Make Peace, Not War With Iran

By James Gundun

Defense spokesman Geoff Morrell had told reporters that his boss, Secretary Robert Gates, was keen to address Al Jazeera.  The Arab media giant couldn’t be ignored he said in a backhand way. With such a high platform, Gates unfortunately cast himself into the sweeping tide of war against Iran when peace is the only feasible solution in the Middle East.

‘One of the pathways to get the Iranians to change their approach on the nuclear issue is to persuade them that moving down that path will actually jeopardize their security,not enhance it,’ Gates said in wide ranging interview. ‘The more that our Arab friends and allies can straighten their security capabilities, the more they can strengthen their cooperation, both with each other and with us, I think sends the signal to the Iranians that this path they’re on is not going to advance Iranian security but in fact could weaken it.’

Gate’s plan falls in line with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent slip of a Eurasian defense umbrella.  The Pentagon is similarly considering speeding up development of its bunker busting 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). Under stifling pressure from Israel, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns admits that the Obama administration is preparing Iranian sanctions for 2010 in return for a temporary settlement freeze.

Israel is trading 1 apple for 5 apples and fleecing America, but the reason holds a key to why Iran’s nuclear program isn’t about Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has turned a Palestinian demand into leverage against America, exploiting the conflict by tying Iranian weapons into a two-state solution to further its outside interests. Israel demands a security guarantee against Iran to end its occupation, overlooking that a fully functioning Palestinian state equals true security.

This charge isn’t leveled lightly, but Israel is apparently stalling on a Palestinian state as a means to disarm Iran.  Not long ago Iran was thought to be years away from a nuclear bomb, yet the cries suddenly grow urgent again. US envoy Glyn Davies recently told a UN meeting, ‘We have serious concerns that Iran is deliberately attempting, at a minimum, to preserve a nuclear weapons option.’

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Sayad Fayyad recently gave two years as his deadline for a Palestinian state, which President Obama matched with his own two year deadline.  Israel, then, has only two years to play the war card because Iranian animosity could dry up with the official recognition of a Palestinian state. In fact US officials have never clearly explained why Iran has any intention of attacking Europe, and the only reason for attacking Israel is the Palestinian plight.

‘First of all,’ Gates insisted, ‘it’s the Iranian leadership that has said it wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Those threats have not been made in the other direction. It is the Iranian government that is in violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions with respect to these programs, so focus needs to be on the country that is feuding the will of the international community and the United Nations.’

Not only is being told to focus solely on Iran an automatic red flag, Israel itself is guilty of feuding with the international community and the UN over its various wars.  Israel also makes routine threats against Iran and allegedly funded it to continue to its war against Saddam Hussein.  The West must come to realize that the Iranian threat is a two way street.  Iran will remain hostile as long as no Palestine exist and since Israel needs Iran to remain hostile, it must delay the creation of Palestine. 

Conversely a Palestinian state would relieve tensions throughout the region, from Egypt to Turkey to Saudi Arabia to Iran to Pakistan. Iran would lose its main cause for hostility, removing Israel’s justification to disarm Iran via preemptive strike or outright war.  Thus Israel isn’t just acting out of self-defense – it wants to disarm Iran permanently, regardless of a real threat. 

Yossi Levy, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, recently urged, ‘The Iranians have been trying for a long time to stall, and the world is obligated to stop them immediately. This is a historic crossroad for world peace.’

Israeli officials have a habit of speaking of others and themselves at the same time. Most Palestinians believe Israel is stalling to expand its grip on the West Bank before withdrawing.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon recently called on Israel to stop settlements immediately.  It’s painful that the obvious is so overlooked, but war isn’t a crossroads for peace – Palestinian and Israeli states, living side by side in autonomy, is that crossroads. 

Disarming Iran’s nuclear program through war won’t lead to peace nor will covering the Gulf with a defense umbrella.  The media in states Secretary Gates is likely considering have already expressed concern over pitting Arabs against Persians, such as the Al Jazeera and the Jordan Times. The Khaleej Times, in the UAE, explicitly warned, ‘Gates jingoism will be nothing but suicidal.’

War will only militarize and split the region into deeper alliances. America must convince Israel that a Palestinian state is the best means of neutralizing Iranian hostility.  The West should emphasize a two-state solution instead of wasting energy by formulating crippling sanctions and battle-plans.

 – James Gundun is a political scientist and counterinsurgency analyst based in Washington D.C. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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