Powered by WebAds

Monday, December 10, 2007

How the NIE is viewed in the Arab world

At Powerline, Scott has an English translation of an article written by Dan Diker in Hebrew for a 'conservative Israeli weekly.' The article is right on point:
The scene last Monday of Iranian President Mahmaoud Ahmadinejad walking “hand in hand” with Saudi leader King Abdullah at the Gulf Cooperation Council’s annual Summit in Doah, Qatar is worth a thousand words. Abdullah’s readiness to cozy up to Ahmadinejad at a time when Iran threatens to replace Saudi Arabia as the new hegemon in the Middle East could be the latest signal of how terrified the Sunni Arab establishment -- particularly the Gulf states -- are of Iran’s rising power. It is also seems a graphic indication of Saudi and “Gulfie” nervousness over their perception of America’s growing weakness and loss of political will opposite Tehran.

It was little coincidence that the Abdullah /Ahmadinjad photo op took place virtually in tandem with the release of the US National Intelligence Estimate that partially whitewashed Iran’s Nuclear Weapons’ program. On the face of it, Ahmadinejad’s address of the Sunni Gulf Cooperation Council -- the first for any Iranian President -- that included Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Oman, seems counter intuitive. Wasn’t the GCC created to offset the very threatening Iranian regional influence it now appears the Gulf States are ready to honor?

In fact, as the Washington Institute’s Simon Henderson points out in a December 7 analysis, the UAE set a precedent in November by impounding an Iranian-bound shipment of undisclosed material banned by UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 because of its potential use for nuclear weapons or missile programs. The Washington Institute’s brief also notes that Bahrain's crown prince for the first time openly accused Iran in a recent interview of seeking nuclear weapons.

And didn’t the same Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and other “Gulfies” send senior officials to Washington’s Annapolis Conference two weeks ago, to show the “angered” Iranians that the US could lead the coalition of Arab Sunni States to Isolate Tehran’s Islamo-fascist regime? So how can what looked like the beginning of a "kiss and make up” session last week between Iran’s Ahmadinejad and Iran’s Sunni Gulf rivals be understood?

In fact, last Monday’s release of the latest and National Intelligence Estimate declaring that Iran ceased its nuclear weapons program in 2003 helps vindicate Iran’s declarations that it maintains no nuclear weapons program. While the Arab states don’t believe that for a minute (to which their participation at Annapolis attests), the US about face on Iran’s race for nuclear weapons undermines the efforts of President Bush and Secretary of State Rice to isolate Iran by coalescing Sunni Arab, and Western countries and to some degree Israel via diplomatic pressure to concede on the Palestinian issue. But the American intelligence bureaucracy’s slap in the face to the White House also embodies a symbolic power in Iranian and Arab eyes.


The NIE report also jeopardizes Israel militarily and diplomatically. First, the chances of an American led attack against Iranian nuclear installations now are far less likely. That could leave Israel alone to defend itself militarily against a nuclearizing Iran. It’s not a dissimilar position in which the Jewish State found itself in June of 1981 when it faced the prospect of an atomic Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Diplomatically, Israel has already “eaten straw” [This is a literal translation of a Hebrew idiom that means roughly what "been forced to eat crow" would mean in English. CiJ] even before the post Annapolis diplomacy gets underway. For months Israel’s senior political leadership has indicated privately and hinted publicly that its readiness to pursue bilateral peace talks under American sponsorship is a diplomatic quid pro quo for American efforts to create a broad International coalition against Iran with the support of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States. Last week’s National Intelligence report undermines the very foundation of American pressure on Jerusalem and Olmert’s agreement to do a “dance” at Annapolis and solve the Palestinian issue by 2008.

But despite the American administration’s appearing at least half castrated opposite Iran and with the Gulf states reengaging with Ahmadinejad, Israel will still be expected to make far-reaching concessions to the Palestinians to “keep its part of the bargain.” However, pressure on Israel to solve the Palestinian issue without commensurate American leadership against Iran reinforces the fatally mistaken message encapsulated by the 2006 Baker-Hamilton Report and illustrated to many at Annapolis: That solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict instead of first neutralizing ascendant Iran seeking nuclear weapons is the key to peace and stability in the Middle East.

I have one small - or maybe not so small bone to pick. This is a very different situation than the situation with Iraq in 1981. The Iraqi nuclear program was in one known and undefended facility. No one really knows how spread out the Iranian program is, and the facilities that are know are well defended (okay, the IAF has already shown that it can neutralize Iran's Pantsyr anti-missile system that was purchased from Russia). Iraq had almost no ability to retaliate. Iran has Shihab-3 missiles that can at least hit Israel with conventional warheads if not with something worse. This is a much worse sitauation than 1981 with Iraq.

Read it all.


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl:

Have a look at this morning's Israel Insider report on the NIE and how MI5 is looking at it. Link is http://web.israelinsider.com/Articles/Diplomacy/12465.htm . Most telling was this paragraph.

"The reported deal involved the United States swearing off the military option, reining in Israel, and allowing a Syrian-backed regime to take control of Lebanon in exchange for the Iranians reducing their attacks in Iraq and not destabilizing Lebanon altogether.

In this scenario, Annapolis was a smokescreen for the real deal which, far from isolating Iran, was intended to open relations with the Iranians and distance the United States from its traditional support for and special relationship with Israel. Part of the deal is also compelling Israel not to respond militarily to continuing rocket attacks from Gaza, thus solidifying Hamas rule there. Hamas, in turn, will consider a ceasefire on rocket attacks on Israel, allowing it to strengthen its arsenal and continue its rampant importation of weaponry in preparation for an armed conflict with Israel later. "

Sadly, the circumstantial evidence of this as a deal is getting harder to ignore, day by day. Too many damned coincidences keep popping up.

Condi and her James Baker-ian crew appear to have managed to do what the Carter administration, and other pro-arab, anti-jew/anti-Israel administrations, such as Carter's, and Bush-1 were never able to do.

Israel is alone in this, though it appears that Britain also has a clue. Israel needs to make some new friends in a jiffy, the sea change is almost complete.

And while its at it, it needs to recognize that this sea change is largely completely the work of Olmert and his government. Not intentional, but due to their inability to destroy hezbullah, and their fecklessness at the negotiating table, Israel's leaders have completely destroyed Israel's deterrent credibility, and the political force that went along with this. The current Israeli leadership appears to represent a clear and present and ongoing danger to Israel remaining a viable entity. My guess is the current Bush administration realized this, and made a deal. Which offers up Israel to its enemies, in exchange for "peace" in our time.

Welcome to the new world order.


Post a Comment

<< Home