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Iran and suspension of disbelief

The term “suspension of disbelief” – coined in 1817 by the philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge – refers to a willingness to suspend one’s critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrificing reality, common sense, doubt and complexity on the altar of a pretend reality, convenience and oversimplification; infusing a semblance of truth into an untrue narrative.  

Suspension of disbelief characterized the 1977-79 President Carter policy toward Iran, energizing Ayatollah Khomeini, ignoring or underestimating his track record and his radical, supremacist and violent worldview.  The betrayal of the Shah transformed Teheran from “the US policeman in the Gulf” to the worst enemy of the US.

Currently, the suspension of disbelief undermines the US posture of deterrence and vital US national security and commercial interests.  It was demonstrated by President Obama, who – irrespective of Middle East reality – referred to the brutally-intolerant, terror-driven, anti-US, anti-infidel, repressive, tumultuous Arab Tsunami as the Arab Spring “casting off the burdens of the past,” “a story of self determination,” “a democratic upheaval,” “a peaceful opposition,” “rejection of political violence” and “a transition toward (multi-sectarian, multi-ethnic) democracy.”

Suspension of disbelief, coupled with the Ayatollahs’ mastery of ‘Taqiyya’ (Islam-sanctioned double-talk and deception), has led Secretary Kerry to assert on November 24, 2013: “Iran’s Foreign Minister Zarif emphasized that they don’t intend to acquire nuclear weapons, and Iran’s Supreme Leader has indicated that there is a ‘fatwa’ [an authoritative religious ruling], which forbids them to do this.”  In an April 7, 2015 NPR radio interview, President Obama made a reality-stretching assumption which underlines the Iran policy: “If in fact Iran is engaged in international business… then in many ways it makes it even harder for them to engage in behaviors that are contrary to international norms…. It is possible that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of the more moderate forces in Iran….”

Rebutting Obama, Amir Taheri, a leading authority on Iran wrote: “hope is not a sufficient basis for a strategy…. [The relatively moderate former President] Rafsanjani has little chance of surviving a direct clash with [the Supreme Leader] Khamenei….” The Saudi frustration with US policy on Iran – shared by all pro-US Arab regimes – was expressed on April 25, 2015 by the opinion editor of the prestigious Saudi daily, A-Sharq Al-Awsat, which echoes the position of the House of Saud: “While the US considers the Ayatollahs a legitimate partner to negotiation, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States are in a state of war with Iran, which is the main source of chaos in the region.”  The editor-in-chief of the Saudi daily added: “Has the Axis of Evil collapsed to the extent that President Obama is courting one of its key members?! Isn’t this the same Teheran that has posed a clear and present danger to the Gulf States for the past 36 years?!”

The zeal to make a deal plays into the hands of the Ayatollahs and overlooks the following facts:

*An agreement is not the goal, but a tool to achieve the real goal;

*Transforming an agreement to a goal undermines the real goal;

*Details of an agreement are less critical than the details of the Ayatollahs’ 36 year track record of supremacist, apocalyptic and megalomaniacal  violence, martyrdom, sponsorship of global Islamic terrorism, subversion of pro-US Arab regimes, repression, anti-US hate education and policies, a systematic non-compliance with agreements and mastery of concealment;

*Such a track record warrants a “guilty until proven innocent” approach;

*Preconditioning an agreement upon a dramatic change in the conduct of the rogue, anti-US Ayatollahs would be “a poison pill” to a bad deal, but a vitamin to a good deal .

*A “bad deal” would nuclearize Iran; “no deal” would allow the US to choose the ways and means to prevent Iran’s nuclearization;

*Nuclear capabilities would extend the life of the repressive, rogue Ayatollah regime, precluding any hope for civil liberties or home-induced regime change.

*An agreement – not preconditioned upon the transformation of the Ayatollahs – would compound their clear and present threat to vital US interests;

*The transformation of the nature of the Ayatollahs – as a precondition to an agreement – would prevent the nuclearization of the Ayatollahs;

*Precluding the option of military preemption has strengthened and radicalized the rogue Ayatollahs, and could lead to a nuclear war;

*Misrepresenting the option of military preemption as war defies reality, since it should be limited to surgical – no troops on the ground – air and naval bombings of  critical parts of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure from US bases in Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Indian Ocean or aircraft carriers;

*A US military option forced Iran to end the 1980-88 war against Iraq, convinced Libya to give away its nuclear infrastructure in 2003, and led Iran to suspend its nuclear development in 2003.

*”Ironclad” supervision and intelligence failed to detect the nuclearization of the USSR, China, Pakistan, India and North Korea;

*Unlike the USSR, which was deterred by Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), the apocalyptic Ayatollahs would be energized by MAD-driven martyrdom.

*The zeal to strike a deal has led to a US retreat from six UN Security Council Resolutions, which aimed to prevent Iran’s nuclearization.

*A nuclear Iran, which celebrates “Death to America Day,” would devastate cardinal US interests: toppling the oil-producing Arab regimes (impacting supply and price of oil) and other pro-US Arab regimes; intensifying Islamic terrorism, globally and on the US mainland; agitating Latin America; collaborating with North Korea; cooperating with Russia; destabilizing Africa and Asia.

*The track record of the Ayatollahs, on the one hand, and compliance with agreements, on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron;

*Suspension of disbelief, in the case of Iran’s nuclearization, entails overlooking facts that highlight the implausibility of a viable agreement with the Ayatollahs, thus damaging crucial US interests and fueling a nuclear war.


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The Abraham Accords – the US, Arab interests and Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy.

Thus, they consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.

*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

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The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

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