Hello again friends and faithful readers. If I may, I’d like to briefly re-visit the Middle East issue today and focus primarily on the dilemma of Iran. In light of a fresh round of UN sanctions on that country, I thought I might shed a small quantity of truth on the situation. If you have been paying attention to the news, you should be aware that Wednesday morning, with the US leading the charge, the fifteen member United Nations Security Council voted 12 – 2 to impose tougher penalties for Iran’s supposed nuclear “weapons” program. Turkey and Brazil cast the dissenting ballots and Lebanon abstained. This action occured on the same day as reports again surfaced that Osama Bin Laden is living comfortably as an honored guest in Tehran. The Bin Laden/Iran rumor is nothing new. It appeared in a Fox News story over a month ago. What is new is that the gossip is now originating from Israel. Coming a mere week after Israeli commandos killed 10 civilians in a failed raid on activist ships bound for Gaza. And only days after Iran offered naval escort to any vessels attempting to break the Israeli blockade.
This is a disturbing developement, as it appears that the Obama administration has bought into the neoconservative theology of the “Axis of Evil”. And it suggests the very real possibility of future military action. Certainly a decided break from President Obama’s previous philosophy of “extending a hand of peace to the Islamic world”. Israeli involvement in this situation only deepens my concern. There is a widely held belief among many in the American political and military arena, partly supported by the verbose statements of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Iran seeks to destroy the state of Israel. In my last piece I quoted ex CIA operative Robert Baer on the subject. Baer spent decades inside Tehran and Beirut. And is considered a leading authority on Iran and Hezbollah. I will reiterate his statement, in bold, so as to leave no questions or doubt about his opinion.
“Baer reinforces other writer’s determinations that Iran is….
not about to go to war with Israel over the Palestinians, especially at the risk of a nuclear confrontation, they’re not particularly concerned about the fate of the Palestinians or the existence of Israel. Iran will accept whatever settlement the Palestinians accept.”
If relations between Israel and Iran are a pressing issue, equally so is the circumstances surrounding the purported attempt by the Iranians to acquire nuclear weapons. The United States has sought after a regime change in Iran since the overthrow of the Shah and the birth of the theocratic Islamic Republic. Over the decades, a vast array of reasoning has been used to this end. From the threat against our ally Israel, to harboring and supporting terrorism. Currently, the most advantageous weapon the US possesses, is the spectre of Iran as an aggressive, rogue nuclear state. I assure you that this peril has been exaggerated. In 2007, the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) released a report illustrating the peaceful nature of Iran’s pursuit of atomic technology, for energy purposes. Shortly thereafter, the Bush administration, armed with various intelligence reports, pressured the IAEA into reversing its conclusions. Suddenly Iran had become a rogue nuclear state. Hell bent on the destruction of Israel and western civilization. There was only one small complication here. The intel was faulty and most likely fraudulent.
Once again in July, 2009 the IAEA confirmed that Tehran’s nuclear program was not seeking to develope weapons capability.
Since that time, as tensions have ratcheted up in the region, so has the rhetoric. Accusations have come fast and furious from the US, its allies on the UN security council and from the mainstream media, that Iran is secretly building nuclear warheads. But in actuality, the IAEA’s report has not changed that much in the last year. The entire report can be summed up in this paragraph.
“While the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, Iran has not provided the necessary cooperation to permit the Agency to confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. More specifically, Iran is not implementing the requirements contained in the relevant resolutions of the Board of Governors and the Security Council, including implementation of the Additional Protocol”
What this basically says is that Iran continues to be in compliance of the “Safeguards Agreement” (which is the standard Iran has to live by), but that the agency cannot verify that all material is for peaceful purposes. And this is true, because the IAEA does not verify this for any country unless the Additional Protocol is in place. This applies to Iran equally as it does to many other countries. The report states the IAEA and the UNSC have made certain demands on Iran, which Iran has refused to implement. That’s because Iran says the demands are plainly illegal and outside of the powers of these two organizations to impose on Iran. The Additional Protocol, for example, is a treaty that no country can be “required” by the UNSC to sign. In fact many countries, such as Brazil, Argentina, S Korea and Egypt (the last two having been caught violating their safeguards by conducting undeclared nuclear experiments), have flatly refused to sign the Additional Protocol. In contrast, Iran had voluntarily implemented it for over two years with no evidence of nuclear weapons found, and has offered to permanently abide by it if its own nuclear rights are recognized, which the US refuses.*
Clearly what we are witnessing here is a pattern of selective bullying by the US and it’s allies. Singling out Iran for excess measures, simply because they have been branded a member of the axis of evil. And no wonder their actions seem belligerent. But as alway, the American people only receive half-truths from their leaders and the media. Where I wonder, is the outrage about Israel’s complete refusal to become a signatory to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty)? The hypocrisy displayed here is simply staggering. America has to quit seeing this issue in black and white terms. With Israel as the victim and Iran and the Palestinians (Hell the whole Arab world for that matter) as the aggressor. It’s not nearly that simple. There is a whole shitload of grey area on this issue. And the US policy makers need to understand this and act accordingly. They also need to realize that bluster and browbeating are no longer the answer. These were the tactics of despots such as Stalin and Hitler. What is required now is level-headed diplomacy. Based on fairness and equity for all parties involved. This would be wonderful opportunity for Barak Obama to engineer peace in this hostile region and leave a lasting legacy. It is an opportunity he can ill afford to pass up, unfortunately he may not get another.
A quick footnote here on Palestine. On Wednesday, President Obama met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, on the Gaza issue, promising $400 million in US aid for the beleaguered Palestinian people. While this is a promising first step, it must be noted that Abbas and th PLA have very little control of the situation outside of the West Bank enclave. And the last time the US gave aid to the PLA ($86 million, by the Bush administration in 2007) a good share of it reportedly ended up in the hands of Hamas. The president is in somewhat of a predicament here. The obvious fact is that he cannot even consider dialogue with Hamas at this point, as they are labeled a “terrorist” organization by the US. And While not yet openly condemning the commando raid or the blockade, the Whitehouse has at least stated that Israel should “ease up” on Gaza. Keep a close eye on this situation, especially with the Iranian promises of naval assistance on future flotillas.
*From CASM document 5/31/2010