Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 31, 2023
The Iran-Hamas-US connection
*National Security advisor Jake Sullivan said in an October 10, 2023 White House press briefing: “Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years. And all of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen [on October 7].”
*Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have been courted and appeased by the West, are committed to bring the West – and especially “the Great American Satan” – to submission. They are the chief architects and enablers of the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, determined to escalate them into a regional pandemonium, which would undermine Western interests.
*Iran considers its military and financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists – as well as many terror entities in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America – as a means to fueling instability, toppling pro-US regimes, and severely downgrading the US’ strategic posture. Therefore, Iran has been – since the 1980s – an epicenter of global, anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation of advanced military systems. Iran’s rogue foreign and national security policy has been matched by its rogue domestic policy, which has been replete with ruthless oppression and suppression of the population, in general, and religious and ethnic minorities and especially women, in particular.
However, irrespective of this rogue policy, the US adheres to the diplomatic option, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ global posture since their ascension to power in 1979. Moreover, the US’ response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria has been restrained, further eroding its posture of deterrence. Furthermore, the US has lifted most sanctions against the rogue Ayatollahs and is eagerly seeking another nuclear accord with Tehran.
*The lifting of most sanctions without Congressional consent – especially on the exportation of oil and natural gas – has enabled Iran to supply Hezbollah, Hamas and additional terror organizations and drug traffickers more advanced military systems (e.g., missiles, drones, electronics and explosives) to the detriment of the US and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.
*”Iran’s oil exports have increased more than threefold over the past 3 years, a consequence of relaxed US sanctions enforcement…. US sanctions imposed in 2018 and 2019 severely constricted Iranian exports of crude oil. Exports fell well below 500,000 barrels per day from a pre-sanctions peak of 2.7 million barrels per day…. Even though negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement have failed, Iran’s oil exports continue to increase, as Washington opts not to enforce the sanctions. As of September 2023, Iranian exports are estimated at close to 1.5 million barrels per day or higher [at the current $90 per barrel, at least $50 billion annual income].” According to Reuters, August 31, 2023, Iran exports 3.15 million barrels per day.
Iran’s narco-Jihad against the USA
*Recently, Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy have stepped up their drug trafficking, money laundering and terror activities. They have expanded collaboration with Mexico’s drug cartels (e.g., Los Zetas and Sinaloa), training them in car bombing, and smuggling the highly addictive methamphetamine across the border to the USA. This is an extension of their Latin American narco-terror operation, which is centered in the Tri-Border areas of Argentina- Paraguay-Brazil, as well as Chile-Peru-Bolivia.
*The Ayatollahs and Hezbollah leaders have concluded that narcotic trafficking may be more effective than guns in bringing the Western “infidel” to submission.
*According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Iran and Hezbollah established close collaboration with drug cartels in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil [and the Albanian Mafia], exporting cocaine to the US and Europe, and developing the most sophisticated money laundering schemes through Lebanon. They have managed to smuggle illegal immigrants from the Middle East into the USA, bolstering their terroristic and drug trafficking infrastructure in the USA.
*Venezuela has been an effective gateway for Iran into South, Central and North America, issuing false passports to Iranian and Hezbollah terror and drug trafficking operatives. It has also provided Iran with a business and military foothold close to the shores of “the Great American Satan.” The heavy traffic of IranAir planes between Iran and Venezuela has not been limited to innocent passengers…
Iran’s fanatic vision transcends Israel
*According to Dr. Yaron Friedman, a Haifa University expert on Islam and the Middle East, the driving force of Iran’s Ayatollahs is a 1,400-year-old vision, which transcends economic and diplomatic benefits and is not centered on Israel, but on the world at large, with a focus on the “infidel” West.
*The root of the Ayatollahs’ vision is the 680 AD Battle of Karbala – a supreme Islamic milestone – which featured the murder of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammed and the third Shiite Imam, by Yazid, the Sunni Caliph. For Shiite Islam – as it is in the Middle East which cherishes history and memory – it has been a living memory, commemorated annually during Ashura processions, by Shiite communities in the Middle East, Europe and the USA, with bare-chested men flagellating their bleeding backs and chests.
*The Battle of Karbala has become a permanent call for Shiite martyrdom, sacrifice and revenge, leading to an intrinsic Sunni-Shiite conflict, religiously and militarily, which is still a major force of breeding turbulence among Muslims. The Sunni majority is convinced that the Shiite minority is trying to rule Islam and revenge the 680 AD betrayal, as almost happened from the mid-10th century to the mid-11th century, and during the 16th century, when Iran accepted Shiite Islam and became a major power.
*Since February 1979, when the Ayatollahs (assisted by the US) ascended to power in Tehran, Iran has been preoccupied with the global exportation of the Karbala-driven Islamic Shiite Revolution, aiming to topple every “apostate” (Sunni), “modern-day Yazid” regime, and bring the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan” to submission, unconditionally, peacefully, or militarily.
*The nature of Iran’s fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal, apocalyptic vision – and the 43-year-old rogue track record of the Ayatollahs – reveal that the Ayatollahs are not amenable to good faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence, nor exchanging their 1,400-year-old vision for a financial/diplomatic bonanza.