Iran

Overplaying Its Hand, Israel Still Holds Plenty of U.S. Cards

Overplaying Its Hand, Israel Still Holds Plenty of U.S. Cards

By Norman Solomon and Abba A. Solomon

November 27, 2013 

More than ever, Israel is isolated from world opinion and the squishy entity known as “the international community.” The Israeli government keeps condemning the Iran nuclear deal, by any rational standard a positive step away from the threat of catastrophic war.

In the short run, the belligerent responses from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are bound to play badly in most of the U.S. media. But Netanyahu and the forces he represents have only begun to fight. They want war on Iran, and they are determined to exercise their political muscle that has long extended through most of the Washington establishment.

While it’s unlikely that such muscle can undo the initial six-month nuclear deal reached with Iran last weekend, efforts are already underway to damage and destroy the negotiations down the road. On Capitol Hill the attacks are most intense from Republicans, and some leading Democrats have also sniped at the agreement reached in Geneva.

How the West Missed a Chance to Make Peace With Iran

How the West Missed a Chance to Make Peace With Iran

By Peter Oborne

Peter Oborne shows how the West turned down a precious opportunity to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis 8 years ago, and argues that it is western rather than Iranian intransigence that prevents a deal being struck today.

April 24, 2013 "The Telegraph

It was the early spring of 2005 and a team of British, French and German diplomats were arriving at the magnificent French foreign ministry at the Quai d’Orsay on the left bank of the Seine.

But the splendour of the Second Empire building did not match their mood. The negotiating team, which included the high-flying John Sawers (now Sir John, head of the British Secret Intelligence Service), had been fruitlessly searching for a solution to the Iranian nuclear stand-off for more than a year.

Video: Former US Army Col. Ann Wright Speaking in Galway

Part 1: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway

Part 2: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway

Part 3: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway

Part 4: Col. Ann Wright Speaks in Galway

Obamas Perpetual War

Micah Zenko - Foreign Policy

"The United States is in a state of perpetual war, spending $633 billion this year on defense, with over 200,000 US servicemembers deployed around the world."

During his second inaugural address on 21 January 2013, President Obama offered two aspirational statements that struck many observers as incongruous with administration policies: "A decade of war is now ending" and "We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

We should question these observations, not least because of the string of US government plans and activities that increasingly blur the conventional definition of war.

My own list of war-like activities since Obama's inaugural would include:
four drone strikes that killed 16 people (all in Yemen);
the acknowledgement by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding drones, "We've done that in Pakistan. We're doing it in Yemen and elsewhere. I think the reality is its going to be a continuing tool of national defense in the future";

the announcement that the US military would provide intelligence, transportation, and refueling support for the French intervention in Mali;
the signing of a US-Niger status of forces agreement that will likely include a drone base for surveillance missions, although US officials "have not ruled out conducting missile strikes at some point";
the forthcoming expansion (perhaps quintupling) of US Cyber Command, including "combat mission forces" for offensive cyberattacks;
the executive branch's secret legal review determining that Obama "has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad";
the Marine commandant's announcement of a new "crisis response unit" that would be "rapidly employable" to "address crises";

The Gravest Threat to World Peace by Noam Chomsky

The Gravest Threat to World Peace By Noam ChomskyReporting on the final U.S. presidential campaign debate, on foreign policy, The Wall Street Journal observed that "the only country mentioned more (than Israel) was Iran, which is seen by most nations in the Middle East as the gravest security threat to the region."

The two candidates agreed that a nuclear Iran is the gravest threat to the region, if not the world, as Romney explicitly maintained, reiterating a conventional view.

On Israel, the candidates vied in declaring their devotion to it, but Israeli officials were nevertheless unsatisfied. They had "hoped for more 'aggressive' language from Mr. Romney," according to the reporters. It was not enough that Romney demanded that Iran not be permitted to "reach a point of nuclear capability."

Arabs were dissatisfied too, because Arab fears about Iran were "debated through the lens of Israeli security instead of the region's," while Arab concerns were largely ignored – again the conventional treatment.

The Journal article, like countless others on Iran, leaves critical questions unanswered, among them: Who exactly sees Iran as the gravest security threat? And what do Arabs (and most of the world) think can be done about the threat, whatever they take it to be?

The first question is easily answered. The "Iranian threat" is overwhelmingly a Western obsession, shared by Arab dictators, though not Arab populations.

Israel Lobby Calls for an ‘Iranian Pearl Harbor’

Israel Lobby Calls for an ‘Iranian Pearl Harbor’By Muhammad Sahimi October 30, 2012 

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