What makes the potential of the Saudi-Israeli alliance so intimidating is that Saudi Arabia and its oil-rich Arab friends have the petrodollars that can turn the heads of some leaders and even countries, while Israel can snap the whip on other politicians, especially in the U.S. Congress, through its skillful lobbying and propaganda.
We are now getting a look at exactly how this international money-and-politics game plays out as Saudi Arabia and Israel maneuver to defeat an interim agreement with Iran on freezing much of its nuclear program in exchange for some modest relief on economic sanctions.
Donna Katzin, CEO Shared Interest—Donna’s group works with development projects in post apartheid South Africa—Her Group is Sponsoring a screening of Mandela Long Walk to Freedom on Monday May 18th at the AMC Lincoln Square—we will talk about her work in post Mandela South Afrca
Interview with Dr. William Beeman, IRAN expert who has been closely monitoring negotiations with the US.
For the umpteenth time, Iran and the P5+1 are holding talks to ‘resolve’ the impasse in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program. And for the umpteenth time, the absurdity of these meetings is reflected in the futile, repetitious, meaningless dialogue amidst threats and ultimatums. Feigned smiles and optimism add to the theatrics. While theatrics are part and parcel of US foreign policy, surely one must wonder why the rest participate in this absurd political drama.
The current negotiations, as with past talks, place a great deal of emphasis on Iran’s enrichment activities giving the impression that enrichment is at the crux of the matter. It is, as far as Iran goes, but this is not the whole narrative. There is far more at stake in the outcome of these talks – America’s power to shape and implement international treaties according to its whim.
Leading up to the latest round of negotiations, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman claimed that “”… it has always been the U.S. position that that article IV of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty does not speak about the right of enrichment at all [and] doesn’t speak to enrichment, period.” (Eminent scholars have successfully argued that Iran has the right to enrich uranium under the Treaty). This has not always been America’s ‘position’.
In pressing for negotiated settlements to the Iranian nuclear dispute and the Syrian civil war, President Barack Obama is challenging the imposing lobbying, propaganda and financial clout of the new Saudi-Israeli alliance, with the future direction of U.S. foreign policy – and geopolitical stability – at stake.
Already, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pulling the strings of his media and congressional marionettes, creating opposition to Obama’s diplomatic initiatives. Meanwhile, the Saudi monarchy has gone to unprecedented lengths to register its disapproval of Obama’s peace initiatives, even rejecting a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Hardliners in Tehran are not happy with the recent rapprochement between the United States and Iran and the related progress in negotiations to address Western concerns about the Iranian nuclear program. But the bigger threat may come from hardliners in the Washington, including prominent congressional Democrats.
As the first step in a de-escalation deal whose details have yet to be worked out, Iran would agree to strict safeguards to prevent the enrichment of uranium to a degree that could be used for the development of nuclear weapons. In return, the United States would agree to a partial lifting of economic sanctions. Further lessening of sanctions would be dependent on further Iranian concessions.
A bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill, however, opposes even this modest first step. The group is pushing legislation that would make such an interim agreement impossible.
“Pro-Israel Policy groups such as AIPAC work with unlimited funding to divert US policy in the region ( Middle East )” Jack Straw, Member of Parliament and former Foreign Secretary of the British Labor Party
“The United States should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran to spur the country to end its nuclear program” Sheldon Adelson, biggest donor to the Republican Party and major fundraiser for pro-Israel political action committees, speech at Yeshiva University, New York City, October 22, 2013.
The question of war or peace with Iran rests with the policies adopted by the White House and the US Congress. The peace overtures by newly elected Iranian President Rohani have resonated favorably around the world, except with Israel and its Zionist acolytes in North America and Europe . The first negotiating session proceeded without recrimination and resulted in an optimistic assessment by both sides. Precisely because of the initial favorable response among the participants, the Israeli government escalated its propaganda war against Iran . Its agents in the US Congress, the mass media and in the Executive branch moved to undermine the peace process. What is at stake is Israel’s capacity to wage proxy wars using the US military and its NATO allies against any government challenging Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East, its violent annexation of Palestinian territory and its ability to attack any adversary with impunity.
Top Saudis have recently been throwing a diplomatic temper tantrum, making political and rhetorical moves that rebel against the United States’ Middle East foreign policy. Last week, Saudi Arabia turned down a seat in the United Nations Security Council. This week, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the kingdom’s intelligence chief, and Prince Turki al-Faisal have made public and not-so-public remarks denouncing American policies and threatening that a “major shift” in bilateral relations is in the pipeline.
These unprecedented maneuvers are, apparently, a result of the Obama administration’s policies toward Syria, Iran, Bahrain, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Saudi establishment’s grievances, while understandable when seen from their perspective, are laughable and only demonstrate the kingdom’s quickly fading political relevance.
Syria and Iran represent extreme ideological and geostrategic rivals to the Wahhabist regime in Saudi Arabia, and it only makes sense that the country would wish to hasten their demise. Washington’s willingness to engage in diplomacy, negotiation, and general peacemaking with these two countries has now become a thorn in the side of the kingdom.
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
Amid the bellicosity, Netanyahu dropped in a largely missed clue about the evolving power relationships in the Middle East, saying: “The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes.”And, a day before that TV report, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted at the new relationship in his United Nations General Assembly speech, which was largely devoted to excoriating Iran over its nuclear program and threatening a unilateral Israeli military strike.
Besides the shared Saudi-Israeli animosity toward Iran, the growing behind-the-scenes collaboration also revolves around mutual interests in supporting the military coup in Egypt that removed the elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi and in seeking to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.
In mid-September, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren even embraced the Saudi strategy in Syria when he announced that Israel would prefer to see the Saudi-backed jihadists prevail in Syria over the continuation of the Iran-backed government of President Bashar al-Assad.