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Will dark clouds have silver lining this time?

By Kam Zarrabi (

Many observers here were surprised by some Iranian officials who, just before the presidential elections, indicated support for President Bush over his Democratic challenger, John Kerry. It seems almost insane for the Iranian regime to prefer an administration that has labeled Iran as a member of the Axis of Evil, the number-one supporter of international terrorism and the biggest threat to peace and security of the region and the world! On top of all that, the Bush administration and the Republican run Congress have repeatedly threatened regime-change for Iran, and have openly and unabashedly adopted Israel's views and policies toward the Islamic Republic as bona fide American agendas.

At a deeper level, however, their rationale for supporting George W. Bush's reelection did actually make a lot of sense. Unless one has just landed on Earth from some distant galaxy, it is readily evident that certain realities about American politics have remained unchanged during the past several decades: To have a reasonable chance as a candidate for literally any political position, particularly in the legislative and administrative levels, one should be careful to not alienate the pro-Israel interests and sentiments.

When Hillary Clinton appeared in front of the United Nations building in Manhattan recently to sympathize with the Jewish demonstrators objecting to the International Court of Justice's condemnation of the Israeli wall, she, a non-Jew, did the politically correct thing. Before his candidacy for the office of the president, Senator John Kerry, along with most Democratic Party legislators, believed that the construction of the Israeli wall was counter to Israel's best interests. Once his candidacy was declared, the wall of apartheid became a legitimate defensive barricade. Several times during the presidential campaigns, both Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, took the opportunity, sometimes completely out of the context of their speeches, to demonstrate their unwavering support for Israel.

Now that the game is over, the Democrats have not only lost their chance at the White House, their minority position in the United States Congress has also dwindled. The candidate who was making promises of even a stronger support for Israel than his Republican rival, can now return to his party's more liberal political position and not be held accountable for those bellicose gestures and pledges of allegiance to the Israeli cause. The Democrats are now again in a position to provide at least a less hostile alternative to counterbalance the Administration's hawkish neocons and evangelical Zionists approach vis--vis the Middle East and Iran. A Democratic victory would have clinched the more aggressive approach espoused by the supporters of Israel who, having the Republican congressional majority already in the bag, would have taken the new command structure to task if it did not adhere to those campaign pledges..

Without doubt, a surely anxious Iranian administration hopes that a second and final term for George W. Bush will bear some positive prospects. Having secured his second and final term, Bush will certainly feel less vulnerable to the influence peddlers whose private agendas he can now see clearly through. In other words, there is a good chance that he might redress his foreign policy strategies in the Middle East with a sharper focus on America's best interests, long term as well as immediate, rather than Israel's agendas promoted by the zealous gang around him. Hoping to leave a positive legacy before the end of his final term, Bush might actually break the long-established mold by pressuring the Israeli regime to ease off on its hostilities and belligerent defiance of international norms and not sabotage the so-called roadmap to peace.

As far as the Iranian regime is concerned, the United States can curb Israel and prevent it from engulfing the entire region in an open-ended bloody chaos by carrying out its promised preemptive strike, which would inevitably drag the United States into a bottomless quagmire as well. Without Israeli interference in the affairs of the United States government, it is plausible that a new atmosphere of civil dialogue could be opened between the United States and the Iranian regime, something that is long overdue and would prove to be the best formula to promote peace and stability in the entire region. That might necessitate putting economic and diplomatic pressures on Israel, possibly with even threats of sanctions, to force a degree of compliance by the Likud regime, something like the bitter medicine without which the patient might not survive!

Such developments should not be predicated on a regime-change within the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is already ripe for major changes in its socio-political structure, and has been for many years. But, just as it has proven to be true for the American society, fear and uncertainty, whether caused by acts of terrorism like the events of 9/11, or economic sanctions, threats of imminent attack or regime-change, in Iran's case, strengthen the position of the radical conservatives whose hard-line positions thus gain greater legitimacy.

The ball is now in America's court; the second Bush term can determine the future course for the turbulent Middle East. Peace and tranquility for the region is definitely achievable, but only if two vital prerequisites are satisfied: First, it must be argued and demonstrated that peace and stability in that region are, in fact, conducive to America's best interests; and this is not as easy a task as it might appear at first! Second, Israel's agendas and aspirations should not be allowed to take precedence over the Interests of its benefactor, the United States. This is not to say that America should abandon its support and protection of its surrogate state in the Middle East, but to simply demand reciprocal respect for the benefactor's rights and interests.

In my personal view, a John Kerry administration would have been as hamstrung in this regard as was George w. Bush during his first term. Only time will tell.

... Payvand News - 11/8/04 ... --

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