Jahanpour: US following Israeli 5-Point Plan on Iran: Wikileaks

Farhang Jahanpour writes in a guest column for Informed Comment

What is truly alarming about the new batch of Wikileaks diplomatic files is the extent to which US politicians and their Israeli allies are obsessed with Iran. There is virtually no talk of Israeli colonial settlements on the West Bank, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the war crimes in Gaza, the attack on the aid flotilla, and Israel’s arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons, but there is constant preoccupation with Iran’s uranium enrichment and whether Israel or the United States should attack Iran first.

The media has dwelt almost exclusively on the remarks of the Saudi King Abdullah’s ambassador in Washington, calling on America to “cut off the head of this snake”. There are quotes from the rulers of other Western friends in the Middle East, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE and Jordan, repeating what American officials wanted to hear, namely that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an “existential threat” to them…

By latching on to the alleged remarks of these autocratic rulers, Western media has tried to convey the idea that Iran does not only pose an “existential threat” to Israel, but to all those other friends of the West as well.

However, the Arab rulers’ nightmare is that while they hate Iran for obvious reasons, most of their subjects look up to Iran as the only country in the region that is championing the Palestinian cause and is standing up to Israel and the West. According to the most recent poll, carried out by the US Zogby polling organisation and the University of Maryland, in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other pro-western Arab states, a majority of the respondents even had a positive view of the possibility of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. Asked which countries threatened their security, 88% replied Israel, 77% the US and just 10% Iran.1 It is not that US diplomats don’t understand these facts, they have just lost all sight of reality, democratic principles and America’s long-term interests. The experiences of supporting Saddam Hussein, General Musharraf and other dictators should have proved to them that relying on undemocratic rulers would backfire, not to say that it is contrary to the democratic principles that they claim that they are championing.

In view of the fact that the United States is arming its “allies” with billions of dollars worth of the most sophisticated weapons, its protestations about Iran’s military threat sounds hollow. According to The Financial Times, the US plans to reinforce Arab military power by selling an unprecedented amount of USD 123 billion to four Persian Gulf littoral states. Saudi Arabia’s share stands at nearly $67 billion, the UAE at $40 billion, Oman at $12 billion and Kuwait at $7 billion, according to the business daily.

This is despite the fact that those countries and Israel already spend a much larger part of their GDP on arms. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), while Iran’s military spending in 2009 was $9.174 billion (or 2.7% of its GDP), that of Saudi Arabia was $39.257 billion (8.2% of its GDP), that of the tiny United Arab Emirates was $13.5 billion (or 5.9% of its GDP), and that of Israel was $14.34 billion (7% of its GDP). And whereas Iran’s military spending as a share of its GDP is 2.7% (9.174 billion: 340 billion), that of the United States is nearly 7% (1 trillion: 14 trillion). In other words, Iran’s military spending is less than one per cent of the United States’ spending.

Nevertheless, the US and Israel have the temerity to portray Iran as the main threat to the Middle East and the main obstacle to the “peace process”. There is a wonderful moment in the cables when the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, explains to a US congressional delegation on 28 April last year that “a Palestinian state must be demilitarised, without control of its airspace and electro-magnetic field [sic], and without the power to enter into treaties or control its border”. Well, what then does the Obama Administration mean by a two-state solution and the establishment of a viable Palestinian state? What is the point of the “peace process” for which the United States is willing to make so many concessions to Israel?

Practically, all US-Israeli talks show a feverish and obsessive preoccupation with Iran. They do not try to find ways of resolving Iran’s nuclear program through co-operation, talks and constructive solutions, but through sanctions ultimately leading to war. It seems that Iranian leaders were justified not to trust even President Obama’s offer of unconditional talks. WikiLeaks revelations that American officials were planning to raise pressure on Iran with more sanctions and a missile defence shield, despite making high-profile public overtures to Iran are being seen in Tehran as validation of deep skepticism from the start about Obama’s intentions. The leaked documents show that there was a half-hearted attempt at engagement, while also pursuing US administration’s “dual track” policy of simultaneously applying pressure and negotiating, with the constant refrain that “all options are on the table”.

A most revealing case about the US-Israeli approach towards Iran concerns the meeting between the Mossad Chief Meir Dagan and Nicholas Burns, then US under-secretary of state. The Israeli spy chief practically puts forward the “roadmap” that the United States must follow. It includes Israel’s “five-part strategy”. It is worth quoting the passage in full:

• Bring Iran before the UN security council to pursue a third sanctions resolution;

• “Covert measures: Dagan and the under-secretary agreed not to discuss this approach in the larger group setting”;

• Counter-proliferation: prevent know-how and technology from making their way to Iran;

• Sanctions – the biggest success so far. Three Iranian banks were on the verge of collapse. Financial sanctions were having a nationwide impact.

• Regime change. Israel believed more should be done to foment this, possibly with the support of student democracy movements and ethnic groups such as the Azeris, Kurds and Baluchs.

Is this not exactly the formula that has been followed during the past two years by US politicians? Under great US pressure, the Security Council has passed two more resolutions imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. The US Congress and EU countries have gone further and have imposed their own sanctions against Iranian trade, shipping, banks, aviation, oil and gas, as well as the Iranian nuclear program and the Revolutionary Guards…

After the revelation of these files, US politicians have two options, either to continue with their failed policy and push with the sanctions, ultimately leading to war; or to change course and give meaning to President Obama’s initial slogans of talks and negotiations with Iran, with respect and as equals, trying to reach a comprehensive agreement that will allow Iran to pursue its right to enrich uranium under strict international supervision, while preventing her from gaining access to nuclear weapons. So far, President Obama has not given in to intense pressure from the Israeli lobby to attack Iran. That pressure is bound to increase in the coming months as we move closer to the next presidential election. He should hold his nerve and make it clear to the warmongers that Iran is not going to be another Iraq.

Iran should be asked to help resolve some of the intractable problems in the Middle East, from the on-going conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Arab-Israeli conflict in return for security guarantees to Iran and the normalization of relations. A friendly Iran can play a major role in the Middle East and can act as a US partner, rather than as an adversary.

One should only compare the non-existent elections in most Arab countries or even the recent parliamentary election in Egypt where the opposition Muslim Brotherhood miraculously failed to win a single seat with Iran’s defective but nevertheless meaningful and vibrant democracy. Last year’s presidential election in Iran showed that the vast majority of Iranians are anxious to put an end to their radical government and to form a true democracy. Their dream was shattered as the result of the brutal repression by the Iranian President Ahmadinezhad and his conservative clerical backers.

What the Iranians need above all is a certainty that if they rise up in larger numbers against their unpopular rulers they will not face the ethnic partition of their country, advocated by the Mossad chief, or a military attack on their country.

In order for Iran to achieve this and for the US to turn over a new leaf in her relations with that ancient and influential country, which has perhaps the most pro-Western population anywhere in the Middle East, it is essential for the US to cut its umbilical chord with the most extreme elements in Israel and usher in a new era in her relations with the Middle East and with the Islamic world as a whole. Such a policy would also be in the long-term interests of Israel, because their present course of action is doomed to failure.

———-

* Dr Farhang Jahanpour is a former professor and dean of the Faculty of Languages at the University of Isfahan, Iran, and a former Senior Fulbright Research Scholar at Harvard. He is Associate Fellow at the Faculty of Oriental Studies and tutor in Middle Eastern Studies at the Department of Continuing Education at the University of Oxford

32 Responses

  1. I assume that the lack of memorandums concerning Israel is caused by different classification: The leaked network is restricted to “secret” messages. Maybe the Israel embassy classifies even their routine communication as “top secret”.

  2. With most of the ME governments “on record” for attacking Iran (even though their own people do not support it), I would not be surprised if Iran is no longer hesitant about destroying all the oil terminals and military bases in the region if they are attacked. Iran has mastered the art of making lots of cheap, reasonably accurate missiles and has more than enough to easily overload the US missile “shields” (actually Swiss cheese), so destruction of the oil terminals and bases would be pretty massive.

    As BP was so cleverly demonstrated so effectively, oil infrastructure is insanely easy to destroy and very expensive in both time and money to rebuild. In fact, it is even more expensive and time consuming if it is constantly under attack. No oil infrastructure in the ME translates directly to no oil for the US (the US imports over 75% of its oil and buys most of it on the world market)

    I am sure that America will retaliate by destroying Iran’s oil infrastructure if it didn’t do that in the initial attack. BUT, this will only make the oil shortages even worse, PLUS, it will make China very, very mad (China gets 10% of its energy from Iran). Once China is provoked, the US may discover that it has stepped on the wrong tiger’s tail. At that point, the US will have the choice of losing to Iran, losing to China or having most of the US starving because there is no fuel to transport food. I suspect all three will happen and China will NOT provide any humanitarian help for the US.

    Attacking Iran would be the worst thing the US could do. It would destroy the US economy for many years if not generations.

    Of course Israel would be “collateral damage” during the destruction of the US. That is, Israel would cease to exist and most Israelis that lived through the devastation would migrate to other parts of the world. Why Israelis can not see that the destruction of the US will directly lead to the destruction of Israel, is something I can not understand. Is it because both the US and Israel believe their myths of invincibility?

    If I were Iranian, I know exactly how I would react to an attack – exactly the same way Americans reacted to the minor attack on 9/11 – massive counterattack on US vital interests. (and yes, in the grand scheme of history, less than 3000 people out of 300 million is a minor attack – especially when attacking Iran could kill millions out of 75 million)

    • What are you talking about? You really think China will do anything if Iran is attacked? Without the US market, the Chinese economy crumbles and dies.

      Annual Chinese exports to the US: $300B

      Chinese GDP: 5T.

      Loss to the Chinese economy: minimum of 6%

      The Chinese would face millions of unemployed people and would have to explain why their economic policies failed.

      As for any military confrontation, China is no tiger. The Chinese wouldn’t even be able to take Taiwan given an aircraft carrier group in the region.

      Enough of this nonsense. The only thing where the Iranians are powerful is talking a good game. Their military is weak. Their economy is weak. Their technology is weak. They can cause some damage through proxies in Iraq and Afghanistan and Gaza and Lebanon and maybe temporarily blow a couple of pipelines. That would go on for maybe a week after which they will be defeated and destroyed along with most of their proxies. The US has plenty of food and plenty of oil reserves. We import most of our oil from: Canada, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria. Of those Venezuela is the only one that might do something with its oil in case of an American attack ( which would be real dumb).

      Again, enough of this disaster nonsense. Will an attack on Iran have consequences? Yes. Will they be extremely severe? No. Are their benefits to eliminating a rival in the Middle East? Definitely. Are there benefits to securing a stable supply of oil for the next 20-30 years? Yes. Are their benefits to being seen as powerful and feared? Yes.

  3. I support improving relations with iran, sanctions have a poor record and they mainly just hurt the people who, as pointed out in this article, are pro-west.
    However wouldnt this involve the US having to do something for which it is constantly criticised for doing so, having relations with an oppressive middle eastern governement.

    Again, im ok with opening better relations overall, but sometimes those who are most critical of US relations with oppressive middle eastern nations are the same people who are very hostile to the US’s non-relationship with iran.

  4. What will happen to the world’s economy if Iran is attacked? The non-caring neocons don’t give a rip about the rest of the world, it’s Israel and Israeli interest that count.

    Surprise, you haven’t heard a word about this on the evening news programs hosted by three of New York’s most prominent socialites. Katie, Dianne and Ken doll Williams.

  5. Juan, You know that what You and I both desire concerning both Israel and Iran is not going to happen in the USA. Empires like Ours seem to follow the same path to Self destruction and what finally happens is We collapse from inside. Every single Empire in History has went through the same process. It’s like We just read History for fun, never learning a single thing. In many ways, Empire Builders are like Teenagers that believe They will never die and that somehow Their Smarter than Those Who came before and have therefore mastered what Their Elders failed at. The term “Super Power” is highly intoxicating and it has lead Us to Our current decline. It is inevitable that We will fall for the same reason that all Empire’s before fell, We can’t help Ourselves. Russia, the latest Super Power Empire, collapsed over night and stunned even Our incompetent CIA. The reality is that They didn’t collapse over night but followed the same pattern of failure that We’re on. Our fall from Super Power failure will be similar. Obama, Whom I foolishly believed was the change We needed, has fallen into the same trap as His predecessors. I wonder how He will explain His part in the great catastrify(sp) to His Daughters when They ask, What happened Dad? The sad part is that those of Us Who tried to stop it will be caught in the fall.

    • MikeL: – You are absolutely correct in your assessment how the mighty and powerful think.

      People, those built Pyramids, thought exactly same since no one has built such a structure before. Same way British thought that sun will never set on their mighty empire.

      If Washington will not make sound judgment, keeping its interest 1st than Jerusalem’s, it will go downhill very fast like USSR.

  6. Thanks, Dr.Jahanpour. Group-think can take over very easily. It has also been pointed out that most of the cables date from the Bush administration (not that much has changed) and that very often the Americans were just told what they wanted to hear, sort of Arab courtesy.
    I am reminded of the Congressional hearings that were held after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The theme of these hearings was, why the US, with all its enormous intelligence capability, had not foreseen the collapse. It developed that almost all US-produced information fed into the pipeline portrayed the USSR as some powerful, armed-to-the-teeth monster at a time when the empire was tottering and in imminent collapse. Many lower-level analysts reported, as broadcast on C-Span, that their memorandums were doctored and rewritten to reflect their supervisor’s thinking, and probably to reflect the then-administration’s thinking. Which was that the USSR was an almighty Evil Empire that Teflon Reagan was taking on.
    Knowing that most State Dept. aparatchniks are mostly concerned about their careers, which means pleasing their supervisors, which means pleasing Washington, could there be any other outcome? Maybe someday there will be similar hearings about the Middle East. Scary indeed, when people start believing their own lies.

    • A great example of people believing their own lies is to be found at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. If these people have sway, and they do, then insanity reigns:
      link to c-spanvideo.org

      In short: the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are positive; the main problem in the Middle East is Iran; the Palestinian Authority has its act together and people in the West Bank are happy.

  7. Can one ask what possible motivations the various “deciders” are impelled by, in this danse macabre between the, I was going to say “hawkish” but I think “Komodo dragonish” is a better fit, policy players in Israel and their opposite numbers in America?

    Is it just advancement of the Neocon Nightmare, coupled to the Armageddon Engine, with a nice fallout of hundreds of billions of dollars into the coffers of the war machinery suppliers? Bearing in mind the awful symbiosis between the nominally Israeli manifestations of the Krupp and Speer models, and supposedly “American” munitions and war toy makers like General Atomics and Lockheed-“We never forget who we’re working for”-Martin and Northrop-“If you keep at it, eventually you will get the billions to build a flying-wing bomber”-Grumman, and Boeing, and Sikorsky, and on and on, which make up a truly globalized industry, sharing technologies and tricks of the trade, without loyalties except to the geometric increase in share of the world’s gross wealth and productivity.

    Do these folks have an aiming point for all their “policy” weapons, do they act just out of inertia and congealed habits of thought, do they have real “beliefs,” are they simply cynical profit-and-rent-takers, or are they just doing what they do out of a horrible and fratricidal-suicidal momentum? Or is the reality a pixellation of all of the above and even uglier stuff that is submerged and hidden and festering beneath the rhetoric of “ally-dom” and “democracy” and “security through ever-increasing teetering fragile balances of huge piles of weaponry and cynical manipulations of tribal passions?”

    How is it possible, any more, to impel our obscenely wealthy warlords to incorporate some elements of the notions of stability and sustainability and species survival into their rules of the Great Game? Or are enough of us infantilized and infatuated and intoxicated by war drums and bugles and all the really cool stuff of war, the oldest and apparently most durable human institution?

  8. The fear is not of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme- it is quite clear that it has none- but of its support for resistance to the zionist revisionists (fascists in european terminology). In order for the Israelis to succeed the Palestinian people must be totally isolated, friendless and unarmed: so long as Iran is ready to sustain the resistance Israel’s ambition, to put an end to the question of sharing the land of Palestine, will be frustrated.

    Israel knows, and recent developments in Turkey have proved, that the current encirclement of the Palestinians cannot last: the “moderate” autocracies in the Arab world (some of the most corrupt and repellent regimes that exist anywhere) are fragile and unsustainable, particularly in a deepening economic depression. Nor, one suspects, can the current uncritical and cynical support Israel gets from “the west” continue: it is borne of the 9/11 crisis and islamophobia.
    And it too is being dissolved in the reality of a social and economic crisis.

    How much would extending Unemployment Benefits to millions of Americans cost? And how much is spent in gifts to Israel and bribes to its “moderate” friends?
    And when will two and two be put together?

  9. A well written and subtle essay that promises a rosy feel-good future, sans war,
    in exchange for a “regime change”.
    In this, Farhang Jahanpour, echoes the position of both the United States and Israel.
    As to Iran´s unpopular rulers, they are not as unpopular as some would have you believe.
    It is a fact, that many people in the United States and Europe fail to understand, that
    in most countries the middle class does not represent the sensible majority, it represents
    a small self-centered clique, whose voice is much louder than its size would indicate.

  10. The elephant in the room here is the evident lack of good intentions and/or self interest on the part of the US, very much in keeping with the spirit and image of Procrustes. In a sad way it sounds like the 1600’s and the repeated colonial reneging and deception in dealing with and taking resources away from the various native American tribes. In spirit, the US diplomacy then and now comes across as far removed from decency as from common sense. With aching hearts and tears in our eyes we are witnessing, thanks to wikileaks, yet again the Procrustean polity at work. Unless, of course, one considers our historical dehumanization of the natives and their subsequent demise a resounding success! The difference between now and then is that now the American people are often the first victims of the uninterrupted deception.

  11. In order for Iran to achieve this and for the US to turn over a new leaf in her relations with that ancient and influential country, which has perhaps the most pro-Western population anywhere in the Middle East, it is essential for the US to cut its umbilical chord with the most extreme elements in Israel and usher in a new era in her relations with the Middle East and with the Islamic world as a whole. Such a policy would also be in the long-term interests of Israel, because their present course of action is doomed to failure.

    Yes, that would be nice but I just don’t see this happening any time in my life time. Sad

  12. You raise very good points. Th one that most struck me was the uproar in our media about the Iranian elections, but very little comment about the travesty in Egypt. Similarly, the Hiatian elections were rigged before hand to eliminate any non supporters of the US, but the American media never covered this fact. W would be proud!

  13. “There is virtually no talk of Israeli colonial settlements on the West Bank, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, the war crimes in Gaza, the attack on the aid flotilla, and Israel’s arsenal of hundreds of nuclear weapons, but there is constant preoccupation with Iran’s uranium enrichment and whether Israel or the United States should attack Iran first”.

    How observant, this stuff is in the press everyday. Let me give you a clue about Wikileaks. Its about what is not being said publicly for fear of upsetting the street.

    Public statements like the above mentioned above are opiates for the masses. It is a known fact that hating Israel gets you votes in the Arab and Muslim world and Useful idiots on the Left will run with it.

    Wiki leaks are what the governments want.

    Indeed, Iran should be shaking in its boots.

    • OOOh, thank God we have Tough Guys to keep us marching in step toward Armageddon!

      Face it folks, War is not only Great Fun, ask any of the maybe billions who spend megayears “playing” World of Warcraft and now Black Ops and those “games,” it is one of the few enduring institutions that, if you look at and continue to reward the reality of what goes on, the corruption, theft, abuse, murder, all the rest, as opposed to the Glorious Facade, that humans have consistently been really good at. Whoring is another.

  14. Even if they can bully a subservient Congress, via AIPAC, into providing more blanketed support, it’s a small victory in the overall success of Israel. Are they proud that they are able to manipulate the levers of their sole ally? Coercive manipulation is one of AIPAC’s greatest strength’s, and the lackey Congressional quislings that support AIPAC money are eventually going to come up short. They’re shooting themselves in the foot. More money for Israel has underminded our domestic agenda, and damaged middle east peace agreements. But can Democrats grasp this concept? I wonder. Not with Chuck Schumer as no 2 hombre. ~or Dick Durbin for that matter.

    Support of Israel is not our problem, as they’ve created their own enemies, and continue to take our military technology to extinguish another ethnic group. Sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a useful relationship. Settle on 1968 borders and we can stop the destructive kharybdis.

  15. “Another Munich”. I think those two words have buried whatever good intentions of every American President has had since WWII.

    Taiwan, the Koreas, Cuba, Israel, Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, 9/11, the Cole, all gave Presidents the challenge of choices at one time or another. But once the key adviser whispered the magic two words into the Presidential ear, the Secretary of State was sent on a three week tour of Tiera Del Fuego, and the SECDEF was called in with his bras and their “not a problem” briefing charts.

  16. Last sentence of my post above should read “brass” not “bras”. Probably had some fleeting “don’t touch my junk” type of thought when I typed the latter.

  17. the idea of attacking Iran and the resulting devastation will be more than enough to destroy America’s economy. I am just amazed the Israelis seem to think they can keep pushing and not expect some blowback at some point. they have been on a roll for so long. Palestine is theirs to do as they will.

    keeping the status quo for Israel seems a better choice than a war on Iran. Iran would never attack Israel and invite total devastation. As Iraq proved, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

    to see America hostage to Israel’s aims is also a time honored American tradition. I do wonder if the Arab public is as “controlled” as the American public is. to have Wikileaks expose the “truth” of our leaders is a sad commentary and why Assange’s days are numbered.

  18. A popular uprising isn’t in America’s interest because a government popular with Iranians isn’t likely to be a government popular with America’s movers and shakers.

    • I disagree. Over 50% of the Iranians probably did want a replacement of the Shah but the current government(blend of Theocracy/military dictatorship) is extremely unpopular as well. The difference is that this government seems to be even more willing to use force to stay in power.

      An uprising in Iran might not lead to a government that is friends with the United States but it would lead to a much, much better relationship in all likelihood.

      The larger point, however, is that an Israeli or United States attack on Iran is in all likelihood going to strengthen — not weaken — that brutal regime.

      • Given that the US has oppressed Iran for over 55 years, your supposition that any future government of Iran would be “friendly” is mistaken at best and completely delusional at worst.

        Do you really think the people of Iran will be “friendly” after we have tried to destroy their economy with sanctions?

        As for the current government being unpopular, you might want to re-read many of Mr. Cole’s earlier analysis that shows that the reality is, other than a very vocal, but very small minority that is showcased in the western press, the people of Iran’s attitude toward their government runs from toleration to very much liking it.

        Note also that virtually ALL factions in Iran support the Iranian nuclear program which means the US can never be “friends” since Israel will not tolerate that.

        Given how the US and the UK have terribley mistreated Iran for over a century, it is extremely unlikely that Iran will every be “friendly” unless the US and UK pay MAJOR reparations and grovel a LOT – Given the arrogance of most Americans and Brits, it is extremely unlikely either will ever be humble enough for Iran to trust either for hundreds of years. Remember the people of the ME STILL remember the Crusades like it was yesterday (and dislike Europe).

        • Reparations and groveling? Iran is no superpower and will have to deal with the US/UK in a way that corresponds to its stature – a developing country with a deteriorating infrastructure with a highly inefficient economy.

  19. “What the Iranians need above all is a certainty that if they rise up in larger numbers against their unpopular rulers they will not face the ethnic partition of their country, advocated by the Mossad chief, or a military attack on their country.”

    This is exactly where can we see the “co-dependence of extremists,” Ahmadinejad (Mesbahieh cult) and Natanyahu, et al, whereby both are interested in killing the middle, namely “Iran’s defective but nevertheless meaningful and vibrant [Islamic] democracy,” i.e., the reformist Green Movement; which is why Israel (along with its “Christian” Zionist “neo-con” backers) was DELIGHTED to see last year’s elections stolen (and the subsequent repression), because the extremist Zionists want Iranians to “rise up,” but only for either becoming a servile colony again, like Iran under the Shah (or “Saudi” Arabia), or for the country to become “partitioned,” which is Bernard Lewis’ “New Middle East Map” dream. No wonder the astute Israeli peace champion, Uri Avnery observed last year: “If Ahmadinejad is not a Mossad agent, he certainly acts like one.

    Please read this CONTEXTUAL essay, in order to gain a deeper understanding of what is unfolding in Iran:
    link to votersforpeace.us

  20. I’ve read alot of the Israel cables pertaining to Iran and I don’t see the umbilical link to the US in them. They are interspersed with comments like “it is unclear whether they really believe this stuff or are just trying to put pressure on us” and the classic one was prefixing the views of I think Amos Gilad with “turning to his crystal ball ….”

    I suppose I just can’t believe the US are stupid enough to work hand in glove with the Israelis. If the Israelis were so confident the US would do what they want, I don’t see why they feel the need to be so shrill.

    • The Israelis and the Americans are separate actors with their own interests. There is no umbilical link. The Israelis will not undermine what they consider their basic interests for the Americans. The Americans likewise also act according to how they perceive their interests. The idea that Americans are controlled by Israel are idiotic and are derived by naive people that refuse to believe that the American policy in the Middle East and around the world is what it is. If you look at the grand picture the American policies in Latin America and East Asia over the past 50 years have been nearly identical to the policies pursued in the Middle East.

  21. It is logical to question the United States relationship with Israel (or any other country) and the mainstream media does not do that enough. The Israeli-Palestine question is a complex issue that is not easy to solve since both countries have strong religious fanatics that do not want to compromise much at all. I believe the US should gradually rollback support to both sides of this conflict so that the parties have more of an incentive to come to an agreement.

    But after what we have seen the last few years, calling Iran anything close to a democracy is a joke. They shouldn’t even pretend to be a democracy since the country has deteriorated into a thuggish theocracy/military dictatorship. Other countries in the Middle East that the United States support, however, are also different types of dictatorships.

    In the comments section, I also take issue with anyone calling 911 a minor attack since rather easily 50,000 people could have been easily killed that day. Imagine if the towers were closer to full occupancy and the collapsed within 2 or 3 minutes. That attack was almost a legitimate weapon of mass destruction.

    All of this being said, the United States overreached in Afghanistan and Iraq only made sense for US security interests if the UN was leading the charge and that was very unlikely no matter how brutal Hussein and his sons were.

    The Taliban deserved to be severely punished for harboring the Islamic terrorists that planned 911 and not turning them over after being repeatedly warned by Bush but it wasn’t in the United States interests to go too far with a rebuild Afghanistan plan unless the United Nations/Nato was going to do at least 70% of the heavy lifting and that coalition was going to have better support among the average person in Afghanistan.

    Lastly, the US should send most of its military troops throughout the world home since the country can’t play policeman to the world.

  22. There are a few facts to remember:
    1–Until Arab leader find their own legitimacy through reliance on their own people, they remain reliant on foreign forces. They will have to remain American (Western) underlings, wasting everyone’s time, energy, and resources by saying and doing what is not in their own national interests. That is buying tools of destruction that they do not need and building high-rises and monuments such as soccer stadiums that are only going to fill the bottomless pockets and multinationals. waste, wast, and waste.
    2–Israelis cannot survive without American dollars and American dollars do not flow to Israel without the conflict. Therefore, there is no interest for Israelis to honestly engage in peace process and end this nonsense that has caused so much destruction and deaths.
    3–In a book chapter in Robert Looney’s Handbook of the US-Middle East Relations, I argue that, after the collapse of the USSR, Israel lost its strategic position and Iran is a good replacement for it. If we understand this, the Israeli insistence and persistence in making everyone afraid of the “big bad wolf,” Iran, is not difficult to understand.
    4– Of course, given the premises above, Palestinian leaders will keep doing what Arab leaders, their benefactors, ask (force) them to do unless something more drastic is done. link to juancole.com

  23. NPR’s Robert Siegel did his part feeding the “let’s go get Iran” chorus by having the fact based, (choke) fair Jeffrey Goldberg on his program.

    Robert Siegel pushes the unsubstantiated claims about Iran and NPR’s Guy Raz pushes feel good about Israel stories. A concerted team effort

    Look at the run on Monday at NPR. Just a bit of a focus on Iran

    Monday All Things Considered
    link to npr.org
    Leaks Reveal Arab World’s Concerns About Iran
    [5 min 18 sec]
    Documents: Iran Obtained Missiles From N. Korea

    Middle East
    Iran Blames U.S. For Nuclear Scientist’s Death

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