The relationship between the US, Israel and Iran continues to heat up as the distinction between the simple phrases “Iran is trying to acquire a nuclear weapon” and “Iran is acquiring nuclear technological capability” could be the difference between peace and upheaval in the Middle East.
Russia and France are among a few of the non-Arab and Asian countries who oppose a US, Israeli intervention into Iran because they fear the ripple effects the decision may have on their countries.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov thinks this whole debacle is not based in truth and thinks the only reason the US and Israel want to intervene in Iran is to provoke animosity towards the Iranian government. More specifically Lavrov said,
This has nothing to do with a desire to strengthen nuclear non-proliferation. It’s aimed at stifling the Iranian economy and the population in the apparent hope of provoking discontent.
Russian leadership is upset with the thought process of US and Israeli leaders because they don’t want a country who they say is on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Engaging in a volatile region where a mistake could mean the loss of thousands of innocent lives.
Obviously, Israel does not share the same sentiment—Not by a longshot. It’s looking more likely that Israel will take military action against Iran with or without the support from its biggest ally: the United States.
The US remains vigilant, but hesitant to take military actions against Iran. To Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, an embargo and sanctions are not enough. For Netenyahu, an attack is the only option to prevent an attack from Iran.
Last week, Iranian scientist Ahmadi-Roshan was assassinated by a car bomb. Iranian leaders are certain that it was Israel and the US behind the attack. The US and Israel say they had nothing to do with the attack. To make matters worse between US and Israel, some feel as though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s disapproval of the assassination is a hint that the US disapproves any military action by Israel.
The bitterness between Iran and Israel is well understood after columnist and former New York City Mayor Ed Koch of the the Jerusalem Post posted a column last Thursday saying,
The policy of the US has been to use drones to kill terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. The President of the US announced and our nation applauded the killing by drone of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and Islamist terrorist, living in Yemen. He was recruiting Americans to become terrorists. Is it acceptable to kill an enemy of the US by using a drone, and not by using an assassin on a motorcycle?
The column ends by asking the rhetorical question:
Why is the [Obama] administration shedding crocodile tears over the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist?
Koch also refers to Israel as “[…] the only bastion of democracy in the Middle East […]”
There is not sufficient evidence to say that without a doubt, Israel was behind the murder of Ahmadi-Roshan, but Koch doesn’t leave much to the imagination of his readers after showing no remorse for the assassination of Ahmadi-Roshan. Koch also puts a lot of effort into the defending the actions of the motorcyclist, drawing comparison to the drone killing of American Anwar Al-Awlaki by the Obama administration.
Just when it couldn’t get much worse, the administration found itself in another predicament. Owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, called for Obama to be assassinated. Adler felt as though this way, Obama’s successor would then support the efforts of Israel to preemptively strike Tehran. The column by Adler has since been taken down, but the transcript can be found on HuffingtonPost.com or Gawker. Part of the column goes as follows:
Three, give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place, and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.
Yes, you read “three” correctly. Order a hit on a president in order to preserve Israel’s existence. Think about it. If I have thought of this Tom Clancy-type scenario, don’t you think that this almost unfathomable idea has been discussed in Israel’s most inner circles?
Another way of putting “three” in perspective goes something like this: How far would you go to save a nation comprised of seven million lives…Jews, Christians and Arabs alike?
You have got to believe, like I do, that all options are on the table.
Not only does Obama have the Israeli and Jewish press against him, but Netanyahu is fed up with the Obama administration’s lack of commitment to preemptively strike Iran and back Israel immediately. Netanyahu does not believe the threat of sanctions against Iran to be enough to thwart an alleged attack from Iran. And with the capture and hacking of a US drone by Iran some time ago, the Israeli leadership sees the US and the Obama administration as the laughing stock of what was once a strong, trend-setting force to be reckoned with.
Obama’s decisions are under more scrutiny because this is an election year. Going to war would risk him his left voting base, especially after ending the war in Iraq. With the GOP using the military as a ripe talking point, they could easily make people forget the president killed Osama bin Laden by calling Obama weak for not going to war with Iran. President Obama’s hesitancy on this issue could cost him an election.
As tensions rise for the Obama administration, from the right and the left, to cut the military budget for austerity measures, the administration nevertheless decided to deploy a second aircraft carrier strike group in the Gulf. The administration hopes this showing of strength will deter Iran from allegedly pursuing nuclear weaponry.
Despite threats from Iran to the US and its allies to avoid positioning their ships in the Strait of Hormuz, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta doesn’t seem to be backing off. He said,
We’ll continue to make those messages clear. The most important way to make those messages clear is to show that we are prepared, that we are strong, that we’ll have a presence in that part of the world.
Panetta added the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise is currently on track to position itself in the Persian Gulf and it will likely steam through the Strait of Hormuz as to send Iran a message that the US means business.
Ali Larijani, a member of the Iranian parliament is having none of it. Larijani believes that Israel is most likely behind the assassination of Iranian scientists. He’s calling for Israel to be punished for the alleged crimes against his nation. He emphatically said,
Terrorism has a long history in some countries like the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime should be punished in a way that it can not play such games with our country again.