< HOME  Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Iran: A Political Strategy In Tatters

While US plans to confront Iran move forward unimpeded, its stated rationales are falling apart at the seams. But, you won't hear about it from our complicit mainstream media.

A rising military death toll and rising gas prices at the pumps are turning a largely complacent American public into an irate population, highly skeptical of the president's stated rationale for war and increasingly intolerant of Israeli influence on American policy.

Thanks to the internet and blogs, a population that was once a blob of uninformed couch potatoes has turned into a sea of dedicated citizens eager for every shred of truth and ready to pounce on all lies.

Now, lest I be accused of spreading falsehoods about Israeli influence on US foreign policy, let's begin with some insight on the Iran-US-Irsael triad straight from the horse's mouth:
"We need to make sure no one has the capability or the power to commit destruction against us," Olmert said.

"The Jewish people and the very existence of Israel" are Iran's targets, Olmert said, "and we don't see enough of a response from the world."

* * *

Olmert [praised] President Bush, saying Israel was "in good hands" when it relied on him.
This comes despite concern expressed by Jewish AND American leaders that using Israel as a rationale for US strikes against Iran seriously threatens Jewish interests.
President Bush is risking a backlash that could injure the Jewish community — and his own cause — by repeatedly citing Israel as his top rationale for possible U.S. military conflict with Iran, Jewish leaders and Middle East analysts warned this week.

Bush’s repeated, sometimes exclusive, focus on Israel could spark public fury against the Jewish state and Jews if U.S. military action is accompanied by skyrocketing gas prices, terrorism at home or fallen G.I.’s who might be seen as dying for Israel, some said.

Ambassador Edward Walker, a former U.S. envoy to Israel who now heads the Middle East Institute in Washington, termed Bush’s Israel focus “a terrible idea.”

“Just think about if gas prices go up to $7 a gallon as a result, and everybody is saying it’s because of Israel,” he said.
Please note that increased gas prices are no problemo, but blaming Israel would be a global catastrophe. Apparently, compassion for your fellow citizens is no longer a hiring criteria for US diplomats.
In a March 20 speech in Cleveland, for example, Bush replied to a question about the influence of apocalyptic Christian theology on his policies with a long, rambling answer in which he [declared] "I’ll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally, Israel.”

* * *

[Cheney] in a February 2005 radio interview, “that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”

Asked why Bush has made Israel a focus, Walker said, “because he is not very attuned to the history of the situation and he has some really strange advisers who do not understand the broader implications of this, in terms of the vast majority of the American public.”

Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-L.I./Queens), a frequent administration critic, said Bush’s focus increases the likelihood of a backlash against Jews and Israel if a U.S.-led war on Iran turns sour.

“It’s a horrible thing to do, it’s dangerous,” he said. “If something goes wrong, it’s a setup to say we did it for Israel and not for America, and to blame the Jews.”
You mean to tell me that blaming Israel is not a whacky conspiracy theory held by a fringe minority of hateful Americans?
Ironically, Middle East analysts say Israel’s own public stand has, by and large, played down the threat that Bush is playing up.

“For past few years, the position of the Israeli government has been that Iran’s nuclear program was not an Israeli issue,” said Shai Feldman, director of Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East studies.
Really? Someone should inform Olmert and our 'clueless' MSM.
Olmert said he takes the threats by Ahmadinejad to erase Israel from the map "very seriously."

"We do not take it lightly," Olmert said, speaking from Jerusalem. "We are powerful and able to defend ourselves."
So, which is it?
Israel may have felt comfortable stepping back because the European countries and even Russia and China have cooperated with the United States on the issue in ways they did not in the lead-up to the War in Iraq, Feldman conceded. This may have allowed Israel to de-emphasize itself, he said.

“In terms of maintaining this kind of international support, to say Israel is a primary concern is extremely counterproductive,” Feldman said.
So, it's not about substance, but about FORM.
Furthermore, he explained, many—though not all—Israeli analysts do not see a nuclear Iran as the kind of “existential threat” that Bush depicts. For all its president’s rhetoric, many Israeli analysts view Iran’s record as “on the whole, quite risk averse” and see a rational actor that would remain very aware of Israel’s second-strike capability, he said.

Then, WHY is every single mainstream media outlet incessantly peddling insane drivel about Iran being a loose cannon???
“It’s not that the day after Iran gets the nuclear bomb they drop it on Tel-Aviv,” said Feldman. It is rather, the many “general geopolitical implications” of a nuclear Iran that concern Israel, he said.

“One is that it would lead other countries [in the region] to follow suit” with their own nuclear arms programs, he said. “Two is that an Iran equipped with nuclear weapons would throw its weight around the region to a much greater extent than is currently the case.”
In other words, Israel will no longer be able to punish Palestinians with impunity.
Shoshana Bryen, special projects director for the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), agreed that the administration’s strong focus on Israel could undermine its already shaky efforts to build a broad international coalition to pressure and possibly fight Iran.

“It’s a perfectly reasonable response to the fact that Iran has threatened only two countries — the United States and Israel,” said Bryen, whose group promotes strong ties between the U.S. and Israeli military. “The problem is that doing that gives countries that would like an excuse for not acting on Iran an out.”
So, if Iran has threatened only two countries, where's the global threat?
[T]he American Jewish Committee [recently] published an ad in The New York Times and the Financial Times headlined “A Nuclear Iran Threatens Us All,” showing a map with concentric rings delineating the current and projected ranges of Iranian missiles now deployed and under development.

“Our point is and remains that Iran is a global problem,” [its executive director] said. “Israel is one target, but not the only one.”

But letters to the editor blasted the group and said the ad was proof of the destructive impact of the Jewish lobby . . . “So there is always the possibility of a backlash” [.]
That's what happens when a powerful lobby pushes a destructive agenda. They get blamed.
Jewish leaders say that while many have pushed for a forceful U.S. stand against Iran, no one is actively promoting the military option. Even some hawkish groups caution that attacking Iran could have unintended and devastating consequences.

JINSA’s Bryen, for example, that a military strike with civilian casualties will probably “strengthen the regime.”
Nevermind the hundreds of thousands of innocent lives lost. It's the strategic importance that counts!
There are no simple options, she continued, “which may be why the president keeps raising the specter of Israel. Everybody is hoping for a magic bullet, whether it be an Israeli or a U.S. magic bullet.”
No, Ms. Bryen. Most people hope and pray for a PEACEFUL resolution.


At Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...

This article actually was more balanced - stating that Israeli people and Jews as a whole do not want war.

I say that, however, this article still is slanted and biased.

It still has much further to go, in that you speak in editorials about how Israel simply punishes Palestinians with impugnity - simply not true.

Furthermore, I would argue that Bush is acting tough as a way to get the president of Iran to back down. I do not think he necessarily has plans to invade. And if he does invade, it is not for Israel, but it is convenient of him to blame Israel. This way the oil companies, Evangelicals, and Halliburton are off the hook. You jump to various conclusions without enough evidence to support them, because you are LOOKING for those conclusions.

Finally, the question of Iran using nukes is one which IS a real concern. Limiting the spread of nuclear weapons generally is a good idea. I do not trust humans with these weapons - that is the bottom line. The president of Iran has stated he wants Israel to be destroyed. That is a fact. It certainly is not a safe world to have a man like that able to wield a nuke.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Blogger Albion Moonlight said...

Finally, the question of Iran using nukes is one which IS a real concern.

Unlike Israeli expansionism and violence against Palestinians. Those aren't real concerns, just bogeymen created by paranoid minds, right?

Gimme a break Miss R. Open your eyes.

But back on point - Bush and Ahmadinijad are both talking tough to shore up control over their societies. Whether either is likely to use nukes seems dependent on whether their people will slink so far into fearful paranioa to allow them to get away with it.

One thing is for sure, one of these two leaders has nuclear warheads at his disposal, and one does not. At least not yet.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Blogger Red Tulips said...


I never said Israel has not crossed lines it should not re: Palestinians. But that is seperate and distinct from whether it has acted with impugnity. In fact, Israel does have high standards in a state of war with Palestinians. I would say that, for a nation at war, they treat the Palestinians better than any other nation in a similar situation would.

Re: Bush and Ahmedinajad. I agree with your analysis there.

At Wednesday, April 26, 2006, Blogger Christopher King said...

Thanks for covering this issue. I've got to make more time to get out from under my indictment to read this. There is a whole lot going on that threatens life as we know it, but that we never will hear about anywhere else but right here.

And as we know, Congress is about to f*ck with that:


Here's to us true Fourth Estate Practitioners:


At Thursday, April 27, 2006, Anonymous ZenMonkey said...

Why would Iran use nukes? Their stated problem with Israel is that they are occupying "Islamic land" and oppressing Islamic people. You can disagree with the Iranian asessment if you want, but I have seen zero evidence that Ahmadinejad (or anyone else in the Iranian Government) is so out of touch with reality that he's going to nuke a country to liberate it. Oh, and the fact that Israel already has nukes, including second-strike capable submarine missile carriers, whereas Iran is, by any reasonable published estimate, -years- from having nuclear weapons, is just irrelevant. Nuke 'em now! Otherwise, they might nuke someone later!

I applaud qrswave's attempt to cover the politics of why people are actually worried about Iran. I would like to point out, though, that there is a complicated political situation in which it could be against multiple actors' interests for Iran to get a bigger piece of the pie. With the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution holding so much power in Iraq, the balance of power is already shifting. This could make the more secular rulers of some of the other Islamic nations nervous, not to mention Bush on his own account; if Iran gets more and more control of the region, there will be more and more political/economic pressure on the States to deal with Iran in one way or another.

There are certainly some in the US who would cut Israel loose if it became in their interest. Too bad there isn't an alliance between Israel and the US, huh?

At Friday, April 28, 2006, Blogger Erosoplier said...

Maybe all Iran wants is to exercise its soveriegn right to sell the oil under its soil on the open market. And to build some nukular power stations so it can sell more oil to others rather than consume it themselves. Maybe.
What is almost certain is that certain Anglo-American interests won't be satisfied until they find themselves in the fortunate situation of being the ones who are helping pump most of Iran's oil.
miss R, there is a case to be made that Ahmadinejad's words are being twisted: http://www.arbeiterfotografie.com/galerie/kein-krieg/hintergrund/index-iran-0013.html


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