- "We are in no danger at all of having an Iranian
nuclear weapon dropped on us. We cannot say so too openly, however, because
we have a history of using any threat in order to get weapons ... thanks
to the Iranian threat, we are getting weapons from the US and Germany."
- - Israeli author, Martin van Crevled, June 2007.
- Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is on a speaking
tour in the United States, putting her considerable personal charm in the
service of a shrewd salesmanship - of a US war on Iran.
- Although considered a dove by Israeli standards, Livni
is now on a historic mission that has begun with a pre-travel warmer in
the form of a highly publicized telephone call to the Democratic presidential
candidate Barack Obama, assuring him that there is direct linkage
"between Iran and the terror groups".
- Coinciding with the ominous news that US CENTCOM chief
Admiral William Fallon has resigned - or been sacked - for his opposition
to a war with Iran, Livni hopes to harvest a blowing wind of war against
another Middle Eastern country that dares to challenge Israel's regional
hegemony. It is a familiar story with a recent precedent in Iraq and a
script for action, requiring high-pitched public diplomacy with the help
of a vast network of sympathetic media pundits, that Israel has fully mastered.
- Last week, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's pressure
on Israel "to honor peace obligations" fell on deaf ears and
as far as Israel is concerned the so-called "Annapolis roadmap"
- to have a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital - is a
sideshow to a sideshow, with the central focus on the "Iran threat",
just as it was on the "Iraq threat" a mere few years ago.
- But, of course, the Israelis and their infinite reservoir
of support in the US would rather the world fall into a Nietzschean "sham
of forgetfulness" on how aptly, and cunningly, they sold the perception
of Saddam Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda and even his direct connection to
the September 11, 2001, atrocities.
- Although the US government has conclusively found no
evidence of such connections, the various pro-Israel pundits who excelled
in their assignment to propagate that false image, refuse to acknowledge
their error, let alone recant.
- Chief among the latter is an Israeli-turned-US citizen,
Laurie Mylroie, who was given free access to the US media as a "terrorism
expert" prior to the US's invasion of Iraq, advertising her book on
Saddam and September 11, time and again repeating the line that the September
11 attacks "had to be sponsored by a state", that is, Iraq.
- In compensation for a job well done, Mylroie landed a
full professorship at a US university, despite the fully questionable and
empirically refuted nature of her unfounded allegations against Saddam.
Who knows, maybe she is even the recipient of an Israeli medal of honor
for her unique salesmanship of war.
- This time, however, with the stakes on Iran relatively
higher, the discrete charm of the affable Livni is fully required to pave
the way for another disastrous war in the Middle East, since Israel is
incapable of peace with the Palestinians and is in dire need of other pretexts
to channel public attention away from its oppressive policies against the
- This is reflected in the Israeli government's blunt announcement
of a new settlement in the West Bank, timed with Rice's visit, which must
have surely sent a signal that no matter how it may be interpreted as a
provocation that belies the peace process, Israel's policy of annexation
and confiscation of Palestinian lands will continue unabated.
- But not everything proceeds according to Israel's wishes,
given the United Nations' recent condemnation of Israel's "excessive
force" against the Palestinians in Gaza. Much as Livni and other Israeli
officials hope otherwise, there is a limit to the gullibility of US public,
who are averse toward another costly US "proxy war" on Israel's
behalf. No matter how many US editorials spin their services in this direction,
the fact remains there is a growing healthy concern in the US regarding
the undue influence of Israel on US foreign policy.
- Unfortunately, that healthy skepticism is presently staved
off by a sophisticated public relations ploy on Israel's part that blames Iran
for the death of the peace process and exonerates Israel, while
presenting a caricature of independence-seeking Palestinians as mere proxies
of Iran's "messianic fundamentalists".
- Such self-serving image projections of the Iranian enemy
conveniently overlook US-Iran shared interests in the region and, instead,
seek desperately to paint a black and white picture of US-Iran relations
as a zero-sum game. Of course, this is a harder sell, as the US and Iran
both support the same regimes in Baghdad and Kabul and also have a vested
interest in preventing the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and
the Sunni insurgency in Iraq.
- Ehrlich: Can you believe the above paragraph? The set
up for Israel to be the historic predicate for an attack on Iran is so
obvious as to be obscene.
- Meanwhile, amid new US allegations of Iranian subversive
activities in Iraq, a fourth round of US-Iran talks has been postponed
and, per an informed Iranian analyst, that is simply because the US does
not want to negotiate with Iran from the position of weakness since Tehran
has gained much as a result of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's
recent trip to Baghdad. "The US should make a strategic adjustment
with Iran or continue with its cold war crusade that is disfunctional because
Iran and the US have common interests in the region," the analyst
- So, the clever Israelis and their friends have mounted
a serious campaign to convince the world that Iran is in bed with the Taliban
and also with al-Qaeda, as well as with practically "every terror
group opposed to the US", to paraphrase Under Secretary of State Nicholas
Burns at his recent talk at Harvard University.
- Burns, who was the US's pointman on Iran until recently,
boasted of his role in US-Israel strategic dialogue and put a complete
seal of approval on Israel's warmongering policy with regard to Iran. Surely,
this will earn Burns a suitable position in the next US administration,
another reminder of how real change in US foreign policy is foreclosed
by the recycling of complaint, pro-Israel voices in the US government.
- In conclusion, the waning months of the George W Bush
administration represent a golden opportunity for Israel to ignite another
Middle East conflict that, in essence, is rooted in Israel's structural
inability to make peace with the Arab and Muslim world.