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View Diary: Iran is not dangerous (but Sarkozy is) (198 comments)

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  •  Fair point (10+ / 0-)

    I understand Israelis worrying about Iran a lot more than I understand any American or European doing the same.

    I'd also note that Iran has stuck to proxy fighting against Israel rather than head-on confrontation (beyond the hostile but overblown rhetoric of some Iranians), suggesting that they are happy to fane the flames of existing conflicts, but not create new ones. I expect that should Israelis and Palestinians find a serious political solutions, Iran would go along with it. Solve the underlying problem, and the Iranian one largely goes away

    •  I agree... (6+ / 0-)

      ...regarding Iranian proxy fighting rather than direct confrontation against Israel.  But that has a caveat which is important to consider if we are to be realists.

      Iran seems to be clearly disinterested in direct confrontation with Israel, either due to Israeli deterrence or to internal Iranian reservations.  However, Israel is unable to deter or prevent Iranian proxy support and attacks.  This creates internal political pressure within Israel to take more and more significant steps to punish Iran for their proxy attacks on Israel.  The Israeli rationale for this is twofold:

      First, as much as you and I both would be willing to see a serious political solution of the Palestinian issue on largely the Palestinians' terms, that is a political impossibility in Israel.  A serious political solution between Israel and the Palestinians requires Palestinian concessions.  Those are harder to accomplish when anti-Israel groups have serious Iranian support.

      Second, Iranian cooperation with anti-Israel proxies creates the political impression that Iran shares the radical views of those proxies.  In other words, despite the political realism that Iran would find a way to coexist with Israel, their aid to organizations which would not find a way to do so creates the impression that Iran would also be unable to do so.

      So Iran therefore seeks a deterrent against direct Israeli retaliation for their proxy attacks, and Israel therefore seeks to prevent that deterrent from becoming real, in order to preserve the ability to respond directly against Iran.  And this impasse makes solving the underlying problem less likely, since Israel wants to solve that underlying problem on the best possible terms.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 12:12:24 PM PDT

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      •  Yes. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jay Elias, Bernard, seriously70

        I agree completely with your analysis.

      •  Jay, "Proxy attacks" is a 2 way street... (0+ / 0-)

        MEK is supported by Israel both politically and technically. Israel also supports and trains the anti-Iran wing of PKK. Both of these organizations are every bit as terrorist as Hamas or Hezbollah. Except that they haven't won any elections.

        Together they have killed hundreds of Iranians in the past few years and much more if you go further back.

        •  I find this specious... (0+ / 0-)

          ...I'm able to find no reliable documentation of a tie between Israel and the MEK.  Prof. Raymond Tanter of the Iran Policy Committee here in the US stated that "Mujahideen-e-Khalq do not wish such a tie with Israel."  Other reports indicate Israel is deeply suspicious of the MEK due to their ties with the PLO.

          There seems to be an AIPAC connection with the MEK, but no Israeli one that I can find.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 02:29:48 PM PDT

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          •  Well, it's not. This is hardly a secret. (0+ / 0-)

            Since when is "deeply suspicious" means you can't support them with money and weapons if they are useful to your cause?

            MeK: The Israel Connection

            When Israel’s early attempts to sell the Irani WMD threat failed to gain traction in Washington, despite Ariel Sharon and Benjamin Ben-Eliezer’s personal lobbying (George Tenet rejected the intel casting doubt on its credibility), the Israelis looked for a new conduit for their intelligence that would "spur America to take that threat posed by Iran [sic] more seriously."

               Sobhani [an Iranian con-artist] and CDI [Committee for a Democratic Iran, an AIPAC spinoff] provided an ideal solution, namely that the Israeli government use Reza Pahlavi as the mouthpiece for telling the world about what the Iranians were up to in the field of nuclear weapons, and in exchange Pahlavi would be given immedite credibility and with it front runner status in the race of those trying to rule Iran post-Mullah. Unfortunately for the Israelis and CDI, Reza Pahlavi balked...Undeterred, [Michael] Ledeen and the CI turned to the MEK, or more specifically, its political front in the Washingt, D.C., the NCRI, as the next best option to bring the Israeli intelligence to center stage. CDI reportedly lobbied the NCRI representative, Alireza Jaferzadeh, to serve as the mouthpiece for presenting the Israeli intelligence to the general public...Isareli intelligence had maintained a relationship with the MEK that dated back to the mid-1990s. (p. xxv)

            Thus all Israeli intelligence, most of dubious quality, was presented to the American public, and the rest of the world, through a third-party, the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the political wing of Mujahedin-e-Khalq (People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran).

            http://fanonite.org/...

            Well, if you’re dealing with a population that is pre-programmed to accept at face value anything that is put forth by the mainstream media or other punditry which opposes the Islamic Republic, as being good, then all these negatives go away.

            The MEK also has the support of the state of Israel. It has the support of the powerful pro-Israeli lobby here in the United States. It has the support of many members of congress, whether they have arrived at their position independently or as a result of intensive lobbying. The MEK does have a base of support among the anti-Tehran groups in Washington.

            from Scott Ritter

            Motivation?

            From Juan Cole:

            The Neoconservatives have some sort of shadowy relationship with the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization or MEK. Presumably its leaders have secretly promised to recognize Israel if they ever succeed in overthrowing the ayatollahs in Iran.

            And of course PEJAK:

            In the Nov. 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote that PEJAK was receiving support from the U.S. as well as from Israel, which fears Iran's nuclear ambitions and Ahmadinejad's call to wipe the Jewish state off the map.

            PEJAK says it regularly launches raids into Iran, and Iran has fired back with artillery. In October, the English-language Iran Daily, published by Iran's official news agency, said Iran accused PEJAK of killing dozens of its armed forces in insurgent attacks.

            U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a longshot Democratic presidential hopeful who claims the White House is overplaying the Iranian threat, last year wrote to U.S. President George W. Bush expressing concern that the U.S. was using PEJAK to weaken Ahmadinejad.

            James Brandon, an analyst for the U.S.-based Jamestown Foundation, an independent foreign policy think tank, told The Associated Press that PEJAK has refused to discuss its funding sources. But he said its greatest threat to Iran is not military. It has veins running deep into the Iranian Kurdish population and is offering to join forces with other restless minorities in Iran, he said.

            Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said "Israel is not involved in any way in what's going on there."

            Meir Javedanfar, an Israel-based Iran expert, noted however that Israel has a long-standing relationship with Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and said: "It would not surprise me to discover that Israel is using the Kurdish areas of Iraq to undermine Iran's influence in Iraq and monitor what's going on along the Iranian border, as well as to undermine the Iranian government itself."

            •  Nothing here... (0+ / 0-)

              ...gives any evidence whatsoever of Israeli involvement with the MEK.  All you have is evidence that AIPAC and American neoconservatives hold the view that the MEK could be good for Israel.

              And I did not deal with the Kurdish question intentionally.  It is far too complicated to be dealt with by me presently.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 03:21:33 PM PDT

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              •  in comparison to "evidence" of Iranian "threat", (0+ / 0-)

                this is actually quite a lot. I don't know if you missed it but there are reputable people saying that Israel provided MEK with intelligence on nuclear facilties.

                Scott Ritter, a former intelligence officer and nuclear weapons inspector is on the record saying: "MEK has the support of Israel."

                I don't know what kind evidence you are looking for. But this is considered strong by normal standards.

                Secondly, you are right that there are a lot of AIPAC connected pro-Israel American groups who are also supporting MEK, but if the past is any indication, this is likely with the blessing of the Israeli government. One can at least say with certainty that if Israel-proper wanted to distance itself from these efforts, it could easily do so publicly.

                •  Are you kidding me now? (0+ / 0-)

                  You think that the statement by a single person, no matter how credible, that an organization has the "support of Israel" measures well against the evidence of cash payments, direct training, and arms shipments to Hezbollah and Hamas by Iran?  The direct evidence of which goes back over more than twenty years?

                  If everything you suggest of Israeli involvement with MEK was true, which I doubt, it would still be a far more recent and less direct relationship.

                  And to your last point, Israel of course could distance themselves from the American neocons if they wanted.  But, regarding Iran, what exactly is the possible benefit to Israel for doing that?  Indeed, the possible positive outcomes for Israel of the US-Iranian dispute is either to have the US attack Iran for them, or to have the threat of US action encourage the other Security Council members to take a more strict stance on Iran.  What is the possible positive outcome for Israel in distancing themselves from anti-Iran elements in the US?

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 04:01:00 PM PDT

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                  •  Israel/US are supporting anti-Iran terrorists (0+ / 0-)

                    I'm sorry, there really is no way around it. No amount of plausible deniability will change the facts.

                    •  Of course they are.... (0+ / 0-)

                      ...you simply cannot find a single article which confirms this beyond an unsourced statement by Scott Ritter.  But that is the case with many things that are absolutely true.

                      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                      by Jay Elias on Sat Sep 22, 2007 at 11:08:42 PM PDT

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                      •  Well, if you don't want to see it, can't help you (0+ / 0-)

                        I don't understand why you keep denying this. Scott Ritter is a source, and a credible one so I'm not sure what "unsourced" means in your sentence.

                        Here's Reza Aslan saying the same thing:

                        It is true that the MEK has been a major source of U.S. intelligence on Iran’s clandestine nuclear activity. Some of that intelligence, including information on Iran’s nuclear program at Natanz, seems to have originated with Israeli intelligence services, who then filtered the information to the US through the MEK.

                        Here's again, the reasoning for the direct cooperation provided by a top MEK expert:

                        MA: Your claim that there were no direct contacts between the MEK and the pro-Israel lobby is undermined by the organization's intensive and very direct cooperation with the "Iran Policy Committee", which seems to be a spin off of AIPAC. There are also regular media reports alluding to direct MEK-Israel ties.

                        MB: I would not be surprised if these links existed. As I said earlier, the MEK is exclusively motivated by the interests of the cult, and as such it will cooperate with any constituency. If there is any hesitation in collaboration, it stems from Israeli reluctance, since the Mujahideen, because of its close relationship with the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], is not fully trusted by the Israelis. On the other hand, from an Israeli perspective, the MEK is the only viable tool against Iran.

                        here's Reese Ehrlich:

                        Secretly, U.S. intelligence services are also sponsoring armed attacks within Iran. I discovered the U.S. and Israeli support for PJAK in Kurdistan and from so-called former MEK members. The U.S. asks a Mujahedin-e Khalq Organisation (MEK or MKO) member if they have left and if they support democracy. If they answer yes, they can be trained and armed for clandestine actions inside Iran.

                        Also, there is also the previous PEJAK evidence which I provided.

                        Look, I get it. "Israel does not support terrorism," that's your line and you're sticking to it. I understand. I have provided pretty solid evidence by experts in the field. If you wish to continue, please tell me why you believe any of the 3 men are lying.

                        cheers.

                        •  I did not say Israel doesn't support terrorism... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...nor would I.  Israel was instrumental in supporting Hamas during its origins, and has supported several groups in Lebanon which could be considered terrorists.

                          But what you are citing continues to be the opinions of certain individuals, but no explanation of what they mean, nor any clear evidence of any action or activity.  Saying "I would not be surprised if these links existed" is not evidence of actual existing links.

                          The case you are making has less specifics than the case the Bush administration made that Iraq was cooperating with al-Qaeda.  I'm sorry if I have a higher standard than that.

                          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                          by Jay Elias on Mon Sep 24, 2007 at 03:17:24 AM PDT

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