“Israel] is supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don''t think that''s true."
“TEHRAN, Iran (AP) Jan 14, 9:42 AM EST, Iran said Saturday it has evidence that the United States was behind the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist this week in Tehran, state media reported.”
America has a long tradition of using Israel as scapegoat whenever its dirty linen goes public. And whether or not the United States is guilty as charged in the assassination of that Iranian scientist, an article that appeared in Foreign Policy immediately following Iran pointing to America as perpetrator has all the hallmarks of continuing that time-honored blame game. When Irangate, the Reagan administration’s gun- and drug-running program financed through Saudi money laundering surfaced in 1986, administration insiders tried to shift blame on to Israel. As if Israel could convince the president to turn into a criminal. And when, fifteen years later, Bush’s “victory” speech turned out to be several years premature, administration insiders also turned on Israel. As if Israel could convince the president to invade Iraq. And now, with serial regional policy failures stretching from Libya to Yemen with a stopover in Egypt to depose America’s principal Arab ally; with Iran saying they captured a bomber, that they have evidence the US carried out the assassination, who but Israel would be trotted out as administration stooge to deflect attention and blame.
Photo by Reuters
Two weeks ago, with the signing of those tough, new sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank it appeared that finally the US was taking a strong stand against the Iranian bomb. After all, the legislation coincided with British, French and American warships taking positions in and around the Gulf. This time Obama really meant it.
Within days of their announcement Iran’s currency fell 20% and more in value and rumors surfaced that the Islamic Republic might even be overthrown. Then it we read that the president was engaged in “secret negotiations” with Iran, that those sanctions would interfere with his ability to conduct foreign policy.
Does this not have all the hallmarks of his oft-repeated threat to use force that “all options are on the table,” that the US was prepared to attack it the nuclear program was not halted? Whether or not Obama ever convincingly delivered the “threat,” its repeated use followed by as many retreats drained it of any credibility. And, as if to confirm, the president’s “secret negotiations” was just a letter delivered by a “third party” warning Iran against closing the Straight. No doubt, as seen by Iran, as yet one more Obama “red line” to be disregarded.
In this continuing soap opera between the giant and the mouse, the Iranians long ago concluded that the roaring American tiger was made of paper, safely ignored, even defied.
The Foreign Policy article was interesting on several levels. It’s ostensible purpose was to publicly embarrass Israel. But its similarity in pattern and purpose with other made in the White House fictions, on par with Israel purportedly having led its naïve and trusting senior partner into the crimes of Irangate in 1985; or the invasion of Iraq in 2002 when history indicates the opposite: Israel (and the Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians, etc.) argued against the war! In the present instance the article asserts that Israel’s Mossad represented itself as the American CIA in recruiting Pakistani Jundallah terrorists to assassinate Iranians during the Bush presidency. Of course the article just happened to appear almost to the day Iran said it had irrefutable evidence that the US had organized the hit on that Iranian scientist.
The Foreign Affairs article was soon followed by Obama’s 15 January cancelling of Austere Challenge 12, described as the largest training exercise ever between the allies. Is this another effort to represent Israel as a loose canon, beyond America’s control? That America’s hands are clean of responsibility and fallout should Israel go it alone? If Israel is indeed refusing to disclose its options regarding Iran’s nuclear program is this not itself the result of Obama’s failure to inspire trust, that his failed regional diplomacy, his failure to act decisively, to convince Iran, the Arabs and Israel of his willingness to back word with action are themselves the cause and result of universal regional mistrust?
Whether American presidents blame Israel for their own failings and failures, or blame Israel for acting as a sovereign nation pursuing its own interests when they conflict with those of the senior partner, “blaming” is a sign of impotence, of weakness. And weakness, even when national cause for doubt exists, is not something for “the world’s only superpower” to display on the world-stage.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs, Reuters
But there is another possible explanation for the president’s odd behavior, his apparent “appeasement” of Iran. Perhaps the president is using Israel to distract from his perhaps hidden agenda. After all, the American armada IS positioned to attack; he does have 50,000+ troops in Kuwait and the Gulf Emirates; and, thanks to the “now you see it, now not” foil of the cancelled Austere Challenge 12 there are an addition 9,000 US troops already in place in Israel. And General Dempsey, Obama’s top general, is still schedule to arrive in Israel next week to coordinate Iran policy...