middle east, muslims, obama, politics, war on terror

Israel at a Crossroads: the Iranian Threat

Published on:
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article26003.htm
http://rebelnews.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=326421
http://mycatbirdseat.com/2010/07/israel-hiding-behind-the-iranian-threat/
http://thecanadiancharger.com/page.php?id=5&a=513

With the recent formation of “The Emergency Committee for Israel”, the neoconservative and Likudnik characters on the American right have yet again stepped up their lobbying efforts. The usual characters from the Christian hard-right like Gary Bauer have again joined forces with neoconservatives Bill Kristol, Noah Pollack, Michael Goldfarb, etc. to stand up for Israel. Among other things, they have yet again brought up the imminent threat of a nuclear Iran, and how such a nation will tear the region apart with its fanaticism.

Israel’s obsession with Iran is real. While some genuinely perceive a nuclear Iran as a major threat, others on Israel’s far right recognize the much more pragmatic, if not cynical reasons for Israel’s rancid rhetoric. With the occupation of Gaza (and blockade) and the West Bank continuing to destabilize the region, Netanyahu’s administration is undoubtedly trying to use the Iranian threat to create a climate of fear. Such a climate will not only pull the world’s attention away from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, but also reiterate Israel’s “scared bond” with the United States in a war against “Islamic Terrorism”.

Considering that Israel’s American-backed arsenal of nuclear weapons do not receive nearly as much attention in the corporate media as compared to Iran’s alleged attempt to acquire nuclear capabilities (still short of actual nuclear weapons), one should look at things form Iran’s perspective. Both Israel and the US have been talking nonstop about containing or attacking Iran. Iran has some rather weak (but still damaging) sanctions implemented on it by the US, and a genuine nuclear power in Israel constantly shouting about attacking it. Recently, the US navy just shipped missiles and over 300 “bunker busters” onto the African island of Diego Garcia, within striking distance of Iran. Furthermore, several of the countries that share borders with Iran have US troops in them (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, etc.).

Considering these factors, along with the threats from Israel and the United States (Israel is also not a signee of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty), even hawkish analysts within the Israeli establishment have noted the need for Iran to at least have the option of a nuclear deterrent. Israeli strategist Martin Van Creveld, for example, has noted that Iran’s president is “Not crazy at all,” and that he would essentially do what Ahmedinejad is doing right now if he were in his position. On the other hand, UN Resolution 1887 states that threats of force are illegal when settling nuclear disputes. Also, it goes without saying that a war with Iran would cause the entire region to destabilize.

For the United States, Iran’s Islamic Revolution ushered in regimes that did not conform with its imperial designs in the region. Both Russia and China do business with Iran, which has emerged as the true beneficiary of the Iraq War, and backs both Hizbullah and Hamas. None of this is in the US’s interest, let alone in Israel’s. However, these “threats” are still rather hollow, given the military and economic capacities of both the US and Israel. Although Hizbullah has on occasions embarrassed a stronger Israel, its threats (along with those of Hamas) are far from existential.

Therefore, Israel’s paranoia with Iran mirrors Iran’s rhetorical backlash. By making the Islamic regime look crazy, Israel draws attention away from the Palestinian question. By now, after the Gaza Massacre and the Flotilla incident, it has become clear that Israel is becoming a strategic liability to the United States. The Israel Lobby in the US is trying (with great success) to conceal this fact, but Israel is very much at a crossroads. It seeks to reinvigorate the US-Israeli alliance by exaggerating the Iranian threat, while not answering for its own nuclear arsenal. But Israel has very little choice. Although its only chance of preserving a Jewish state is through a two-state solution with the Palestinians, settlement-building throughout the years have pretty much destroyed that option. It has effectively dug itself a hole too deep to climb out of.

The Israeli-Palestine conflict is so protracted that it inevitably shakes up the whole region, precipitating hatred aimed at both the US and Israel. Given the US’s need for oil in the future, a lack of allies in the Middle East would prove disastrous. But Israel’s unpopular presence in the region is costing the US all kinds of strategic leverage. Confronted with the reality of having no friends in the world, the Israeli regime is desperately trying to use the Iranian threat to illustrate to the US its “strategic worth”.

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politics

Israel the Insane

It is by now unequivocally clear, except for those in the deepest trenches of denial,  that Israel’s “special relationship” with the United States is deadly in its effects and consequences. The latest raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31st, 2010 left one Unite States aid worker dead, along with another eight Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara. His name was Furkan Dogan, and he was only 19 years old (he also loved chess, and wanted to become a doctor in his adulthood). Despite being an American citizen (Furkan was a dual citizen, with Turkish citizenship as well), Barack Obama has not condemned the deadly raid.

Take sometime to think about that. Let it sink in for a little bit: what country, no matter how rotten or out of touch, does not get angry when their own national is executed with a bullet in his chest, and four in his head–all at close range? My God, even Cameron from the UK has condemned Israel’s actions, and asked for a lifting of the brutal, three year seige of Gaza.  If the raid had been carried out by any other country, the coverage would have been different, the reactions would have been outrageous, and FOX or CNN or some other propagandistic outlet would be beating the drums of war against the perpetrators. But not this time. Israel, unlike any other country, enjoys full immunity from the most powerful country in the world, which provides it with all the diplomatic support it needs in the UN to go along with billions in economic and military aid.

Moreover, it is more and more apparent that Israel is becoming a liability for the United States diplomatically and geopolitically. Turkey’s anger at Israel, as expressed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogen, may have serious consequences for the United States. The US is still courting Turkey’s support for the new round of sanctions on Iran, while also pressing Turkey (as a NATO member) to increase its troop levels in Afghanistan. Turkey also acts as a facilitator/conduit for around 70% of the US’s weaponry for the war effort in Iraq. [May I also add here that it would not be 100% consistent or wise to give Erdogen or the Turkish government all the praise here, for the reasons I just mentioned. Also, it is Turkish and global civil society that deserves all the praise in this case.]

Despite still dealing arms with Israel, Turkey has pulled out its ambassador, and has cancelled (for now) a joint research program with Israel on issues of energy. Tension is definitely at an all-time-high between the two countries, putting the United States in an awkward position. Not to mention, it is exactly this type of murderousness and blood-thirstiness that induces a high recruitment rate for terrorist organizations around the world.

It is also absolutely unequivocal that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is 100% illegal according to the Geneva Conventions, and that Israel systematically blocks aid coming into Gaza and its densely packed 1.5 million residents. What meager aid that Israel does truck into the Strip, according to the UN, is not even enough to feed a quarter of Gaza’s starving residents.

Where will the United States go from here? Some say that “here” is so low that up is the only way possible; I say it’s up to global civil society to decide (advocacy, BDS, education, etc). The US coverage of the flotilla murders is nothing short of atrocious, and the Israel Lobby is still strong.  As a new aids ship, the Rachel Corrie, sails across the ocean for Gaza, Israeli PM Netanyahu has again vowed to stop its delivery.

Israel has not only successfully transformed itself into an apartheid state, but also into a state of insane conduct in the face of the global community. With America’s patronage, it has gotten to the the point where its excuses are laughable to the fifth grader.

But one thing is clear. Whatever reputation Israel loses in the eyes of the world after this raid, the sacrifices made by those who were brutally murdered would have played an incredible part in. It literally took martyrdom for some in the world to notice, but it is of utmost importance and urgency that such martyrdom and sacrifice not pass in vain.

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