Israel and the crazy cul-de-sac of the Middle East

Perhaps it’s because Israel is an actual resident of the crazy cul-de-sac that is the Middle East and Iran is the historical bully in it. Photo: Netanyahu / Associated Press

WASHINGTON, December 21, 2013 – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the recent Iran sanctions deal as an “historic mistake” and has said that envoys will be sent to DC to attempt to toughen the yet-to-be-finalized agreement. 

Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Intelligence Minister, said the pact is based on “Iranian deception and self-delusion.”

On the other hand, President Obama has praised the deal. The British Foreign Secretary has warned that Israel shouldn’t interfere.

If the President and the UK’s Foreign Secretary are fans, why then isn’t the Israeli leadership?  And who cares what Israel thinks any way?

Perhaps it’s because Israel is an actual resident of the crazy cul-de-sac that is the Middle East and Iran is the historical bully in it.

Iranian leadership has already publicly stated that uranium enrichment will continue (although halting enrichment is part of the deal, as described by Secretary Kerry and President Obama).  So which is it?

Iranian President Rouhani has also said “guidelines offered” by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have been a contributor to the success of the negotiations.  And what good is an agreement without following guidelines established by noted peace-activist Ayatollah Khamenei?

So perhaps Netanyahu has a point…

President Rouhani has admitted, bragged in fact, about violating previous nuclear agreements.  (Video and details here.)  How this agreement is any different, other than one being shepherded by President Obama, is anyone’s guess.

At a Jerusalem Day celebration in Tehran this past summer, Rouhani said, “The occupation of Palestine is a wound on the body of the Islamic world.”  If you Google “Iran statements against Israel,” 6,920,000 results appear.  Phrases like “eliminated” and “wiped off the map” abound.

Even if these are all discounted as rhetorical devices or merely puffery, retractions or restatements are impossible to find.  Perhaps Israelis are taking the Iranians at their word.  So which words are the President and Secretary of State taking?

Every mutual fund investment prospectus published includes a disclaimer that reads, “Past performance is not an indication of future performance.”  The idea is that just because something has happened in the past, it does NOT follow that it will also occur in the future.  Investment performance MAY differ from that which has happened before.

It seems that for this deal, the President is claiming, “past performance will NOT be an indication of future performance.”  The past must ABSOLUTELY not repeat itself if this thing is to succeed.  For those whose lives are threatened, they’re wisely NOT investing much in the words of the Iranians.


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