US, Iran and Spoilers

Thankfully, at last, the leaders of Iran and the United States have exchanged civil, apparently well-intentioned words with one another. Many of us are pleased to see the possibility of rapprochement develop despite the persistently niggling awareness that an agitated Grinch lurks in the wings.

Netanyahu may succeed in undermining a deal between America and Iran. He’s deployed a lot of Lobby baltageya and he may still choose (insanely) to bomb the country. It’s alleged that he now wears the overlarge britches of the Leader of the Free World; there’s no reason to believe that he perceives the smallness of his actual stature.

However, the prospects for a deal may be better than many of us think. Obama is a second-term president. Legacy is undoubtedly on his mind – and to date, he hasn’t done very much that’s positive and memorable on foreign policy (ending two unwinnable wars is hardly memorable; who ‘ended’ the American war in Korea?). What remains is Drones – and that’s a very bloody legacy. Solving the Iranian issue – which should never have been an issue – could be to Obama as containing the USSR was to Eisenhower. Obama’s ego may resist Netanyahu’s attempts to dictate history.

In any event, the overall impact of a working relationship between the Americans and Iranians will be felt by every country in the region (except for maybe Egypt). Syria, Palestine, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE will be impacted to a greater or lesser degree, although it is impossibly difficult to assess exactly how.

It may be the case that a negotiated outcome to the Syrian civil war becomes more likely with the resolution of the Iran-US relationship. A ceasefire (then peace) in Syria prevents the further destabilization of Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. A deal may also help induce the Iranian leadership into aiding with the stabilization of Iraq and Afghanistan where it has vital interests. Moreover, American assurances that an Iranian nuclear weapon will not develop may help to produce opportunities for energy diplomacy between Iran and the Gulf countries. Second-order effects on Pakistan and India may also be observed. “Peace” pressure on Israel could lead to Netanyahu’s ouster.

Things could go the other way too. The sectarian Gulf regimes may respond negatively to a deal. They may hold the view that anything that renews the Iranian ascendancy presents a threat, despite American assurances, which could lead to the further development of their own nuclear programs. Iran could refuse to broker a Russian-Syrian-American-Rebel (who are the rebels anyway? And can they overcome their fragmentation?) ceasefire in Syria as a consequence of sectarian considerations. It may also be the case that the Iranian influence in Iraq and Afghanistan is overstated or that the Iranians will seek to avoid issue linkages. And pressure on Netanyahu may push the Jewish-Israelis more deeply into apartheid, Dimona and Masada.

It’s really anyone’s guess at this point…

About Ahmed Moor

Ahmed Moor is a Palestinian-American who was born in the Gaza Strip. He is a Soros Fellow, co-editor of After Zionism and co-founder and CEO of liwwa.com. Twitter: @ahmedmoor
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 20 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. dbroncos says:

    As you point out, Isreal still has a lot of leverage here. AIPAC will spare no expense to scuttle a deal. In the absence of a successful AIPAC campaign to undermine the President, Netanyahu could resort to more cyber attacks, assassinations or a bombing campaign of his own. Presumably Obama will be telling Netanyahu that any Israeli attempts to wreck a deal through violence will be a punishable offense. I won’t hold my breath on that though. I hope rather than believe that Obama is strong enough to make peace with Iran.

  2. RE: “Who ‘ended’ the American war in Korea?” ~ Ahmed Moor

    MY COMMENT: Of course, Eisenhower ended Truman’s war in Korea, though he’s not much remembered for it. But it is one of the reason’s I always considered myself (until G.W. Bush) a moderate Republican rather than a Scoop Jackson Democrat.

    • Citizen says:

      @ Dickerson
      Scoop was one of the pioneers as an Israel Lobby lackey; in many way he opened his treasonous door and the Zionists drove a giant train through it that’s bigger than ever–it has no caboose and runs on a monorail.

  3. A big spoiler will be netanyahu speaking in general assembly on monday.

  4. RE: “And pressure on Netanyahu may push the Jewish-Israelis more deeply into apartheid, Dimona and Masada.” ~ Ahmed Moor

    MY COMMENT: The Dimona-Masada “axis of Armageddon” scares the living hell out of me!

    FROM “Bob Dylan – The Rolling Stone Interview” (by Kurt Loder – 1984)

    . . . • Q (Loder) – Your latest album, ‘Infidels’, is hardly subteen fodder. Some critics have even detected a new note of conservatism in some of the songs — even outright jingoism in “Neighborhood Bully” in which the metaphorical subject is said to be “just one man” whose “enemies say he’s on their land.” That’s clearly a strong Zionist political statement, is it not?
    • A (Dylan) - You’d have to point that out to me, you know, what line is in it that spells that out. I’m not a political songwriter. Joe Hill was a political songwriter; uh, Merle Travis wrote some political songs. “Which Side Are You On?” is a political song. And “Neighborhood Bully,” to me, is not a political song, because if it were, it would fall into a certain political party. If you’re talkin’ about it as an Israeli political song – in Israel alone, there’s maybe twenty political parties. I don’t know where that would fall, what party.
    • Q (Loder) - Well, would it be fair to call that song a heartfelt statement of belief?
    • A (Dylan) - Maybe it is, yeah. But just because somebody feels a certain way, you can’t come around and stick some political-party slogan on it. If you listen closely, it really could be about other things. It’s simple and easy to define it, so you got it pegged, and you can deal with it in that certain kinda way. However, I wouldn’t do that. ‘Cause I don’t know what the politics of Israel is. I just don’t know.
    • Q (Loder) - So you haven’t resolved for yourself, for instance, the Palestinian question?
    • A (Dylan) – Not really, because I live here.

    • Q (Loder) - Would you ever live in Israel?
    • A (Dylan) - I don’t know. It’s hard to speculate what tomorrow may bring. I kinda live where I find myself.
    At another point in the song, you say, “He got no allies to really speak of,” and while “he buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied…no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.” Do you feel that America should send troops over there?
    No. The song doesn’t say that. Who should, who shouldn’t — who am I to say?
    • Q (Loder) - Well, do you think Israel should get more help from the American Jewish community? I don’t want to push this so far, but it just seems so…
    • A (Dylan) - Well, you’re not pushing it too far, you’re just making it specific. And you’re making it specific to what’s going on today. But what’s going on today isn’t gonna last, you know? The battle of Armageddon is specifically spelled out: where it will be fought, and if you wanna get technical, when it will be fought. And the battle of the Armageddon definitely will be fought in the Middle East. . .

    SOURCE – link to bobdylantalks.blogspot.com

    • P.S. CHABADNICK* BOB DYLAN (1983):

      Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man
      His enemies say he’s on their land
      They got him outnumbered about a million to one
      He got no place to escape to, no place to run
      He’s the neighborhood bully . . .
      . . . Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill [i.e., Hilltop Youth - J.L.D.]
      Running out the clock
      , time standing still
      Neighborhood bully

      SOURCE – link to bobdylan.com

      NEIGHBORHOOD BULLY, ISRAEL TV, ORBACH [VIDEO, 05:49] – link to youtube.com

      * P.S. ALSO SEE: “Bob Dylan turns 70; still hasn’t Recanted Praise for Rabbi Meir Kahane”, by Amago, SpencerWatch.com, 5/24/11
      LINK – link to spencerwatch.com

    • RE: “The Dimona-Masada ‘axis of Armageddon’ scares the living hell out of me!” – me (from above)
      AND RE: “. . . Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill [i.e., "Hilltop Youth" - J.L.D.] Running out the clock . . .” ~ Bob Dylan (from above)

      SEE – “Video: Arrest of settler who bolted himself to floor”, by Itamar Fleishman, YnetNews.com, 9/27/13
      Bags filled with urine, feces thrown at police officers during arrest of Yitzhar resident Boaz Albert, who violated administrative order banning him from settlement. It took police hours to unchain him from floor. [Take a look at this PHOTO! - J.L.D.]
      LINK – link to ynetnews.com

      • RE: “Video: Arrest of settler who bolted himself to floor” ~ YnetNews.com article (from above)

        BRETT DENNEN SEZ:

        There ain’t no reason things are this way.
        Its how they always been and they intend to stay.
        I can’t explain why we live this way, we do it everyday.

        Preachers on the podiums speaking the sayings
        Prophets on the sidewalk begging for change
        Old ladies laughing from the fire escape
        Cursing my name . . .

        Ain’t No Reason – Brett Dennen [VIDEO, 03:35] – link to youtube.com

    • ritzl says:

      Wasn’t 1984 during Dylan’s fundy Christian dabble/phase?

      • RE: “Wasn’t 1984 during Dylan’s fundy Christian dabble/phase?” ~ ritzl

        MY REPLY: I believe Dylan’s “fundy Christian dabble/phase” was pretty much in the late 70s. In the early 80s, the Chabad cult “saved” Dylan from Christianity.
        In Dylan’s defense, all I can say is that at least Dylan does not appear to have gone “cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs”* (hallucinogens are more likely the cause)! ! !
        * 1980s Cocoa Puffs Commercial: “I’m cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!” [VIDEO 00:30] – link to youtube.com
        * VINTAGE 80′S COCOA PUFFS CEREAL COMMERCIAL W SONNY & A JUKE BOX [VIDEO, 00:31] – link to youtube.com

        FROM THE INTERNET:

        [EXCERPT] . . . According to the Sue Fishkoff book “The Rebbe’s Army”, p.167, Bob Dylan is one of the biggest names associated with Chabad. In the early 1980s, Chabad “rescued” Dylan from a brief flirtation with Christianity, and for several years, Dylan studied with Minneapolis Rabbis Manis Friedman and Moshe Feller, whom he visited also for Shabbat dinners. Dylan made a surprise appearance at the 1988 and 1989 Chabad telethons, once playing “Hava Negila” out of tune on the harmonica. . .

        SOURCE – link to youtube.com

        P.S. FROM WIKIPEDIA [Bob Dylan]

        [EXCERPT]
        ● Christian period
        Further information: Slow Train Coming

        In the late 1970s, Dylan became a born-again Christian[166][167][168] and released two albums of Christian gospel music. Slow Train Coming (1979) featured the guitar accompaniment of Mark Knopfler (of Dire Straits) and was produced by veteran R&B producer, Jerry Wexler. Wexler recalled that when Dylan had tried to evangelize him during the recording, he replied: “Bob, you’re dealing with a sixty-two-year old Jewish atheist. Let’s just make an album.”[169] The album won Dylan a Grammy Award as “Best Male Vocalist” for the song “Gotta Serve Somebody”. The second evangelical album, Saved (1980), received mixed reviews, and was described by Dylan critic Michael Gray as “the nearest thing to a follow-up album Dylan has ever made, Slow Train Coming II and inferior.”[170] When touring in late 1979 and early 1980, Dylan would not play any of his older, secular works, and he delivered declarations of his faith from the stage, such as:
        Years ago they … said I was a prophet. I used to say, “No I’m not a prophet” they say “Yes you are, you’re a prophet.” I said, “No it’s not me.” They used to say “You sure are a prophet.” They used to convince me I was a prophet. Now I come out and say Jesus Christ is the answer. They say, “Bob Dylan’s no prophet.” They just can’t handle it.[171]
        Dylan’s embrace of born-again Christianity was unpopular with some of his fans and fellow musicians.[172] Shortly before his murder, John Lennon recorded “Serve Yourself” in response to Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody”.[173] By 1981, Stephen Holden wrote in the New York Times that “neither age (he’s now 40) nor his much-publicized conversion to born-again Christianity has altered his essentially iconoclastic temperament.”[174] . . .

        SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

        • P.S. RE: “In the early 80s, the Chabad cult ‘saved’ Dylan from Christianity.” – me (above)

          SEE: : “U.S. publisher who called for Obama assassination proves ‘Israel-firsters’ exist” ~ by Yossi Gurvitz, +972 Magazine, 1/21/12

          [EXCERPT] . . . Adler has since issued a non-apology: “I very much regret it, I wish I hadn’t made reference to it at all,” he told the JTA. It is worth noting that Adler is a Chabadnik, i.e. a member of a religious faction which has already shown an unhealthy interest in assassinations. Harry Shapiro, a Chabadnik, was convicted of planting a pipe bomb in a synagogue visited by Shimon Peres in Jacksonville back in 1997. A leading Chabad rabbi in Israel, Dov Wolfa, has flirted with the supporters of Yigal Amir, Rabin’s assassin. I think it is safe to assume that an Islamic movement with this sort of record would find itself under, shall we say, intense scrutiny by the authorities.
          Now, no one would mistake me for a supporter of either the Netanyahu government or Israel’s out-of-control security establishment, but I am certain that had anyone suggested such a covert operation to Netanyahu, that person would be fired on the spot. And that even had Netanyahu entertained such an idea, the leadership of Mossad would submit their resignation rather than going along with the plan. What Adler wrote was a fantasy, unrelated to Israeli reality.
          Which, alas, is true about much of what Jewish Americans think of Israel. However, Adler did prove a point, albeit not one he intended: He showed us that there are, in fact, American Jews who are “Israel-firsters”, that is, people who put the interests of Israel ahead of their own country. In Adler’s case, to the point of supporting the assassination of his own duly-elected president – which skirts very closely to treason . . .

          ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to 972mag.com

          AND SEE: “Inciting to kill Obama: Another Judeofascist from Chabad”, by Larry Derfner, +972 Magazine, 1/21/12

          [EXCERPT] Chabad is the largest, most energetic Jewish movement on earth [much like the evangelical/fundamentalist Pentecostal cult is the largest, most energetic Christian movement on earth - J.L.D.], and it gives a place of honor to people like Andrew Adler, the Atlanta Jewish Times publisher who suggested that the Mossad kill Obama.
          Unfortunately, Chabad enjoys this heimishe image for bestowing yiddishkeit on Jews the world over, holding Passover seder for young Israelis traveling in the East, laying tfillin at the airport – strictly mitzvah-doers. The other side of Chabad – the violent, Jewish supremacist side – is less well-known. Maybe that will change now, though, with the op-ed by Chabadnik Andrew Adler, publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, who suggests that Israel assassinate Obama so it’ll be free to bomb Iran. (Disclosure: I wrote about Israel for the Atlanta Jewish Times in the 1990s, years before it was sold to this lunatic.) . . .

          ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to whattheysayaboutisrael.blogspot.com

        • ritzl says:

          @Dickerson I wasn’t being critical. Dylan’s answers in the interview seemed particularly evasive and I thought it might be because of that dabble. Cheers.

        • I did not consider your reply/comment to be at all critical. In fact, it is unclear to me how much of Dylan’s 1984 views on Armageddon relate to Christian fundamentalism, and how much relate to Chabad.
          I find it interesting that Dylan’s Wikipedia article addresses his Christian fundamentalism of the late 70s, but makes absolutely no mention of Chabad (as though it was something purposefully hidden, perhaps by his PR or management people).

  5. I think the Persian Gulf monarchies would welcome an end to the threat of war in the Gulf.

  6. ritzl says:

    Significant change may be afoot. That’s a breathless restatement of the obvious, but I wonder if it can’t become self-perpetuating and long-term.

    Iran has 60% of the oil reserves and 3x the people of Saudi Arabia (that’s 1000x+ and 10x Israel, respectively), a marginal but encourage-able, democracy-trending political system, and an insanely better strategic location (Afghanistan, Iraq, PG) than any other country in the region, compounded by naturally-aligned/mutual interests (not the least of which is it is a huge untapped market with a taste/need for US products).

    It is completely within the realm of possibility that Iran could quickly become our new best friend/most important positive relationship in that part of the world. Probable even, and long-term, and stable, and mutually beneficial. Contrast that to the artifice and counter-productivity of Israel’s role in the region/here/everywhere and our obvious disconnect with the Saudis’ desire to violently “Islamify” everywhere with the resulting destabilization (an Israeli goal; another new best friend alliance in the making?) and popular anger.

    I suspect there are people in DC screaming (literally maybe even) at Obama to make this happen. NOW! (The return of the “Arabists?”)

    We’re heading for a domestic political war between what makes ultimate, fundamental sense, and what is demanded and forcefully extracted. It’ll be interesting to see if avenues present for we little people to help determine that outcome and if sense can in fact become the predominant shaper of future events, on this issue anyway.

    Good article. Thanks.

    • piotr says:

      I do not think that Iran can become “our new best friend” any time soon. But mutually beneficial relationship is definitely possible.

      Iran is a natural ally with Russia (a possible and actual provider of weapons), China (top customer and investor), India and Pakistan (customers, including the best possible source of natural gas for the subcontinent). USA can be as friendly with Iran as with those countries.

      • @Piotr – - Russia tries to have good relations with Iran while doing its best to ensure Iran does not build nukes.

      • ritzl says:

        @piotr I overstate to illustrate concepts and/or dynamics. It’s a character flaw. But this opening/move has been so precipitous, it’s hard to predict what else might happen precipitously if the US, Russia, AND Iran (and China, and India) start having fundamental and common interests in the region, or better, start recognizing that fact openly.