Israel, Petraeus and Iran

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 3 months ago

Andrew McCarthy at NRO takes on both Petraeus and Max Boot in a recent commentary.

In January, after canvassing opinion from Muslim governments in his area of responsibility, Petraeus sent a team of CENTCOM officials to brief the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As reported by Mark Perry of Foreign Policy, the purpose of that briefing was to underline Petraeus’s “growing worries at the lack of progress in resolving” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The general was doing politics, not combat strategy — and we don’t owe him any deference on politics. In a 33-slide, 45-minute PowerPoint presentation, Petraeus’s briefers reported, among other things, “that there was a growing perception among Arab leaders that the U.S. was incapable of standing up to Israel, that CENTCOM’s mostly Arab constituency was losing faith in American promises, [and] that Israeli intransigence on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was jeopardizing U.S. standing in the region.”

The general repeated this political theme in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 16. Specifically, he averred in a written statement (p. 12) that the “… enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to advance our interest in the AOR (Area of Responsibility). Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile Al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizbollah and Hamas.”

Max Boot briefly responded that Petraeus doesn’t blame Israel for our problems and it’s incorrect for McCarthy to say that he does.  McCarthy’s commentary is insightful, and I won’t weigh in on Boot’s specific response concerning whether Pertraeus believes that Israel is the root of America’s problems.  General Petraeus could (and should) weigh in himself (although his testimony seemed pretty clear to me).

However, on the issue of being a so-called “honest broker,” some sort of neutral party which can hold both sides accountable and thereby effect change in behavior or attitude, this is worse than wishful thinking.  Leaving aside the issue of whether the U.S. should be biased towards Israel and assessing the situation from a purely clinical perspective, the belief that “honest brokering” with Israel will change the calculus is naive to the point of being childish and even dangerous (and here I am not necessarily commenting on the Petraeus testimony).

The radical rulers in Iran will not be mollified, and the covert and overt operations of their surrogates in the Middle East will not be attenuated one iota by playing “honest broker” and pressing Israel to make more concessions.  The Palestinians are increasingly rejecting the idea of a two-state solution.  Short of regime change, Iran will obtain nuclear weapons within a few years or less, excepting military action by Israel (which has the unlikely affect of being successful in the long term).  Not even the most robust sanctions will stop Iran, much less political pressure on Israel.

We must remove the radical Mullahs or support those who would in order to avoid a regional conflagration in the near term.  Everyone in the State Department already knows this, or if they don’t, they aren’t qualified to be in the employ of the government.  I’m not quite sure which group is larger.  One year and four months ago I forecasted that “the State Department will begin the administration with high hopes, excitement and grand ambitions for the role of diplomacy, negotiations and multi-lateral talks. By the end of the administration, a general malaise and confusion will have descended upon the entire State Department, and yet there will still be sparse and shallow understanding of why negotiations have so miserably failed to prevent or ameliorate the various calamities for which they were targeted.”

  • davod

    Iran’s nuclear program transcends ideology. None of the people touted as the opposition will stop the program. A new government may well be worse because it may lower the rhetoric. This milder tone will be adopted by all as a positive move, when it really means full speed ahead. The milder tone will flow though all foreign affairs matters. The Pasdaran’s activities will continue or increase, as will the activities of Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas.

  • Warbucks

    “the belief that “honest brokering” with Israel will change the calculus is naive to the point of being childish and even dangerous (and here I am not necessarily commenting on the Petraeus testimony).”

    That of course is the crux of the matter. How do we alter the current reality, the current dynamic of relationships between belief systems?

    What if you could convince people from the starting point of our perception of reality, i.e., mechanistic – relativistic – quantum physics of reality, was indeed not the whole picture. Still yet another

    (A) “sub-quantum” world of physical understanding existed, say for example with a cartoon character like my old friend, Dr. Quantum (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jh8uZUzuRhk&feature=player_embedded) first opened their eyes with a gee-whiz factor; followed by say,

    (B) “sub-quantum-kenetics” version of physics quantified by Dr. Paul LaViolette (http://umc-unofficiallaymanopenforum.ning.com/forum/topics/superwave-dr-paul-laviolette ), all capped off with a high level public disclosure of

    (C) The “Disclosure Project” and its implications. (just Google around on the internet, you’ll find it).

    It would have to be high level push of course to capture the attention of those within the ranks. President’s Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan came the closest of course, to alluding to what is now being referred to in the internet and fringe community (of which I seem to have migrated into even as I keep one foot in your reality) The Disclosure Project.

    If leaders of major opposing factions all suddenly started saying the same things, i.e., “Here is what is true and has been kept from you as best we can project,” …. factions might listen to each other and break through the otherwise seemingly, “childish and dangerous,” dogma of required actions our current understanding of reality demands.

    If none of this makes any sense to you, just consider it the mumblings of an old man. But if you intuitively sense there is a modicum of logic that should be investigated, pursue it.

  • Warbucks

    We’ve all listened to retired Lt. Col Allen West’s fine speech (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WReJgvOBXa8 ) posted earlier by The Captain, and we probably all concur or nearly all concur with the clarity of messages delivered by Col. Allen.

    For me his most important point is near the end 8-min 33 sec’s into his talk, where he says:

    “Now is the time for principled leadership in the United States of America” …. “when tolerance becomes a one way street, it leads to cultural suicide. When I am able to fly to Saudi Arabia with my Bible in hand, with my cross around my neck, to go to Mecca, and to go to a church, then guess what? We’re good to go.”

    I’ve intuitively sought leadership symbols that represent and actions that represent optimistic change from the bottom-up. In this regard it seems to me, that the Vatican itself together with a broad spectrum of religious leaders from all world main-stream religions must find the courage to do just that in symbolic form.

    For Example: The Pope needs to be invited and to accept taking the Hajj to Mecca http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hajj , and while in Mecca, the Pope needs to extend an Open Eucharist to Muslims http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_communion

    and the Muslims must accept the invitation in grace and participate in a reciprocal peaceful process. These would be worthy, meaningful, benevolent spiritual acts that would change the course of history even if only spiritual leaders participated.

    Such acts would send profound signals of change and new beginnings.

  • Warbucks

    Additionally, a similar reciprocity must be extended into the Arab world for participation at the Vatican in the public assembly area.


You are currently reading "Israel, Petraeus and Iran", entry #4827 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iran,Israel,Palestine,State Department and was published April 12th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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