Israeli Drums of War against Iran

Israeli President Shimon Peres’ remarks from the rostrum of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in the presence of 6,000 persons, among them prominent congressmen, did not surprise us. "Israel will not yield to the Iranian nuclear threat," he said and stressed that "the Middle East is currently living under this threat."

Israeli officials have started to beat the drums of war against Iran (just as they did before the invasion of Iraq), exaggerating its nuclear ambitions and the danger such ambitions represent not only to the Hebrew state but also to Iran's Arab neighbours and the entire world.

Israel's strategy is built on several main pillars which inform all political and military moves:

First: to prevent the emergence of any Arab or Muslim regional force that might rival Israel militarily and create a strategic balance in the region.

Second: to prevent any military, financial, or political connections between any Palestinian or Arab resistance movement against the Israeli project and any nascent regional power, whether it is Arab (Egypt, Syria, Iraq) or Muslim (Iran).

Third: to eliminate resistence to the Israeli project by blockades, using the 'terrorism' label, and, of course, attempting to physically destroy it.

The problem with Iran has never been its nuclear ambitions but its growing regional role and its support for Palestinian and Lebanese resistance groups and some factions close to it in Iraq. We would not have heard such Israeli outrage in the days of the Shah of Iran but rather a blessing and generous encouragement since, then, a nuclear Iran would have been a support for nuclear Israel.

Israel never protested Pakistan's nuclear programme (nor India's before) even though it is a Muslim country with a Sunni majority, because all Pakistani governments have been eager to fall in with America's dictates, have supported them militarily and have avoided direct or indirect relations with Arab resistance movements against the Israeli project.

Peres went to Washington to incite against an Iranian nuclear threat that has not yet materialized and dropped in on the Jewish lobby to assure himself of their support prior to meeting the new US President Barack Obama. The objective is clear – to divert the new US administration's attention away from the peace process and thwart its reported plans to revive the peace process on different grounds, among them the Arab peace initiative.

Israeli is in the throes of an intensive diplomatic campaign officials to persuade the Western world that its focal point should be Iran's nuclear ambitions and that these represent the region's greatest danger; diverting attention and effort from the peace process. This is why Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is touring Europe at present whilst Peres visits the White House in advance of Binyamin Netanyahu who has been invited to Washington by Barack Obama two weeks from now.

The Israeli nuclear arsenal is no longer perceived as a threat to the region: in the view of the West and the Arabs (or some of them) it is a good thing they have one to protect the Arab regimes from Iranian danger. We would not be surprised if Peres starts speaking about the Iranina threat on the Arabs' behalf too, since the "alliance of the scared" includes the Arabs and Israelis.

The Arabs are in a state of increasng fear. They are frightened by the development of the Iranian nuclear programme and the possibility that the United States may conclude a deal with Iran that crowns it a regional leader in the area.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates is currently visiting the region to reassure the frightened Arabs. He told correspondents aboard the plane that flew him to Cairo yesterday that "he will seek to assure the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia this week that US diplomacy towards Iran will not affect Washington's longstanding relations with the Arab countries in the region." He added that "an important message will be addressed to Saudi Arabia in particular confirming that any agreement with Iran will not be at the expense of the longstanding relations with it and the Gulf countries with which we have been bound by partnerships and friendships for decades."

Very regrettably, Gates is dealing with his Arab allies as if they are a group of children as otherwise how can he market these naive assurances to them. If US leaks that the United States is offering Iran a strategic deal that makes it the West's main ally in the region if it cooperates with demands to slow down its uranium enrichment programme, confining its operations to peaceful uses under international supervision, in return for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state are true, then this means that the Arab countries will turn into Iran's lackeys, pay taxes to its treasury, and obey its rulers' orders.

If we assume hypothetically that Iran actually accepts this US deal and barters its nuclear programme for an independent Palestinian state – something that Arab peace initiatives and interventions have historically failed to attain – will Iran then hand over control of this state to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah under President Mahmud Abbas, or to its allies in the resistance movements and in particular Hamas? Moreover, what will be the status of Hezbollah in Lebanon and that of Syria under this new much-discussed US-Iranian understanding?

The "frightened" Arabs should admit that having spent the past 20 years adopting US plans and acting as soldiers eager to implement them, whilst getting nothing in return, they have brought this humiliating situation upon themselves. A situation which sees a US defence secretary coming to reassure them and Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmad Abu-al-Ghayt, who is famous for his "bone breaking" remarks, complaining to US Envoy Dennis Ross that the new policy towards Iran Iranian policy will not achieve stability in the region and is impeding the peace process (as cited by Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Husam Zaki).

The US administration is not a charity with the benevolent aim of helping and reassuring the weak but a superpower whose policies are tuned to serve its strategic interests. It respects only the strong, who exert an influence on these interests in one way or another. The Arabs do not number among them because they have no place at present in the international equation.

Sourced from abdelbariatwan.com

MRN

Author: MRN Network

The aspiration of the Media Review Network is to dispel the myths and stereotypes about Islam and Muslims and to foster bridges of understanding among the diverse people of our country. The Media Review Network believes that Muslim perspectives on issues impacting on South Africans are a prerequisite to a better appreciation of Islam.