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Posts Tagged ‘ Israeli strikes ’

  • 11 September 2012
  • Posted By Dylan Zehr
  • 0 Comments
  • Diplomacy, Israel, US-Iran War

Does Netanyahu have moral right to drag US into war?

In a not so-subtle jab at the United States, Bibi Netanyahu stridently announced today that “those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red line before Israel.”

Mr. Netanyahu made the claim following Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s public commitment to continuing sanctions and negotiations without setting a deadline.

Now, let’s unpack this. First, Mr. Netanyahu says he believes that were Iran to build a nuclear weapon–something that most agree is not possible within the next 12 months–it would pose an existential threat to Israel and thus the situation requirer a preventive military response.  Netanyahu insists no other entity–not Israel’s closest allies, not the Israeli and US national security establishments, not the Israeli people, nor international law–can place restrictions on his freedom to preventively deal with this threat.

But there’s a serious bit of Don Quixote, tilting at windmills, in Mr. Netanyahu’s lashing out at the US. The Obama administration has never placed red lines in front of Israel and has indeed placed redlines in front of Iran. Contrary to Netanyahu’s claim, when asked, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that “we respect their sovereignty and their ability to make decisions with their own security.”

US officials have, however, made statements discouraging Israeli military action, characterized by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Dempsey’s comment that he “doesn’t want to be complicit” if Israel chooses unilateral military action against Iran.  But that is because Israel is not operating in a vacuum–Netanyahu’s decisions regarding Iran would have significant impact on US security, not to mention detrimental impacts on Israel’s security.

Without going into them in significant detail, several Israeli officials believe that military action would push Iran towards nuclear weapons. Additionally, Pentagon simulations predict that the US would be forced into a conflict with Iran very quickly following an Israeli strike.

  • 23 July 2010
  • Posted By Jamal Abdi
  • 1 Comments
  • Iran War related legislation, Legislative Agenda, US-Iran War

Resolution Green-Lighting Israeli Strikes on Iran Introduced by House Republicans

Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced a measure that would green-light an Israeli bombing campaign against Iran. The resolution, H.Res. 1553, provides explicit support for military strikes against Iran, stating that Congress supports Israel’s use of “all means necessary” against Iran “including the use of military force”. US military leaders have warned that strikes could be catastrophic to US national security interests and could engulf the Middle East in a “calamitous” regional war.

Nearly a third of House Republicans have signed onto the resolution, which has been publicly discussed and circulated by its lead sponsor, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), for months. The National Iranian American Council is leading calls to oppose the measure, urging those concerned to demand that House Republican Leader John Boehner denounce the resolution.

The introduction of the measure coincides with a pattern of renewed calls for military strikes that have escalated since President Obama signed “crippling” Congressional Iran sanctions into law. Neoconservatives who were instrumental in orchestrating the Iraq War, such as Bill Kristol, and Reuel Marc Gerecht, have led the stepped up calls for military action.

Hawkish former Bush Administration official John Bolton recently laid out the game plan to prod Israel into attacking Iran, arguing that outsiders can “create broad support” for a strike by framing it as an issue of Israel’s right to self defense. Supporters for military strikes, Bolton says, should “defend the specific tactic of pre-emptive attacks” against Iran. He urges that Congress can “make it clear” that it supports such strikes and that “having visible congressional support in place at the outset will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama’s likely negative reaction to such an attack.”

In spite of enthusiasm from the neocons, top US military leaders have warned of the many dangers of military strikes against Iran. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has argued, “Another war in the Middle East is the last thing we need. In fact, I believe it would be disastrous on a number of levels.” Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs has expressed his own serious reservations about an attack, stating, “Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. Attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome. In an area that’s so unstable right now, we just don’t need more of that.” General David Petraeus has warned that a strike on Iran would be utilized by the Iranian government to unite it’s otherwise divided populace.

Simulations have been conducted over the past year to assess the outcome of a preemptive military strike against Iran. One such simulation, by the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center, found that strikes would draw the US into the conflict that would engulf the region into war, and would enable Iran to use the attacks as an opportunity to unite the Iranian people and dismantle its opposition. The simulation also found that the strikes could not destroy Iran’s nuclear program but merely set it back a few years.

An Oxford Research Group report released recently reinforced those findings and also warned that an Israeli attack would be disastrous and would be unlikely to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Instead, the report concluded attacks could convince Iran to withdraw from the international Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and to aggressively seek to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian activists have urged that even raising the specter of war undercuts the opposition in Iran. “The mere fact that Obama didn’t make military threats made the Green Movement possible,” noted Akbar Ganji. “A military attack would destroy all of that.”

Send your letter demanding that House Republican Leader John Boehner denounce the Iran War Resolution

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

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Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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