Sunday, November 17, 2013

Iran's success

By agreeing to negotiate with the US and P5+1 members, Iran has managed very successfully to drive a wedge between the so-called allies. Notwithstanding Secty of State Kerry's recent statement that all the allies are on the same page, this is simply not true. If France had not objected to the "bad, bad deal" that PM Netanyahu warned against, Pres. Obama and Secty Kerry would have led the allies to agree to this deal, which would have resulted in an easing of sanctions for future Iranian restraint on nuclear enrichment. The deal so far with Iran leaves it holding over 2 kg of 20% enriched uranium, close enough for a break-out strategy to obtain a bomb with fissile material quickly (a matter of weeks) whereas the deal that Bibi envisages requires Iran to hand over or dilute that material, to avoid such as break-out possibility. Now Secty Kerry is lobbying on Capitol Hill to prevent the Congress from voting stricter sanctions, very unseemly. Why? To mollify his friend Pres. Rouhani of Iran? How is it that the US Executive is closer to Iran than to its own Congress? Perhaps the US Secty of State and Pres should register as foreign agents of Iran.

This difference between the US on one side and France and Israel on the other is very worrying. Pres. Hollande of France and his FM are arriving in Israel today and the hope is that France and Israel will agree on a strategy to thwart the easing of sanctions short of a full climb-down by Iran. The US position represents a retreat from the leadership position that the US has held in the world since WWII, and comes about because although Pres Obama declares that "all options are on the table," no-one any longer actually believes him. He is desperate to seek any kind of accomodation with Iran so that he can avoid the ultimate possibility of attacking Iran. He managed to do this with Syria, by allowing Russia to come in as the guarantor for Assad, and thus avoided reacting to the so-called "red line" of uranium enrichment that he had warned about. He initiated this policy in his Cairo speech in 2009 in which he essentially told the Muslim world that the US under his command would not be their enemy.

Now the Russians are in Egypt with Pres. Putin signing deals with the al-Sisi military government there. The US is losing out in Egypt, and the Saudis and the Gulf States no longer trust American promises. The US is slipping from influence, not because it lacks the power, but because it lacks the will. I ask what is the point of having this power, that is used against Somali pirates and to mop up after a typhoon in the Philippines, both very commendable actions, if it is not projected meaningfully into the world, if it is not a credible threat to such dangerous regimes as Iran, N. Korea and Syria. You can be sure that if there is any kind of power vacuum others will quickly fill it. Russia is the first in line and Iran is not far behind, with its dreams of hegemony in the Middle East.

Actually, this also represents an opportunity for Israel, to help fill the void left by America's shrinking credibility. If Israel finds it necessary to attack the Iranian nuclear sites as a last resort to stop them developing nuclear weapons, you can be sure that it will be done effectively and seriously. This will not only set Iran back, but save the Sunni Arab states from their greatest fear, domination by Shia Iran. Such a move would enhance Israel's real power status in the world and its deterrence. One cannot predict the outcome of any such complex situation, but it could turn out to be a winning one for Israel.


Post a Comment

<< Home