By Dr. B. Bahrami, UK
Open Letter to Mr. Yushka Fisher in response to his article the 30th of May 2008 in The Daily Star, Lebanon: As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon
Dear Mr. Fischer,
Thank you very much for your article titled ′As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon′ dated 30th May 2008 in The Daily Star, Lebanon. I have to admit having read your previous article in 2006 titled ′The Case for Bargaining With Iran′ I wanted to refrain from value judgment on your articles. However, it is difficult to separate your writings from your personal baggage and guilt ridden German psyche. In both articles you build your argument based on your prejudicial attitudes towards Iran and Iranians.
This bigoted sensationalism is exactly what those who want to shape the view of general public against Iran are after. For this reason western media and US/Israeli speeches are filled with omission, half truth and lies, about Iran in general and her nuclear program in particular, not because these issues are genuinely troubling but because it is a classical form of conditioning western public to evoke an innate and reflexive negative view of Iran, and to reaffirm dark stereotype views of East and Iranians in particular, while you pen these sentiments in the guise of peace attempt.
Another obvious point in both of your articles are the ease by which you take amoral action of waging a genocidal war against Iran as accepted and expected course of action and put the onus on eventual victim intransigent. After all ″naturally-occurring barriers that inhibit human killing can be eroded either through outside social/environmental influences or by changing how one perceives the situation″. Further point that cannot be missed is arrogance by which arrogated yourself and West the power to decide the limits of other nations aspirations and intentions, in regions thousands of miles from your land, having married an Iranian expat does not make you an expert on Iran or Iranians! As you wrote in 2006 ″At the heart of the issue lies the Iranian regime's aspiration to become a hegemonic Islamic and regional power″. You further opined that by doing so Iran want to ″position itself at eye level with the world's most powerful nations″.
Dear sir, I am not going to lecture you about my country's culture and history as I might fall into the same trap of self-grandising that it seems you have fallen in head first. Seeing the actions of these ″world's most powerful nations″, it is not surprising that the only requirement to join them in equal footing is neither a better human right nor a greater scientific achievement, it is only the possession of instrument of death and destruction. I don't think I need to remind you that during the eight years of war that your powerful nations instigated and were cheerleading in spite of thousands of death and extensive use of chemical weapon by our enemy, we did not resort to use in-kind as a matter of principal (even it would have helped us to win the war and reduce our casualties). Nevertheless, this is a very revealing comment about the attitude and values of ′leadership of powerful nations′ which rooted in disdain and sense of cultural arrogance based in their colonial past.
Although in your articles you give the impression that your aim is to avert the war, their contexts always belie your intention, which is to justify the possible predatory actions of US and Israeli administration by ′suggestopedia′. For example, your 2006 article in Washington Post sensing that it is better to cultivate western readers to your view. You constructed your argument by reminding them of their historical debt to the people of Jewish faith ″Europe has not only historical moral obligations to Israel but also security interests that link it to the strategically vital Eastern Mediterranean″. It is interesting that you put the value of crimes committed against European Jews to be the blind support for state of Israel and equating the Jewish faith with its secular government of Israel. Would you have been so generous if Syrian voted for Mr. Assad to practice genocide against Lebanese because the crime committed by the West against Arabs during the colonial time? Additionally, what kind of a moral commitment could there be for a state armed with WMD practicing apartheid system, that justify attacking another country?
You followed your argument by reinforcing the message that Iranians are specifically danger to European and to rally the European public to your cause you stated ″nuclear Iran would call Europe's fundamental security into question. To believe that Europe could keep out of this conflict is a dangerous illusion″. Comparing your writing with the head of the Mossad, Major General Meir Dagan's speech to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in 2006, which stated that ″Iranian bomb would be a threat not only to Israel but to Europe too″ it is very difficult to distinguish your writing from the Israelis propaganda machine!
Even in your other article in ′ Project Syndicate-Institute for Human Sciences′ trying to sell yet another ″existential threat″ and this time to Saudi Arabia, arguing that country's oil-rich region ″is populated by a Shia majority″ and combination of ″Shi'a government in Baghdad, ′dominated by Iran′ would, in the medium term, threaten Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity - a scenario that the Saudis cannot, and will not, accept″. You further expounded ″Should Iran manage to become a nuclear power, the Saudis' existential fears would dramatically escalate. More generally, the currency of conventional military power in the Middle East would largely lose its value, inevitably resulting in a regional nuclear arms race″. I am sure if the West is so concerned about reduction of tension in the region you should aim your article at US, which in past year promised to sell $20 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, followed by a further $30 billion to Israel, and I am sure that I do not need to remind you that thanks to the West, Israel is already a regional Chemical, Biological and Nuclear power and there are Pakistan and India too, and nobody in the region have yet to rush to nuclear bomb. The only reason that forces the governments of the world to acquire nuclear weapons is not Iran, it is the unrestraint predatory super power that break all the international laws and treaties and use total war as extension of its foreign policy.
I understand it is not that you have forgotten these points, but it is the constrains that your logic to frame ′Iran as a villain′ impose on you. Nevertheless, reading the line: Saudis oil-rich region ″is populated by a Shia majority″ and imply that they might secede, embolden by Shia ascendancy in the region and this will ″threaten Saudi Arabia's territorial integrity″ I could not help myself shouting hypocrite! while Germany/EU were happy to quickly recognize Kosovo as an independent nation, just a day after its unilateral announcement, against the wishes of ethnic Serbs, now you are worried that another downtrodden minority might have the same aspiration . Furthermore, I am sure when Saudis began treating their citizen as equal and share the national resources equally they do not have to be worried about their possible wish to seek independent. However, you followed your reasoning by these lines ″Emanating from this new situation is the threat of disintegration of the whole Anglo-French system of states in the Middle East″, now it seems that you are worried that artificial states made solely to serve the interest of colonial power not the indigenous people might disintegrate! Although you give Iraq as ″The first candidate″ I am not really sure that among ′artificial′ countries in the region it is Iraq that you are really worried about, having read all your articles it is the first time you mentioned this, and all your articles begin and end with the concern and anxiety for only Israel. I should state categorically that neither I nor any of my compatriots advocate or wish the disintegration of any country in the region, unlike people who wrote such strategy/policy paper as: ′A strategy for Israel in the 1980s′ by Oded Yinon1, which highlights your hypocrisy and latent colonial attitude towards region and Iran in particular.
However, just focusing at your recent article which was based on a number of wrong premises and omissions, forced me to write this reply. I have to admit it was not much perplexing that such a seasoned politician with experience of wide spectrum of political ideology from revolutionary Marxist in the '70s, Green politician in the '80s and now a respected German elder statesman could miss, bypass and cursory overlook these important matters. However, I feel obliged to remind you, if not for your information at least for readers of your articles. Could it be that such a magnificent political metamorphosis clouded your judgment? So I would like to put a number of questions to you and go over a number of points before dissecting your argument.
While the West and German government, and you in particular, see fit to preach Iranians about WMD proliferation and arms race in the Middle East, the German government, after US, is among the leading countries that not only contribute towards arm race in Middle East, but also have actively contribute to WMD proliferation and means of its delivery. I would like to look at a few examples: In 1986 US requested German government to stop sales of heavy water to India. Again in 1989 US administration accused Germany of helping Libya builds nerve gas plant, while at the same time German companies provided Saddam's Army with chemical and technical assistance to manufacture chemical weapons. According to the 2003 UN Security Council report based on Iraqi government's own report, German firms made up the bulk of suppliers for Iraq's WMD programs. It is noteworthy that this was carried out with tacit approval of German government. I am sure that you do not need any reminder about the names of those companies, and types of chemicals because as a member of the German government you have a better access to these information. It is interesting that German government is not only in the business of providing the WMD, it also subsidized the means of their delivery. I am sure you can recall that in 1999 and 2000 German government subsidized 50% of the costs of Israel's first three Dolphin class submarines. Then in 2006 again subsidized 33.3% of the costs of two more Israel's submarines capable of launching cruise missiles carrying ′Nuclear Warheads′. You were holding the position of Germany's Foreign minister and Vice-Chancellor, the second highest position in the cabinet from 1998 to 2005. This wanton disregards and skewed attitude to WMD proliferation not only threaten world security but also increase the level of instability in the volatile Middle East region and hamper the peace process not withstanding the Germany's international reputation, so it is quite rich to be talked down at by such a government.
The non-existent Iranian Jewish problem
It is quite understandable that Western government feel obligated to State of Israel, and Germany in particular with such a long history of expulsion and pogrom against Jewish people. During these repeated atrocities it was the Moslem people and Iranians in particular that gave sanctuary and shelter to Jews. However, the abhorrent actions of Europeans should not and do not have any bearing on Iranian people. Iranian Jews have been for centuries the part of fabric of Iranian society and are the largest Jewish population in Middle East outside Israel with parliamentary representation.
Trust Begets Trust
The lesson that we Iranians have learnt from the past two centuries of dealing with the West and more importantly during the eight years of imposed war and recently the Iranian civil nuclear saga, is that their morality is relative and their promises are based on time limits of expediency rather than principal. For example, the ′grand offer of 2005′- a 35 pages of no more than promise of cake tomorrow. On one hand, Iranians had to forego all their rights under Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) , ratify Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol, ′resolution of all questions raised′ i.e. years and years of intrusive inspection a UN sanctioned espionage and to top of all prove a negative, to make it easier to bomb, and ultimately a means to get Iran to disarm and facilitate an invasion. On the other hand, the EU-3 promise of access to Western technology, trade preferences and foreign investment, were condition to the ′future talks′! Even the previous promise of security guarantee was changed into a ′general commitment′ to work with Iran to develop regional security arrangements. Meanwhile no incentive offered because they could not be delivered until all the outstanding questions are answered. It is interesting that West and US did not enter a serious discussion with the government of President Khatami because he did not have enough power, paradoxically now we see that same people take everything that Mr. Ahmadinejad says as a gospel.
Now looking at your article: ″As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon″
The opening of your article is a window to the mindset that you look at Middle East and U.S. policy in the region, lamenting the US lost opportunity, referring to Iran position as being ″catapulted into regional hegemony″. I am sorry I thought as a Foreign minister who have traveled to Iran had the opportunity to look at the map of Middle East and you should know at least these; Iran historically played a significant role in the region, although during the 19th century its influence ebbed, its cultural and political influence never completely vanished. From a geopolitical perspective as M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian career diplomat writing in The Hindu, put it ″Iran's large population base; present stage of economic development; diverse resources; and profound intellectual capacity - these combine to augment its profile as a regional power. Also, Iran's unique location makes it a serious player in surrounding regions - the Persian Gulf and West Asia, the Caucasus and the Caspian and Central and South Asia″. Thus Iran is a natural and important regional player, a position that can not bestowed on her or prevented to attain by U.S. (hindered perhaps). Although Western analyst in recent year put forwards the idea that Iran has become a sole beneficiary of U.S. policy in the Middle East, and outwardly it appears that Iranian influence have increased in the region ,this accelerated changes in Iranian fortune in short term and possibly in medium term would have an adverse effect on Iranians planning and external policies. In short Iranians could achieve much more by their own in the long term than being in the receiving end of U.S. foreign policy poison chalice. Looking at Iranian policy in the past two decades with regards to Middle East, Central and South Asia, Latin America and African continent, it is much evident that Iranian diplomacy planning and execution with regards to trade and security arrangements are all based on pragmatic, long term dividend and mutual benefit rather than quick diminishing of the influence of opponent(s). We can see this foreign policy pattern even in places where Iran have the most direct interest and natural advantages such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Hence, this supposedly catapulting Iranian into the regional stage, in real term has not been advantageous. Firstly, Iran has become scapegoat for American incompetent foreign policy and inept policy makers in the region and beyond. Secondly, this has elevated the security threats around her borders and increased the presence of hostile foreign force in Persian Gulf and neighboring countries. Thirdly, it made other regional player nervous, the point that U.S. and its allies have been trying to exploit by fanning the sectarian and racial conflict. This in short to medium term deflect Iranian energy and resources away from the real job of long-term national plans for the economic, social, scientific and technology to transform the country into a key regional player.
Further on you stated ″Israel, Saudi Arabia, and most of the other Sunni Arab states, all of which feel existentially threatened by Iran's ascendance″, it is interesting that you use the term right from the Israeli propaganda manual. ″Saudi Arabia, and most of the other Sunni Arab states″ do not fear Iran ascendancy but it is their own masses. The citizens of said countries are disillusioned with their corrupt and despotic systems and use of tribal, regional and religious differences by their leader as a way to explain their predicament.
Saudis problem specifically stem from their own form of ultra-orthodox and puritanical interpretation of Islam which would have remained/confined solely in present Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, wasn't for the oil boom and more importantly convergence between US and Saudis interests in combating Soviet in Afghanistan and Iranian revolution in the late 70s, cumulating in their relatively obscure ideology getting the center stage of Islamic world. Thus, backed by successive US administrations and petrodollar Saudis government and multitude of Princes began actively to finance radical groups and setting up teaching schools which disseminating their brand of Islam from East Asia to mosques in western Europe. Although short-termism policy of isolating Iranians was behind the US administration, their lack of understanding of Islam and the region have resulted in the present danger of terrorism from Bali to New York. Having not taken the lesson from their past mistakes US administration still follow the same failed strategy of isolation and confrontation with Iranians, knowing all too well this have no effect but to stifle the development of civil and democratic institutions in Iran. Especially after the debacle in Iraq US administration taking the leaf from the Al-Qaeda's notebook have been trying to fan the racial and sectarian conflict in the region and as a results we observe yet again a creation of unholy alliance between hypocritical western leaders and their regional lackeys. This can be seen very clearly in Lebanon where Saudis with the blessing of Bush administration arming one of Al-Qaeda affiliated group Fatah al-Islam in order to challenge Hezbollah. Playing the sectarian cards in the region is double edge swords that would threaten the integration and the stability of many Arab countries in the region, however, it seems that this is not being factored in U.S. or is it? Or perhaps it is because, the time is running out for these compliant darlings of the West? Ironically due to their incestuous relationship with US and not their corruption, that their internal critics are becoming more vocal especially after 9/11. As Melvin Laird former U.S. Secretary of Defense (1969 to 1973) put it, the pressure for change is increasing in Saudi, ″The movement even has a name: Kifaya -- ′Enough!′ The parasites who have made themselves fat by promoting ignorance, fear, and repression in the region are squirming″. This has become a downward spiral, the more the U.S. lean on Saudis and the rest of dictatorship in the region to follow their diktat the more their subjects despise them and the more radical views take hold in their societies. I am sure you do not need reminding of recent poll by BBC world service that find the most popular leaders in Middle East are Hezbollah's leader and presidents of Syria and Iran. This is a crucial point that you seem to overlook, that revolutionary ideas are not viral and cannot be transmitted to general public by ′Iranian propaganda′! It is social and political injustice that force ordinary man and woman to resist oppression.
With regards to the state of Israel it is rather feeble attempt to construct a straw-man argument. Firstly, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with WMD and 4th nuclear power in the world that has not joined NPT. Secondly, Israel has a second strike capabilities so it is a fallacy to claim that Iran is ″existential threat″ to Israel. Furthermore, Israel's relation with her neighbors is governed by the way she deals with Palestinian issue, not the way Iranian government think or wish for. Great example is the period after 1993 Oslo agreement when the Palestinian population hopeful of better future were waiting for the peace dividend, however, between 1993 and 2000 according to B'TSELEM (Israeli human right group) Israelis not only did not relinquish their strangle hold over occupied territories but also the number of settlers on the West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem) were increased by almost 100 percent! They further stated that ″Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime is the only one of its kind in the world, and is reminiscent of distasteful regimes from the past, such as the Apartheid regime in South Africa″.
In your article you referred to a number of factors that increased the possibilities of confrontation, and gave the ″high oil prices″ as an example which ″created new financial and political opportunities for Iran to the possible defeat of the West and its regional allies in proxy wars in Gaza and Lebanon″. It is strange that a man with your intellect can equate the financial power of the West and its corrupt despotic allies in the region with the sole country. Or are we correct to assume that you are accusing the leadership of the West of being incompetent and after all in spite of the multitude of resources at their disposal from financial, military to intelligence still they are incapable of imposing their will on Iran and non-state groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. The possible defeat of West policies in the Middle East are due to their hubristic nature of their policies compounded by obtuse leadership that still believes in the same colonial methods as two hundred years ago. It is not the money that motivate ′all the people′ in the Middle East, otherwise, people of Gaza, the largest open prison in the world, would have risen against the Hamas months ago and saved themselves from months of imposed starvation, bombardment and collective punishment. As for proxy war you are again missing the point and I think this conversation between Guardian reporter and one of those Middle Eastern that are acceptable to the West clearly describe the self imposed predicament that US and its allies are facing in The Middle East (″published in The Guardian, Titled, 'We are just trying to clear the thorns from our side ... by God we will finish them soon', May 10th 2008″). ″An air of defeat hung over the Sunni areas. The Shia have won,″ said one young man, in Tareeq Jedida area on the Sunni side of Corniche al-Mazra'a. They [the Sunnis] pay me $100 to fight, the Shia are fighting for their beliefs, and man, they have been fighting for 25 years, we can't match them″. This self imposed predicament are due to the deconstruction policy of US and Israelis that divide the region between moderates and extremes, as if resisting hegemonic US and her band of merry men become an extreme position, and the only people that the West feel comfortable to talk to or approve of are despotic governments or those who they expect to act as Warsaw Ghetto Jewish Police (Jüdische Ghetto-Polizei). Or perhaps you are of opinion in line with Mr. Kissinger that ″Oil is too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs″.
You point to the inability of United Nations Security Council's to ″induce Iran to accept even a temporary freeze of its nuclear program″. There are two points here: A) Failure of security council, B) Induce Iran to accept ″freeze of its nuclear program″ even temporary one. With regards to failure of United Nation you should look at US for that, which have been using security council as an appendages to its foreign policy to be valued or discarded as it suits her. If you have any doubt of this claim you can visit the official United Nations veto list, covering 1946 to 20082. The US vehement opposition to any international bodies that might call it to account is a sad indictment of what the world faced with unrestrained militaristic superpower and disregards for traditional respect for equal justice under the law. US disdain for international bodies from World Court to Kyoto Treaty pose a dangerous threat to international law and international law-making generally. As for inducing Iran to freeze its nuclear program, the reason is that freezing is not what the West is looking for. After all, Iran voluntarily suspended nuclear research and uranium enrichment for nearly two years and did not yield anything for Iranians, not even admission of their rights under the articles I, II, IV and V of NPT. This period was spent in protracted discussion and in the end the resulting offer as described by undisclosed EU diplomat was no more than ″a lot of gift wrapping around a pretty empty box″, quoted in Reuters July 2005. Furthermore, why should Iran be the only signatory to NPT that has to forego its right in order to please hostile government?
It is noteworthy that EU-3 (Germany included) did not responded to constructive Iranian offer of 23rd March 2005. ″Iran offered the EU/E3 a package of ′objective guarantees′ that included a voluntary ′confinement′ of Iran's nuclear programs, to include:
1. Foregoing the reprocessing of spent fuel and the production of plutonium.
2. Limiting the extent and level of uranium-enrichment to that required for Iran's power reactors.
3. The immediate conversion of any and all enriched uranium to fuel rods to preclude even the technical possibility of further enrichment.
4. continuous on-site presence of IAEA inspectors at the conversion and enrichment facilities″.
I am sure you remember these, however, EU-3 saw fit to ignore these proposal because the whole idea wasn't a constructive outcome, it was merely to obtain more sensitive information from Iranian and give US administration the time and cover for future punitive actions!
You also indicated that ″Iran's nuclear program is crucial factor″ in the decision to attack Iran because it would change the balance of power! It is interesting that you think societies and by extension their relation with one another in the Middle East should be frozen in order to satisfy the minority! Presently Israeli government is facing demographic time bomb, to that effect in 2004, Mr. Ehud Olmert, then a trade and industry minister said ″It's only a matter of time before the Palestinians demand 'one man, one vote' - and then, what will we do?″. By your logic of maintaining ″strategic balance″ in favor of Israel then we should accept many more of Palestinians holocaust. Because their gerrymandering in the occupied territories, lands seizer, the apartheid wall, collective punishment, oppressive and restrictive rules on Palestinian to build homes, have proper education or modicum of hope have not affected their population number except producing angry and disillusioned young men and women and cadre for extremist groups.
You further stated that ″Politics is not just about facts, but also about perceptions. Whether or not a perception is accurate is beside the point, because it nonetheless leads to decisions″. So it is correct to assume that you are of opinion that cognitive process of decision-making among the Western government leaders and their allies never extend beyond the school yards bully boy mentality. I am hoping your inference that decision making ultimately would be based on people perception rather than facts is only based on personal characteristics of two protagonist in your reasoning i.e. US and Israelis belligerent administration, otherwise not only the past 400 years of human evolution has been wasted, the past 60 years of working towards principle of sovereign equality of states structuring based on international law and order also has been futile.
″This applies in particular when the perception concerns what the parties consider to be threats to their very existence″. Here, you are very well aware that the premises your argument is based are spurious and forced to rubbish the logical way of deduction by omitting certain important facts and construct your argument in a form of word game and expect the reader to: A) forget that Israel is the 4th nuclear power in world (See table 1), B) forget that it has second strike capabilities, C) she has advance Biological and Chemical Weapon program at Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) in Ness Ziona. D) forget that they have the means of their delivery in the form of long range capacity aircraft, land based missiles and cruise missiles launched from its three Dolphin class submarines, as well as missile defense systems.
This is while not only Israel is not signatory to Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it is also not a signatory to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) and Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC, signed but not ratified), and reportedly used Biological Weapon (typhoid and dysentery bacteria, Malaria germ) in Acre (near Haifa) and Gaza in Palestine and Cholera in Egypt and Syria during the 19483. Although evidence are fragmentary, the use of poison in assassination attempt against Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, in Jordan is very well documented. Looking at these information and repeated statements by leading Israelis religious and minister such as one by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ″It is forbidden to be merciful to them″ or by Israel's infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer ″destruction of the Iranian nation″ (See table 1) no one should doubt, that it is the whole region and Iranians in particular who should be fearful of state of Israel and need protection, not the Israeli government.
You followed up your argument by mixing Hezbollah and Hamas with Mr. Ahmadinejad comments; ″Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's threats of annihilation are taken seriously in Israel″ and ″might one day have missiles with nuclear warheads is Israel's worst security nightmare″. First it is unfortunate that speeches of President Ahmadinejad are not as eloquent (See table 1) as Galgacus' speech while Western audience are more used to Agricola type speeches or so stage-managed that you get your cue through your earpiece. Second lets look at the two groups you mentioned, although both have a close relationship with Iranian government and share the same political view of events in the region, they are not extension of Iranian foreign policy arm. Importantly, although the sound bite of ″proxy war″ sound tantalizing to ears of western leaders and in Western media it is absolutely no bearing to the reality. Of course it does provide an explanation for the failure of Western policies and cover of respectability for their blatant interference in internal affairs of other countries or societies, after all they are fighting malevolent Iranian influence. Proxy war denotes that these groups took up arms on behest of Iranians and solely based on their strategic needs. This is a misleading notion, one clear example of the independent by which Hezbollah approach its dealing with other entity within Lebanon and outside power(s) could be traced back to 1980's during the "war of the camps" that lasted from 1985-1987, when Amal Syria's closest allies attacked the Palestinian. Hezbollah condemned Amal's assault calling it "international conspiracy" and not only provided humanitarian support to the camps, at times they intervened on the Palestinian side. Other example of Hezbollah independent action and thinking from its external supporter(s) can be seen in its open condemnation of Syrian killing 23 of its members, Hezbollah's Voice of Islam radio station called the killings a "massacre in cold blood" and its supporters during the victims' funeral, were chanting "death to Ghazi Kanaan", the head of Syrian military intelligence in Lebanon. Interestingly that according to the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin (Jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum in their January 2000 issue) "He has good relations with several American officials, particularly in the intelligence community". It is noteworthy that Hezbollah also rejected the Ta'if Accord, negotiated under American, Saudi and Syrian tutelage in 1989. Another example of Hezbollah independent can be seen in its domestic political agenda, for instance, during 2001 election for a new chairman of Lebanese doctors' association, Hezbollah joined anti-Syrian Free National Current (FNC) in backing the losing candidate, Dr. Saad Bizri, against the preferred candidate by then (late) Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and Nabih Berri.
With regards to Iranians, their relationship with Lebanese Shia communities in general and Hezbollah in particular is governed foremost by the common religious affinity between Iranian and Lebanese Shia community. This religious connection has been further strengthen by the distinct Shia religious hierarchy, and educational system for Shia clergy where they would be educated in the Shi'ite seminaries in Iran or Iraq giving them great opportunity to develop close relationship out with their national boundaries. Another important point is the way observant Shia follow the religious edict of ″Religious Reference″ or Shia religious authority called Grand Ayatollah. The observant Shia after study of the Grand Ayatollah(s) published book of edict can choose the one that he feels more akin to his view irrespective of the nationality, political views or geography. For example many Lebanese Shia followed the late Ayatollah Khomeini, and Imam Musa Sadr the Shiite religious leader (also an Iranian) who was mysteriously disappeared during a visit to Libya in 1978. The same way that devoted Catholics world over follow the pontiff irrespective of his nationality. This connection as stated earlier on is primarily based first and outmost on religious authority and existed far before Iranian revolution, however, this religious connection has been a catalysts in cementing stronger relationship which Iran would endeavor to protect and support its co-religionist by financial and material means. Furthermore, present political upheaval in Lebanon is about the greater representation in political life of Lebanon based on Shia population, and civil and military contribution rather than Iranian whims.
With regards to Hamas, it began as offshoot of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood involved in social welfare activities gaining prominence after 1st Persian Gulf war, when PLO wrong tactical move by backing Saddam cost it the support of Arab regimes. This resulted in financial boycott of PLO and diversions of financial help towards Hamas with the aim of undermining the PLO in occupied territories. Not having the handicap of corruption during this period Hamas grow stronger. Even today according to Matthew Levitt writing for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the pro-Israel lobby's think tank, Hamas operates a command center in Saudi Arabia with close ties to Hamas militants executing attacks and the movement's political and social-welfare (dawa) operations. So it is quite strange that you call them as Iranian proxy, while Hamas did not change its policy or action for the money of Saudis or the Israeli bullet, so how do you think that they would do it for Iranian theocracy material support?
Action of these groups are solely based on their constituent interests rather than Iranians' interests. At the same time Iran does not need their participation in its defense structure or planning because by mere existence they are a symbol of failure and thwarting of hegemonic plans of US and Israel in the region. In addition, by supporting group such as Hamas, Iran prevent the sectarian label by US and her Arab allies and show herself as defender of Palestinian right. Furthermore, Iran shows that her ideology and discipline are far more effective and superior to the barbaric ways of groups such as Al-Qaeda and their affiliates.
Also, in spite of public rhetoric by Palestinians and/or Iranians about the future of state of Israel there is no one in the region that believes anything could be changed in or happen to the State of Israel. Although these statement are at time exaggerated and flamboyant, they are nothing but the demarcation for eventual political bartering.
As a sign of importance of Iranian nuclear program, you gave the omission by President Bush of Annapolis accord, although one might think, perhaps between ′Nu-cu-lar and An-na-po-lis′, Nu-cu-lar was easier to pronounce. It is Israelis interest that direct US policy in Middle East vis a vis the President speech. Anyway, as you mentioned he was there to congratulate them for their 60th birthday and I am sure he wouldn't have brought up the issue of land for peace, which his host has no interest in the subject matter. They are not interested in negotiation that might force them to forego the Greater Israel plan or accept viable Palestinian state. Haaretz newspaper revealed that before Annapolis conference an internal policy document written for Israeli Foreign Minister by her advisor, Dr. Tal Becker, titled Diplomatic Horizon, is pessimistic about the chances of reaching a permanent solution in the near future. Thus, the ″stalled negotiations″ or so many previous failed negotiations are all about the Israelis attitude, wanting to have the cake and eat it at the same time, and as long as Israeli regime is sure that there is no imperative for them to make peace with Palestinians and her neighbors based on United Nation resolution 242, there is no wonder that Mr. Bush side step the issue.
These clamor ″to end the Iranian nuclear program - and to do so by military, rather than by diplomatic, means″ is a psychological war by Israelis, knowing very well that Iranians have already achieved self-sufficiency in production of nuclear fuel. As Mr. Netanyahu, the former prime minister and hopeful for another term as premiership have this to say two years ago: ″Israel must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the (U.S.) government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel″.
You also mentioned a quote from Ehud Barak saying ″that a life-and-death military confrontation was a distinct possibility″. This is no more than a bluster, however, distinct possibility is an operative word here. Nearly a year and a half ago Israelis unleashed their most ferocious attack against country with no navy, air force or as much as an army to speak of, the country divided based on religion, race and clan, still they were unable to defeat 1500+ men. As Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University put it ″Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared″. Since then to prove their strength they had resorted to old habits of assassination and hitting Syrian, in fact these actions did not prove anything because Israelis were well aware that there is not going to be any retaliation and both targets were not protected or heavily defended.
Israelis wish is that U.S. will do the dirty work on their behalf. However, U.S. at present is not capable to engage in yet another costly war. The fact is, it is not the equipments, logistics or possible U.S. army casualties, or least of all the moral implication and death of hundreds of thousands of Iranians that prevents U.S. from attacking Iran, but it is the credit crunch, $120+ per barrel of oil, increase price of food commodities, the $3.5 trillion cost of war in Iraq and Afghanistan (factoring considerable troop drawdown), $10 trillion dollars Public debt, and $53 trillion federal government liabilities. Importantly, this time around Arabs governments with their own financial problems and angry population, and European with their citizens affected by world financial problem, will not subsidize another U.S. war. Neither will Israelis because U.S. and EU cannot subsidize their war or give them political cover. This is due to the nature of conflict and geopolitics, any action against Iran has great capacity to engulf not only Iran and Israel, but also the whole of the region if not the continent.
As a proof of your prediction of imminent attack against Iran you refer to ″Israeli wish list for US arms deliveries″ acquiring yet more armament from U.S.. This is not a new tactic by Israelis as in every regional crisis Israelis first and outmost fleece U.S. in term of weaponry and financial aid. The past history of Israeli army has been fighting the governments that they have already infiltrated, armies that their high command were manned by self-serving officers and soldiers with low moral, ill-equipped and ill-trained. For the past twenty years they were also busy beating up, bullying and assassinating civilian, killing unarmed teenagers, bombing of civilian houses and at most fought the rag-bag of militia rife with corruption led by opportunist and corrupt leadership. Until 2006, for the first time its opponent did not run and they could not buy their leadership, they even had difficulty taking over a village just across the border. The weakness of Israelis can be observed from these remarks by retired Brigadier General Oded Tira: ″As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help (Bush) pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure. Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. Thus, Israel and its U.S. lobbying arm must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran″. ″The Americans must act″, Tira concludes ″If they don't, we'll do it ourselves ... (and) we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack″.
Referring to inadequacy of UN sanction against Iran you wrote ″diplomatic initiatives and UN sanctions when it comes to Iran are seen as hopelessly ineffective″. Here you are mistaking the actions of few with will of nations, Iran has been under sanction by security council which by its nature is undemocratic and its sole purpose has been to act as fig leaf of respectability for its members decisions. As for its politically motivated proclamations and resolutions, to me and many of my compatriots, they are reminiscence of Munich agreement (1938), where the old G3+1 of then Germany, England, France and Italy forced smaller, weaker Czechoslovakia to forego its rights and eventual subjugation to Germany for ′supposedly the rewards of political protection of an international guarantee′.
Ironically, if you just change the names in this extract from the letter written by then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to British monarch about this agreement, it shows that old saying history repeats itself and only the actors are different, is not off the mark: ″I should hope to persuade him (Mr. Hitler) that he had an unequalled opportunity of raising his own prestige and fulfilling what he has so often declared to be his aim, namely the establishment of an Anglo-German understanding, preceded by a settlement of the Czechoslovakian question″. Even much more amusing is a Field Marshal Goering take on the treaty ″Hitler did not even have to send an ultimatum to Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain did that for him″ now 70 years later it is Chancellor Merkel that gives the ultimatum ″Iran has blatantly crossed the red line″ on behalf of another super power. So now the new version of G3+1 tell us if you do not want to be starved to death and then be invaded you should acquiescent to demands by United State, even though their demands are unjust and discriminatory and not based on any treaty or political agreement.
You are right ″that an attack on Iran's ... involve grave and hard-to-assess risks″. Israelis have two main problems in this matter, one, is that even though they can control when to ignite the Middle East, they do not know how and when to put it out. Two, it is Iranians that will choose when and where to put it out, because unlike Israelis they are not gambling on military superiority to win the battle but they are betting on longer time. As a results, this ham-fisted political poker playing by Israelis constantly raising their bet to force Iranians to fold. Unfortunately for them they can carry out the derivatives of Blitzkrieg so many times, and Iranians have seen them all in details. In spite of Iranian military readiness to deter any aggressor(s), they do not seek any confrontation with neighboring countries or outside powers. Even after several attempts by Iranian government to patch their relationship with West and U.S., including letter of 2003 offering unconditional dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues and cooperation in ousting of Taliban from Afghanistan and formation of democratic government, the results have been nothing but diplomatic rebuff, axis of evil jib and presently reenactment of Greek tragedy in IAEA. Therefore they are not in the mood to put up with anymore of US or Israelis ′thuggish or prima donna act′.
The article in Haaretz newspaper published on 26th October 2007 under the title of ″Livni behind closed doors: Iranian nuclear arms pose little threat to Israel″ clearly shows that all these hue and cry by Israelis and their sycophants in West about Iran nuclear program is just another smoke screen for regime change. Strangely enough it is Western media and their political master that seems to be deaf to this point. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni state that in her opinion ″Iranian nuclear weapons do not pose an existential threat to Israel″ she further ″criticized the exaggerated use that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is making of the issue of the Iranian bomb, claiming that he is attempting to rally the public around him by playing on their most basic fears″. Apparently she is not the only person with this line of thinking, the article further name Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy as another political heavy weight who shares Mrs. Livni views.
In the end, if P5+1 are really interested to have mature and productive discussion with Iran they should stop putting their hopes on flawed assumptions that Iranians can be subjugated by thuggery, political and economical coercion and fear, not this time anyway. Iranian nuclear program is not an adolescent object of blind pride or just about the right of Islamic Republic of Iran to possess nuclear technology, it is about the right of future Iranian generations to nuclear energy, advance technology and the right of Iranians within Persian Gulf and the region. Iranian government repeatedly indicates that they are willing to negotiate under NPT articles in good faith.
Alas this is a one-sided article further serving the propaganda interests of the Bush administration and Israeli government in justifying their possible murderous actions by suggesting that it is Iranian intransigent and refusal to accept a ″diplomatic solution″, that would be the cause of new war in the Middle East. In other words, Iran should accept the unjust Hobson's choice that have been put in front of her. Otherwise it is totally within the right of Sate of Israel to wage a preemptive total war against Iran.
Yours for the cause of Peace
Dr. B. Bahrami (UK)
Table 1: The history of Israeli nuclear program, countries that were involved in their nuclear weapon production, as well as the origin of nuclear threat and proper translation of much misquoted Mr. Ahmadinejad's comment .
- 1940s: The Israeli nuclear program began.
- 1955: Under the ′Atoms for Peace Program′ U.S. provided nuclear related technology such as a small research reactor and generally trained Israeli scientists
- 1958: UK supply 20 tonnes of heavy water, a vital ingredient for the production of plutonium, enabling Israel to produce nuclear weapons.
- Early 1960s: Controls for the Dimona reactor was obtained through subsidiary of Tracer Lab company in Belgium, the main supplier of U.S. military reactor control panels.
- 1964: Dimona, a heavy water moderated, natural uranium reactor and plutonium reprocessing factory went on line.
- 1968: ′Plumbatt Affair′ Israeli government with collaboration of West Germany government diverted 200 tonnes of yellowcake (uranium oxide) to Israel.
- Late 1960s: Israel solved the uranium problem by developing close ties with Apartheid South Africa.
- 1971: Nixon administration sold hundreds of high speed switches necessary for the development of sophisticated nuclear bombs to Israel.
- 1979: U.S. satellite detected an atmospheric test of a small thermonuclear bomb in the Indian Ocean off the coasts of South Africa.
- 1986: Mordechai Vanunu, a nuclear technician working in the Dimona plutonium reprocessing plant disclosed that Israel possessed as many as 200 highly sophisticated, miniaturized thermonuclear bombs.
- 2001: Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, spiritual leader of Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party, marking the Jewish festival of Passover demanded the annihilation of Arabs. He stated ″It is forbidden to be merciful to them. You must send missiles to them and annihilate them. They are evil and damnable″.
- 2004: A bi-partisan majority in the US Congress passed a resolution for ″all appropriate measures″ to prevent an Iranian weapons program.
- 2004: President Bush tells Fox News talking to Bill O'Reilly that the US will never let Iran acquire nuclear weapons and that ″all options are on the table.″
- 2005: President Ahmadinejad quoting late Ayatolah Khomeini said ″The regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time″. He compared his desired option with the fall of the Shah's regime in Iran ergo talking about regime change, not the end of Israel.
- 2005: President Bush states that Iran cannot be allowed to have the ′capacity to enrich uranium' because it ″would lead to a weapons program″.
- 2006: Israel's Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, during a ′visit to Germany' admits Israel has nuclear weapons.
- 2007: French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner threaten Iran, ″world should prepare for war″ with Iran.
- 2007: President Sarkozy threaten to bomb Iran.
- 2007: President Bush insinuating in order to prevent ″World War III″, other countries should join US in ″ preventing them [Iranian] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon″.
- 2008: Israel's infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a former Israeli defense minister threaten the 'destruction of the Iranian nation'. Note ′Iranian nation' not a government or system.
- 2008: Hillary Clinton threatens to ″obliterate″ Iran. Note ′Iran' as a whole not a government or system.
- 2008: Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter revealed Israel has 150 nuclear weapons.
- 2008: Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz, a former Israeli defense minister, state "will attack" Iran.
If you would like to have
more information about the history of the Israeli nuclear weapons program the
book by Seymour Hersh's, ″The Sampson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and
American Foreign Policy″ adequately documented this matter. Published by Random
House (reprint, 1993) it is only €24.20 and you can get it from German branch of
4- The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, by Seymour M. Hersh
... Payvand News - 06/19/08 ... --