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Tribal Loyalties and Alien Interests at America's Expense

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse 


Before entering the main subject of this article, I would like to thank Rabbi Daniel Zucker for including me among the elite group of undercover "VEVAK" (supposedly Iran's equivalent of our own Department of Homeland Security) agents working for the Islamic Republic of Iran here in the United States. Now I am rubbing shoulders with scholars such as professors Hooshang Amirahmadi, Vali Nasr and Gary Sick, among many other distinguished Middle East observers. I am sure Rabbi Zucker will not forget others, such as Scott Ritter (his new book, Target Iran, which I highly recommend), even the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, as well as many others among our own Administration officials, Democrat and Republican, as agents of the "enemy", who advocate open dialogue or a new rapprochement instead of war between the United States and Iran!


Rabbi Zucker has good reasons to be in a state of panic these days. The Israeli regime, whose position Rabbi Zucker reflects, is also in high gear having a fit over the suspicion of a possible mood change in Washington's threatening posture toward Iran.


What concerns the Israeli regime these days goes to the heart of the problems facing America and the Middle East. The shallow, actually brainless, cliché that the Iraqis should be allowed to solve their own problems may sound good here half-way around the world, especially to most of us who are far from satisfied with the "progress" toward achieving our "objectives", as vague or unrealistic as they were. However, the Iraqi dilemma cannot be isolated and confined to that geographical area and treated accordingly.


What drove the United States to invade that country had really nothing to do with threats emanating from Iraq toward America. That much is certain now even among the devout proponents of the war in its initial phase. What dragged us in there is still at work trying even harder than before to get us involved in yet another quagmire by attacking Iran.


I admire Scott Ritter for his insight and courage in saying it as he sees it. The only area that he and I are not in near total agreement is where he concludes in Target Iran that the United States will attack Iran before Bush is out of office. I do not see that happening, unless the power and influence of the Israeli lobbying organs here are much greater than even I believe them to be. And, that is a disturbing thought, indeed.


In dealing with the theater of war in Iraq in particular, and our potentially deepening involvements in the Middle East in general, the original scenario writers, the directors and active players must all receive careful scrutiny.


The vectors of force, each exerting its pressure or interests in its desired direction, include the following:


Within Iraq: A- The Shi'a majority including the mainstream majority and smaller more militant groups. B- The Sunnis, including the Ba'thist former Saddam regime supporters, and the current disenfranchised Sunni population. C- The Kurds, including the Barezani and the Talebani Sunni tribes.


In addition, there are non Iraqi elements, beside, of course, the American and British occupation forces, that have assumed very active roles, each for its own reasons, in the theater of conflict. They include Al Gha'eda forces and sympathizers, Iranians, and Israeli elements (in the Kurdish area).


Regional elements of concern and influence: A- Iran, who sees its influence in the Iraqi affairs and future developments to now ironically rival that of the United States. B- Israel, whose direct influence over our foreign policy apparatus was the primary, if not the only, factor in America's invasion of Iraq, and who sees its interests best served by a continuation or deepening of American involvement in the region. C- Turkey, whose own territorial integrity and security would be threatened by a successful Kurdish separatist movement in Iraq.


Needless to say, practically every state in the region, from Egypt to Pakistan, has some direct or indirect stake in any development that might take place in the Middle East. The influence or bearings of these states over American involvement in the region is, however, tangential at this time.


So, what does each of these elements of influence want? 


Let us start with Israel.

Intent on remaining the Middle East's sole superpower under the protective and supportive umbrella of the United States, Israel has skillfully managed to carry out its agenda of territorial expansion, building of new settlements in Palestinian lands, and marginalization of the Palestinians' rights with impunity. Armed to the teeth with the most sophisticated weaponry, mostly by the United States, and always by American money, Israel has continuously abused that power by suppressing the Palestinian resistance by employing its advanced military machine. Unable to confront the Israeli occupation with tanks, artillery or attack helicopters and missiles, the Palestinians had to resort to methods that could only be termed individual acts of terrorism. However, unfortunately for the Palestinians, individual acts of terrorism were no match for Israel's official policy of state terrorism against them; and the carnage continues.


One Palestinian recently interviewed by an independent journalist observed, "Give us tanks and attack helicopters and missiles, and we will gladly abandon suicide bombing and engage in a more orthodox battle against the Israeli occupiers."


In reaction to increasing pressures from the United States and the Europeans, especially since the first Gulf War, to reach an equitable peace settlement with the Palestinians, something that Israel has successfully avoided, a study was conducted for the Netanyahu regime that would enable Israel to "secure the realm", authored by high profile Zionists who later occupied sensitive positions in the US Administration. Not too long afterwards, their scheme for a "Clean Break", as the study was called, began to take shape, with Iraq being the first target of attack by the United States under the direction of the tail that has been wagging the dog!


For Israel, a peaceful, calm or uneventful Middle East would spell the abandonment of its long-term regional objectives. A peaceful Middle East is not even conceivable with a nuclear armed Israel who insists on the policy of "ambiguity" regarding its arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including its huge stockpile of atomic weapons and long-range missiles. In addition, a peaceful Middle East is only possible if an equitable two-state solution can be reached between the belligerent Israelis and the beleaguered Palestinians. Both these prerequisites are no-starters as far as the Israeli regime is concerned.


It is, therefore, obvious and understandable that Israel and its influential agencies in the United States, including its lobby, AIPAC, America's news and entertainment media, and the beholden members of the Congress in their various capacities, would do their very best to perpetuate the blind support for Israel at any cost to the region, as well as to the United States. It might be of interest to refer, once again, to the rousing speech in 1995 AIPAC rally by our soon to be Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, where she ended by emphasizing, "America stands by Israel, now and forever, now and forever." Thank you, Nancy. You might have added, "even if it sinks our own country."


Any hint of a possible rapprochement with Iran rings as an imminent threat to Israel's hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, as well as his bellicose likely replacement, Benjamin Netanyahu, are currently exercising Israel's traditionally unquestioned privilege of delineating America foreign policy in the Middle East, now pressuring the United States to extend the war into Iran...........or else!


The "or else" is quite simply a blackmail: Israel already has the de facto US "understanding", as the President and his Vice President have stated numerous times, if it preemptively bombs Iran in the exercise of its right to supposedly defend itself. We all know what that action would lead to; not necessarily an attack on Israel, but Hell to pay by the United States, and an indefinite, disastrous involvement in the area - much to Israel's delight! Is this what the American people would want, or do we even have a say in the matter?


Could we even hope that Nancy Pelosi and, later, Hillary Clinton, having ridden the devil's own chariot to the heights and snaked their way into power, would employ the same cunning and shrewdness to switch allegiances and rise up to the service of their own nation, the United States?


Next, Iran.

What actually took place some 27 years ago to permanently, seemingly irreparably, damage the US/Iran relations must await another generation to come to light. The accepted narrative of the events of the hostage taking in 1979 has remained unchanged and has never been challenged by either side, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this writing. The unforgiven remains guilty as charged by both sides. Nevertheless, a rejuvenation of love affair between the two peoples is not a prerequisite to a level of understanding and cooperation that might be to both parties' advantage.


As an unintended consequence of America's war on terror, Iran's immediate antagonists on its left and right, the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam's Iraq, were eliminated, increasing Iran's prominence and stature in the region. If we fail to see through the very understandable Israeli alarmist, anti-Iran propaganda, Iran's strength and influence in the region appears as a negative development for the region, as well as for the best interests of the United States. Iran has remained steadfastly committed to developing its nuclear technology and resisting the pressure from the US to abandon what Iran rightfully considers lawful and within the NPT parameters.


It is not too difficult to see that the seemingly belligerent and cocky response of the Iranian regime to the American administration's demands is in direct and proportionate reaction to the attitude and tone of American demands. It almost seems as though American demands have deliberately been verbalized and poised in as insulting and degrading a tone as possible in order to generate a defiant reaction by Iran. North Korea laughed at us and proceeded with what they claimed they would do in the face of similar didactic utterances by our pipsqueak UN Ambassador, John Bolton, and Madam Secretary, Rice. Unlike N. Korea, Iran has remained a member of the NPT and insists on its commitment to pursue its nuclear technology for legal, peaceful purposes.


We choose to cast suspicion over Iran's intentions with no evidence whatsoever that Iran is attempting to build atomic bombs. Initially, it was the suspicion that Iran was, in fact, in the process of bomb building behind the façade of its peaceful technology. Now, having found no evidence of that, the suspicion is that Iran intends to gain the technical know-how that would enable it to develop nuclear weapons someday! And that is not "acceptable". Why is it not acceptable? The answer is, purely and simply, Israel.


Ted Koppel, who recently visited Iran and whose documentary is about to be featured on the Discovery Channel, was asked during a radio interview why we exercise such a double standard when it comes to Iran's nuclear developments when Israel's possession of nuclear weapons is never questioned. His reply was quite clear and logical at face value. He said we weren't worried about Israel's or India's intentions but we suspect Iran's.


What Mr. Koppel failed to elaborate on, was whether our fears about Iran's intentions were based on facts or motivated by our politics. Even though Ted Koppel, an experienced analyst of the political scene, knows the answer, he wouldn't go there, not if he intends to keep his job as a distinguished reporter or observer. After all, he wouldn't want to find his name someday among Rabbi Zucker's list of agents of the Islamic Republic operating in the United States!


Without doubt the two principle regional players in the tug of war in the Middle East remain Israel and Iran. The destiny of the future Iraq and the balance of power in the region as a whole depend on the outcome of the skirmishes between these two powers and the United States' interaction with each. In addition to Iraq, the Palestinian problem, the Lebanese Hezbollah, the Syrian angle and Turkey's Kurdish concerns will all be affected by what shape the US/Israel\Iran triangle will take.


We are rapidly approaching the most critical times in decades, when the course we adopt in our foreign policies will have an unprecedented effect on our national security, our economy, and our global strategic interests. "Business as usual" is clearly failing to produce results, and the American people are increasingly aware of our policy mistakes.


The public at large remains preoccupied with the daily routine of staying afloat, with little or no time to be skeptical or inquisitive about the nature of the news and information, or disinformation, that saturate the media. Everything is reduced to entertaining vignettes or catchy sound bites. The death of 18 innocent women and children in Gaza by an Israeli shelling is expressed with the same emotion, or lack thereof, as the news of Britney Spears divorce, by the smiling pretty newscaster on CNN. It is in this atmosphere of psychedelic euphoria that the clever masterminds of the news and entertainment media can induce or forge the mindset that suits their own specific motives. Once the mindset has been established, simple economic principles dictate that, to be successful, give the people what the people prefer to buy.


If the masses might be excused for their lack of global knowledge and political savvy, the leadership of the nation should be held accountable. No longer is it inconsequential in the scheme of things to adhere to tribal loyalties, to promote personal agendas, or to remain hamstrung by campaign promises to special interest groups or foreign lobbies that were instrumental in getting elected to office - not when it comes to foreign policy decisions. These are critical times.


Now let us examine the merits of a daring option I have proposed several times in my previous articles. What if the United States were to adopt a more conciliatory approach toward Iran and, at the same time, put Israel on notice that its meddling and shenanigans would no longer be tolerated? What would a new opening with Iran bring to the region and to the United States, if Israel could be held at bay?


Let us start with the newly resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan and the Al Gha'eda network of terrorists who are finding Iraq's Sunni communities a perfect Petri dish for spreading their power base. Even before the 9/11 attack on the United States, Al Gha'eda had expressed its animosity toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, a major concern in Iran's eastern borders. That was exactly why Iran helped the Coalition forces to destroy the Taliban bases and to establish the government of Hamed Karzai in Kabul.


In Iraq, it is the Sunni insurgency, mostly incited by Al Gha'eda operatives, that is killing American troops, bombing the Shi'a holy sites and murdering the Iraqi and Iranian Shi'a and pilgrims. Iraqi Shi'a and Iranian infiltrators operating in Iraq are also engaged in similar acts against the Sunni groups, with the American military attempting to intervene at great loss of life and injuries to our troops. Unless a fractured Iraq along sectarian lines is in the future, continuation of this carnage will not serve anyone's interests, least the Americans'. Considering that a final fragmentation would likely lead to a Turkish intervention from the north, followed by Iran's similar action from the east, some form of a loose confederation would be the best option for Iraq.


This could best be achieved with Iran's assistance and direct involvement in Iraq. Our efforts in Iraq have lead to the establishment of a Shi'a majority leadership in Iraq, who owes its grip on power and its future, at least to a great extent, to Iran. Without Iran's support, the Shi'a dominated new Iraqi regime would weaken and fragment into rival groups, emboldening the Sunnis, and dragging the country into a disastrous civil war.


With Iran's help, the Al Gha'eda infiltrators would lose their influence over the Sunni minorities, allowing these disenfranchised groups to come into the fold and become integrated within the larger Iraqi society. It is to Iran's clear advantage for this to happen. And, with Turkey and Iran both opposed to a separatist Kurdistan to congeal at their borders, the new Iraqi confederation would have a real chance of success, something that would free the United States from what seems at this time to be an endless struggle.


On the other front, if Israel could be persuaded to come to terms with their Palestinian counterparts in an equitable two-state compromise, and return the occupied territories to the Lebanese and the Syrians, neither the Lebanese Hezbollah, nor the Syrians or Iranians, would have any reason to foment hatred or antagonism toward the Jewish state - it would no longer be to their advantage to do so.


Before I finish, I have a piece of advice for Rabbi Daniel Zucker: Instead of attempting to discredit people who question the merits of America's passionate attachment to Israel, you should employ all your wit and wisdom to demonstrate to us the benefits or advantages that this one-sided love affair has brought to the American nation. After all, you are an American, I assume, and that should concern you, too.   


... Payvand News - 11/20/06 ... --

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