Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Schizophrenic Israelis and Stolen Wars
By Uri Avnery
Gush Shalom, Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, September 23, 2013
IF SOMEBODY steals something
precious from you, say a diamond, you may be angry.
himself said so. When He sent a worm to kill the gourd which provided
shade for the prophet Jonah in the desert, He asked him maliciously: “Doest
thou well to be angry for the gourd?” (Jonah 4:9)
And now somebody
has stolen from us something much more precious than a diamond or a gourd.
A war. Perhaps even two wars.
So we have every right to be
WAR NO. 1 was to have taken place in Syria. The US was to
attack the regime of Bashar al-Assad. A medical operation: short, clean,
When Congress hesitated, the hounds of hell were let
loose. AIPAC sent its parliamentary rottweilers to Capitol Hill to tear to
pieces any senator or congressman who objected. In Israel it was said that
Binyamin Netanyahu unleashed them on the express request of Barack Obama.
But the whole exercise was cockeyed right from the beginning. The
Americans said that they were not aiming to overthrow the Assad regime, God
forbid. On the contrary, Assad was supposed to stay on. It was not only a
case of preferring the devil you know to the devil you don’t – it was clear
that the second devil was much worse.
When I said that the US,
Russia, Iran and Israel had a common interest in propping up Assad, I
noticed a few raised eyebrows. But it was simple logic. None of these
unseemly bedfellows had an interest in bringing to power in Syria a motley
crew of Islamists, who seemed to be the only alternative if the fighting
So, attack somebody you really want to stay in power?
Doesn’t make much sense. Ergo, no war.
THE ISRAELI fury at a
good war brazenly stolen was even stronger.
If the Americans were mixed up, we were
Assad is an
Arab. A bad Arab. Worse, he is an ally of the big, bad wolf – Iran. He
provides the corridor for the transfer of arms from Iran to Hezbollah in
Lebanon. Verily, the center of the Axis of Evil.
but the Assads – father and son and their unholy spirit – have kept the
peace on their border with Israel. Not a single bullet in decades. If he
falls and his place is taken by Islamists – what will happen?
Israeli gut says: Hit him, hit him hard. But the Israeli brain- yes there is
one, somewhere – says: keep him where he is. A real dilemma.
there is another consideration, a much more serious one for Netanyahu and
Co. - Iran.
IT IS one thing to be deprived of a little surgical
strike. But quite another matter to be robbed of a real big operation.
A recent Israeli cartoon showed the President of Iran sitting before the
television screen eating his popcorn and watching with relish how Obama is
being beaten in Syria.
How can Obama pressure Iran, Israeli
commentators and politicians ask, if he has given up on pressuring Syria?
After he has let Assad cross the thin red line unpunished, how will he
prevent the Iranians from crossing the much thicker red line he has drawn
Where is American deterrence? Where is the awe inspired by
the mighty world power? Why would the ayatollahs abstain from building their
nuclear bomb after the American president has fallen into the primitive trap
laid by the Russians, as Israelis see it?
TO BE honest, I cannot
restrain a touch of schadenfreude at the plight of our commentators.
When I stated categorically that there would be no American military strike
against Iran, and no Israeli one either, some of my acquaintances thought
that I had gone of off my rocker.
No war? After Netanyahu had
promised one? After Obama has followed suit?
There must be a war!
But lo and behold, the war is receding into the distance.
Israeli eyes, Iran is ruled by a crazy gang of religious fanatics, whose
main aim in life is to annihilate Israel. They are hell bent on producing
The Bomb, which will enable them to do so. They don’t care that the Israeli
second strike is assured, and Iran will be destroyed for ever. That's the
kind of people they are. So the production of the bomb must be prevented at
all costs. Including the collapse of the world economy, as a result of the
closure of the Strait of Hormuz.
That is a clear picture,
consistent in every detail. Fortunately for us, it has no connection with
RECENT EVENTS have painted a different picture altogether.
It started with the elections in Iran. The slightly deranged
Ahmadinejad, the pathological holocaust denier, has disappeared.
Instead, a modest-looking moderate, Hassan Rouhani, was elected.
Such a choice would have been impossible without the approval of the Supreme
Leader, Ali Khamenei. He has to approve all candidates. It is obvious that
Rouhani was his personal choice.
What does that mean? To Israeli
commentators, it is quite clear: the sly, devious Persians are cheating the
whole world again. They will continue, of course, to build their bomb. But
the naďve Americans will believe their lies, precious time will be lost, and
one day the Iranians will say: Now we have got the bomb! From now on, we can
do what we want! Especially, destroy the Zionist Entity!
All this is
built on complete fantasy. The Iranians are far removed from being a
primitive, self-destructive people. They are very conscious of being the
heirs of a glorious civilization, at least as ancient and as rich as the
Jewish past. The idea of exchanging queens - we destroy you, you destroy us
- is ridiculous, especially since chess is a Persian game. (the very word
“Chess” is believed to derive from the Persian Shah, king.)
Actually, the Iranian leaders are a very cautious, thoughtful lot. They have
never attacked their neighbors. The terrible, eight-year long war with Iraq
was started by the reckless Saddam Hussein.
The impetus for building
the bomb came when the power-drunk neo-conservatives in Washington, most of
them Zionist Jews, spoke quite openly about attacking Iran next, right after
the short, little war they expected in neighboring Iraq.
that the Iranian leadership has decided that it is now far more important to
upgrade the economy than play with the bomb. Being natural traders – bazaar
is a Persian world – they may give up the bomb in return for the lifting of
sanctions, and use the riches of their country for the good of their
citizens, who aspire to become an advanced modern society. That’s why
Khamenei and the people elected someone like Rouhani.
Israeli TV screened a documentary film about the life of the Israelis in the
Shah’s Iran. It was sheer paradise (“paradise” is also a Persian word). The
Israelis lived off the fat of the land. They built the Shah’s dreaded secret
police (the Savak, not to be confused with Shabak, its Israeli model). They
befriended his generals, most of whom were trained in Israel. They built his
industries and started to construct his nuclear installations. Sheer
Persian oil was exported to Europe through Israel, by way
of a pipeline laid between Eilat and Ashkelon financed by the Shah. The
American-Israeli-Iranian deal known as Irangate was concocted in the early
days of the Ayatollahs (literally: signs of Allah).
want to go back in history will be reminded of the fact that it was the
great Persian emperor, Cyrus, who let the Jews return from Babylonian
captivity to Jerusalem, as duly recorded in the Bible (the books of Ezra and
The modern alliance between Israel and Iran was built on
the joint enmity towards the Arabs, and could easily come to the fore again.
Politics, like pornography, is a matter of geography.
WAR-WEARY American population seems to be inclined to accept the Iranian
peace challenge. Businessmen will meet Bazaar traders, and hopefully work
out a deal. No war.
At the same time, a positive development is also
possible in Syria. Now that the US and Russia have discovered that they can
work together in this critical area, the two sides in the civil war may get
tired of massacring each other and agree to a political solution (such as
the one I outlined last week).
That would make two stolen wars –
stolen from those who hold on to the primitive belief that the only solution
for any problem is the use of naked force.
A quite different view of
life is presented by these words of Bertrand Russell, sent me by a lady in
“I have a very simple creed: that life and joy and beauty
are better than dusty death, and I think when we listen to [music] we must
all of us feel that the capacity to produce such music, and the capacity to
hear such music, is a thing worth preserving and should not be thrown away
in foolish squabbles. You may say it's a simple creed, but I think
everything important is very simple indeed.”