__ When it comes to the Middle East, the US administration has been conducting policy based on erroneous assumptions. Proper conjectures are key to successful outcomes, yet frustration and missteps have been the factors topping the list of US foreign policy roster in the Middle East.
Below is a list of 6 key assumptions guiding US policies and the administration’s thought process. All of them are wrong and require an urgent reality check. So let’s get started.
Assumption: Economic sanctions will convince the Iranian government to end their quest for nuclear weapons.
Reality: The Iranian government believes that economic sanctions will hurt, but not as much as caving in to American demands. In a culture where false honor precedes anything that moves under the sun, where life without “honor” is far worse than death, where honor killing is a religious diktat, caving in to economic sanctions is equivalent to an unconditional surrender. And surrendering to the “Great Satan” merely because life is a little tough is inexcusable, dishonorable behavior; it is treason that merits the death sentence.
Assumption: If the only option left to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons is military action, the US will be forced to bomb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear project sites.
Reality: Restricting a military option to bombing the nuclear project sites will leave Iran free to retaliate and generate havoc in the world economy and to Iran’s neighbors, including Israel. The proper way of handling Iran’s nuclear aspirations is to go after their military, disable their navy, air force and rockets, and only then target the regime and try to facilitate an internal uprising by the Iranian people. The nuclear project can be taken care of once the other objectives have been accomplished.
Assumption: The Arab Spring promotes democracy.
Reality: Islam and democracy are like oil and water - they simply do not mix. Islamists elected to power through democratic means respect the rules of democracy - just until the moment they feel powerful enough to inject their religious rulings and Sharia law into the courts and into the daily life of their citizens. Militant Islam may be delayed a little bit longer, but never for the long-term. True democracy will continue to slowly be eroded until full-fledged, Iranian-style dictatorial autocracy replaces democracy throughout the region. Still, autocratic rulers will continue to refer to their respective regimes as democratic.
Assumption: The Iraqi war was not a total waste. Iraq is the first democracy in the Middle East. It serves as a model for the rest of the Arab countries. It may even have been the inspiration behind the Arab Spring.
Reality: Americans make the mistake of assuming that once a country conducts free elections it automatically becomes a democracy. This is an incredibly naïve attitude. Although free elections constitute one of the most rudimentary conditions for a democracy’s emergence, it is merely one prerequisite of many. True democracy requires a storehouse of democratic institutions: a civil legal system rather than a religious one, civil rights that include the rights of minorities, free press and the freedom of speech, separation of powers including a system of checks and balances that ensure that no single entity may assume absolute powers.
But most of all, true democracy requires a country’s citizens to accept, participate and cooperate in the system, so that new-found freedom does not evolve into anarchy.
The Iraqi democracy is far from functional. Apart from free elections, its democratic institutions are severely lacking; its legal system is faulty; there is no true separation of powers; a sizable portion of the Iraqi people does not accept the system and minority rights are questionable at best.
Assumption: Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians will bring about peace.
Reality: There are clear red lines that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will ever accept. Israel will never be able to accept a Palestinian right of return because it is aware that once Palestinians are given the freedom to flock to Israel in their millions, the demise of the Jewish State will not be far behind. And for their part, the Palestinians are unwilling to accept any deal that does not include their right of return.
Israel wants to live in peace within secure borders and under the assurance that the Palestinians will not transform the West Bank into a terror base once a peace deal has been signed between the two peoples. The Palestinians seek an independent state, including the resources to build a strong military with imported arms, sans Israeli supervision.
There is, of course, the small issue of trust: Israel does not trust the Palestinians since the Palestinians offer daily evidence of their true intentions: demonizing Israelis, defining the conflict as a religious war, educating their young to hate Jews and employing Nazi style anti-Semitism, glorifying terror and child-killer terrorists, refusing to recognize Israel as a Jewish State, rewriting history and denying Jewish rights to their ancestral homeland, and keeping an ongoing claim to the territory known as Israel proper.
The Palestinians do not intend to give up any of their demands, attitudes and demeanors. The Palestinian public has been brainwashed with hate and demonization of Jews for too long. It is now impossible for Palestinian leaders to talk this Palestinian generation into embracing peace with “subhuman” Jews.
Assumption: The only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a two-state arrangement, with both peoples living peacefully side by side.
Reality: Whenever people talk about a two-state solution, they ignore the fact that the Palestinian territories are divided between a Hamas-controlled Gaza and a Fatah-controlled West Bank. If one counts Israel as one of the states in the solution (as is the protocol), then there is a minimum total of three states and not two. The third state, Hamas-controlled Gaza, has the in-built goal of destroying the Jewish State. It’s also the main rationale justifying Hamas’ existence. It cannot be removed from the charter unless Hamas itself is removed from the political scene. The Palestinian Authority considers Gaza an integral part of a Palestinian state. A two-state solution between Israel and the PA that excludes Gaza is not acceptable to Palestinians in the West Bank.
Consequently, present conditions being what they are, a two-state solution—like the rest of the assumptions on this list—is simply infeasible.
_ On 1/9/2012 I wrote in http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=252675) that Iran would launch a Pearl Harbor type “surprise” attack on the US navy in the Persian Gulf, and that attack would serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime.
I was amazed to see the numerous (practically viral) editorials and blogs that cited this part of my article, claiming that the use of quotes around the word: “surprise” carried the implication that the US would manufacture an “incident” (I am using quotes again) where the Iranians would appear to have initiated an attack on a US warship, except, the US would initiate a provocation, inviting that attack.
No! I did not try to convey the above interpretation. You guys were all wrong!
The Iranian regime is stuck in a macho syndrome. It blinds their rational reasoning; it prevents the Mullahs from breaking off their quest for nuclear weapons even in the face of severe sanctions. The regime’s rhetoric has raised the temperature in Persian Gulf by having the Revolutionary Guards issue multiple threats against the US and its allies. Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz; they would not allow US carriers to re-enter the Gulf; they would continue to develop their nuclear capability—all pose crossings of red lines, inviting a massive retaliation by the US.
The latest incident in the Gulf where Iranian gunboats approached an American ship without having any shots fired is a first in a series of non-violent close encounters. The Iranians are playing a dangerous game. They are experts in setting up deceptive mirages, conditioning American misconceptions with regard to the Ayatollah’s true intentions.
The Iranians will continue approaching American ships, then seem to blink by shifting direction, moving away, until the Americans learn the fake drill, letting down their guard. Then and only then, the Iranians will be able to draw near—sufficiently close for a deadly strike on a key American warship.
American warships presence in the Persian Gulf is the only “provocation” required for the Iranian Mullahs to feel provoked. They have already confirmed that assertion. There is no need for a conspiracy on the part of the US. American military presence or Israel’s existence are sufficiently provocative in the eyes of these bullies.
Some people say that the Iranians are not crazy enough to start a war on the US. I disagree. The Iranians will miscalculate. They do not believe that the US would retaliate by initiating an all-out-war in response. They view the US and President Obama as paper tigers. The Ayatollah will repeat the same mistake that Hezbollah had committed in 2006 when they kidnapped dead Israeli soldiers before Israel responded with an all-out-war they had not anticipated and had not wished for.
In today’s world where proportionate responses to aggression rule the roost of the politically correct universe, the Iranians will expect a limited American response, confined to local retaliation and accompanied by loud rhetoric from political opportunists. They will not anticipate the actual reaction because they will not understand the boiling rage they have been affecting in the US since the hostage crisis in the 1970’s. They will not understand the determination of the American government to see to it that the Persian Gulf does not fall under their control. They will fail to realize that their big-headed quest for nuclear weapons is a bloody red line that a president on the verge of elections may not be able to overlook.
My prediction in my previous article: “2012 will see to a new war. This time, Iran will initiate it” is NOT a wishful thinking; it is a logical inference of an unpleasant reality where the Iranian regime will be successful in bringing about its own demise due to its own miscalculation.
_ Watching the New Year Sunday Talk Shows on US TV, the experts were all of the opinion that neither the US nor Israel will embark on attacking the Iranian nuclear facilities in 2012. I tend to agree. Neither the US nor Israel will initiate an attack on Iran. Still, I believe that these experts were off by a million miles.
Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940’s, will take the initiative and “help” the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf, trying to sink it.
The Iranian attack on an American ship will serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime. The target at that time would not be Iran’s nuclear facilities. These would turn out to be an addendum. The US would retaliate by attacking Iran’s navy, their military installations, missile silos, airfields. The US would target Iran’s ability to retaliate, to close down the straits of Hormuz. The US would then follow by targeting the regime itself.
Elimination of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Yes. This part would turn out to be the final act, the grand prize. It might have been the major target had the US initiated the attack. However under this “Pearl Harbor” scenario, where Iran had launched a “surprise” attack on the US navy, the US would have the perfect rationalization to get it done right, to put an end to this ugly game.
Unlike the latest Iranian people’s attempt at revolution, this time the US would not stay away, rather, it would go public, openly calling for the Iranian people to join in with the US in working to overthrow the corrupt Islamic fundamentalist regime. And the Iranian people would respond in numbers.
Spring would reemerge, and the Iranian people would join the rest of the Middle East—this time with the direct support of the US.
The greatest irony behind this most significant episode in 2012 is that the Iranian regime would effect their own demise. Attacking the US navy in the open seas is equivalent to carrying out a suicide bombing.
The Iranian government has become bolder by the day. Their hubris has been mounting as a result of the world’s inability to bring to an end their quest for nuclear weapons. If the Revolutionary Guards achieve that final step, and demonstrate their nuclear capability, their bullying conduct would swell beyond their geographic region. It would grow to be catastrophic. The responsible world understands that the Ayatollah must be stopped, but the US, the EU, Israel are in no mood to instigate a military confrontation for fear of its negative economic impact due to a potential closing of the straits of Hormuz and one more bloody war engulfing Israel and its neighbors.
Iran’s mullahs understand the world’s anxiety and its lack of resolve when it comes to confront them militarily. The Iranian government is blinded by its own ability to intimidate, to call the shots, to ignore warnings. What the Iranians fail to realize is that some of the lines they are about to cross are red—bloody red.
2012 will see to a new war. This time, Iran will initiate it. This time the US will respond. This time the Iranian regime will bring about its own demise. This time the Iranian Spring will bear fruits.
This time the Iranian nuclear cloud will evaporate before it rains down on the infidels.