News of an imminent deal between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Tehran concerning future inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities was greeted with skepticism in both Tel Aviv and Washington. This evening the Ha’aretz (Hebrew only) website's top headline read, “Western diplomat: The Israeli cynicism is not justified: United States will send a delegation to Israel to coordinate its position concerning Iran.”
According to the newspaper, Vice President Joseph Biden told a gathering of the powerful Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations that the U.S. will soon be sending a group of senior policy and security officials to Israel. The Americans will be coordinating positions for the Iran negotiations with the Israelis.
Ironically quoting Dennis Ross, the world’s foremost expert on U.S.-Israel cooperation, Ha'aretz indicates that Israel will have significant influence on the U.S. positions at the Iran negotiations.
Various officials explained today that the Obama administration is working in coordination with Israel concerning the steps that are being demanded from Iran. President Obama’s former advisor, Dennis Ross, told Ha’aretz that “it is not accidental that Defense Minister Ehud Barak came to Washington last week. I am certain that the aim of his visit was to be part of this dialog. The Israeli position has a certain influence on our position; there is no intention to surprise [the Israelis].”
It seems that if the U.S. was interested in compromising with the Iranians, they would not be so dismissive of the expected agreement with the IAEA. Also, the Obama administration would not be so publicly including the Israelis, who daily insist Iran cannot be trusted to adhere to any agreement and who are seeking unrealistic concessions from Tehran.
Many will claim that this show of unity will scare the Iranians into compliance with Western demands. I do not agree. There was much talk of confidence-building after the first round in Istanbul. Talking tough and bringing in the Israelis is not going to encourage Tehran to trust the U.S. That lack of trust could prove to be the fatal blow to obtaining a diplomatic solution.
I am starting to get the sickening feeling that as was the case with Iraq, the U.S. is not going to Baghdad to make peace, but rather as a prelude to increased sanctions. And if that does not force Iranian capitulation, then it will mean the use of either U.S. or Israeli military force.
Many in the political and military establishments say: Why should we negotiate when we can get what we want by using force? That was Vice President Dick Cheney’s response after hearing of Iran’s very credible offer to start negotiations at the time of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Of course, talking with Tehran was not on the Israeli or pro-Israel lobby’s agenda at the time. It still is not.
It is starting to look a lot like Iraq. The same people are pushing for war. The same undemonstrated charges about weapons of mass destruction are being made.
I hope I am wrong, but I just do not have a good feeling about all this tough talk by the U.S., the five other states in the P5 + 1, and Israel, a day before the next critical round of negotiations begin.
It does nothing to build confidence that the talks will succeed.