Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him Dearly

Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him Dearly

Netanyahu Miscalculations About IranJuan Cole, Truthdig, September 09 2019:… This economic and financial blockade was supposed to bring Iran to its knees, push it out of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and perhaps (it was hoped by some in Trump’s circles) even pave the way to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran in favor of the Marxist-Islamic People’s Jihadis (Mohahedin-e Khalq or MEK, which is alleged to have ties to Israeli intelligence). Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him Dearly 

Netanyahu's Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him DearlyUntangling The Web Of The Saudi-Israeli-US Propaganda War On Iran

Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him Dearly 

Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran

The Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu is one of the world players who pushed Trump to breach the 2015 treaty with Iran. Trump then slapped the severest economic sanctions on Iran ever imposed on any country in the absence of war. Trump went around the world menacing other countries into ceasing to buy Iranian petroleum and threatening billions in fines against any company anywhere in the world that invested in or traded with Iran.

This economic and financial blockade was supposed to bring Iran to its knees, push it out of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and perhaps (it was hoped by some in Trump’s circles) even pave the way to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran in favor of the Marxist-Islamic People’s Jihadis (Mohahedin-e Khalq or MEK, which is alleged to have ties to Israeli intelligence).

Netanyahu and Maryam Rajavi thank Trump for accepting their request

Instead, Netanyahu and Trump have pushed Iran straight into the arms of China which is investing $400 billion in the country and which is now taking most of Iran’s oil exports. China seems intent on integrating Iran into its economy even more robustly than it had proposed with Pakistan.

In foreign policy, China supports the al-Assad government in Syria and so is a silent partner with Iran and Russia in this regard. Hawks in Washington had hoped to see al-Assad overthrown in favor of Sunni fundamentalists who might join a US-Saudi-Israel axis (this was always a pipe dream and some of the actual Sunni fundamentalists affiliated to al-Qaeda).

China has investments in Iraqi petroleum and was extremely alarmed by so-called Islamic State group or ISIL, which it was afraid would infect the 20 million Chinese Muslims with radicalism. It is therefore happy enough to have a strong Shiite anti-ISIL government in Baghdad allied with equally anti-ISIL Shiite Iran.

In short, China’s close embrace of Iran requires no significant change in Iranian foreign policy, and indeed, promises to strengthen Iran in such a way as to enable it to continue its present policies in the Middle East.

Nor is China interested in the least in Iran’s human rights record or how democratic its government is.

Let’s just imagine what might have happened if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the 2015 Iran deal, had remained in place and the US had upheld its treaty obligations.

France, Germany and Italy were chomping at the bit to get into Iran. Some 100 French CEOs went to Tehran seeking markets. Iran was on the verge of being inundated with Western consumer goods. Iran was being normalized in diplomacy. It was planning to buy Boeing planes and Airbuses.

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Closer integration of Iran into the European and American economy would have added to the country’s prosperity, and would have undercut regime hard liners. Such a dense network of economic ties has political and diplomatic implications. Iran would have had to moderate some of its policies in order to maintain good relations with its new trading partners. European leaders would have pressured it on human rights and democracy, and its hostility to Israel. Moreover, any backsliding on its commitments to keep its enrichment program limited to civilian production of electricity would also have threatened those trade ties.

This scenario would have had substantial benefits for Israel, even if it deprived the Israeli leadership of a pretext for or piece of misdirection for their brutal colonization of Palestine (the West Bank and Gaza).

Trump had his own reasons for canceling the 2015 Iran deal, in which Iran had given up 80% of its civilian nuclear enrichment program and was forestalled from militarizing the program by UN inspections. But it seems clear from the reporting of Ronen Bergman and Mark Mazetti at the New York Times Netanyahu has spent a decade and a half lobbying for the United States to strike Iran. Of course, so too have the Saudis, and the warmonger wing of the Republican Party is full of Genghis Khans dreaming of towers of skulls. Netanyahu and the Israeli political establishment, however, have much more weight in Washington than do the Saudis, and Netanyahu has openly campaigned as a sort of American Republican, working his constituency among evangelicals and deploying the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which donates big money to US politicians, and mobilizing the full spectrum of what John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt termed “the Israel Lobby.”

Using Mojahedin Khalq (aka MEK, MKO, Rajavi cult) to damage Iran EU relationship

To the extent that Netanyahu played a role here, his plot has backfired monumentally. If the China deal goes through, Iran is much strengthened and its hard liners are entirely unleashed. The positioning of Chinese security forces in Iran will make it increasingly risky for other countries such as Israel or the US to strike Iran, lest they come into conflict with nuclear-armed China.

Netanyahu may have been hoping that Trump would strike Iran for him, but that clearly is not going to happen– Trump’s reading of his base is that they are tired of seeing American blood and treasure squandered in the Middle East. Indeed, Trump may eventually actually hold talks with Iran, an eventuality that clearly scares Netanyahu half to death.

Netanyahu could have had an Iran under the JCPOA that integrated increasingly with the West and became open to Western pressure. He blew it.

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Netanyahu Miscalculations About Iran Will Cost Him Dearly

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https://iran-interlink.org/wordpress/as-giuliani-calls-for-regime-change-in-iran-netanyahu-raises-the-specter-of-war/

As Giuliani Calls for Regime Change in Iran, Netanyahu Raises the Specter of “War”

Benjamin_netanyahou_MEK_Maryam_Rajavi_terrorists_2Robert Mackey, The Intercept, February 15 2019:… Off-stage, the U.S. president’s lawyer admitted that he was paid by the exile group, but stressed to reporters that he was in Warsaw on behalf of the MEK in his personal capacity and would not be attending the diplomatic conference organized by the State Department. The Israeli prime minister described the gathering as primarily a meeting of Iran’s enemies.

Danish_Anders_SamuelsenIsraeli_Benjamin_Netanyahu_MEK_Iran_TerrorismEurope a safe haven for Mossad backed terrorists (MEK/MKO/Rajavi cult). not so safe for diplomats

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As Giuliani Calls for Regime Change in Iran, Netanyahu Raises the Specter of “War”

Trump_lawyer_Rudy_Giuliani_MEK_Maryam_Rajavi_terrorists_2

RUDY GIULIANI, the former mayor of New York City who now serves as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, called for the overthrow of Iran’s government on Wednesday during a rally in Poland staged by a cult-like group of Iranian exiles who pay him to represent them.

Speaking outside the Warsaw venue for an international conference on the Middle East attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Giuliani said that his message for the 65 governments discussing ways to confront Iran was simple. “The theocratic dictatorship in Tehran,” Giuliani said, “must end and end quickly.”

 

Off-stage, the U.S. president’s lawyer admitted that he was paid by the exile group, but stressed to reporters that he was in Warsaw on behalf of the MEK in his personal capacity and would not be attending the diplomatic conference organized by the State Department.

Even before the conference began, the Israeli prime minister appeared to shrug off efforts by the State Department and the Polish government to portray the gathering as broadly focused on Middle East peace, describing it as primarily a meeting of Iran’s enemies.

In video posted on the prime minister’s official Twitter feed, Netanyahu characterized a meeting with Oman’s foreign minister as “excellent,” and one focused on “additional steps we can take together with the countries of the region in order to advance common interests.”

According to the English translation of Netanyahu’s remarks in Hebrew prepared by his office, the prime minister then added: “What is important about this meeting — and it is not in secret because there are many of those — is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Benjamin_netanyahou_MEK_Maryam_Rajavi_terrorists_2A screenshot from video posted on the official Twitter feed of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s use of the word “war” seemed to throw Israel’s diplomatic corps into chaos. Within minutes, as journalists speculated that the prime minister’s office might have mistranslated his comment, Netanyahu’s spokesperson to the Arab media, Ofir Gendelman, wrote that the Israeli leader had described his nation’s common interest with Arab nations as “combatting Iran,” not “war with Iran.”

The subtitled video produced by the prime minister’s office was then deleted from his Twitter feed and replaced with the text of Gendelman’s alternative translation.

As my colleague Talya Cooper explains, however, Netanyahu did in fact use the Hebrew word for “war” in the video, which has not yet been deleted from his Hebrew-language YouTube channel. In a separate video, posted by Netanyahu’s office on Facebook earlier in the day, the prime minister had used the Hebrew word for “combat.”

Aron Heller, an Associated Press correspondent based in Jerusalem, also filmed the remarks and reported that although Netanyahu had mentioned “war,” his office said later that he was referring to “combatting Iran.”

 

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, seized on the Israeli leader’s apparent Freudian slip as evidence that Netanyahu’s true aim of provoking a war with Iran was now out in the open

Zarif also suggested that the Trump administration and the exiles of the MEK might have been behind a suicide bombing on a bus in southeastern Iran on Wednesday, which killed 41 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

“Is it no coincidence that Iran is hit by terror on the very day that #WarsawCircus begins?” Zarif tweeted. “Especially when cohorts of same terrorists cheer it from Warsaw streets & support it with twitter bots? US seems to always make the same wrong choices, but expect different results.”

The foreign minister was clearly referring to the MEK, which spent three decades trying to achieve regime change in Iran through violence, including terrorist attacks. The well-funded exile group was also suspected of being behind social media trickery discovered by the BBC, which reported that Twitter bots had been deployed “to artificially create a trend which hints at popular support for the summit and — by extension — widespread resentment towards the Iranian establishment.”

The Iranian exiles have been caught in the past paying nonsupporters to fill out its crowds at rallies, a tactic reportedly used at the event in Warsaw on Wednesday, according to journalists on the ground.

 

Members of the MEK helped foment the 1979 Iranian revolution, in part by killing American civilians working in Tehran, but the group then lost a struggle for power to the Islamists. With its leadership forced to flee Iran in 1981, the MEK’s members set up a government-in-exile in France and established a military base in Iraq, where they were given arms and training by Saddam Hussein as part of a strategy to destabilize the government in Tehran that he was at war with.

In recent years, as The Intercept has reported, the MEK has poured millions of dollars into reinventing itself as a moderate political group ready to take power in Iran if Western-backed regime change ever takes place. To that end, it lobbied successfully to be removed from the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2012. The Iranian exiles achieved this over the apparent opposition of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in part by paying a long list of former U.S. officials from both parties hefty speaking fees of between $10,000 to $50,000 for hymns of praise.

Despite the claims of paid spokespeople like Giuliani and John Bolton — who predicted regime change would come at a lavish MEK rally in Paris just months before being named Trump’s national security adviser — the MEK appears to be as unprepared to take power in Iran as Ahmad Chalabi’s exiled Iraqi National Congress was after the American invasion of Iraq.

 

Ariane Tabatabai, a Georgetown University scholar, has argued that the “cult-like dissident group” — whose married members were reportedly forced to divorce and take a vow of lifelong celibacy — “has no viable chance of seizing power in Iran.”

If the current government is not Iranians’ first choice for a government, the MEK is not even their last — and for good reason. The MEK supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War. The people’s discontent with the Iranian government at that time did not translate into their supporting an external enemy that was firing Scuds into Tehran, using chemical weapons and killing hundreds of thousands of Iranians, including many civilians. Today, the MEK is viewed negatively by most Iranians, who would prefer to maintain the status quo than rush to the arms of what they consider a corrupt, criminal cult.

Despite such doubts, spending lavishly on paid endorsements has earned the MEK a bipartisan roster of Washington politicians willing to sign up as supporters. At a gala in 2016, Bolton was joined in singing the group’s praises by another former U.N. ambassador, Bill Richardson; a former attorney general, Michael Mukasey; the former State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley; the former Homeland Security adviser Frances Townsend; the former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I.; and the former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. That Paris gala was hosted by Linda Chavez, a former Reagan administration official, and headlined by Newt Gingrich, the former speaker who was under consideration to be Trump’s running mate at the time.

Fears about Bolton’s apparently open desire to start a war with Iran have been exacerbated by his boosting of the MEK and his steadfast denial of the catastrophe unleashed by the invasion of Iraq that he worked for as a member of the Bush administration. Last year, when Fox News host Tucker Carlson pointed out that Bolton had called for regime change in Iraq, Libya, Iran, and Syria, and the first of those had been “a disaster,” Bolton disagreed.

“I think the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, that military action, was a resounding success,” Bolton insisted to Carlson. The chaos that followed in Iraq, he said, was caused by a poorly executed occupation that ended too soon. On the bright side, Bolton said, the mistakes the U.S. made in Iraq offered “lessons about what to do after a regime is overthrown” in the future.

Earlier this week, Sen. Chris Murphy warned that Bolton appeared to be laying the groundwork for war in a belligerent video message from the White House to mark the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution.

Another strong supporter of the disastrous U.S. invasion of Iraq was Netanyahu, who, between terms as prime minister, testified to Congress on Sept. 12, 2002 as a private citizen, and advised lawmakers that attacking Iraq would be wise.

A review of Netanyahu’s 2002 testimony — in which he said, “I think the choice of Iraq is a good choice, it’s the right choice” — reveals that he linked his strong support for a United States invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein with the possibility of inspiring the implosion of the ruling theocracy in neighboring Iran.

“It’s not a question of whether Iraq’s regime should be taken out but when should it be taken out; it’s not a question of whether you’d like to see a regime change in Iran but how to achieve it,” Netanyahu said then. “If you take out Saddam, Saddam’s regime, I guarantee you that it will have enormous positive reverberations on the region. And I think that people sitting right next door in Iran, young people, and many others, will say the time of such regimes, of such despots is gone.”

 

Updated: Feb. 14, 2019
This article was updated to include Congressional testimony from Benjamin Netanyahu on Sept. 12, 2002, in which he advocated a U.S. invasion of Iraq.

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