Uri Avnery on Israel & the Iran Treaty

UriavneryUri Avnery
July 18, 2015

The Treaty

AND WHAT if the whole drama was only an exercise of deception?

What if the wily Persians did not even dream of building an atomic bomb, but used the threat to further their real aims?

What if Binyamin Netanyahu was duped to become unwittingly the main collaborator of Iranian ambitions?

Sounds crazy? Not really. Let’s have a look at the facts.

IRAN IS one of the oldest powers in the world, with thousands of years of political experience. Once they possessed an empire that spanned the civilized world, including our little country. Their reputation for clever trade practices is unequaled.

They are much too clever to build a nuclear weapon. What for? It would devour huge amounts of money. They know that they would never be able to use it. Same as Israel, with its large stockpile.

Netanyahu’s nightmare of an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel is just that – a nightmare (or daymare) of an ignorant dilettante. Israel is a nuclear power with a solid second-strike capability. As we see, the Iranian leaders are hard-boiled realists. Would they even dream of inviting an inevitable Israeli retaliation that would wipe from the face of the earth their three-millennia-old civilization?

(If this capability is defective, Netanyahu should be charged and convicted for criminal negligence.)

Even if the Iranians did deceive the whole world and build a nuclear bomb, nothing would happen except the creation of a “balance of terror”, such as saved the world at the height of the cold war between America and Russia.

The people around Netanyahu pretend to believe that, unlike the then Soviets, the Iranian mullahs are crazy people. There is absolutely no evidence for that. Since their 1979 revolution, the Iranian leadership has not made one single important step that was not absolutely rational. Compared to American missteps in the region (not to mention the Israeli ones), the Iranian leadership has been thoroughly logical.

So perhaps they traded their nonexistent nuclear designs for their very real political design: to become the hegemon of the Muslim world.

If so, they owe a lot to Netanyahu.

WHAT HAS the Islamic Republic ever done in its 45 years of existence to harm Israel?

Sure. Tehran crowds can be seen on television burning Israeli flags and shouting “Death to Israel”. They call us, not flatteringly, “the Little Satan”, as compared to the American “Great Satan”.

Terrible. But what else?

Not much. Perhaps some support for Hezbollah and Hamas, which were not their creation. Iran’s real fight is against the powers that be in the Muslim world. They want to turn the region’s countries into Iranian vassals, as they were 2400 years ago.

This has very little to do with Islam. Iran uses Islam as Israel uses Zionism and the Jewish Diaspora (and as Russia in the past used communism) as a tool for its imperial ambitions.

What is happening now in this region resembles the “religious wars” in 17th century Europe. A dozen countries fought each other in the name of religion, under the flags of Catholicism and Protestantism, but in reality using religion to further their very earthly imperial designs.

The US, led by a bunch of neocon fools, destroyed Iraq, which for many centuries had served as the bulwark of the Arab world against Iranian expansion. Now, under the banner of the Shia, Iran is expanding its power all over the Region.

Shiite Iraq is now to a large extent an Iranian vassal (we’ll come back to Daesh). The leaders of Syria, a Sunni country ruled by a small semi-Shiite sect, depend on Iran for their survival. In Lebanon, the Shiite Hezbollah is a close ally with growing power and prestige. So is Hamas in Gaza, which is entirely Sunni. And the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are Zaidis (a school of the Shia.)

The status quo in the Arab world is defended by a corrupt bunch of dictators and medieval sheiks, such as the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf oil potentates.

Clearly, Iran and its allies are the wave of the future, Saudi Arabia and its allies belong to the past.

That leaves Daesh, the Sunni “Islamic State” in Syria and Iraq. That is also a rising power. Unlike Iran, whose revolutionary élan long ago exhausted itself, Daesh is radiating revolutionary fervor, attracting adherents from all over the world.

Daesh is the real enemy of Iran – and of Israel.

PRESIDENT OBAMA and his advisors realized this some time ago. Their new alliance with Iran is partly based on this reality.

With the advent of Daesh, realities on the ground have changed completely. The shift reaffirms the old British maxim that one’s enemies in one war can well become one’s allies in the next, and vice versa. Far from being naïve, Obama is building an alliance against the new and very dangerous enemy. This alliance should logically include Bashar Assad’s Syria, but Obama is still afraid of saying so aloud.

Obama and his advisors also believe that with the lifting of the crippling sanctions, Iranians will concentrate on making money, lessening their nationalist and religious fervor even more. That sounds reasonable enough.

(Netanyahu thinks the American people are “naïve”. Well, for a naïve nation the US has done quite well in becoming the world’s only super-power.)

One by-product of the situation is that Israel is again at loggerheads with the entire political world. The Vienna treaty was signed not just by the US, but by all leading world powers. This seems to create the situation described by a jolly popular Israeli song: “The whole world is against us / But we don’t give a damn…”

Unfortunately, unlike Obama, Netanyahu is stuck in the past. He continues demonizing Iran, instead of joining it in the fight against Daesh, which is far, far more dangerous to Israel.

One does not have to go back to Cyrus the Great (6th century B.C.) to realize that Iran can be a close ally. In the relations between nations, geography trumps religion. Not so long ago, Iran was Israel’s closest ally in the region. We even sent Khomeini arms to fight Iraq. The Mullahs hate Israel not so much because of their religion, but because of our alliance with the Shah.

The present Iranian regime has long since lost its revolutionary religious fervor. It is acting according to its national interests. Geography still counts. A wise Israeli government would use the next ten-or-more years of a guaranteed nuclear-free Iran in order to renew the alliance – especially against Daesh.

This could mean new relations with Assad’s Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas too.

BUT SUCH far-reaching considerations are far from the mind of Netanyahu, the son of a historian, who is devoid of any historical knowledge or intuition.

The fight is now going to Washington DC, where Netanyahu will be fully committed as a mercenary of Sheldon Adelson, the owner of the Republican Party.

It is a sorry sight: the State of Israel, which has always enjoyed the full unblinking support of both American parties, has become an appendix of the reactionary Republican leadership.

One victim of this is the legend of the “invincible” pro-Israeli lobby. This crucial asset has now been lost. From now on, AIPAC will be just one of the many lobbies on Capitol Hill.

AN EVEN sorrier sight is Israel’s political and media elite on the morrow of the signing of the Vienna treaty. It was almost incredible.

Almost all political parties fell in line with Netanyahu’s policy, competing with each other in their demonstrations of abject loyalty. From the “leader of the opposition”, the pitiful Yitzhak Herzog, to the voluble Yair Lapid, everybody rushed to support the Prime Minister at this crucial hour.

The media were even worse. Almost all prominent commentators, left and right, ran amok against the ‘disastrous” treaty and heaped their uniform disgust and contempt on poor Obama, as if reading from a prepared government “list of arguments” (as indeed they were).

Not the finest hour of Israeli democracy and the much lauded “Jewish brain”. Just a despicable example of all-too-common brain-washing. Some would call it presstitution.

One of Netanyahu’s arguments is that the Iranians can and will cheat the naive Americans and build the bomb. He is sure that this is possible. Well, he should know. We did it, didn’t we?

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1 Response

  1. Poo says:

    “What if the wily Persians did not even dream of building an atomic bomb, but used the threat to further their real aims?”

    What if Avnery stopped taking hallucinogens? What if Avnery abandoned his envy of Binyamin Netanyahu just because he can get elected and Avnery cannot? Either move out or get over it. Avnery’s ego is only surpassed by his vanity. He only stops looking in his mirror when he poses for pictures.

    Iran is the next North Korea, a hostile terrorist state run by a wacko megalomaniac with his pudgy little finger on the nuclear button. When only the terrorists, Iran and Avnery are celebrating, you know something is terribly wrong. There are no celebrations in Doha, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Cairo, Amman, Riyadh or Jeruslaem save at Avnery’s house. What do they all know? They just live there. Happily where I live we are not moved and will not comply. Iran is still out. We are a nuclear power and well aware of what the American response would be if we behaved like Iran. It wouldn’t be this one-sided Deal. That is for sure.

    “Obama wants this Deal as a centerpiece of his legacy,” an anonymous U.S. diplomat is quoted as saying ,“and he believes a peaceful Iran could be a bulwark against ISIS in the Middle East and the key to peace there.”

    Ah yes, the Legacy that will not last the first term of the next President, regardless of political stripe. Think the increasingly unaffordable Obamacare, the laughable Green China deal, Cuba and now Iran. It will be a Democrat undoing it all in any case as the demographics are against any Republican for the foreseeable future, perhaps forever.

    Obama likes other people’s money almost as much as the Greeks. The Iran deal bets other people’s lands and future in a desperate vainglorious quest for a legacy. David Gergen, political commentator and former presidential advisor who served during the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton says he has never known a President who was “more concerned with his legacy.”

    The terms of the agreement provide the Iranian regime with a 10-year road map to a full-scale nuclear program, a sanctions-free economy, an intercontinental ballistic-missile program and a free hand to carry on their brutality at home as well as at their terrorism throughout the Middle East and beyond. Oh yes, and the money to finance it all. This should have been expected. The talks, limited as they were, could not have produced any other result.

    “I think he’s misjudging what the Iranians want and the best evidence of what they want is what they’re doing right now to destabilize the region without nuclear weapons,” Sen. Lindsey Graham said. He described Obama’s approach to Iran as “dangerously naïve.”

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei heads an aggressive, revolutionary power. Iran rallies, arms and directs military forces in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. The agreement to partially lift the arms embargo against Iran is seen by U.S. Sunni allies and partners as American recognition of Iranian military influence across the region. Please don’t tell me about the alleged “moderate” Hassan Rouhani. If he is such a “moderate” he should stop putting people in jail for disagreeing with him.

    The last 4 years of civil war in Syria are a classic example of Obama’s feckless, indecisive foreign policy. The U.S. is not a factor. This is rightfully seen in the Middle East as deference to Iran and Iran’s proxy, the Bashar al-Assad regime.

    The Narcissist in Chief would broach no disruptions to his negotiations, not terror, not threats not even American prisoners. Screw them all. He has a legacy to consider. Maybe he reads Avnery.

    Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia have given up on any U.S. led response in Syria. They now support a Sunni rebel alliance that includes the al-Nusra Front, a local al-Qaeda affiliate. Oh good. Assad’s collapse will set off a race for Damascus between al-Qaeda and ISIS. Oh good, again. The U.S., having betrayed its proxies and alienated its allies, will only be able to watch as a terrorist flag is raised over the ancient capital of a destroyed country.

    The future of the U.S. in most of the Middle East will be that of a bystander as Iran funds its military activities across the region with the economic payout. Iranians were born in bazaars. They know how to haggle and haggle they will, probably indefinitely, over implementation of the Deal. Obama risked everything and everybody for this. He will not risk losing it by getting tough or even firm. There will be no “snapback” of sanctions. There is this legacy thing to consider.

    The Americans, headed by the Socialite of State, led this farcical mess on behalf of China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany. It is worthy to note that all Iran appeals will go to the U.N. Security Council where Russia and China, who supply arms to Iran, are hardly likely to vote against them. Think veto. Think victory Iran.

    It is a good deal if you leave out all those things that matter to hundreds of millions of Iranians, Arabs, Israelis and others in the Middle East. It is a good deal if you leave out the criminal and expansionist belligerence of the Khomeinist regime. It is a good deal if you leave out the American prisoners and the “death to America” and “death to Israel” chanting in the streets. It is a good deal if you leave out human rights. It is a good deal if you want Iran to get away with murder. It is a good deal if you want Iran to spend more money on terrorism and the repression of its own people. Only a fool would think the Khomeinists can be trusted. Oh, now I see why Avnery approves. The Narcissist in Chief preened like a peacock on ecstasy when he announced the Deal. Another attraction for Avnery, he can identify.

    The pro-democracy Syrian National Council realize that the Assad regime in Damascus is already a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Quds Force commanders. “The deal with world powers does not address Iran’s terrorist activities in the region, carried out by its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen,” the SNC said in a statement. “Iran is almost certainly going to use the newly available cash and bolstered economy to prop up its proxies and try to assert its hegemony in the region, causing more conflict and bloodshed.”

    The Narcissist in Chief seems to like football better than basketball hence his preference for punting things down the road, or until he leaves office. His 8 years were Bush’s fault. Anything after, somebody else’s. In the meantime happy days are here again for the Khomeinists, Assad’s Baathists, the terrorist Badr Corps in Iraq, Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria, and the Houthis in Yemen, even Hamas in Palestine.

    Yup, that is a good deal. Small wonder Avnery likes it.

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