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Blame Israel and AIPAC for a U.S. war in Iran

Israel and its Washington lobby have never dragged the U.S. into a war it didn’t want to fight. Iran would be a first. And if today’s talks fail, the countdown begins.

I never went along with the argument that the Israel lobby, taking its directions from Jerusalem, pushed the United States to invade Iraq in 2003. Israel wanted the U.S. to knock over Saddam, of course, but it didn’t make a lot of noise about it, and neither did its Washington lobbyists because Israel and AIPAC knew they didn’t have to push against an open door. The Bush administration wanted to go to war against Saddam as soon as 9/11 happened, and while I’m sure the administration saw the benefit to Israel as one more reason to invade, that was never the main reason. The Bush team fought that war because of its misbegotten notion of America’s national security, and they would have fought it even if there had been no Israel lobby – even if there had been no Israel.

But Iran is different. Israel and AIPAC have been leading the charge on this one for years, and they’re hardly hiding it – the Israeli campaign for America to get tough, tougher, toughest on Iran has been as bombastic as could possibly be. If America ends up bombing Iran first (unlikely), or being drawn into a war as a result of Israel’s bombing Iran first (much more likely), that American war will be stamped “Made In Israel” – not by Walt and Mearsheimer, but by everyone with eyes and ears in his or her head.

This is new. For all the Israel lobby’s power over U.S. policy in the Middle East, it has never led the U.S. into a war the White House and Pentagon clearly did not want to fight. And that’s what’s happening, that’s what’s been happening for nearly four years – the Obama administration and U.S. military establishment don’t want to fight in Iran, and Israel and AIPAC have been dragging them toward it with all their might.

Again, this is unprecedented. And it is quite a responsibility for Israel and the American Jewish leadership to assume – one they don’t want to face, though, because if they did, they might have to restrain their war-mongering, and for the AIPAC crowd, war-mongering on Israel’s behalf is just too much fun. But here’s the deal: If Israel hits Iran and Iran hits back at American targets and draws the U.S. into a war, and that war doesn’t go well for the U.S. – if American troops start getting killed, if the U.S. economy suffers, if the U.S. finds itself stuck in a war it doesn’t want and doesn’t know how to get out of – then not only Israel, but American Jews, too, are likely to be blamed by the U.S. public at large.

And for the first time in history, blaming the Jews for getting America into a war would not be anti-Semitic lunacy, it would be a logical reaction. I want to stress here that blaming American Jews in general for “wagging the dog” would be totally wrong and unfair – most of them are liberal doves. However, blaming AIPAC, the rest of the Israel lobby and, above all, Israel for wagging the dog would be like adding two and two.

These people, these “leaders” of ours, are playing with fire. Today the third and probably last round of talks between the U.S.-led six world powers and Iran begin in Moscow, and the Israel/AIPAC/GOP alliance has intimidated Obama, who is worried about the election, into a negotiating stance that seems doomed to failure. Essentially, the U.S. is demanding Tehran’s surrender – Tehran’s agreement to defang its nuclear program without the West’s agreement to lift or even delay the harsh economic sanctions due to start very soon. The U.S. has turned Clausewitz’s famous saying on its head – this is not a case of war being diplomacy by other means, but of diplomacy being war by other means. And the worst thing is that many “realists” believe Iran would agree to decisive nuclear concessions if the West agreed to lift sanctions in return – but Israel, its Washington lobby and the Republicans have branded this approach as weakness, appeasement, and Obama can’t afford to look like an appeaser with an election coming up. This is from “Obama’s drift toward war with Iran” by The Atlantic’s Robert Wright:

The administration’s nervousness about deviating from the perceived wishes of the “pro-Israel” community has been evident throughout these negotiations. Before the most recent round of talks–in Baghdad last month–Vice President Biden and other administration officials met with 70 Jewish leaders assembled by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. According to reporting by Ron Kampeas of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, administration officials “emphasized that they will be steadfast in upholding one key Israeli demand: That sanctions not be sacrificed to the negotiating process.”

Sure enough, in Baghdad the…[six world powers], whose de facto leader is America, offered Iran no significant relief from sanctions, even in exchange for Iranian concessions that would have moved the world further away from war.

The Israel lobby’s ability to lead the U.S. toward a war it doesn’t want is not a function of Jewish money, or Jewish presence in the media, or the influence of Jewish psychiatrists – again, it is a brand new phenomenon and it stems from a brand new American political reality: the Republican Party, since losing power in 2008, has become synonymous with Likud USA. This is a key element in the radicalization and evangelization of the GOP – militant, anti-Muslim Israel, Bibi’s Israel, has become a holy Republican cause, right up there with tax cuts and fetuses. So when Israel wants the U.S. to take a negotiating stance toward Iran that’s guaranteed to fail, thereby paving the way for an Israeli war that could easily entangle the U.S., the Israel lobby has the Republicans, who control Congress and soon hope to regain the White House, as its amplifiers.

This didn’t use to be the case. The Republicans were never so crazy as they are today. AIPAC could not bend Obama to its will without the Republicans’ agreement – and without Obama’s, of course. But the Israel lobby and its boss in Jerusalem are no passive partner in Obama’s drift toward war with Iran – they are the driving force. The Republicans are too ignorant to craft an Iran policy of studied recklessness – they need Bibi’s mouthpieces to craft it for them. (See link below.)

The nuclear talks in Moscow are due to end on Tuesday. If they fail, as expected, I think the countdown to an Israeli attack begins. In the event of an Israeli war with Iran, it’s awfully hard to see America staying out of it. And if that happens, then Israel, its lobby in Washington and, unfortunately, American Jewry at large are going to have some explaining to do.


“Obama’s drift toward war with Iran” – Robert Wright, The Atlantic

“44 Senators sign AIPAC letter to Obama” – Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 

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    1. Richard Witty

      I don’t attribute the blame and responsibility of a decision-maker to those that argued, even electorally coerced, those decision-makers.

      If Obama orders US military action against Iran, it will be for the combination of influences that compel US policy, of which only a minor one will be sentiment. It will be the responsibility of his administration (and/or subsequent).

      Objective relations are a different story. Contrary to the Walt/Mearsheimer “realist” thesis, that only national interests (as they analyze) should construct US foreign policy, there are a gamut of other objective close relations between Israel and the US, beyond the direct and indirect military and intelligence close relationships.

      Specifically, you are a case in point, as are the many inspiring liberal Zionist commentators that have made aliyah from whatever mixes of motivations. Your family is partially in the US. Mine is partially in Israel (less so). There are many and significant businesses that have primary locations in the US and Israel. Universities, libraries, arts organizations, religious organizations, ecological organizations, peace organizations even.

      Sentimental drivers include the guilt over the holocaust, still a real and substantive and justifiable sentimental motivation, and the religious linkage to Christian history and shrines, and beginning to include some to Islamic history and shrines.

      Any prospect of destruction of those relationships and artifacts, and prohibition from access, is undesirable to the US leadership. Further, the history of the region, the living history, with prominent participants in the Israeli independence still alive, is a desirable relationship, not an objective necessity, unless you consider courage and discipline and yes, restraint in the midst, to be irrelevant values to keep alive.

      Even the mix of interests that would comprise a motive for its policy, including “on the table” military options, are relations with Iran’s neighbors, including Iraq and Afghanistan (1.2 trillion invested in some stability), Saudi Arabia, ALL Gulf oil transit, Pakistan, India, Turkey (bordering Iran), Syria.

      And, then finally, the practices and policies or Iran are clearly aggressive and apparently hegemonic.

      Maintaining large proxy armies, with 20,000 – 40,000 missiles aimed solely at civilian targets (Hezbollah), a large comprehensive military including ground to air defenses supplied by Russia and Iran (Syria) is NOT benign, not neutrality, not defense.

      The sin of AIPAC and the pandering republican and conservative democratic Congress, is in limiting the options of negotiation.

      If the US offered and Iran accepted a strict 5% enrichment protocol, and AIPAC and Israel somehow compelled the US to reneg, then that would be a significant impact.

      The confidence that the US would defend Israel from subsequent attacks from Lebanon, Syria, Gaza, Iran in retaliation for a unilateral Israeli strike, might give the sense that the US is enabling Israel to initiate that strike.

      It hasn’t happened yet, though the relations between the US and Israel have been the same since the issue came up.

      Did Iran accept 5% enrichment? Or, did they reject any imposition on their “legal” program?

      I still continually am amazed at organizations like the American Friends Service Committee, that historically fought nuclear power generation for decades, partially on the basis of the close association of nuclear power generation with nuclear weapons.

      I don’t understand why ANY of those folks would suddenly change their assessment of that logic, solely because it is an enemy of the US and of Israel, that is pursuing it.

      There are innocents in Iran, and there is a way for Iran to conduct its foreign relations without such animosity and active aggression. But, currently it doesn’t.

      Israel will grow even more paranoid in the years to come, given that the Muslim Brotherhood likely won the elections in Egypt, and has the very strong prospect of a military coup, in process with the dissolution of the legislature last week.

      Surrounded again. Back to 1966.

      Reply to Comment
    2. aristeides

      Does the question come down to: How many Iranians are we willing to see murdered for a chance to elminiate the influence of AIPAC? This is what it comes down to, because corruption quashes honesty and truth.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Alan

      Larry– I appreciate your explanation that the Iraq war was the brainchild of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and not driven by an all powerful Israel Lobby. As a progressive American Jew, I became increasingly disillusioned with the way anti-Semitic tropes became part of the anti-war discourse. You write: “Israel wanted the U.S. to knock over Saddam, of course, but it didn’t make a lot of noise about it, and neither did its Washington lobbyists because Israel and AIPAC knew they didn’t have to push against an open door. ” I’ve always wondered, however, if Israel wanted this war at all. In 2007, before he became Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Michael Oren was spending the year in the US teaching at Harvard and Yale. I went to one of his public lectures and asked him during the Q&A if the Israeli government believed that Iraq had WMD before the war. He said Israel did believe Iraq had WMD, but that the Israeli government tried to argue the Bush administration out of going to war against Iraq. Oren explained that Israel was not afraid of Iraq, but they were afraid of Iran and were concerned that a war against Iraq would only strengthen Iran. Sounds very logical and reasonable. I realize the mention of Oren’s name will send some people into fits of apoplexy, but in 2007, before he became part of the government, he struck me in his lectures as a thoughtful centrist. He held a weekly lunch at Harvard with Palestinian students for free-for-all discussions. Anyway, whenever the issue of Israel being a driving force behind the Iraq war comes up, I always think of Oren’s comment that such a war was not in Israel’s interests.

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    4. aristeides

      It was the neocons who were most avid for the war on Iraq, and they put an Israel note on the drums that was echoed by AIPAC. The official Israeli position was more cool on the prospect.

      I like Derfner’s door image, but it is quite possible to push on an open door. It just makes it harder to close.

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    5. Rdabrludba

      God bless this enlightened Jew Larry. Every religious person or sect or evangelicals should get it straight. Whatever is happening in respect of rational Iranian regime (Israeli general Grantz put it that way), at helm of US-Israeli fixation for war-economically or militarily, it’s all ANTIGOD. it will not only meet severe failure but also SHALL BE PUNISHED economically and militarily by a divine calamity name it WW III. Let’s get ready for peace and compassion or get ruined in hatred and WW III.

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    6. Alan

      Aristeides writes:” It was the neocons who were most avid for the war on Iraq…” Really?! More avid than Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld? For this to be true, we would have to believe that Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle wielded more power than the president, vice-president and secretary of defense. Attributing more power to Jews than they actually wield (and, in this context, neo-con is code for Jews) is typical of the way anti-Semitic tropes have corrupted the discourse on the left. JohnWV provides a cruder example of it, with his certainty that “treacherous Jewish money” has undermined American democracy. This type of rhetoric is right out of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

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    7. Jack

      Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were neocons and/or were deeply influenced by the neoconservative ideology.
      Today we have israeli-lobbyists clearly in the front lead of another war.
      You presented yourself as a “progressive jew” and of your messages your seems to support israeli government and specically their warmongering, although you want just like aipac or the isaeli governent itself hide who ise pushing for the war. Trust me, its evident for the average joe on who wants war on Iran.

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    8. Peter H


      Like Larry, I don’t believe Israel or AIPAC were major factors in pushing for the Iraq war. However, that doesn’t mean that Israel didn’t support overthrowing Saddam, or didn’t believe that it would benefit from an overthrow.

      I was following the Iraq war debate closely at the time, and, believe me, every article about the Israeli government’s stance showed that it was both publicly & privately supportive of invading Iraq. See this August 2002 article from Aluf Benn, one of Israel’s top diplomatic correspondents, for an illustration of Israel’s thinking:


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    9. aristeides

      Alan – Cheney and Rumsfeld were arch-neocons. Wolfowitz and Perle, and their fellows, were in power because Cheney and Rumsfeld placed them there. Too bad if this destroys your happy antisemitic conspiracy fantasy.

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    10. JOHNWV, anti-Semites like you are, of course, banned from commenting. If you try again, I will give your e-mail to the Mossad.

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    11. Mark Kerpin

      Unfortunately for Larry, this story – which is basically the same propaganda Robert Wright is selling – doesn’t pass the most basic of sniff tests.
      Russia and China are not under the influence of AIPAC, nor is the EU, and yet they are on the same page as the US with respect to the demands of Iran. Ergo, it is Iran – and its refusal to comply with the minimal requirements of the int’l community – that is the problem.

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    12. caden

      Better way to go would be back channel to the Iranians and say if a bomb goes off in Israel you better hope you get all of us because we’re coming for you, no waiting. We’re not waiting for a denial or an explanation. Copy Wingate and his guys

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    13. klang

      Larry., countries only go to war to protect their perceived interests. Saying that a small group of unelected people can completely deceive the US is anti-Semitic. In your next column, I assume you will share the discovery with us that Jooos poisoned the wells of Europe, causing the Black Plague

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    14. aristeides

      Klang obviously overlooks the way a small group of unelected news magnates deceived the US into war in 1898.

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    15. Richard Witty

      Did Iran accept 5% enrichment? Or, did they reject any imposition on their “legal” program?

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    16. Richard SM

      Richard Witty asks “Did Iran accept 5% enrichment?”

      Yes. See The Daily Telegraph “Iran gives first ‘detailed’ response to plan drawn up to break nuclear impasse” By David Blair, Moscow
      7:24PM BST 18 Jun 2012
      – – – – – – – –

      “Earlier, a statement from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Iran “will not carry out enrichment to that level” if the “P5 plus 1” were to provide the fuel for the reactor – something they have previously offered.

      “Even today, if they give us the guarantee that they will supply 20 per cent fuel for our reactors, there will be no problem,” added Mr Ahmadinejad.”

      Reply to Comment
    17. klang

      Klang obviously overlooks the way a small group of unelected news magnates deceived the US into war in 1898…. Actually, the US wanted overseas possessions for trade reasons, ie the Phillipines. In addition, given the multiple media sources today, the public is somewhat harder to manipulate than in 1898

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    18. Klang, you accuse me of anti-Semitism based on a complete, 100% falsification of what I wrote. From your comment: “Saying that a small group of unelected people can completely deceive the US is anti-Semitic.” From my post: “Israel and AIPAC have been leading the charge on this one for years, and they’re hardly hiding it – the Israeli campaign for America to get tough, tougher, toughest on Iran has been as bombastic as could possibly be.” Twisting someone’s words and then accusing him of anti-Semitism is a slander. Don’t do it again against me or anyone else on this channel.

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    19. Jack

      Same goes for Syria, if US werent pressed by Israel and the lobby to be on a collision course with Iran, they wouldnt of course give its support to armed religious gangs in Syria to wreck the secular regime. Middle east is probably the only region where US are unable to look out for its own (when it comes to interest, strategy, security).

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    20. Philos

      I can only speak for myself and as an Israeli Jew I think the influence of American Jewish organization like AIPAC, WZO and whatever (who don’t seem to represent the vast majority of American Jews) on Israel is poisonous. These organizations seem to carry more clout with our government than the Israeli electorate. We are ruled by the settlers and their well funded apparatchiks in the Knesset who do more to appease reactionaries from Brooklyn than Israelis. I loathe the jingoism of American Jews who have never experienced the moral trauma of manning a check point in the West Bank or the emotional trauma of serving in the army at all. Never mind, the traumas caused to mothers and fathers who worry that their sons or daughters will be killed; not by terrorists but by the negligence and incompetence of their child’s commanders in an accident on the base.
      These foreign Jews would happily send us to war and if we lose call us cowards from the safety of their white picket fences in America. The best thing for Israel is for these organizations to be as shunned and treated with the suspicion of traitors as Muslim organizations in America. What we need is for American Jews to put some distance between themselves and us. I am sick to death of seeing some schmuck from Brooklyn, newly observant, with a pistol on his hip hollering at soldiers from his car window as he drives through the checkpoint on his way his caravan in some shitty outpost “thank you, be’havrat ha’shem am yisrael hai.” I’m sick and freaking tired of it, and, most of all, of Zionism. I want Israelism. To hell with all the Jews of America who will have more money and more opportunities than all the Israelis I know combined. Leave us to solve our problems.

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    21. Mitchell Cohen

      @Philos, what percentage of Jewish Israelis do you think are “tired of Zionism” and want Israel to be “de-Zionized”? I hate to bust your bubble, but I venture to say you (and +972) would be disappointed with the results if such a survey were carried out.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Laurent Szyster

      Since 2005 we’ve been warned of a US war against Iran “real soon now” … that never came. And, invariably, those “analysis” blamed … the evil “zionists”.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Artemis

      Saddam allegedly paid the families of suicide bombers around $25,000. He was a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause. He had a relatively large and well equipped military machine. Look closely at how the military capabliblity of these nations has been degraded and or destroyed. Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, now Syria, and then Iran. The holdout which troubles Israel is Egypt, which required no intervention, and which still has a formidable military. Why so much fuss over a few thousand Muslims? An excuse to destroy the planes, helicopters, tanks, ships, and other heavy weapons which could pose a threat to Israeli hegemony in the region. Israel wants those nukes in Pakistan neutralized. We are likely to see more destabilzation there to come, with the goal of forcing the generals to hand those weapons over. Of course Israel wanted war with Iraq, especially if someone else would fight it. We are now tired of fighting their wars, doing their dirty work. It is expensive, and in many ways counterproductive. When we refuse to attack? That’s when the Israeli’s will start attacking, yes, drawing us in to the fray. It is a mistake to think that Israel does not want destabilization, it does. But it wants that AFTER heavy weapons have been destroyed. Muslims killing each other is no problem for Israel, and it hasn’t been for us either (Iraq/Iran war). Any friend of the Palestinian cause is a potential enemy for Israel (Gaza Boatlift). Any force which may unite Muslims, give them confidence, give them strength, is a potential threat to Israel (Iran). Any Islamic nation with nuclear weapons is a direct threat to Israel (Pakistan). Look for more trouble there, and probably sooner than later.

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    24. Jack

      Mitchell Cohen,
      There is a reducing jewish support for Israel among in America. Check for example Breinart’s and Finkelstein’s new books. (“The Crisis of Zionism” and “Knowing Too Much”)

      Reply to Comment
    25. Jack


      2005? It started way back, back in the mid 80s Israel started scare and warmonger about Iran, however US havent been persuaded by these warmongering groups to attack YET, but the escalation keeps on going so we havent seen the end of it yet.

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    26. Philos

      @ Mitchell Cohen, I wouldn’t be surprised or disappointed. Most Israeli reflexively support Zionism because that’s what you do if you don’t want to be socially ostracized. Having said that, I think to most Israelis Zionism is empty of content. It is meaningless. Most people don’t even know what it is for. Ideologies have to die sooner or later because they simply cannot change with the times.

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    27. ebertus

      “Bibi’s Israel, has become a holy Republican cause, right up there with tax cuts and fetuses.”

      Ok, thinking not so far beyond this and only a little ironically, there ist one question.

      When will Israel become the next US-State, overseas like the Hawaiian Islands? This probably will make things easier for both primarily objectives. Take care for Israel statehood and control religious radicalization.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Laurent Szyster

      @ARTEMIS, The systematic failure of arab military dictators has nothing to do with a vast “zionist” plot and can be simply explained by the utter stupidity, backwardness and savagery of those tyrans.

      @Jack, So Israël was already ploting a US war agains Iran in the 80’s … to no avail ? Strange because many “antizionist” assert that Saddam was wacked twice in the mean time by a “zionist” plot.

      @PHILOS, If indeed “Ideologies have to die sooner or later because they simply cannot change with the times” what do you say about traditionnal Islam, which has been frozen since the 13th century ?

      Reply to Comment
    29. Richard Witty

      There is historically low support for Israel among American young Jews. The current trends are more of similar. They are not as significant as imagined.

      The loyalty to Judaism and to Israel questions usually occur at the critical milestones in young adults’ lives; who to marry, how to raise children, and later how to honor parents when young adults come to identify with parents more than oppose them.

      Nothing particularly new.

      The aggressions are at least dual. There is no possible realistic dismissal of Iran’s history of supporting actual violent aggression against Israel, Israelis and on occassion non-Israeli Jews.

      What should Israel do, is an important question. From what I’ve read, it does get the light of day, and there is no clear concensus on Israeli unilateral action against Iran, nor of US.

      Neither Israel nor Iran are attempting to establish diplomatic relations, useful to shift from escalations.

      But, the left is not asking Iran to do so, to actually make a change in relations, instead powerless to affect real change in relations, and desparately relying on Israel to adopt an attitude of restraint to save the day.

      There is a certain amount of dishonesty in that dual approach, relying on Israel (but not Iran) while anticipatorily condemning Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Mitchell Cohen

      “Most Israeli reflexively support Zionism because that’s what you do if you don’t want to be socially ostracized.” [End of Philos]

      If that aint’ speculation, I don’t know what is. Election after election demolishes that theory. What is the most seats Hadash ever garnered? The last I checked there is nobody checking which paper you put in the envelope at the voting booth, so there is no “intimidation” factor there.

      “Having said that, I think to most Israelis Zionism is empty of content. It is meaningless. Most people don’t even know what it is for.” [End of Philos]

      Speak for yourself.

      “Ideologies have to die sooner or later because they simply cannot change with the times.” [End of Philos]

      I guess we will be saying bye bye to socialism, communism, etc. in the near future as well then.

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    31. aristeides

      Communism? When’s the last time you saw a communist?

      Reply to Comment
    32. Jack

      Correct, if you read my message you saw that I said that Israel hadnt succeeded yet to get americans to attack Iran. This whole thing started back in the mid 80s.

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    33. aristeides

      Back in the 1980s, Israel and the US were further apart on the issue. The US had a hardon for Iran ever since the revolution and the hostage crisis, but for Israel at the time Iraq was the Great Satan. This would be when Rumsfeld notoriously went over to give Saddam the big hug.

      It was the I/I war that changed everything. The US supported Iraq, but under the table used Israel to funnel aid to Iran, for political reasons. See Iran-Contra. Israel, though, continued to sell arms to Iran, over and above the amount called for by the US conspiracy.

      It was only after it was clear that Iraq would not succeed in overthrowing Iran that Israel changed its tack and decided the greater danger would now be Iran, as the stronger state.

      This didn’t mean that Israel would be opposed to overthrowing Saddam’s pro-Palestinian regime, but the bonus was the prospect of using Iraq as a launch pad against Iran.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Philos

      @ Laurent, let’s not get into an argument about religion. As far as I am concerned they are all as bad and as anachronistic as the other. Misogynistic, intolerant and violent at their core; Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
      @ Mitchell Cohen, actually your argument can easily prove mine. Election after election proves that people are too scared to vote non-Zionist parties. But that’s besides the point; you simply can’t question Zionism in public without becoming ostracized. If you fail to see the overbearing suffocation of the Zionism being constantly rammed down your throat then I suspect you might not actually live here. You are also, no doubt, probably puzzled by the Israeli predilection for going on as many overseas holidays as their overdraft and credit cards will allow them….

      Reply to Comment
    35. Kolumn9

      @Larry, your argument is problematic considering that preventing a foreign or domestic power from dominating the oil resources of the Persian Gulf has been explicit American policy for the past 60 years. The argument is also problematic because it has been American policy for a while now to prevent rogue states from developing nuclear weapons. Iran is in the intersection of those two policies and American actions towards Iran are first of all an expression of American policy and interests and no one else’s. To some extent as far as the first policy of preventing the domination of the Persian Gulf Israel is a canary in the coalmine and a very loud canary at that. You have also provided no explanation for why the European Union as a whole have endorsed the American approach to the talks with Iran, unless they too are being influenced by AIPAC and the American Republican Party. As

      I am sorry, but you have used faulty premises to write a piece that will be joyously picked up by the most vile anti-Semites regardless of whether the US gets involved in an attack on Iran.

      Reply to Comment
    36. KOLUMN9, the U.S. has a policy against foreign/domestic domination of the Persian Gulf, and it is opposed to rogue states getting nuclear weapons – but it has never bombed another country’s nuclear facilities to advance either of those policies. It went to war (rightly) to get Saddam out of Kuwait, but it didn’t bomb his nuclear reactor and (again, rightly) opposed Israel’s 1981 attack. It didn’t want the Soviet Union, China or North Korea to get nukes, but (rightly) it didn’t go to war to stop them. The policy of bombing other countries’ nuclear facilities is a uniquely Israeli one.
      About the EU’s support of the U.S. position, evidently the six powers aren’t so neatly unified behind the U.S. line, because China and Russia obviously don’t support the U.S.’s Iran strategy. So no, AIPAC doesn’t hold sway over the EU, Russia or China, but what seems to be happening is that the U.S. “leadership” over the other five powers in the talks is tentative, not decisive.
      About being quoted by anti-Semites: I recognize that, and I regret it, but that’s the price of free speech: When you strongly oppose your country’s actions, it can be used by your country’s enemies. American news media accounts of American racism and poverty were used by Soviet propagandists. I’m not accusing you of totalitarianism, but the argument that one shouldn’t slam one’s country’s actions because its enemies – in this case, anti-Semites, will use it – is the essential totalitarian argument against the right of dissent. All I can do is stress, as I did, that I’m not saying “the Jews” are roping the U.S. into a war with Iran – which is an anti-Semitic lie – but to specify that Israel and its lobby are doing so. Being quoted – selectively – by anti-Semites is a price I’m willing to pay for slamming Israel’s actions because I fully believe that these actions pose a much, much greater threat to Israel than is posed by anti-Semites, Muslim or Christian.

      Reply to Comment
    37. Mitchell Cohen

      @Philos, I’ll spare you the suspense. I live here (in Israel) and, I believe, even more years than you have (I remember you saying in a post way back when, that although you are 28, you have lived here a total of 12 years between going back and forth throughout your childhood).

      Anyway, fine. You are right. Everyone is too scared to vote ANONYMOUSLY for a non-zionist party. That must be it. And if you can’t criticize Zionism in public, then why is one of Israel’s mainstream papers (Haaretz) dedicating much of their space to columnists who do just that?

      BTW, it is cheaper to travel to the Sinai then to spend the same amount of time in Eilat (so I am told).

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    38. Richard Witty

      What do you propose Larry?

      It seems obvious to me that Iran is aggressive, and hegemonic.

      Russia and China’s relation to Iran is indicated by the Chinese UN rep’s statement yesterday (I think it was the UN rep), that the interests of Iran and China are compatible, and constitute a basis of trade. I expect that Russia’s summary would be similar.

      But, Iran has not directed a proxy army to the dismantling of the Chinese government. It has never said nor acted, “we will prevent you from ALL access to fossil fuels”.

      Iran has directed proxy armies and LARGE missile batteries towards Israel.

      How does that change? The Israelis and Americans have determined that that is a destabalizing role in the middle east, NOT the grappling for whom will be the nucleus of benign universal middle eastern prosperity, but something more aggressive.

      Maybe this is a period of a grand move east, the decline of the west in general, where the Mediterranean is no longer the center, but a periphery.

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    39. Kolumn9

      Larry, The US went to war against Saddam in 1991 precisely out of fear that left unchecked he would proceed into Saudi Arabia and dominate the Gulf Region. It went to war with Iran in 1987 (the US portion of the “Tanker War”) to prevent it from denying other countries the use of the Persian Gulf. It has similarly provided weaponry and other forms of support for friendly regimes to counterbalance rising hostile forces that might dominate the region. As such, the US has repeatedly and consistently acted to prevent the domination of the Persian Gulf by a hostile power. The reason why Iran’s case is special is because its possession of nuclear weapons will make this doctrine moot. In one stroke the Iranians will achieve dominance of the Persian Gulf by ensuring that the US will not dare prevent future Iranian expansion.

      It is true that the US has not bombed nuclear facilities in the past. In the Middle East it hasn’t needed to because the Israelis are forced to act first due to the significantly smaller means at their disposal. The US is capable of waiting longer before acting and so basically Israel has done the job for them in Osirak. In the case of Iran, the Israelis don’t have the capacity to act alone and so the dilemma has fallen to the US.

      I don’t know why you brought Russia and China to counter the point I made on EU support for the confrontation with Iran. Neither Russia or China are members of the EU nor did I mention them in my post. This is a red herring argument on your part. There is no AIPAC or Republican Party in the EU, nor is Israel very popular and yet as a whole it has adopted a confrontational line on Iran, including very tough sanctions. I should also point out that the ‘full stop of enrichment’ negotiating position of the US is supported by UNSC resolutions that passed without veto from Russia or China, again without a local AIPAC or Republican Party or much friendliness with Israel. You classifying this position as being an extreme Israeli one is as such problematic from the get-go, and in many ways reflects the successes of the Iranian policy of stalling and breaking red lines.

      The problem isn’t that you will be quoted by anti-Semites. It is that you will be quoted by anti-Semites in advancing a theory that is flawed where alternative explanations are available but in it’s presentation on your part justifies and supports the anti-Semitism of others. In conclusion, your theory does a bad job in fitting the available data at the cost of doing harm. Frankly, in this case I think your position is driven more out of your desire to be critical of Israel than out of an honest intellectual conviction.

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    40. aristeides

      Circular reasoning, K9.

      Just who is behind the drive to consider Iran a “rogue state”? The only thing rogue about Iran is Israeli hostility.

      In the meantime, what rogue state has developed an unacknowledged nuclear arsenal and engaged in unrestrained aggression against its neighbors for the entirety of its existence?

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    41. delia ruhe

      In October, when the unemployment rate will have remained unchanged or got worse, Obama will shift his focus to the christian zionists and other hawks by executing an October surprise against Iran. He will then campaign as a “war president“ and win his re-election. The rest will unfold, post-election, much as Larry describes it.

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    42. Laurent Szyster


      Your analysis is sound, backed by facts and well expressed. However, I disagre with on one point.

      Larry’s knows perfectly well that his opinion is pandering to the public of antisemites.

      What other vast audience can be reached by somebody who write three bad articles in a row on a false prediction that’s been around for decades ?

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    43. Kolumn9

      Aristeides, Iran is rogue from the point of view of American foreign policy in being both hostile to the US and in being a revisionist state in its international relations. The entire argument provided by Larry presumes that the US is not acting on its own interests so there is no need here to rehash old arguments about globally objective morality.

      Laurent, I am not convinced that Larry is as mercenary as you seem to imagine. It does seem though that he is severely constrained in his logical reasoning by trying to argue the consensus position of a group that is predisposed to seeing Israel as the root of all evil. Whether he is actually fully convinced of this position is somewhat questionable.

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    44. Richard Witty

      “Rogue”. Who knows what that could mean?

      Aggressive though is obvious.

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    45. aristeides

      Iran is branded a rogue state because the US and Israel want it to be. If Iran were doing the branding, the US and Israel would both be rogue states, and with good reason. The US is a rogue superpower, out of control, and its protection of Israel makes it a rogue minipower, disproportionately to its size, waging aggressive war with impunity.

      In fact, there is no real national interest for either rogue in an attack on Iran, there is only the political interest of certain parties who see warmongering as a means to retain political power.

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    46. Peter H


      Your assumption that Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons would inevitably lead to Iranian “domination” of the Persian Gulf is highly questionable. So if, say, Iran, invades Abu Musa, you really believe that the United States is going to back down just because Iran has nuclear weapons? Don’t you think that the United States could deter those threats with its own (much larger) nuclear arsenal? And even if the United States is unwilling to do deter Iran (something which is highly unlikely), other countries in the region like Saudi Arabia would likely respond to Iran’s aggression by building their own nuclear weapons capacity. That would erode Iran’s conventional military advantage vis-à-vis its Gulf neighbors, which would be completely counterproductive to Iran’s strategy.

      So there are lots of reasons to think that nuclear weapons will not lead to Iran’s domination of the Persian Gulf.

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