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GENEVA – BETWEEN MUNICH AND NORTH KOREA?

Israel’s president, Shimon Peres: “Barack Obama is obligated to honor his unequivocal commitment that Iran will not be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons.”

Upper: Javad Zarif & Catherine Ashton | Center: Kim Kong Il & Madeline Albright | Lower: Neville Chamberlain holding signed Munich Accord

 Will U.S. president Barack Obama prefer a nuclear Iran, rather than launching preventative military strike if need be?

 This is the question being asked in Israel, Saudi Arabia, and around the Middle East. In light of the Geneva nuclear deal, grave doubts are being voiced throughout the region. What about Obama’s mantra of ‘all options are on the table’? Some Israeli cynics are worried this may also included the selling out of Israel. What worries Israel is that president Obama, apparently in the midst of disengaging from the Middle East, will seek another diplomatic exit in six months or so when the final agreement is to be concluded; or say, when the Iranians break out for their firs a-bomb after their economy has got a shot in the arm, provided by the easing of the sanctions.

 Obama’s critics view Geneva as falling between the notorious Munich of 1938 and North Korea of 2005. For example, look at the glowing account in the New York Times that described America’s nuclear deal with North Korea. Simply replace North Korea with Iran, and Geneva for Beijing:

 Several years later North Korea flagrantly violated the agreement by conducting nuclear weapons tests. North Korea had acquired nuclear weapons under the guise of a bogus agreement. More recently, the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna and other sources have confirmed that the Yongbyon reactor that provides plutonium has been reactivated.

 Not only Israel is deeply concerned. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the other Sunni Arab states are even greater enemies of Shiite Iran and its drive for regional dominance. For decades they have been loyal allies of America, but are now pondering if Obama prefers a detent with Iran at their expense.

 Obama’s feeble reaction to president Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and his support for the democratically elected dictator, Mohamed Morsi, in Egypt, has sent shock waves throughout the region. The US deal with Russia may get rid of Assad’s chemical weapons, but in so doing it has lent legitimacy to the Assad regime, which continues to massacre Syrian civilians by conventional weapons (Assad’s praise of the Geneva accord speaks volumes: “It strengthens both Iran and Syria!”). Granted that the current ruler of Egypt, general al Sisi is an autocrat, but at least he is pro-American and may gradually install democracy, whereas Morsi had started turning Egypt into a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.

 Back in Israel, it’s not all gloom and doom. No Israeli has been more ardent in praising Barack Obama than President Shimon Peres. However, on an official visit to Mexico, even Peres sounded a little circumspect in answer to a reporter’s question:

 Question: “Mr. Peres, do you believe that in the wake of the Geneva agreement, that Iran will change course and halt its nuclear weapons project?”

 President Peres: “I’m not sure that we know what is happening in Iran. Theoretically, the ayatollahs have come to the end of their road. They have nothing to offer for the future. And in this respect they are like the Muslim Brotherhood. There is a need for pressure on this issue that is not to our detriment. Policies should be criticized without abusing other states. The next six months will be a test of everyone’s intentions; President Obama has gone very far with his obligations. He has given his unequivocal commitment that Iran will not go nuclear. He is obligated to honor his commitment, and I believe he will first try by economic and diplomatic means.”

 But when it comes to Netanyahu’s public verbal clash with Obama in the media, what is the Israeli Prime Minister supposed to do when he believes that the Geneva nuclear deal seriously threatens the security, and possibly even survival, of the Jewish state? Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert charged that Netanyahu has gone too far and even “declared war on the US!”


 P.S.: The Sunday times in Britain has carried a story that the Israeli prime minister has instructed his intelligence services to search for ‘smoking guns’ that Iran is breaking its nuclear commitments over then next six months. Isn’t this what intelligence services are supposed to do? To uncover threats to their state’s vital interests. Hopefully, America’s CIA has been and will be doing the same.

Prime Minister of Kuwait, Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah

 P.P.S.: Kuwait has invited Iran’s foreign minister for an official visit. The grapevine has it that Saudi Arabia may also follow suite. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the other Sunni Arab states have been even greater enemies of Iran than Israel. It appears that in light of America’s weakened status in the region, they feel they had better try cozying up to Iran, which they fear may become a nuclear neighbor in the not-too-distant future.

 

 

 

 David Essing 

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