Steve Kramer

U.S. allies itself with Iran

Before our very eyes, the U.S. Is shifting alliances in the Middle East. For decades, American foreign policy in the region was anchored by relationships with Israel, Egypt, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Saudi Arabia. That has changed under the Obama administration.

Since the president’s first foreign speech in Cairo in 2009, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has been the recipient of Obama’s good will. The MB is the progenitor of some of the most vile terror groups, such as Hamas, and has branches in more than 70 countries.

Concurrent with Obama’s embrace of the MB was the backing away from the staunch, American-supporting Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s ruler since the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981. True, Mubarak was a ruthless dictator, but he was “our” ruthless dictator, preventing the Islamist MB from taking over Egypt, the largest and most influential Arab country. With the abandonment of Mubarak by America during the misnamed Arab Spring, the MB took over Egypt and imposed a new, harsher regime, dedicated to leading an anti-Western, Islamist Arab revolution. (Despite little respect from the Obama administration, the popular and pro-Western former army officer Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has taken power after a popular revolt against the MB.)

“The Wall Street Journal reported on November 7 that the president wrote a secret letter to Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei in which he reportedly stressed that ‘any cooperation on the Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a November 24 diplomatic deadline.’

Although the Obama administration made several disturbing concessions to get Iran to the bargaining table, one of the worst was implicitly conceding to Tehran the right to enrich uranium by allowing it to operate uranium centrifuges. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bluntly made this point when he visited the United States in September, when he said Iran has no need for uranium enrichment and any enrichment it conducts is for one purpose: making nuclear bombs.” (

The Obama administration’s “pivot” towards Iran is a reward to the worst and most dangerous anti-Western country in the world, far worse than the IS (ISIL, ISIS) terror movement, which is unlikely to become a state. For years, Israel’s prime minister, Bibi Netanyahu, has warned the world about the danger of Iran becoming a nuclear power. These warnings have had little effect on the Western powers, who are blindly – or cynically – opening the door for Iran to join the nuclear club. The “drastic” sanctions, which were inexplicably reduced when Iran failed to meet the negotiation’s last deadline, will most likely not be strengthened if this negotiating round fails, as looks likely. Even worse, a “bad” agreement might be forged, which would be the worst possible outcome.

Iran, a non-Arab country, is already the major power broker in the region, even without nuclear weapons. Iran’s “moderate” president, Hassan Rouhani, is window-dressing for the Iranian mullahs, who are the power behind neighbor Iraq’s government; the chief supporters of Bashar Assad in Syria; the ally of Hizbullah in Lebanon; and the supporters of Hamas in Gaza. In addition, Iran is the best friend of virulently anti-Western Venezuela, while Iran’s Republican Guard supports terrorism throughout the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere. What else can we expect if Iran achieves atomic weapons capability?

The negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran have been farcical since their inception. For decades Iran has followed the same game plan: spin the West along with interminable meetings and little else, allowing Iran to continue building, testing, and readying its nuclear weapons program. Not only does Iran flaunt UN Security Council resolutions with impunity, it is developing ballistic missiles to deliver nuclear warheads as far as Western Europe, and soon to North America. These delivery systems for nuclear weapons are not even up for discussion.

Is it possible that Western negotiators have yet to recognize Iran’s strategy and tactics? Compared to the Iranians, Western negotiators are hopelessly outclassed, but they are not stupid. Evidently, cynical Western diplomats believe that Iran is unstoppable (due to the West’s inept handling of the situation) and therefore it is opportune for the West to back Iran while retreating from its former Middle Eastern allies. It’s hard to reach any other conclusion from the current inept negotiations.

With the lightning rise of Islamic State throughout Iraq, Syria, and even Lebanon, the Iranians have an additional card to play. The Obama administration is getting closer and closer to allying with Iran to combat IS. The West could deal with IS by itself without too much trouble, because it’s not particularly powerful, just incredibly fierce. By the same token, powerful (Shiite) Iran is the natural enemy of (Sunni) IS, and needs no incentives from the West to battle this latest Sunni foe. A natural question is whether the West should embroil itself in another internecine Muslim war to begin with. It would be better to strengthen the home front and let the Islamists slaughter each other in the Arab hinterlands.

Israel cannot be left out of this equation. It is America’s staunchest ally in the region, and a military heavyweight. Israel has reached a modus vivendi with Saudi Arabia, as well as treaties with Egypt and Jordan, despite the verbal abuse regularly hurled at Israel by all Muslim nations. Iran, in contrast, continually trumpets its plans to destroy the Great Satan and the Little Satan (US and Israel respectively). Israel cannot afford to discount Iran’s venomous threats, ever mindful of the Holocaust. Can the West afford to believe Iran is not serious about possessing atomic weapons?

Most pundits say that the Obama administration has no intention of opposing Iran militarily, and that Israel has lost its opportunity to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons progress. Perhaps neither option will be necessary and Iran will humiliate itself and back down. However, I wouldn’t bet on that. As to actually facing Iran down, administrations change regularly in America, while Israel has surprised the world numerous times by unprecedented interventions (destroying Osirak (Iraqi) nuclear plant in 1981 and the Syrian nuclear installation in 2011 come to mind). Anything can happen, and suddenly, as has been proven innumerable times.

The American public has just “thrown the bums out,” which has happened quite often. It’s time for citizens to pay attention to what the American government is doing. If you agree with the administration’s strategy, fine. If not, make sure to let your representatives and senators know that things must change.

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.