By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT: ISRAEL AND IRAN
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NORTH CAROLINA (BASN)—
It produces ten thousand tears.
And a town full of tombstones.
Wars, however, are easy to start.
But, difficult to end.
Despite all of that, during a recent speech at the United Nations on September 27, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel tried desperately to convince the United States that war was the only option, especially if Iran is allowed to develop its nuclear program by showing a poor drawing of a nuclear bomb.
Netanyahu’s elementary illustration actually seemed like a déjà vu’ episode of Colin Powell’s notorious presentation that convinced the world that Iraqi had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, which turned out to be a lie.
“Given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine an Iran with nuclear weapons. Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who’d be safe in Europe? Who’d be safe in America? Who’d be safe anywhere?” Netanyahu said.
Despite Nethanyu’s paranoia that a nuclear Iran would lead to the destruction of Israel, the United States, and the rest of the world, the US still thinks it’s a bad idea.
WAR IS A NECESSARY EVIL
And while Israel tries to conjure up more propaganda against Iran, the US must ask itself these two important questions before joining Israel down the road of no return.
1. Is war with Iran really necessary?
2. And if Israel decides to go to war, will they inform the US in advance.
With these two questions lingering in the mind of President Obama, he, in effect, must understand that going to war with Iran, would impact the energy markets, affect the global economy, increase gas prices astronomically within the US, increase terrorism as well as produce retaliation through strategic “missile strikes” in Iraq as well as in the Persian Gulf.
The war with Iran also would make war in Afghanistan impossible to fight.
President Jimmy Carter’s former national security adviser Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski confirmed this during a recent interview, when he said:
“The use of military force against Iran would be extremely problematic given the dispersal of Iran’s nuclear sites throughout the country and their proximity to urban centers. Since the US would be blamed for any Israeli strike, we should make it clear to Israel that American interests would be adversely affected by such a move.” Brzezinski explained.
“Kremlin strategists would surely relish the thought of a US deeply bogged down in a war with Iran, which would trigger a dramatic spike in the price of oil, a commodity in plentiful supply in Russia.
“Involving the Iranians in a military conflict would make our task in Afghanistan absolutely impossible. It would probably reignite the conflict in Iraq, would set the Persian Gulf ablaze, would increase the price of oil twofold, threefold, fourfold, and Americans will be paying five, six dollars a gallon at the gas stations. Europe will become even more dependent on Russia for energy. So what is the benefit to us?”
APOCALYPTIC END IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Brzezinski, who was the director of the Trilateral Commission from 1973 to 1976, also stated that while a nuclear Iran is a bad thing, it is not apocalyptic. Plus, he believed it wouldn’t lead to World War III as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu suggested at the U.N. General Assembly.
“Iran is not suicidal. It is not seeking to end itself, in a mass of Armageddon. Their goal is to keep their revolutionary idea alive.”Brzezinski said.
Brzezinski, in effect, gave three clear reason why he felt it didn’t pose an imminent threat to the national security of the US or Israel.
“First, the United States has the biggest defense budget in the world. Plus, the arms race is only with itself. Three, a former Mossad agency agreed that Iran’s nuclear capabilities would not threaten the balance of power against Israel.Because, Israel has the best military in the Middle East. Plus, Israel has a deadly air force.”
MULTI-DIMENSIONAL GAME OF CHICKEN
With that said, Barbara Slavin, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center, believes that Israel, Iran and America are playing a multi-dimensional game of chicken.
And instead of having a full scale war, Israel along with US backing will more than likely continue to utilize sanctions, covert action or shadow wars, which includes assassinations, sabotage, and cyber attacks in order to retard the Iranians nuclear programs.
Despite these remedies to prevent war, the US still fears that Israel may not consult with them before deciding to take military action.
Why? Because, historically, Israel has a past of striking against its “enemies” without consulting with the US. They did it in Bagdad in 1981. Tunisia in 1985, Tunisia in 1988 and Syria in 2007.
But if Israel acts alone against Iran in this latest conflict, according to Bryzenzski, the US will get most of the blowback. Because from the Iranians’ viewpoint, the innocence people, who will be killed at ground zero as cluster bombs are being dropped, will be seen as made in America.
Plus, the US has more interest, more embassies and more troops in the region.
As a result, President Obama has been made vulnerable to Israel’s willingness to make war, especially in an election year, as he attempts to win a second term against Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
UNBREAKABLE BOND WITH ISRAEL
This was made evident when Obama described the US bond with the Jewish state as“unbreakable today, unbreakable tomorrow, unbreakable forever…”
But Obama’s friendship with Israel is going to be tested more and more as they continue to promote war with Iran. As a result, some rumors have suggested that he has become increasing “unfriendly” toward Israel and to Jewish interest, especially with the perceived threat from Iran, which he quickly denied in front of the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC)
“As president I will never compromise when it comes to Israel’s security,” Obama said.
This, however, wasn’t just political rhetoric. Because, just last week, in a public signing ceremony,Obama backed up his words by signing a $70 million military aid deal for Israel.
“Let me be clear,” President Obama said, “Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable. The Palestinians need a state that is contiguous and cohesive and that allows them to prosper. But any agreement with the Palestinian people must preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish state, with secure, recognized and defensible borders. Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided,” he added.
Obama’s tough talk, however, was only done in effort to secure the Jewish vote. Because, he is quite aware of the power AIPAC can have on a presidential election as well as on US foreign-policy.
“Special interest lobbies have become overly influential in US politics. Thanks to their access to Congress, a variety of lobbies — some financially well endowed, some backed by foreign interests — have been promoting, to an unprecedented degree, legislative intervention in foreign-policy making. Promoted by lobbies, Congress not only actively opposes foreign policy decisions but even imposes some on the president. The pending legislation on sanctions against Iran is but one example. Such congressional intervention makes it more difficult to ensure that US — not foreign — interests are the point of departure.” said Bryzenzski, who has authored several books, which include America and the World: Conversations on the Future of American Foreign Policy and The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership.
THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY
The power and influence of the AIPAC on the US foreign policy, in fact, was explored and dissected by J.Mearsheimer, a political science professor at the University of Chicago and Stephen M.Walt, the academic dean at John F.Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, who co-authored the book THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY in 2006.
Here is an excerpt from the book:
This situation is deeply worrisome, because the Lobby’s (AIPAC) influence causes trouble on several fronts. It increases the terrorist danger that all states face—including America’s European allies. By preventing U.S. leaders from pressuring Israel to make peace, the Lobby has also made it impossible to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
This situation gives extremists a powerful recruiting tool, increases the pool of potential terrorists and sympathizers, and contributes to Islamic radicalism around the world.
Furthermore, the Lobby’s campaign for regime change in Iran and Syria could lead the United States to attack those countries, with potentially disastrous effects. We do not need another Iraq. At a minimum, the Lobby’s hostility toward these countries makes it especially difficult for Washington to enlist them against al Qaeda and the Iraqi insurgency, where their help is badly needed.
There is a moral dimension here as well. Thanks to the Lobby, the United States has become the de facto enabler of Israeli expansion in the occupied territories, making it complicit in the crimes perpetrated against the Palestinians.
This situation undercuts Washington’s efforts to promote democracy abroad and makes it look hypocritical when it presses other states to respect human rights. U.S. efforts to limit nuclear proliferation appear equally hypocritical given its willingness to accept Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which encourages Iran and others to seek similar capabilities.
Moreover, the Lobby’s campaign to squelch debate about Israel is unhealthy for democracy. Silencing skeptics by organizing blacklists and boycotts—or by suggesting that critics are anti-Semites—violates the principle of open debate upon which democracy depends.
The inability of the U.S. Congress to conduct a genuine debate on these vital issues paralyzes the entire process of democratic deliberation. Israel’s backers should be free to make their case and to challenge those who disagree with them. But efforts to stifle debate by intimidation must be roundly condemned by those who believe in free speech and open discussion of important public issues.
Finally, the Lobby’s influence has been bad for Israel. Its ability to persuade Washington to support an expansionist agenda has discouraged Israel from seizing opportunities including a peace treaty with Syria and a prompt and full implementation of the Oslo Accords… that would have saved Israeli lives and shrunk the ranks of Palestinian extremists.
Denying the Palestinians their legitimate political rights certainly has not made Israel more secure, and the long campaign to kill or marginalize a generation of Palestinian leaders has empowered extremist groups like Hamas, and reduced the number of Palestinian leaders who would be both willing to accept a fair settlement and able to make it work. This course raises the awful specter of Israel one day occupying the pariah status once reserved for apartheid states like South Africa. Ironically, Israel itself would probably be better off if the Lobby were less powerful and U.S. policy were more evenhanded.
While Mearsheimer and Walt made excellent points against AIPAC’s influence on US foreign policy, US involvement in Israel’s war with Iran should be a hot-bedded topic as we prepare for the next up-coming debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney.