SOLAR PLEXUS

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Prove me wrong

The elephant in the room is Iran but things are seldom quiet for long in the turbulent waters of the Middle East. And in our hyperconnected and globalised world things that happen in the Middle East (unlike Las Vegas I am told) never remain for long in the Middle East.

So just to clear up the Middle East deal, lets repeat: unless Obama (et al) pull an unlikely rabbit out of the hat we will find at the end of 6 months that there is no rabbit in the hat any longer.  It is running wild and out of control.

Perhaps Israel will shoot it either before the 6 months are over, which the deal is expressly designed to prevent as has been made clear by a number of high-level warnings against independent Israeli action – or shortly afterwards. In the meantime, Israel is attempting to go along with the diplomatic roadshow (see here) to mitigate inevitable accusations of bad faith or possibly in a last ditch effort to insert some starch into the backbones of the USA and other member of the P5+1 negotiating team. For supportive perspectives see here and here. Even that ever hopeful leftwinger, Alon Ben-Meir, cannot help but acknowledge the dangers inherent in the deal.

But if its positive spin you’re looking for here is an article from a Arab website, “Iran deal political earthquake for Israel: Analyst. The key quote from the article is this one: “Potentially, what they’re looking at, they’re looking at Iran taking away market share down the road; they’re looking at Iran reintegrating into the global economy, potentially. And what they’re also looking at, they are seeing a historic opportunity for Iran to take its right place in the region and this is indeed becoming a geopolitical earthquake for Israel as well as for Middle Eastern neighbors as well as this is becoming a political and geo-economic earthquake for some of these critics”. No “nice neighbour” there and, of course, that is what Iran has achieved: no longer a nuclear breakout, rogue state but a BEEG trading partner for those very hungry investors in the West and elsewhere. That rabbit is not going back into the hat; no way!

And here is one from Jeffrey Goldberg in Bloomberg. His key quotes are these: “The fourth path is diplomacy, and this interim deal may be the best the U.S. was going to get. The deal has many dubious features. It comes perilously close to recognizing Iran’s so-called right-to enrich. It makes it even less probable that the West will confront Iran for its nefarious behavior in Syria. It frees up billions of dollars for the regime to use in exchange for nuclear concessions that are reversible. It does not require a single centrifuge to be dismantled. Iran could still make a rush for nuclear breakout in eight weeks.” And Strategic pauses are fine, but actual dismantling? It seems hard to believe, for any number of reasons, the simplest one being that it is in the best long-term interest of the regime to have the means to quickly build a nuclear weapon. It’s certainly not in the interest of the regime to agree to be disarmed by the U.S., its arch-enemy and the country still often referred to as the Great Satan. So everything that has happened over these past months may not amount to anything at all.” BUT then he inexplicably goes on to say “Contra Netanyahu, who unrealistically seeks only total Iranian capitulation, it isn’t stupid for Obama to find out for sure what, if anything, the Iranians are willing to give up for good.”

In conclusion, I cannot see anything that does not suggest that the West is basically saying this: “We cannot or will not stop Iran becoming a potential or actual nuclear player, but we can create the illusion of decisive action. In the meantime we hope that if Iran is incorporated into the global economic network it will eventually relinquish its rogue instincts and become a domesticated member of the family of nations. And if that does not happen, well Israel will just have to learn to live with the existential threat of an economically viable, nuclear armed, genocidal neighbour because we prefer the 80 million Iranians to the 7 million Israeli Jews.”

Prove me wrong!

Mike Berger

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2 responses to “Prove me wrong

  1. Mike Berger December 7, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    I don’t feel “left in the lurch” Sydney. My analysis was realistic and was widely shared by many serious analysis – not only the Israeli government. Obviously Israel understands the die has been cast. From adopting a hard uncompromising line they are now playing for maximum gain in a very fluid situation. Once again (and this is just a guess: I don’t have any sense of infallibility) I suspect that the game will go on for quite some time waiting to see how the balance of forces in Iran work themselves out and leaving quite a number of options on the table. Interesting times…

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  2. SYD Kaye December 7, 2013 at 8:10 am

    The problem with following the Israeli government line too closely is that you never really know whether it really is their line or just a position. So when they U turn you can be left in the lurch. The FT now reports that Israel has changed its tune “overnight” and accept the Iran deal is “water under the bridge”, and are now concentrating on the final stage, accepting that Iran will have some nuclear facilities and that Arak may have light water rather than heavy water capabilities. Perhaps the Israeli authorities are more grounded in reality than you give them credit for.

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