Jim Lobe writes that there is much wailing and gnashing of teeth in neoconservative circles over the thawing of relations between Iran and the west, with the concomitant shift to diplomacy as opposed to sabre rattling and war.
“The Israelis find themselves in a far worse position now than they have been for several years,” concluded Elliott Abrams, a leading neoconservative who served as George W. Bush’s main Middle East adviser, in Foreign Affairs.
While Israel could still attack Iran’s nuclear sites on its own, “[i]ts ability to do so is already being narrowed considerably by the diplomatic thaw” between Iran and the United States, Abrams wrote. “It is one thing to bomb Iran when it appears hopelessly recalcitrant and isolated and quite another to bomb it when much of the world – especially the United States – is optimistic about the prospects of talks.”
Abrams’ assessment was widely shared among his ideological comrades who believe Israel will be the big loser if hopes for détente between Washington and Tehran gather steam after next week’s meeting in Geneva between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany).
Gary Sick, an Iran expert who served on the National Security Council under Presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan, told IPS that neoconservatives’ recent outpouring of defiance and despair constituted “the most convincing evidence I have seen to date that the die-hard supporters of sabotaging an agreement between the US and Iran are in full defensive mode.”
Not that this is stopping them from trying. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a speech in parliament urging the P5+1 group of nations (Britain, China, France, Russia and the US plus Germany) not to ease the sanctions. This was delivered on the eve of their meeting in Geneva with representatives from Iran.
The Iranian dissident group MEK also issued new dire warnings about Iran but few seem to be paying heed these days, even though this shadowy group with deep pockets filled by unknown sources has been spreading its largesse to influence people in the west to cover up its dubious activities and have it removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist groups. Who are the people who got money from the MEK? It is a veritable who’s who of US politicians and media figures.
Last year, the Christian Science Monitor thoroughly described “these former high-ranking US officials – who represent the full political spectrum – [who] have been paid tens of thousands of dollars to speak in support of the MEK.” They include Democrats Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Wesley Clark, Bill Richardson, and Lee Hamilton, and Republicans Rudy Giuliani, Fran Townsend, Tom Ridge, Michael Mukasey, and Andrew Card. Other prominent voices outside government, such as Alan Dershowitz and Elie Wiesel, have been enlisted to the cause and are steadfast MEK advocates.
Money has also been paid to journalists such as The Washington Post’s Carl Bernstein and the Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page.
You can be sure that opponents of an Iran-west détente will intensify their efforts.