them, for its own strategic energy interests, of course? Also, wouldn’t it be fairly easy for the United States to persuade them, from the tiny Emirates to the larger Saudi Arabia, even Turkey, against opting for their own nuclear „deterrents”?
Perhaps the real reason for fearing a nuclear capable Iran is the security or the deterrence it might provide the Islamic Republic against potential attacks by hostile states such as Israel. But even this premise does not stand on solid, logical grounds. As explained above, Israel stands to gain nothing, and will suffer irreparably, should it decide to attack Iran. The nuclear deterrent, therefore, is today an outdated concept, hence Ayatollah Khamaneh’i’s fatwa against the possession of any nuclear weapons by Iran or anyone else.
So, what is it that President Obama knows the Israeli leadership wants, and the Israeli leadership is also after, if it is not attacking Iran?
1- Israel needs America’s multi-billion dollar annual gift that, when looked at realistically, is far greater than the „official” three billion dollars we hear about. And they want to be guaranteed that.
2- Israel does not intend to give in to the Palestinians’ demands for a fair settlement of contentious issues leading to any peace treaty, unless Israel dictates the terms. And Israel will be guaranteed that through America’s influence at the UN or the Security Council.
3- Israel wants to remain the region’s top dog militarily and enjoy America’s total commitment to its defense. And, Israel has been and continues to be guaranteed that.
4- Israel wants to enjoy access to oil and gas resources of the region, particularly from the Iraqi Kurdistan, and it will be guaranteed that, even of it should cost the American taxpayers a bunch to arrange it.
With the above in focus, we can appreciate the new tone in Administration’s rhetoric regarding Iran and Israel as the sign that there will be a sea-change awaiting us in the Middle East with regard to US/Iran relations.
The signals began to appear in the United States’ refusal to set a deadline or redline for Iran to do as it was told to do, or else! Another was the President’s lack of more stern or specific threat of action against Iran in his 4323 word acceptance speech, in which only a short sentence addressed Iran’s nuclear issue; „The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions.” That was it!
Then it was the comedic episode of trying to reinstate the reference to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel from the Democratic Party Platform, which turned into the foolish theatrics by the Chairman, Los Angeles Mayor, Villaraigosa, who clearly overruled the voiced votes of at least half of those present, by deciding on his own that the two-thirds yes votes had prevailed.
The very recent rebuff of the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu,in which Mr. Obama refusedto meet him in person exploded like a bomb shell over the news media. Mr. Netanyahu had earlier lambasted the American administration for refusing to obey his demands to specify clear redlines for Iran, which would trigger a military strike.
Netanyahu did speak with President Obama over the phone, the accounts of which are not fully known, but one could guess the gist of that conversation.
This is what I would have liked to hear Mr. Obama tell the Israeli Prime Minister: „Listen buddy, you know you’ll have to deal with me for another four years beyond this year. You know you don’t have to worry about our support and guarantees that you count on. You know Iran is no threat to you. You know how much America has lost and is losing on account of your arrogance and regional thuggery. Enough is enough; shut the $%#@ up and don’t screw things up anymore. Remember, in my administration, America’s interests come first; don’t you ever forget that.”
I am sticking to my long prediction that 2013 will see a major change in the US/Iran relations for the better, perhaps starting with the easing of sanctions that are not only inhumane and hurting average Iranian people and businesses, but also America’s own business opportunities in that country.
Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra’s Shadow andNecessary Illusion.
He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi’s latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
More information about Mr. Zarrabi and his work is available at:intellectualdiscourse.com
ED NOTE: Press TV has conducted an interview with Merlin Miller, US presidential candidate for the American Third Position party, to further talk over the issue. I had not heard of Miller before nor have my colleagues in the USA, which tells you where he stands in terms of visibility in the Media, but he is correct.