A Chance for Peace With Iran


Will the Israel lobby scuttle it?

by Justin Raimondo

antiwar.com

With the price of gasoline rising, and President Barack Obama’s reelection prospects sinking, delaying a showdown with Iran and ratcheting down regional tensions has become a political necessity for this administration. The question is: can the Israel lobby scuttle revived negotiations?

That the participants came out of the 12-hour Istanbul meeting with reports of progress – and an agreement to meet again, on May 23, in Baghdad – is good news that must be taken in context. It’s been over a year since negotiators met, and the last round ended with both sides engaging in public recriminations, leading to the present impasse. This time around, the Iranians seemed fully engaged, and quite specific about what they are willing to discuss: and while such hot topics as the enrichment issue and increased IAEA access to Iranian nuclear facilities were politely danced around in public, all parties praised the meeting as “constructive.”

Most important, from the Iranian perspective, is that the talks are to go forward within the context of the Nonproliferation Treaty, to which Iran is a signatory – and Israel, its chief antagonist, is not. Under the terms of the NPT, Iran has the right to create a peaceful – i.e. energy-oriented – nuclear program, which is what they have been insisting has been their goal all along. An agreement within this framework would underscore the Israelis’ unwillingness to sign the NPT, or to even admit the existence of their substantial nuclear arsenal.

It was only a matter of hours before the Israelis responded with typical peevishness. Meeting with Sen. Joe Lieberman, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a swing at Obama and the Europeans:

“My initial impression is that Iran has been given a freebie. It’s got five weeks to continue enrichment without any limitation, any inhibition.”

As if Iran could create a nuclear weapon in five weeks time, even if it wanted to do so. This is par for the course for Netanyahu and Israel’s political leaders, whose constant harping on the alleged “existential threat” of an imaginary Iranian nuke has been a single note of hysteria sounded throughout the past few years, like an  annoyingly defective car alarm the neighbors have learned to ignore. Time and again they have announced Tehran is “on the verge” of acquiring a nuclear arsenal: in two years, a year, in six months – the ticking of this purported time-bomb has been going on so long it has become just so much background noise. The Israelis have cried wolf once too often.

The Iranians refrained from lecturing Western  diplomats in Istanbul, and their chief negotiator reportedly hinted at significant concessions on the key issues of enrichment and IAEA access.   For their part, Western negotiators – particularly the Europeans, who are leading the effort – are apparently for the first time taking the Iranian Supreme Leader’s fatwa against nukes seriously. The P-5-plus-1, represented by EU foreign policy honcho and former CND’er Catherine Ashton, opened the meeting with a declaration affirming Iran’s right under the NPT to develop peaceful nuclear applications.

Ashton is hated by the Israelis, and they are likely to open their propaganda campaign against the negotiations  by going after her as biased against the perceived interests of the Jewish state. The usual suspects will no doubt attribute darker motives to her stance.

The optimism that greeted the conclusion of the Istanbul talks is encouraging, but a realistic assessment must confront the politics behind the diplomacy. With all-too-likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney geared up for a foreign policy offensive, and the Israel firsters in both parties ever on the lookout for deviations from the bipartisan pro-Israel line, the political constraints on a settlement in an election year bode ill for the cause of peace.  Not that Romney is proposing anything significantly different than the policy the Obamaites are now pursuing – draconian sanctions, relentless diplomatic and political pressure, and covert efforts at regime change.  Yet the President and his advisors are walking a tightrope: the slightest wind in either direction could tip them over into the Scylla of appearing weak or the Charybdis of being provoked into war.

Like the Americans, the Iranians are constrained by politics: they refused to meet in bilateral talks with the US representatives for fear of being perceived back home as kowtowing to Washington. Iranian chief negotiator Saeed Jalili, a former deputy foreign minister, appeared at a news conference in front of a poster of the four assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists. The news the US has trained operatives of an anti-Iranian group on American soil – a group our own State Department has long classified as a terrorist organization – is unlikely to inspire trust: that and continued terrorist attacks carried out by Jundullah in Baluchistan and the Kurdish Pejak guerrillas are US bargaining chips rarely mentioned in Western news reports of the diplomatic back-and-forth: both groups have, at one time or another, received some American assistance, and they are surely getting aid from the Israelis.

While the Israelis aren’t shy about fighting a low-intensity covert war against the regime in Tehran, an all-out frontal attack is out of the question, in spite of their public posturing. The alleged threat of Israeli military action is a phony issue being ratcheted up by both Washington and Tel Aviv purely for dramatic effect: we are supposed to believe the Israelis are straining at the leash, and it’s only the Americans who can rein them in. In reality, Netanyahu hasn’t got the political support at home for a unilateral Israeli strike, and he knows it.

Aside from that, Israeli bombs over Tehran would violate the great unspoken rule of Israeli military and strategic doctrine: always get the Americans to do the fighting and the dying. It worked in Iraq, when Israeli-suppliedintelligence” tricked an all-too-willing-to-be-tricked Bush administration into fighting Israel’s war against Saddam. They hope to pull the same stunt in Iran, and the apparent success of the Istanbul conference is now a major obstacle in their path, albeit far from insurmountable.

Operating on two fronts – in the US, and in the region – the Israelis can do plenty to muck things up before the May 23 session convenes. Syria is at the boiling point, with the civil war spilling over the border into Lebanon and Turkey. By providing “non-lethal” aid to armed opposition groups in Turkey and within the country – and facilitating the provision of arms by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other interested parties – Washington is already fighting a proxy war against Iran in Syria. If the Israelis can succeed in turning Washington’s cold war against Syria into a hot one, they can introduce fresh complications into what should be a straightforward and focused negotiating process. While Bashar al-Assad looks like he’s firmly in power for the moment, increased diplomatic and political pressure on a staunch Iranian ally could well play into a scenario in which Tehran withdraws out of anger at the prospect of losing its only ally in the region.

Another wild card is the nature and scope of Israel’s covert activities in Iran: assassinations, carried out by the Israeli-supported Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK) terrorist outfit, have humiliated the Iranians and provoked an internal security crackdown. Also not to be ruled out is a widening of the scope of the attacks to include high officials as well as scientists. That Israel has tried to pass off its recruiting of Jundullah terrorists operating in Baluchistan as the work of the Americans is the kind of provocation that could not only torpedo the negotiations but actually get us involved in a shooting war with the Iranians – which is precisely the goal of the Israelis.

In the end, the battle for a diplomatic solution to this manufactured “crisis” must be won, not in Istanbul or Baghdad, but in Washington. D.C. Yet the Imperial city is the stronghold of the powerful Israel lobby, which has annexed Congress the way the IDF has effectively annexed the West Bank, and which exerts a decisive influence on the leadership of both parties when it comes to foreign policy.

No  matter how much it hurts our real interests to go to war with Iran over Tehran’s nonexistent “weapons of mass destruction,” that is precisely what will happen unless war opponents can manage to exercise some political clout on the home front. While polls show Americans overwhelmingly want to avoid such a war, and support the negotiations, that this translates easily into the realm of policy is a naïve assumption: alas, too many people think “democracy” means majority rule rather than “the squeaky wheel gets the worm.” When it comes to securing Israel’s interests over and above those of the US, the Lobby has the resources, the will, and an unbroken record of success.

  1. #1 by speak truth on April 16, 2012 - 4:08 pm

    It is Obama who the jews want to make sure is not re elected. Bibi and Mutt Robme have been friats since 1976 and has already said, “HE would BOMB Iran”? So whose side on you on? The bomb immediately friend of Bibi, or Obama whose 16 intel agencies state over and over, IRAN DOES NOT HAVE A BOMB AND IS NO THREAT. Some on this blog are obviously so anti Obama they would put this 1% mormon bomber, with no foreign policy experience at all. Better check out what this mormon believes before you vote for him.

  2. #2 by iansaysamerica1st on April 16, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that there is no “soultion” (one-state, two-state, whatever) other than to get rid of “Israel” altogether. It manifestly a threat against all of humanity. We will only be safe once “Israel” has been totally elimnated. Forever.

  3. #3 by USA on April 16, 2012 - 6:42 pm

    “A logical mind might suppose that the stage is getting set for a judgment upon the performances. I can see the possibility of that.

    I observe the press into outrage and absurdity. I see the overstepping and over reaching that only amplified hubris of a high order can generate.

    I see profligacy and indifference to all moral order. They are bankrupt of charity and compassion, bereft of restraint and sane acumen in respect of economic good and all else that affects the common lives, with so much greater intensity than the lives of those responsible for the condition.

    They are truly insane and without regard for their own souls and lives. They think themselves careful men and women. They think themselves pragmatic and wise but they are reckless fools, dancing on the precipice in the falling of the age.”

    Les Visible – http://lesvisible.blogspot.com/2012/04/ruminating-perspective-on-unknown-theme.html

  4. #4 by bostonblah on April 16, 2012 - 10:32 pm

    just caught a little of the situation room with everyones favorite nazi wolf blitzer, and they said that israel has just announced their plan to attack iran” if the the talks fail” and released an animation of how the attack would be conducted, they said something like israel prepares for losses of planes in iran attack and then they showed the computer animation of the israeli airforce plan

  5. #5 by Isaac on April 16, 2012 - 11:20 pm

    The only solution to this problem is to get rid of the mad dog. The one who constantly threatens it’s neighbors, who has piled up more nuclear weapons than they can hide and all this with an offensive doctrine, the one who milks the inpoverished American citizens with hundreds of billions of dollars a year and has gotten away with for more than six decades and also has gotten the Americans to fight her wars at the cost and blood of the US taxpayers.

  6. #6 by USA on April 16, 2012 - 11:26 pm

    bostonblah

    The question is, who stes the criteria by which the results are to be weighed? That is, who gets to make the final call, as to whether or not there has been any progress, in getting Iran to stop doing, what they are already not doing. That’s going to be tough call.

    Your Televangelist for all things Kosher, Wolf Blitzer, has obviously been ‘Chosen’ (not the resovar in Korea) obviously to be the star and the documentator to the masses, ala Ted Kopel last time Iran came by.

    Don’t miss it! The new Maxi series, written in Israel, produced in the U.S.A., with an all star of David Bolshevik cast, coming 24/7 to a TV in your neighborhood; “She Walked In, Iran”.

  7. #7 by No Freedom 4 Pollard on April 17, 2012 - 3:27 am

    Here’s what was caught of what was SAID between this two in the above caption from Netanyahu and Barack:

    Netanyahoo-ligan: ” Holy sh*t.. I think the goyim in the U.S. are going to be stupid enough to buy another false flag attack — this time with Iran..imagine that? We Zio-Nazi’s are so superb over these dumb animals.

    Ehub Barak : ” Yes Bibi -They are dumb, but shhhh…we will get them to fight our war for us once again!…This time might bring the Messiah to Jerusalem!

    Netanyoo-ligan: Im going home to watch that new show on Disney…. “Hot Christian Bitches”…

    Barack: Yes maybe we will see Hillary Clinton on there! bwahahahahaha

    Netanyahoo-ligan :…Ok Ok, shutup! Here comes Hillary!

  8. #8 by michael mazur on April 17, 2012 - 1:41 pm

    In the talks with the P5 + 1, Iran really ought to be proactive and use the opportunity to ask that Israel be also invited to participate in the deliberations. If Israel demurs then we have proof positive for the whole world to see that Israel wants war – buts wants others to do the fighting for it.

    So why doesn’t Iran take the opportunity to put Israel on the back foot ? Anyone ?

    Israel could upstage things some by bombing Iran’s facilities, and the next P5+1 meeting in Baghdad on May23 would not take place because it would be superseded by the question of whether Obama would do the obedient Schwartzer houseboy Golem thing and follow though with a massive massive American bombing assault on all of Iran’s infrastructure.

    Obama would not, and the Israelis know this, as he doesn’t want the legacy of being the N word fellow who allowed Israel to be the final ruin of America.

    Would Romney do it ? Right now he has to sound to the Israelis as if he would, otherwise there would have been no money for his campaign from billionaires.

    But were he to win against Obama he’d be changing tack when appraised by the JCS of the ruinous enormity of undertaking a open ended war with Iran, for not only would America be methodically engaged in the utter destruction of a nation of 77,000,000 innocent people who did NOTHING to America, but would find soon enough that they would be met defensively on land, in the air, and at sea, by the Russians.

    Romney would thus come to understand that he had effectively said he wanted war with the Russians, when agreeing to go to war against the Iranians, and that’s not what he would have meant. This is why should Romney win in November he will decline to please the Israelis. Bush, even the dumbass that he was – is, had enough horse sense, and firm advice from the JCS, to resist all efforts by visiting Israelis in late 08 to launch an assault on Iran before the meter expired on his presidency.

    Conclusion: The Israelis will this time find they are on their own if they think they can always whistle up America, like some dog. And of course, false flags are really so passe.

  9. #9 by amerikagulag on April 17, 2012 - 2:54 pm

    The torah and the talmud are weapons of mass destruction and their adherents are enemies of humanity.

  10. #10 by bostonblah on April 18, 2012 - 4:56 am

    if israel wants obama they will not attack iran till after the election , if they really are disenchanted with their #1 shwartza and do want their long lost tribe member romney then they will attack before the election ,the way i see it the if they want to ditch the shwartza the best way to go about it would be to start the war and force obama to have to make a descision wither way it would not bode well for him , i think the republican voters whould see that even if he backed israel they would feel he would not get the job done and the democratic voters would not be happy to be in another war ,plus gas will skyrocket and put the 73 oil crisis to shame, if they want to get rid of obama the best way os for them to unilateraly attack iran it would mean the US would have to get involved and it would be all over for obama

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