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As always, the UN will this year be concerned with the Question of Palestine in its annual show. It should be concerned with the more urgent Question of Iran, but strangely enough it might not be.

Last July, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1696, calling upon Iran to halt enrichment of uranium by August 31, 2006. August 31, 2006 came and went. Iran simply ignored the resolution. Astoundingly, nothing happened. It turned out that the US and other countries who had passed this resolution had not considered what they would do if Iran failed to comply! Perhaps it would have been better to do nothing, then to pass a resolution that is going to be flaunted, because that threatens the authority of the UN Security Council. Never make a law you cannot enforce. (See Unclear Iranian Nuclear Weapons Policy)

While the G-8 dither, Iran has been busy. Iran has supposedly lined up 115 of 194 General Assembly members who would support its policies and break sanctions if imposed by the Security Council. The G-8 did not even try to get general support for sanctions. Of course, most of the 115 countries do not supply vital industrial components that could be used in making nuclear weapons, and probably they do not manufacture spare parts for Iranian military equipment or oil rigs. Iran has also been busy stockpiling materials that are likely to be included in sanctions.

The apparent decision to do nothing has also been noted by others. At The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies Emily Landau wrote:


On August 31, Iran clarified that it had no intention of suspending uranium enrichment activities as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 1696. Nevertheless, the expiration of this deadline has not opened the door to immediate discussions on sanctions. In fact, any resolve the international community once had to force Iran either to acquiesce or be exposed as a defiant nuclear proliferator is quickly dissolving, and only the US is now pressing for sanctions. European leaders, who earlier this year were widely reported to be firm in their determination not to allow Iran to defy the international community, have responded to Iran's most recent act of defiance by opting for more negotiations. All this suggests that European firmness was more apparent than real and that while the appearance could be preserved so long as issue of sanctions was merely hypothetical, it dissolved as soon as the prospect became more real, and Europeans, like Russians and Chinese, had to calculate the impact of sanctions on their own economic interests.

(entire item is below if you are reading this at the ZioNation Web log )
It is deja vu all over again as Yogi Berra said, or in more elegant language, George Santayana said
"Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it."

Iran is not likely to use nuclear weapons, but it would use the threat of nuclear weapons as an "umbrella" to protect aggressive policies and gain regional power status. There is also the possibility that these weapons could fall into the hands of the Hezbollah.

In the 1930s the great powers made much noise about Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia, but then as now, it was all bluff. When it came to the point, the League went through the motions of sanctions, but everyone understood it was an empty gesture. The League was discredited. Then as now, the powers that be minimized the threat and the transgression committed by the aggressor country. "Iran is making a bomb. So what? Other countries have nuclear weapons, no?"

Then as now, those who had a different opinion, like Winston Churchill, were derided as "warmongers" and their position was labeled as hysterical.

Then as now, the doomsayers kept warning, and the PC people ignored them, minimizing and ridiculing the threat. Today, many don't take Ahmadinejad's repeated threats to wipe out the "Zionist regime" and the "great satan" (United States) seriously. Then, Neville Chamberlain said, "Why, to hear Winston Churchill talk, you would think Hitler was going to kill every Jew in Europe."

At least, there was no danger that Mussolini or Hitler would address the League of Nations. Ahmadinejad will shortly be in New York, trying to address the General Assembly. Right now he is busy in several conferences aimed at buttressing his anti-American front.

What was not understood in the 1930s is also not understood today. Too many people believed Chamberlain when he said of Czechoslovakia:


How horrible, fantastic, incredible it is that we should be digging trenches and trying on gas masks here because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing.


Englishmen thought the quarrel with the dictatorships was about Jews, or Abyssinians or Czechs. They refused to understand that the quarrel was about them, and that the real horror was not digging trenches in 1938 in London, but betraying Abyssinia and Czechoslovakia, and then having to dig trenches in France in 1940.

Today, too many people believe that the problem of Iran is a problem about Israel. a far-away country full of Jews. The fact that Jewish organizations in the USA are leading the fight against Ahmadinejad lends credibility to the idea that this is a "Jewish" issue. Europeans should remember that Iran apparently has Korean supplied BM-25 IRBMs with a range of 1550 KM and capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Americans should not forget that Ahmadinejad promised a world without Zionism and without America. Everyone should remember that when a member state is allowed to flout substantive UN resolutions, world peace is endangered.

Ami Isseroff




After the 31 August Deadline: The Fading International Resolve to Confront Iran

Emily B. Landau

Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies

On August 31, Iran clarified that it had no intention of suspending uranium enrichment activities as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 1696. Nevertheless, the expiration of this deadline has not opened the door to immediate discussions on sanctions. In fact, any resolve the international community once had to force Iran either to acquiesce or be exposed as a defiant nuclear proliferator is quickly dissolving, and only the US is now pressing for sanctions. European leaders, who earlier this year were widely reported to be firm in their determination not to allow Iran to defy the international community, have responded to Iran's most recent act of defiance by opting for more negotiations. All this suggests that European firmness was more apparent than real and that while the appearance could be preserved so long as issue of sanctions was merely hypothetical, it dissolved as soon as the prospect became more real, and Europeans, like Russians and Chinese, had to calculate the impact of sanctions on their own economic interests.

This is not the first time that the international community has attempted and failed to force Iran to make a choice. On every previous occasion, important states have failed to follow through on an ultimatum to which they were party and rationalized their failure with a variety of explanations: a lack of conclusive evidence of Iran's military nuclear plans; insufficiently attractive incentives offered to Iran; a lack of real American commitment to provide security assurances to Iran; and fears that too much pressure on Iran will cause it to react forcefully, leading to instability and escalation. These explanations avoid confronting the basic reality, which is that for three years the international community has been unable to stop Iran and that each missed opportunity to do so further emboldens Iran. At the root of this problem is Iran's unwavering determination, on the one hand, and differing interests and levels of commitment on the part of those confronting Iran, on the other. In this structural reality, Iran enjoys an innate advantage that it has been playing to maximum effect.

The recent war in Lebanon highlighted the dangerous implications of Iran's hegemonic ambitions and underscored the central role that proxies play in that regard. Consequently, the war should logically have led to an invigorated determination to confront Iran directly. Instead, the same familiar explanations are again being conjured up to account for the fact that many major international actors, including European governments, are shying away from any sort of confrontation and are not seriously considering a harsh response. Instead, there are suggestions of enhanced incentives for continuing
negotiations, perhaps including explicit American security guarantees and acknowledgement of Iran's status as the regional hegemonic power. This, presumably in the expectation that Iran, in turn, would end its proxy war against the United States and Israel and give up its military nuclear plans.

If the international community is serious in its attempt to stop Iran's nuclear military program, it will have to abandon its convenient explanations for the failure to force Iran to suspend uranium enrichment - which simply demonstrate the impotence of the international community and allow Iran to buy time - and embark, instead, on determined action. Russia and China are usually considered the major obstacles to UN Security Council agreement on sanctions against Iran, and the long-standing reservations of these states are undoubtedly a serious constraint on action in that framework. But Europe's newly-expressed hesitations are equally if not more problematic, especially given the central role it would have to play in any effort to promote sanctions by an effective "coalition of the willing" outside the framework of the UN.

When it becomes clear that sanctions through the UN Security Council are unlikely because of the continued objections of Russia and China and that even sanctions outside the Security Council framework are not feasible because of the basic unwillingness on the part of Europe to endanger its economic ties with Iran, Iran will move one major step closer to achieving military nuclear capability. At that point, the case for military action against Iran will almost certainly receive more focused attention.

However, an alternative direction that might be pursued by those intent on standing up to Iran is to try to build on the lessons of the Lebanon war drawn by some of the states in the Middle East. Having experienced the consequences of Iran's destabilizing policies, many in the region are more concerned than ever about the prospect of a nuclear Iran. It might therefore be possible to explore the possibility of addressing these concerns in a new and broader framework of Euro-American consultation with interested states in the Middle East. Building on the broad-based common interest to curb Iran's hegemonic and nuclear ambitions, discussions could include ideas such as those currently circulating in the Gulf for the creation of a Gulf Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone or other means of communicating the message that Iran will face growing regional isolation if it continues on its present course.

__

Tel Aviv Notes is published by

TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies

www.tau.ac.il/jcss/

& The Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies

http://www.dayan.org/

Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000239.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

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Replies: 1 Comment

This is an excellent article. I hope it reaches not only Israel's supporters, but rather moderate Muslims and moderat Christians.

Rachel Yane, Sunday, September 17th


Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.

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