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Monday, January 16, 2012

New York Times Op-ed, "Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully": Yeah, Right

On Thursday, The New York Times published a delusional editorial, claiming that Obama has "not paid enough attention" to the alternative of negotiating an end to Iran's nuclear weapons development program (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-york-times-dangerous-tension-with.html). On Saturday, The Washington Post published an opinion piece entitled "How Obama should talk to Iran" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/how-obama-should-talk-to-iran/2012/01/12/gIQAUZz3wP_story.html), written by Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council, claiming that "Sustained, persistent diplomacy remains untested between the United States and Iran." Today, in a contributor op-ed in The New York Times entitled "Preventing a Nuclear Iran, Peacefully" (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/opinion/preventing-a-nuclear-iran-peacefully.html), Shibley Telhami, a professor of government at the University of Maryland, and Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes, advocate "a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East" instead of attacking Iran.

Is the publication of these three opinion pieces within the space of several days mere coincidence? I don't think so. Note how Israel's Vice Prime Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, is now claiming that "election-year considerations" are responsible for Obama's reluctance to implement tough sanctions against Iran (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-deputy-voices-disappointment-with-obama-on-iran-1.407450).

In their New York Times contributor op-ed of today's date, Telhami and Kull would have us believe that according to a poll carried out with the Dahaf Institute, their proposal for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East is supported by a majority of Israeli Jews:

"Most important, when asked whether it would be better for both Israel and Iran to have the bomb, or for neither to have it, 65 percent of Israeli Jews said neither. And a remarkable 64 percent favored the idea of a nuclear-free zone, even when it was explained that this would mean Israel giving up its nuclear weapons."

However, examination of the responses found in the poll (see: http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/pdf/dec11/IsraeliMENFZ_Dec11_quaire.pdf) do not support these conclusions. With respect to the 65 percent of Israeli Jews who purportedly believe that it would be better for both Israel and Iran to have the bomb, or for neither to have it, have a look at question 32 of the poll:

Q32. Assuming that these are the only two options [italics added], which do you think would be a better situation for Israel?

Both Israel and Iran have nuclear weapons ...... 19%
Neither Israel nor Iran have nuclear weapons ..65
Don’t know/Refused .............................................. 16

Telhami and Kull don't mention that those responding to the question were given only these two options, and this makes an enormous difference.

Moreover, have a look at the responses to question 35, which indicate that the "remarkable 64 percent" of those who favor the idea of a nuclear-free zone, includes 29 percent who "somewhat favor" this proposal, i.e. were it even remotely possible.

But let's take this a step further: Whether it be via nuclear weapons or otherwise, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas are all calling for the destruction of Israel, and this desire to "wipe Israel off the face of the map" has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel's possession of atomic weapons.

If Obama were to demand tomorrow that Israel eliminate its atomic arsenal in exchange for a cessation of the Iranian nuclear weapons program, where would this leave Israel in the next war? Israel is currently facing a replenished arsenal of Qassam rockets and Grad missiles in Gaza, and is now reportedly also being threatened with Fajr-5 missiles (see: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2523488/posts), supplied by Iran to Hamas, which can strike Tel Aviv (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/sources-iran-gave-hamas-missile-that-can-hit-tel-aviv-1.4868). In addition, some 50,000 Katyushas, Fajrs and Scuds are being pointed by Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, at Israel. Assad, who has been receiving arms from Iran to suppress the year-long rebellion in Syria (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/international/report-iran-sending-forces-to-assist-in-syria-crackdowns-1.364543), also possesses no small number of Scuds and short-range ballistic missiles which could be used against Israel. Iran itself is armed with medium-range Shahab-3 ballistic missiles, which carry a payload of between 750 and 1,200 kilograms. Finally, given the likelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will soon take power in Egypt, the Egyptian army's American-supplied weaponry could well be turned against Israel. In short, Iran and its allies would welcome such a slugging match, even a disproportionate one which would cost them dearly, provided it would also cost Israel tens of thousands of civilian lives.

Would even a left-leaning Israeli government be enticed by the Telhami/Kull proposal, which is grounded upon the truism that there's a sucker born every minute? I doubt it.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's not a coincidence - it's a plot, a plot to force me to abandon my progressive convictions. I don't know how it can work, since in reality they have nothing to do with traditional Social Democratic left, but clearly all these manipulative, selfish and arrogant bozos are trying hard.

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