The Obama Administration's Conflicting Messages on Iran
By Alan M. Dershowitz
The Obama Administration is sending conflicting and confusing messages both to Iran and to those who fear an Iranian nuclear weapon. According to The New York Times, defense secretary Robert M. Gates sent a top secret memorandum to White House officials bemoaning the fact that the United States simply has no policy in place to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is telling Israel that although Iran has threatened to wipe it off the map, the Jewish state should not take military action to prevent a second Holocaust. Indeed former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has participated in White House discussions concerning the Middle East, has threatened that if Israel tries to destroy Iran's nuclear weapon facilities, the United States is fully capable of shooting Israeli jets out of the air.
Although Gates subsequently denied that his memo, which he acknowledges writing, was intended as a "wake up call," a senior White House official has confirmed that it was just that. There is no evidence, however, that the White House is prepared to confront the grave threat posed by a nuclear Iran. The policy that seems to be emerging from the White House is one called "containment." But what is containment? It is little more than an acknowledgement of failure. Containment implies that the United States will not succeed in preventing Iran from securing nuclear weapons, but rather it will accept such an eventuality and seek to deter the use of nuclear weapons by threats and by the deployment of defensive measures. The analogy that proponents of containment point to is North Korea, which has nuclear weapons but has thus far been "contained" from using them. But there are vast differences between North Korea and Iran.
North Korea is a secular Communist regime that is risk averse and that has no sworn existential enemies. The goal of its leaders is simply to remain in power and maintain their totalitarian control over their people. Iran is a theocratic, apocalyptic regime that believes that it has a religious obligation to destroy Israel and threaten the United States. Iran, unlike North Korea, also operates through surrogates, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and other smaller terrorist groups. They could hand-off nuclear material to such groups, or to sympathetic individuals, for use as dirty bombs directed against its enemies.
When he ran for president, Barak Obama pledged not to allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. He claimed to understand that a nuclear Iran would be a game changer and a direct threat to the United States and its allies. He now seems to be softening his position and that of the United States government.
If in fact the United States is prepared to accept a nuclear Iran, then it has no right to require Israel to accept the risks posed by a nuclear armed country that has overtly threatened its destruction. Every country in the world has the inherent right to protect its citizens from a nuclear attack. Israel, a nation that Obama has himself acknowledged was built on the ashes of one Holocaust, certainly has the right to take military action to prevent a second Holocaust, especially at the hands of a country that has explicitly threatened to wipe it off the map.
The world ignored the explicit threats of one tyrant who threatened to destroy the Jewish people in the 1930s, and he nearly succeeded in the 1940s. Israel cannot be expected to ignore Hitler's successor, who while denying the first Holocaust, threatens a second one.
The United States has promised to regard a nuclear attack on Israel as a nuclear attack on its own country, but Iran does not credit such threats, since it appears that the Obama Administration has already broken its promise not to accept a nuclear Iran. Elie Wiesel put it well when he said that the Holocaust has taught the Jewish people to "believe the threats of our enemies more than the promises of our friends." Iran's promise to destroy Israel must be taken seriously, not only by Israel but by the United States. If the United States is not prepared to stop Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons necessary to wipe Israel off the map, then Israel must be prepared to protect itself.
I am not suggesting that Israel should attack Iran's nuclear weapons facilities. I don't know enough about the military considerations that should go into any such an existential decision. But I am asserting, in unqualified terms, that Israel has an absolute right--legally, morally, politically--to take such an action if it deems it necessary to protect its citizens from a threatened nuclear attack. This is especially the case, if Secretary Gates was correct when he wrote in his memorandum that the United States "lacks a policy to thwart Iran," as The New York Times headline announced. Someone must thwart Iran. An Iran with nuclear weapons simply poses too great a threat to the world to be accepted-- or "contained."
Comment on this item
by Timon Dias
"Arab leaders are a reflection of their people. Arab leaders don't come from Mars or the sun, they emerged from among the people and share the same beliefs... I challenge any Arab citizen who may become a ruler to do anything beyond what current Arab leaders are doing." — Anwar Malek, Algerian author.
If anyone was trying to commit "genocide" during the Gaza War, it was clearly Hamas.
What the protestors in the Netherlands also revealed is that a killed Palestinian is only worth demonstrating for when the blame can be pinned on Israel.
The normalization and common approval of slogans that actually call for the destruction of the entire Jewish State, Israel, contribute to an atmosphere of hatred, violence and anti-Semitism that now seems as acceptable as it is overt.
by Anne Bayefsky
Why couldn't the UN... sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?
In theory the UN Charter demands equality of... nations large and small. In reality the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.
The UN has launched a "legal" pogrom against the Jewish state. A "legal" pogrom is a license to kill.
Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.
by Vijeta Uniyal
In Europe, displays of ferocity were clearly not a "spontaneous reaction" to the developing situation in Gaza. They were an opportune moment for many to act on their anti-Semitism by dressing it up as a supposedly "genuine concern" for human suffering.
In India, youth groups rallied to show their support for Israel, a fellow democracy under terrorist siege -- a pain known only too well by Indians, who have lost more than 30,000 of their countrymen to terrorism since 1994.
A majority if Indians, whose culture is not tainted by anti-Semitism, can see that Israel not only has the right to defend itself, but an obligation to protect its citizens from terrorism.
The media elites of Europe seem unable to see the threat posed to the West by radical Islamist ideology, which drives countless terrorist outfits, including IS, Hamas and al-Qaida. They also seem unable to distinguish their friends from their foes.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.
Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.
by Peter Martino
Scottish independence would be a disaster for NATO, putting the UK nuclear deterrent in jeopardy. It would also put into question national borders all over Europe, including Catalonia, Belgium, France's Brittany and Corsica, Italy's South Tyrol -- and Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in 2008 that Kosovo's independence "would be the beginning of the end for Europe."
Crimea's recent secession from Ukraine was justified with a reference to "the Kosovo precedent," which Putin pointed out, "our Western partners created with their own hands."