Parsi Guest Editorial: Action Against Iran a Mistake
‘ July 20, 2006
Statement from Dr. Trita Parsi, Phd, author of Treacherous Triangle-The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007)
It would be a serious mistake to follow the advice of Neo-con commentators who are now agitating for US military action against Iran. Just as they saw the invasion of Iraq as the key to resolving all our problems in the Middle East, so they now see military action against Iran. As the Weekly Standard puts it, “We might consider countering this act of Iranian aggression with a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Why wait? Does anyone think a nuclear Iran can be contained? That the current regime will negotiate in good faith? It would be easier to act sooner rather than later. Yes, there would be repercussions — and they would be healthy ones, showing a strong America that has rejected further appeasement.”
The violence in the Middle East has provided the neo-conservatives with a pretext for actions they’ve long sought to promote—war with Iran. But contrary to conventional wisdom in Washington, the casus belli of the neo-conservatives – that Iran ordered the Hezbollah attack – is questionable. In fact, Iran stands to lose far more than it could gain from Hezbollah’s provocation of Israel. With a much weakened Hezbollah, Tehran will feel exposed to a potential Israeli or American attack on Iran.
Israel has chosen to use Hezbollah’s action to launch a major sustained attack calculated to destroy or substantially weaken Hezbollah as well as much of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure. The Israelis may have concluded that a US attack on Iranian nuclear facilities is inevitable or desirable and therefore they’ve decided to preempt an anticipated Hezbollah retaliatory attack.
But as with the Neo-cons recommendations on Iraq, the initial military objectives may be very clear. The aftermath, however, is a different story. Absent any open lines of communication between the US and Iran, what started with a Hezbollah attack on Israel, and continued with a major Israeli offensive against Lebanon, may end up in a disastrous regional war. Washington and Tehran should prevent events from spiraling out of control by opening those necessary channels of communication.
Dr. Parsi is one of the few people in the US – if not the only one – that has traveled both to Iran and Israel and interviewed top officials in these countries on the state of Israeli-Iranian relations. He has conducted more than 110 interviews with senior Israeli, Iranian and American officials in all three countries. He is fluent in Persian/Farsi.
He has followed Middle East politics for more than a decade, both through work in the field, and through extensive experience on Capitol Hill and the United Nations.
Dr. Parsi’s articles on Middle East affairs have been published in the Financial Times, Jane’s Intelligence Review, the Globalist, the Jerusalem Post, The Forward, BitterLemons and the Daily Star.
He is a frequent commentator on US-Iranian relations and Middle Eastern affairs, and has appeared on BBC World News, PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN (Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room), CNN International (Your World Today), Al Jazeera, C-Span, NPR, MSNBC, Voice of America and British Channel 4.
Contact: Trevor FitzGibbon, 202.246.5303′