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President Obama Tastes the Bitter Fruit of Appeasement…of Israel, Not Iran
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Jeffrey Goldberg opined on his twitter feed that the Netanyahu-Obama grudge has its roots in Obama not letting Netanyahu bomb Iran.

That’s BS, I think.

I suspect that if Netanyahu really wanted to bomb Iran’s hardened and dispersed nuclear facilities–and enrage its population and a good chunk of the Muslim world and virtually guarantee that Iran would actually build an atomic weapon–instead of simply engaging in polarizing posturing, President Obama would simply be one in a long line of US and Israeli military and security poohbahs seeking to restrain Israel’s bellicose PM, if not put him in a straitjacket and remove him from office.

No, Netanyahu will never forgive Obama for challenging the security narrative that is so important to Israel’s position in the Middle East and Netanyahu’s own political fortunes: the assertion that a) Israel b) the region c) the world face an existential threat from an unhinged theocracy that wants to bathe the world in blood.

Now, ironically, there is an unhinged theocracy that really wants to bathe the world in blood, but it isn’t Iran, it’s ISIS. Iran is not only one of the Middle East’s more stable states, functional democracies, and diversified economies; it is the only party that has been able to put reliable, capable, and scalable forces in the field to battle ISIS.

As the US, UK, and Canada talk about dispatching trainers to develop a force of a few thousand loyal praetorians who, hopefully, will appreciate US materiel, leadership, and air support sufficiently not to defect to the ranks of Islamic extremists, Iran is deploying highly effective battalion-strength forces to roll back ISIS in Iraq.

The irony, I suspect, is not lost on Netanyahu, who has compensated by pumping up the rhetoric against Iran and its endlessly purported, alleged, and as yet undemonstrated intentions to develop a nuclear weapon.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is chugging along with its long-cherished plans for rapprochement with Iran and confronting Israel with the dire possibility that peace will break out and the US will find better things to do—like pivot to Asia–than continue to support the strategically dire, diplomatically ruinous, and economically unpalatable task of serving as the primary foreign underwriter of Israel’s detested Palestinian policy.

But there are several reason why Bibi, despite holding a pretty weak geostrategic hand, is able to bellow at Barry on his own front porch i.e. visit Washington as an honored guest to promote Israel’s Iran-bashing agenda. Some of it has to do with Israel’s PR savvy, Netanyahu’s preternatural impudence, and the seemingly limitless cupidity of American politicians; but it also has to do with the feckless US surrender of the tactical initiative and moral high ground in its Iran policy to Israel in 2010.

Early in his first administration, President Obama may have had the leverage, international support, and political capital to shed the incubus of virtually unconditional support for Israel and pursue a more even-handed Iran policy. Instead, he doubled down on Israel, with the result that Israel not only claims the right to define what is safe and acceptable in US dealings with Iran; its prime minister now asserts that right before the US Congress in defiance of the US president.

The story begins with President Obama’s plan to use the institutions and processes of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, reinforced by the UN Security Council and US domestic legislation, to achieve America’s strategic objective vis a vis Iran: to make Iran back off from any nuclear weapons ambitions in a conclusive and verifiable fashion, thereby smoothing the way for the US-Iran rapprochement that underlies a lot of common-sense policy planning for the Middle East.

Long ago and in a galaxy far away, President Obama won his Nobel Peace Prize for nuclear non-proliferation. Not for what he had done, but for what he hoped to do. And he hoped to perfect and impose the rather unequal and onerous Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (hereinafter NPT) regime on the entire world in a sort of Pax Nukus Americana.

President Obama’s determination to perfect the NPT regime and impose it on the world was somewhat quixotic, since the United States is not exactly a model for enthusiastic compliance with the treaty.

America’s non-proliferation cred would have to lean rather heavily on President Obama’s shiny Nobel medal, rather than U.S. enthusiastic adherence to the standards and ideals of the NPT. America’s own ratification of the crucial Model Additional Protocol for IAEA safeguards is gutted by an enormous national security exemption; thanks to DoD resistance, the Nuclear Posture Review posture calls for continued improvement of the US nuclear arsenal instead of its elimination; and ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and negotiation of a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty are distant dreams, given the implacable and united hostility of the Republicans in Congress.

Nevertheless, the Obama administration was determined to shape the NPT into a useful diplomatic tool against Iran and North Korea. This objective had eluded the intransigently unilateral Bush administration, which had unsuccessfully attempted to unseat the other Nobel Peace Prize NPT-er (and Iran-sympathizer), Mohamed ElBaradei, from his post as director of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

I suspect that the flip side of the Obama NPT coin was the hope that in return for the US hammering Iran on sanctions, Israel would oblige the world (and sweeten the pill for Iranian negotiators) by declaring its sizable nuclear arsenal under a sweetheart deal (similar to the one India negotiated with President George W. Bush), thereby confirming the universality, viability, and effectiveness of the rather jury-rigged NPT regime.

Back then, I wrote:

America’s most nagging NPT headache probably isn’t America’s glacial disarmament process, or even Iran: it’s Israel. Israel’s undeclared arsenal of nuclear warheads has always been an irritant in US’s Middle Eastern diplomacy and its efforts to block Iran’s nuclear program.

The double standards dilemma has been most acute for Obama, who has designed his geopolitical strategy (and collected a Nobel Peace Prize) around the idea of reducing the threat of nuclear weapons through a combination of enhanced nuclear security, vigorous non-proliferation, and great-power nuclear disarmament under US leadership – anchored by universal adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Embarrassingly, from an NPT perspective, Israel doesn’t compare favorably with Iran at all.

Iran is a signatory to the NPT and an active if unhappy and not particularly candid participant in the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) safeguards program. Its current inventory of nuclear material amounts to less than 2 tons of radioactive dirt, perhaps 11 pounds of uranium enriched to just below the 20% threshold (equivalent to less than 3 pounds of HEU if fully enriched), and 0 pounds of bomb grade material.

Israel is not a signatory to the NPT. It joined the IAEA, but does not participate in any safeguards program, apparently regarding its membership primarily as a useful opportunity to pitch negative intel concerning Islamic nuclear ambitions over the Department of Safeguard’s transom. It maintains an undeclared arsenal of at least 200 warheads – perhaps as many as 400.

To build this arsenal, Israel evaded export controls, allegedly diverting heavy water supplied by Norway for peaceful uses to its weapons program and illegally obtaining US krytons (high speed switches) for use in its nuclear weapons program.

And Israel has proliferated. It provided technical assistance and more to the apartheid regime of South Africa that resulted in the construction of six nuclear warheads that could be dropped by bomber on South Africa’s many regional antagonists. It was alleged but never officially confirmed that the Israeli government had also agreed to supply six specially fitted ballistic missiles to carry the warheads, and that South Africa’s sole nuclear test was a joint South African/Israeli affair.

In May 2009, the Obama administration had taken the significant step of naming Israel as a country that should accede to the NPT, backhandedly confirming the state’s commonly known but never officially acknowledged status as a nuclear weapons power. Per the Guardian:

A diplomatic row broke out today between the US and Israel after Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator called on Israel to sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT), breaking a US tradition of discretion over Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Israeli officials said they were puzzled by a speech to an international conference in New York by Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state, who said: “Universal adherence to the NPT itself – including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea – also remains a fundamental objective of the United States.”

By including Israel on a list of countries known to have nuclear weapons. Gottemoeller broke with normal US diplomatic practice.

Obama’s initiative to put Israel’s NPT status in play—while cozying up the Muslim world–set the alarm klaxons ringing in Tel Aviv.

Perhaps recalling its own experiences, Israel contemptuously riposted that the NPT “has failed to prevent any country that wanted to from obtaining nuclear weapons”.

A few months later, apparently, the fix was in.

On October 2, 2009, Eli Lake reported in the Washington Times that President Obama had, at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request, “agreed to reaffirm the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy toward the Israeli nuclear arsenal that has prevailed since the Nixon administration: that the United States would passively accept Israel’s nuclear weapons status as long as Israel did not declare or test a device.”

In a sign that US-Israel relations were not running smoothly despite the reaffirmation, Israel dispatched only by a minor government functionary instead of a head of state to the May 2010 Nuclear Security Summit (President Obama’s envisioned forum for groundbreaking nuclear diplomacy and the ritual display of the cherished talisman of American leadership). Back in Israel, Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to President Obama’s public call for Israel to join the NPT by declaring, “To our friends and our allies we say ‘there is no room to pressure Israel into signing the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.'”

In the context of President Obama’s overarching commitment to the NPT—and assembling an international coalition including states closely aligned with Iran, especially the PRC and the Russian Federation, and thereby inclined to look askance at the continued U.S. disregard for Israel’s nuclear weapons arsenal–there was hopeful speculation (which I must confess I shared) that, despite Israel’s peremptory rejection of the NPT, there was still some possible quid pro quo.

Lake quoted David Albright of ISIS as remarking:

“One hopes that the price for such concessions is Israeli agreement to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty and an acceptance of the long-term goal of a Middle East weapons-of-mass-destruction-free zone,” he said.

If there was a price to be had from Israel, it was definitely on the deferred installment easy-credit plan.

In early 2010 the Obama administration engaged in repeated, interminable signaling that getting the world to sign on to UNSC Iran sanctions—declared to be the indispensable stick to make Iran serious about satisfying the world’s anxieties about its nuclear weapons capabilities– was its absolute highest diplomatic priority.

At the insistence of the Obama administration, ElBaradei’s ever-pliant successor at IAEA, Japan’s Yukiyo Amano, punted on the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, referred the Iran dossier to the United Nations Security Council, and opened the door to sanctions.

Instead of pressuring Israel to make some off-setting concessions that might smooth the diplomatic path, in March 2010, the US adopted a completely opposite strategy. It allowed Israel to go point in lobbying worldwide for sanctions against Iran—to the PRC, to Russia, even to UNSC non-permanent members like Gabon & Brazil.

The hostile focus stayed firmly on Iran and away from Israel, both at the UN Security Council debate on Iran’s nuclear program in June 2010 and during the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Revision Conference or RevCon, held in New York pretty much at the same time. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad attended the conference, apparently with the forlorn hope that a charm offensive—and pointed demonstration that Iran was a signatory to the NPT and Israel was not—might forestall the looming UN sanctions.

The US determinedly knocked back any attempts to bring up the Israel anomaly and persistently knocked on Iran.

On the last day of the conference, the US delegation stated:

We note further that the final document calls on states to comply fully with the NPT in order to uphold the treaty’s integrity and the authority of its safeguards system. In that regard, we recall Secretary Clinton’s statement at the opening of this Review Conference, noting that “Iran is the only country in this hall that has been found by the IAEA Board of Governors to be currently in noncompliance with its nuclear safeguards obligations.” We note that Iran has done nothing to enhance the international community’s confidence in it by its performance in this Review Conference.

Israel, of course, was not “in the hall” and was naturally spared US opprobrium.

At the conference, Ahmadinejad had discommoded the US by proposing once again that Iran’s uranium be sent overseas for fabrication of replacement plates for the Tehran Research Reactor, thereby serving as a mechanism for addressing the West’s stated concerns about Iran’s “breakout” potential to process the uranium into weapons grade material, and also serve as a platform for peer-to-peer engagement.

This display of reasonableness was, to put it mildly, awkward for the West’s position that only actual—not threatened—sanctions by an adversarial alliance united against Iranian perfidy could ensure meaningful progress.

The US diplomatic apparatus, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, lobbiedfrantically to sabotage a concrete deal on the replacement plates that had been brokered by Turkey and Brazil.

In the midst of all this horsetrading and armtwisting, the PRC exploited US panic that the Turkey/Brazil deal might go through to extract some potentially useful concessions from the US, mainly that UNSC sanctions would not explicitly target the Iranian banking and energy sectors, giving the PRC some room for wriggling and backfilling.

A few more white lies were needed to make sure that Iran’s initiatives failed to gain any traction with NPT signatories outside of the hardcore US/Israel bloc, as I wrote in May 2010:

Little wonder that France’s Nicolas Sarkozy – the most enthusiastic member of the anti-Iran axis – used his trip to China to declare that the time for sanctions was, basically, now.

“The whole question is to examine at what point the absence of constructive dialogue, must lead to sanctions in order to enhance constructive dialogue. Everyone is convinced that moment is approaching.”

On May 4 at the NPT Review Conference, Egypt, speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement, circulated a draft resolution calling for the commencement of negotiations including Israel to make the Middle East into a nuclear-weapons free zone.

As Haaretz reports, the Western powers appear willing to support the conference – as long as there are no negotiations and nothing happens:

One Western envoy said Egypt’s insistence on a conference with a negotiating mandate was the main “sticking point,” while another expressed the hope that Egypt would compromise during intensive negotiations on the issue in the coming weeks. …One Western diplomat said the Israelis were “understandably reluctant” to take part, even if the conference’s outcome would be merely symbolic.

Egypt can certainly look forward to a month of geopolitical armtwisting, courtesy of the United States, western Europe, and Russia to ensure that the Israel problem is eventually soft-pedaled and a pro-Western consensus prevails at the conference.

Iran will no doubt notice that Moscow is taking the lead with the United States in order to smother developing-world resentment over the Israel double standard with the illusion of consensus, as Reuters tells us:

The United States and Russia, with the support of the other three countries allowed to keep nuclear weapons under the NPT, are negotiating with Egypt to come up with an acceptable compromise proposal, Western diplomats say.

Given Egypt’s reliance on US aid and the prospect of a dicy leadership transition as President Mubarak seeks to turn power over to his son, Iran may discover that Egypt’s determination to extract genuine concessions on denuclearization in the Middle East might not survive the month of May.

As for that nice conference that was supposed to address the nagging Israeli nuclear weapons problem, fast forward to 2013, and a plaintive op-ed by Mahmud Karem, an Egyptian diplomat who has been involved in nuclear disarmament issues as well as serving as Egypt’s Head of Mission to the EC:

On November 23, 2012 the US announced that the agreed to conference on a Middle East Zone Free from Weapons of Mass destruction (MEWMDFZ), cannot be convened. This came as a serious blow to collective efforts exerted by many state parties including an appointed Finnish facilitator for the conference, efforts by international organizations such as the OPCW and the IAEA, as well as civil society, to implement a special decision taken during the NPT review conference of the NPT in 2010. Since the US decision to postpone the conference came only a few weeks before the convening of the conference on December 18, 2012, sabotaging all preparations and pre-conference negotiations, the bitterness felt had ripple effects in the Arab world. “We were all sold out”, said an Arab colleague. All those who approved the indefinite extension of the NPT in 1995, he added, as part of a package with a specific resolution on the Middle East, should be blamed for believing that the depositories of the NPT would deliver on their commitments. This particular remark caused severe pain to those who were part of that decision in 1995, myself included.

The biggest victory in the US/Israel campaign was to get the People’s Republic of China—holder of a UN Security Council veto and an important defender of Iran—to throw Iran under the bus by voting for UNSC sanctions in June 2010.

I think we’ll have to leave it to the philosophers as to what role the UNSC sanctions played in the US-Iran (nominally the P5+1) negotiations—if they succeed despite the machinations of Israel and doubts and division in Iran. Also in the speculative ether is the might-have-been question of what would have happened if the US had tightened the screws on Israel as well as Iran.

“Crippling sanctions” (a term that Secretary Clinton takes pride in coining and claims to have gifted to Prime Minister Netanyahu) has a thrilling ring to it. But I suspect the PRC’s descent into the ranks of crass and opportunistic allies like the Russian Federation (the PRC ostentatiously throttled down its purchases of Iranian oil while profiting nicely from the pricing and currency and barter deals Iran was forced to make with it) as well as the unappetizing prospect of President Obama being replaced in the White House by Hillary Clinton in 2017 were additional important factors that impelled Iran’s leadership to decide on another round of negotiations with the P5+1 and the US.

If President Obama hoped that his harsh line on Iran would be rewarded by Israeli concessions on acknowledging its own program and acceding to various gateway NPT-related programs, he got punked. Either the Israeli government outright reneged on any promise to make an NPT-related gesture to save Obama’s agenda (and his face), or it made promises so conditional and over-the-horizon they were easy to discard or postpone.

Or maybe Obama got rolled by Hillary Clinton. Secretary Clinton’s over-the-top enthusiasm for crotch-kicking Iran permeates her memoir Hard Choicesand her single-minded pursuit of UNSC sanctions and relentless lobbying of the PRC were, it appears, decisive.

So I would not be surprised if Clinton told President Obama he was welcome to be the first African-American Jimmy Carter in the White House to stand up against Israel but it would be without Democratic support, on a different planet, and for that matter, with a different Secretary of State.

In any case, I believe the reason that President Obama has to watch his bete noir, Benjamin Netanyahu, challenge his policies from the rostrum of the US Congress to an adoring audience today is because, to use a loaded term, the United States appeased in 2010.

The US appeased Israel, not Iran, thereby enabling Netanyahu’s dicey strategy of ignoring Israel’s nuclear arsenal while characterizing Iran as an existential nuclear threat, emboldening him to polarize the situation as much as possible with his provocative statements and actions, and reaffirming his determination to sabotage an Iran nuclear deal, no matter what.

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Israel 
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  1. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “Lake quoted David Albright of ISIS as remarking”

    … conflicts with “ISIS” in paragraph 6.

  2. The really fun thing about American hypocrisy on nuclear proliferation vis-à-vis Israel is that we imagine the hypocrisy is invisible to the rest of the world.

    But this holds true for nearly all policy with respect to Israel, and it holds true for nearly all Israeli policy.

    • Replies: @Eternal Vigilance
  3. Jim says:

    Is there any example in world history of a relationship similar to the US-Israeli relationship? A tiny little country exercises enormous influence on the foreign policy of a continent straddling superpower many times it’s size and power on the other side of the globe. I think historians centuries from now looking back on this relationship will be utterly stunned.

  4. JustJeff says:

    Die juden sind unser unglück.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  5. Come on Peter Lee. Are you a child?
    If not you should know that Jewish lobby owns US government and by extension Jewish power controls USA. This is well known and was stated by no other than the late PM of Israel, Sharon.
    Everyone knows it , apparently except Peter Lee. So to have some nonsense analysis while ignoring the fact makes Peter Lee appear either naive or just plain stupid.
    The fact is nothing that Obama could have done to prevent this; the fact is no presidents can ever do anything to alter Israel action. If it wants war with Iran , it will get war with Iran. A foregone conclusion, just a matter of time.

  6. Whatever your opinion of Israel, Jews, and the pro-Israel lobby in the USA, a radical Moslem regime with nuclear weapons is a very bad thing. It is the ultimate terror weapon, and none but a fool could doubt they would use it if they had it.

  7. MarkinLA says:

    Just asking but wouldn’t it really be in the best interests of the US if Iran and Israel both nuked each other off the face of the planet?

    If so why stop Iran?

  8. MarkinLA says:
    @The Grate Deign

    I thought we heard the same thing about North Korea. Everybody with one will use it if attacked or faced with a realistic threat so the idea that they might use it isn’t too worrisome. Will they use it first and without any real provocation – that is the issue?

    • Replies: @The Grate Deign
  9. donut says:

    No , just Israel pls.

    From Mondoweiss :

    Over one quarter of Netanyahu’s speech to Congress consisted of applause and standing ovations – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/#sthash.CEwnDUy8.dpuf

    Congress reacts to Netanyahu’s speech :

    • Replies: @solontoCroesus
  10. Aaron says:

    A nuclear Iran probably doesn’t mean much to America, but it does threaten Europe and it certainly threatens Israel.

    America has made clear that it relishes its role as protector of world peace so it makes perfect sense for Israel (and Europe) to ask America to do something about this. If Japan and S Korea can reap huge benefits from the American protective umbrella there is no reason Israel and Europe shouldn’t try to do the same.

    The problem is America’s obvious portrayal of itself as protector of world peace; you do that, and don’t be surprised people if people take you at your word.

    That Israel offered to do the dirty work itself puts it leagues ahead of Asia in terms of shouldering the burden and somewhat ahead of Europe.

    Although this is childishly discussed in terms of “rights”, Iran has as much right to build a bomb as the US and Israel has to retain its arsenal. Israel simply doesn’t want them to, quite rightly from their POV (its an objective danger to Israel). America has no real interest aside from its narcissistic self-perception as guarantor of world peace. A nuclear Iran is objectively destabilizing.

    A nuclear Israel has so far been a stabilizing element in the Middle East. Large Arab-Israeli wars mysteriously ceased after 1973 after it became clear that Israel had operational bombs. While the magnitude of the Israeli victory in 73 was even greater than in 1967, it was a very close call with costly Israeli defeats early on. Without nuclear weapons there is little doubt Arab countries would have been emboldened to try again, and again.

    So far a nuclear Israel has been objectively stabilizing. All bets are off for the future. A declining America, and a stagnant Europe, might leave an unsentimental China as the instrumental power or at least as a major balancing power in the Middle East, or perhaps a great power vacuum. Such a scenario would completely transform Israel’s operational flexibility. The flip side of American support for Israel is that it is a massive dead weight around its neck. Faced with continued Arab violence, and secure under its nuclear umbrella and with no American restraining hand, Israel might well embark on wars of conquest.

    A nuclear Iran would make that impossible.

  11. Aaron says:

    Then again, a declining America no longer able to restrain Israel replaced by a China that doesn’t care, might well force the Arabs to come to a real peace with Israel.

    American and European restraint on Israel is probably a destabilizing element in the Middle East.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @JustJeff

    Based on his position maybe Just Jeff is unfamiliar with the polio vaccine.

    • Replies: @JustJeff
  13. Art says:
    @The Grate Deign

    The idea that Iran would use a nuke is preposterous – this is political theater – this is political manipulation on a grand scale – why would Iran use a nuke on Israel when Israel has 200 nukes of its own – Iran’s leadership would never invite its own destruction by using nukes – end of story.

  14. Defense Minister Ehud Barak responded to President Obama’s public call for Israel to join the NPT by declaring, “To our friends and our allies we say ‘there is no room to pressure Israel into signing the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.’”

    Wow, I’d missed this the first time around. What would such a ‘room’ look like, anyway? How large would it have to be? And who on Earth does Israel imagine its “friends and allies” are? Aside from those involved in the Anglo-American MSM (and I include their audiences) I don’t think any such thing exists. I don’t think Barak does either.

  15. @MarkinLA

    MarkinLA

    Kim Jung Il was a nut, but he was never a suicidal one. What we’ve seen from the mullahs is a different sort of insanity. It’s not a good place to be when we’re hoping the mullahs are a bunch of Islamic hypocrites who don’t believe what they preach. I’m old enough to remember the suicidal human wave tactics the Islamic Republic of Iran used in their border war against Iraq.

    • Replies: @MarkinLA
    , @Mouren
  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Its all just a messed up version of David & Goliath. Except David doesn’t attack Goliath. He wants Goliath to help him defeat his enemies. But ultimately the prerogatives of Goliath and David do diverge. And in this story, Goliath is likely to keep David boxed into a prison of his own making.

  17. MarkinLA says:
    @The Grate Deign

    The Russians were godless communists that didn’t care if they lived or died. Now the Mullahs are religious nuts who don’t care if they lived or died. All of our “enemies” are like that cartoon group MAD “a group of mad scientists bent on destroying the world for their own fun and games”. Nobody is listening to this nonsense any more.

  18. JustJeff says:
    @Anonymous

    I always keep it old school. Besides, am I wrong?

  19. AlMiller says:

    You may not like Jews but for sure you’ll hate being thrown off of buildings or being burned in a cage.

    I’ll take jews thank you.

    • Replies: @solontoCroesus
  20. Mouren says:
    @The Grate Deign

    So you’re convinced that the Iranians are a bunch of religious fanatics that would do whatever their religion requires of them?
    In that case you should be happy to know that Khamenei has issued a fatwa stating that the production, use and stockpiling of nuclear weapons is forbidden under Islam.
    What’s going to be the next argument?
    The Iranians are suicidal crazies who just want to kill themselves and everybody else, no matter their self-interest or religion?

    • Replies: @solontoCroesus
  21. I still find it strange that the only country to ever use atomic bombs keeps saying that Arab countries, Iran, Muslims and Russians are all a threat because they might use an atomic bomb on us… Where does this “logic” come from.
    The only countries likely to use atomic bombs are the US and Israel. The US has already contemplated first strike nuclear attacks. We are losing count of how many attacks Israel has started against is neighbours.Who are the crazies again ?

  22. @donut

    NEROyahu? NetanNERO?

    As the elegant and wise representatives of the American sheeple hooted and clapped their approval of the usurper-in-chief, I could not help but imagine the Roman Coliseum.

    Christians to the Lions! Huzzah!

    Iranians to the lions! Huzzah!

    Blood blood blood blood give us more Iranian blood.

    A day that will live in infamy.

  23. @Mouren

    True that, Mouren.

    Furthermore, in Iraq’s war on Iran, the Iranians walked the talk:

    The Iranians — including civilians — were being gassed by Saddam. The USA was supplying precursor chemicals as well as strategic targeting intelligence from the USA.

    Iran appealed to the United Nations numerous times: use of chemical agents in war had not been done since it was proscribed after World War I. Iran’s protests were ignored.

    Iran’s military leaders told Ayatollah Khomeini that Iran had chemical weapons capability and should use it in retaliation.

    The Ayatollah said No. He issued a fatwa against the use of chemical weapons against those who were killing Iranian civilians with CW. And the fatwa was observed.

  24. @AlMiller

    You may not like Jews but for sure you’ll hate being thrown off of buildings or being burned in a cage.

    Exhibit A.

    Norwegian physician Dr. Mads Gilbert describes his experience during the Gaza War.

    MG: Onslaught. 1400 killed. 5,400 injured. 28% of the killed children. 50% of the injured children and women. Age population, age distribution in Gaza, average age 17.6 years, almost 60% below 18. Basically, the world’s largest prison, with 750,000 children, with no verdict, no crimes, and they are punished collectively by the Israeli war machine supported by the United States government. Brutal, totally disproportional attacks. The new Israeli doctrine, the “Dahiya Doctrine,” applied for the first time in Lebanon in 2006, basically they’re saying we are going to use deliberately a totally unproportional military force, to bomb Gaza 10 to 20 years back in time. And we are going to punish the civilians so they will never again dream of allowing somebody to fire a rocket from their neighbourhood into Israel or against the Israeli army. This is in short called collective punishment, and it is strictly forbidden according to international law. In addition, I think Gaza was used as a laboratory for testing for new American weapons and Israeli weapons, the siege, the drones, the DIME-bombs (dense inert metal explosives), and the flechettes. I do think, for one, that all the discussion about the phosphorus bombs is a sidestep. Phosphorus grenades are not illegal in war. They are illegal to use against civilian populations, and they’re bad. But the over focused debate on phosphorous bombs is really a smoke screen to hide the much more devastation and destructive weaponry such as the massive siege, the drones and the DIME-bombs.

    [as for] unconventional weapons [used] by Israel during the war, and what kind of effect they had on the people of Gaza. . . .

    MG: Well, everyone’s talking about white phosphorus. Why is that? I think it’s because, number one, it has the image of being extremely dangerous and illegal. But remember, it’s not illegal, the Israelis can use it, the Americans can use it, but only as a smokescreen weapon. It is forbidden to use it against civilian populations, as the Israelis did during “Operation Cast Lead.” They have admitted that they did, and I believe these are the two officers they have punished. So for the Israelis, it served as a useful distraction, because the most important weapon the Israelis were using, and are continuously using against the Palestinians in Gaza, is the siege. That is the most brutal weapon, it’s affecting the most people, it’s affecting all the 1.5 million and all the 750,000 children, and this weapon is used so as to not stir international public opinion at the government level. They make sure, all the time, they don’t outright die from hunger, but they are hungry all the time. They don’t lack everything, but they lack everything to have anything close to a decent, normal life.

    Exhibit B. Palestinian youth force-fed gasoline, burned alive

    I’ll take jews thank you.

    It’s a deal. Take them.

  25. @Jim

    Probably Serbia and the Russian Empire, is the closest historical comparison to Israel and the U.S.

  26. Poke says:

    “There you have it: Not only is this casino mogul the unofficial head of the Republican Party in America (“he with the gold rules”), he is the uncrowned King of Israel — David with a printing press and checkbook instead of a slingshot and a stone. All of this came to the fore in Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday: the US cannot determine its own policy in the Middle East and the majority in Congress are under the thumb of a foreign power”…….,,

    “Like a King Midas colossus, Sheldon Adelson bestrides the cause of war and peace in the most volatile region of the world. And this is the man who — at Yeshiva University in New York in 2013 — denounced President Obama’s diplomatic efforts with Iran and proposed instead that the United States drop an atomic bomb in the Iranian desert and then declare: “See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development.”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-moyers/netanyahu-sheldon-adelson_b_6807276.html

    Its not inconceivable for Obama o get elected as President 3 rd time. Money from Adelson can get it done. He has enough money to buy GOP presidential hopefuls promising them to help with money agin in any future bids . He with Saban can choke oxygen off the democrats’s brains if they dared to oppose any constitutional correction.
    All Obama has to do is to say that money from oil sale and unfreezing of asset can give Iran the capacity and intention to wipe Israel off and promise Adelson that he would drop that nuclear bomb on Iran , Adelson in 2013 had mentioned .

  27. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @solontoCroesus

    It’s a shame Israel has done so much to stoke your antisemitism. I’m so tired of having my religion sullied by the sociopathic Zionists I can’t even see straight. Please stop confusing a bunch of sociopaths squatting in someone’s desert for Jews.

    • Replies: @solontoCroesus
  28. @The Grate Deign

    “Whatever your opinion of Israel, Jews, and the pro-Israel lobby in the USA, a radical Moslem regime with nuclear weapons is a very bad thing.”

    That country is called Pakistan. The US seems to get along just fine with it having nuclear weapons.

  29. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I suspect that if Netanyahu really wanted to bomb Iran’s hardened and dispersed nuclear facilities–and enrage its population

    It’s a good point to make. Iran has had over twenty years to prepare for being attacked so it’s a certainty it hasn’t been sitting on it’s hands all this time. Things have been situated underground, war contingencies drawn up, plans made, etc. It’s been made to seem as though it would just take some air raids flying in all the way from Israel to knock everything out and the US has thwarted them from doing so. Air raids can’t do anything but anger the Iranians and give them justification for whatever retaliations they may decide upon. The real purpose might be to set things up so as to drag the US into a long and drawn out war with Iran, a war in which the US could be fought to a stalemate. India and Pakistan seem to have acquired nuclear weapons because they felt they needed them and weren’t stopped. It may be a fact of life that a country that wants to build nuclear weapons, and has the ability to do so, will be able to do so if it’s big enough and strong enough to stand up to foreign threats. There is nothing anyone can do about it should they decide to go ahead and build nuclear weapons.

  30. @Anonymous

    It’s your job, TruthToPower, to confront the “sociopathic zionist squatters” and wrest from them the mantle of the Jewish religion.

    Don’t we demand that “moderate Muslims come forward and rat on their fellow Muslims” etc.?

    I’m an American. My job is to demand that the American government stop politically enabling, and supporting with my tax dollars a sociopathic zionist entity that is squatting not only in someone’s desert but in many major institutions in the United States, acting contrary to American values and interests. (It is also infuriating the the narrative of the sociopathic zionist squatters is force-fed to American school children using American taxpayer dollars.)

    When the purported leader of that sociopathic zionist entity anoints himself King of the Jews, and that label becomes applied to the entire community in the category “Jews,” that’s not my problem, it’s yours.

    I think it’s a very serious problem, one that I have argued for nearly 10 years that Americans need to confront, and to devise a solution different from those that have been tried before. I think a Truth and Reconciliation & Reparations movement is in order, but Reconciliation can and may come only AFTER the full truth is allocuted & reparations made.

    • Replies: @Eternal Vigilance
  31. @Kyle McKenna

    Well there have to be some immutable truths here. Israel is a very small country of only a few million people who would be overrun in a minute if their defense had to rely on manpower alone. 1.6 million Muslims around the world subscribe to the eradication of Israel and all Jews so that they can establish their Caliphate and rebuild a temple in Jerusalem.

    Every contributor to these commentaries would be schizophrenic if they were faced with such odds. In the current situation the Iranian leadership t has several times promised to wipe Israel and the Jews off the face of the earth. Damned if I would sit idly by twiddling my thumbs while such groundwork was being laid for my destruction!

    What is there to believe in Iran’s current leadership posture? Not much In my judgment!

  32. @solontoCroesus

    Solutions are nice but there can never be a compromise between Israel and the Muslim believers in the Quaran. That went out the window when Arafat tore up the Clinton peace settlement. The hope of the is for peaceful coexistence while the anti-semites commenting herein want the destruction of the Jews just as Hitler did!

    You want the truth? You have religious antagonisms at the heart of the Muslim, Iran, mid-east countries and Israel. One religion calls for the destruction and murder of all Jews! The other may overreact at times but always there are Muslim provocations to be dealt with.

    • Replies: @SolontoCroesus
  33. @solontoCroesus

    The Palestinians have received a whole lot of help from neighboring countries haven’t they? The Palestinians threw away a huge opportunity for peace and national recognition when Yassar Arafat tore up the Clinton Peace Agreement which Israel had already signed.

    Muslims and the Palestinian leadership play the role of Judas Goat to lead the Palestinians to eventual slaughter.

  34. @Eternal Vigilance

    Start in the middle:

    The hope of the is for peaceful coexistence while the anti-semites commenting herein want the destruction of the Jews just as Hitler did!

    If Hitler sought the “extermination of the Jews,” the existence of so very many “survivors” who are collecting so many billions of dollars to compensate them for what — for not having been exterminated??? — offers irrefutable evidence that, for all its technological preparation (i.e. the gas chambers, the crematoria, the tons and tons of fuel to run the crematoria, the trains taken from military use and committed to the purpose of hauling Jews off to be ‘exterminated,’) and carefully and precisely planned German scheme, Hitler’s quest (to exterminate Jews) was a total failure!

    Peter Frost censors comments that bear this message; let’s try it again: the holocaust narrative is a lie. Get over yourself. Nobody cares enough about Jews to go to all that trouble to “exterminate” them. (Except maybe their fellow Jews and the Levites — Michael Ledeen had some interesting things to say about Moses’ command that the Levites kill all the Jews who crafted the golden calf, and the requirement that an entire generation be wiped out until a suitably murderous group could be raised up who would be willing to kill the Canaanites and take their land).

    Re Israel being a tiny Jewish enclave in the middle of a large Muslim region.

    You just noticed that?

    The founders of zionism were not aware of that basic geographic, demographic fact 100 years ago? I think they were — what’s that catchy statement — “The bride is beautiful but she is betrothed to another.”

    From the first instance Jewish zionists planned, schemed and created the means and methods to eradicate Arabs from the land that they intended to steel. Jewish zionists knew this very well ;Ahad Ha’am, for instance, registered disgust with the murderous agenda of radical zionists.

    You mention the Quran disparagingly.

    The zionist agenda, strategy and tactics are drawn directly from Hebrew scriptures. Thomas Jefferson assessed the Judaic theology as “morally deficient.” Perhaps his mistake was conceiving Hebrew scriptures as spiritual or even moral reflections. In his history of Jews, archeologist Eric Cline narrates that Joshua’s conquest of Canaan was a well-crafted military action, involving spies, subversion of natives, the silent infiltration of the region for an extended period until the point when all the infiltrators (fifth columnists) would shout and sound the ram’s horn (the original ‘spin’ machine) while marching around the city until the city fell. Thereupon, the Jewish invaders would slaughter every man, woman and child and take for their own the houses, lands, businesses, treasure, crops, etc. of the conquered town.

    “Hear o Israel the Lord our God is One” appears over the gate of a large synagogue in my area. My understanding is that it is the ‘brand’ of Judaism, the Hebrew scriptural statement that defines Judaism. It is from the book of Deuteronomy. A few passages later, Deuteronomy recites:

    10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord,

    Who calls this a prayer, a holy aspiration? It is the enabling, the granting of entitlement to plunder, steal, kill.

    Benjamin Netanyahu boasts that his son is very well versed in Hebrew scriptures. It’s not spirituality or religious sentiment that he has mastered, but a plan for conquest, dispossession and plunder. What parent expresses pride in training his child to be a thief and a murderer?

    Part of the zionist tactic to conquer the land that belongs to other people is to divide against themselves the people whose land it is. Indeed, Sunni and Shi’a hold different and, from time to time, adversarial understandings of the way Islam is to choose its leaders. But for centuries and to this day, Sunni and Shia Muslims have intermarried, engaged in cultural and commercial exchange, lived together in peace, much like Protestants and Catholics, even Guelphs and Ghibbolines, and even Genoese and Pisans somehow managed to overcome their deep enmities and live together. It benefits zionist Israelis to exacerbate those differences. Some people, like me, see through the tactic and find it cheap and odious. And obvious.

    I suppose you said more that needs to be refutedbut — I can’t handle much more of your banal drivel.

    “I seek no victory, for the honor of my soul and character consists in deviating from the paths of fools, not in conquering them.”

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