Steve Kramer

Green light redux

Many articles have been written about the danger of allowing Iran to run rampant in the Middle East. (Iran’s official name is The Islamic Republic of Iran. If people understood the significance of that, they would understand immediately that the Ayatollahs will never give up their quest for nuclear weapons. An “Islamic Republic” is not a nation state like other republics, and the Islamic Republic of Iran should not be treated like other nation states. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a revolutionary, aggressive, supremacist, jihadist Islamist state.)

Iran has persevered in its quest to create a Caliphate across the Middle East relatively unhindered. Its strategy to plow ahead while “negotiating” with the West has been extremely successful. Since 2003-4, when negotiations began in earnest between Iran and the West, Iran’s strategy of “negotiating,” while moving forward in its drive to rule over the Middle East, been incredibly successful.

While the West dithered over terms with the wily Iranian negotiators, it has created a Shiite Crescent stretching from Yemen to Lebanon. The original goal of preventing Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability has morphed into how to contain a nascent nuclear power. Iran’s Arab adversaries, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others, are making plans to achieve nuclear weapons capability themselves, turning the Middle East – a powder keg – into a potential explosion.

What about Israel, which presumably has its own nuclear weapons? Does anyone seriously think that the only Jewish state will not act to prevent an attack from a country which proudly proclaims its intention to destroy Israel – and is rapidly gaining the ability to fulfill its mission? Intentionally or inadvertently, Israel is being forced into a corner, a position from which it most likely will have to act alone in self defense.

While Prime Minister Netanyahu has been calling attention to Iran’s plans and accomplishments for decades, I and other writers have also been busy. Here is one of my articles [with updates] from six years ago. Have the negotiations with Iran improved the situation for Israel, the region, or the West, or has Iran reaped all the benefits it expected?

My article from April, 2009:
Isn’t the West, and especially Israel’s closest ally, America, giving Israel the green light to fend for herself? That is my interpretation of the prevailing attitude in the West, though perhaps the flashing green signal is inadvertent. If the West doesn’t intend to give Israel the OK to interdict a possible Iranian attack, it had better change its signals.

Iran couldn’t be more blatant in calling for Israel’s destruction. This it proclaims loud and clear, from many venues, including New York City, home of the United Nations. [Ahmadinejad’s rantings] That Iran also wishes to destroy America (the Great Satan to Israel’s Little Satan) is typically overlooked, even by Americans. Iran proudly flies the anti-Semitic/Zionist, Holocaust-denying, anti-American flag; hosts dubious conferences; consorts with some of the world’s most unsavory characters, such as the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez [since deceased]; and has ties to nuclear proliferator North Korea.

Iran is arguably the world’s greatest supporter of terror, especially against Israel. The Hizbollah terror organization in Lebanon and the Hamas terror organization in Gaza, aim their weapons (scores of thousands of rockets between them) directly at Israel. Iran is the main financier and materiel supplier for both of these military forces, which have already fired thousands of rockets into Israel. Iran’s elite Republican Guard is active in other Arab countries like Iraq, where Iran has contributed to the deaths of American and other Western troops, in Sudan, in Nigeria, Somalia, Eritrea, and in South America. [and Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and the Sinai Peninsula]

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that the Tehran regime has grossly underreported the extent of its uranium enrichment activities, along with a slew of other violations, including refusing access to IAEA inspectors to the heavy water reactor at Arak, which is ideally suited to producing plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. [The negotiations with Iran have ignored Iran’s lack of cooperation with the IAEA and its contempt for UN Security Council resolutions.]

Despite Iran’s obvious trail of anti-Western activity, the Europeans have been happy to spend years negotiating with them, untroubled by the fact that Iran plows ahead with its nuclear ambitions. Obviously, Iran’s deep-rooted hostility towards Israel and America has given the Europeans a false sense of security regarding Iran’s military prowess towards them. This is not because Iran hides its growing arsenal of ballistic missiles, but in spite of it. Iran’s latest effort, putting a satellite into orbit, was accomplished by a missile capable of hitting all of the European capitals. [Since then, Iran has made great strides in perfecting ballistic missiles.]

The reason for Europe’s dilly-dallying with Iran is to prolong their mutually beneficial business relationships, though these transactions are many times more significant to Iran than to most of its European partners. Russia and China also have a hand in prolonging the worse-than-useless negotiations, for reasons of realpolitik as well as trade. And we can’t ignore Iran’s clout as a huge oil and gas supplier, which seems to stupefy even some of the world’s strongest countries. [With the current oil glut, one would think that Iran’s energy reserves would have lost some clout.]

The result has been that only weak sanctions have been brought to bear on Iran by the UN and several Western powers, and even those are not enforced adequately. [The sanctions were increased in 2012, then unaccountably reduced in 2014. (]

To sum up, the West, plus Russia and China, don’t take Iran seriously, despite its rapid acquisition of ballistic missiles, its rush to enrich uranium – a prerequisite for nuclear weapons – and its strategic position overlooking the Strait of Tiran, through which 40% of the world’s oil is transported. [With the recent takeover of Yemen by Iranian Houthi rebel proxies, Iran could deny access to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf simultaneously. (]

Now (inaugural address 2009, President Obama has declared, “We will extend a hand if you [Iran] are willing to unclench your fist,” hoping for a reciprocal gesture of good will. Iran’s reply: America must stop accusing us of seeking to build nuclear weapons and supporting terrorism. When Mr. Obama declared that, “All countries can access peaceful nuclear energy,” Iran’s state-run daily newspaper “Resalat” responded with a front page headline, “The United States capitulates to the nuclear goals of Iran.”

It’s no surprise that Iran gives a bellicose response to even conciliatory gestures, because Iran has learned that it (and other anti-Western states) can run roughshod over Western policies that are weak and lack resoluteness. To wit: the United Nations doesn’t object to a member state (Iran) calling for the destruction of another member state (Israel), even from the UN podium; the West doesn’t get upset about Iran’s threats against Israel and Jews (or America); the US – let alone any other great power – has all but ruled out forcibly opposing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arms; North Korea fires ballistic missiles with impunity because it has one or more nuclear weapons, while disregarding promises made during negotiations.

It’s not hard to imagine the economic chaos which will result if Israel attacks Iran. The Strait of Tiran would likely be blocked, whether Israel succeeds or not to delay Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. The destruction of oil tankers, the uncertainty of future deliveries, and the likely accompanying warfare against Israelis (and Americans) would guarantee the further deterioration of the world’s economy. Yet, the UN can’t restrain Iran, America can’t or won’t restrain Iran, neither Russia nor China is inclined to intervene with Iran, and Israel is left to bet its existence on the proposition that Iran is just bluffing when it threatens to “wipe Israel off the map.”

Keeping all of the above in perspective, Israel feels it’s being told to tough it out by itself. This can easily be interpreted to mean, “Go ahead and do it, but you’re on your own.” Israel faced a similar situation in 1967, when its Arab neighbors girded for war and promised the destruction of Israel. Then-president Lyndon Johnson promised an international flotilla to protect Israel, while warning Israel not to attack on its own. But the US was unable to initiate any international action and reversed its position, letting Israel know that it would have to handle the problem itself. The result was the Six Day War.

What’s different today is that America isn’t publicly promising Israel anything like a flotilla, which might deter Iran. [“All options are on the table” is a joke. (]The fallout from an Israeli attack on Iran could have an effect similar to the oil embargo that accompanied the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Adding a huge disruption in energy supplies to the world’s distressed economy will surely have disastrous effects. So, why is the West in effect giving Israel the green light to attack Iran, by not doing anything to safeguard a fellow democracy which feels threatened and isolated, while ignoring the threat of Iran’s growing superpower status in Southwest Asia?

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.