The Daily Talking Points

News and views relevant to U.S.-Iran relations for September 2, 2010.

  • The Washington Post: Scott Wilson writes that shared regional fears of a nuclear weapons possessing Iran might be a catalyst for a breakthrough in this week’s Arab-Israeli peace talks. “Iran’s ambitions, which have cast a long shadow over the greater Middle East, may serve as a common bond keeping a frail peace process intact despite threats that have arisen even before the negotiations open Thursday at the State Department,” he says. Wilson suggests that, if Israel is seriously considering a unilateral strike on Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons facilities, Netanyahu will need to stick with peace talks and win goodwill with the White House.
  • The Wall Street Journal: Daniel Henninger defends the U.S. invasion of Iraq as preemptively cutting off Iraq’s nuclear ambitions. Henninger theorizes that had the U.S. not invaded, Saddam Hussein would have been driven to pursue nuclear weapons in order to match Iran’s alleged pursuit of the bomb. “In such a world, Saddam would have aspired to play in the same league as Iran and NoKo. Would we have ‘contained’ him?” he asks. Henninger continues his exercise in hypothetical history by suggesting that Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan would enter the “nuclear marketplace” if Iran and Iraq acquired nuclear weapons. He concludes: “The sacrifice made by the United States in Iraq took one of these nuclear-obsessed madmen off the table and gave the world more margin to deal with the threat that remains, if the world’s leadership is up to it. A big if.”
  • Foreign Policy: Author Hooman Majd contests a recent U.S. talking point that sanctions are working. Citing political infighting between various conservative factions, the Obama administration argues that sanctions are having an effect. But Majd asserts that this is politics as usual — not a sign that there might be political space for a resurgent Green Movement. In fact, he says, no matter what happens, the real power center in Iran, the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, remains firmly in the driver’s seat and the nuclear calculus is still a point of mutual agreement between the many political factions.
  • JINSA Report: The ultra-hawkish advocacy organization, the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), issued it’s latest e-mail blast calling Iran the “elephant” in the room in nearly every U.S. and Israeli strategic challenge in the region (this mirrors the ‘road to peace leads through Tehran’ meme discussed in yesterday’s TP’s). The U.S. needs “to tame it or remove” that elephant from Lebanon, Syria, Turkey and the “the Israel-Palestinian ‘peace’ talks,” JINSA argues.

Eli Clifton

Eli Clifton reports on money in politics and US foreign policy. He is a co-founder of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. Eli previously reported for the American Independent News Network, ThinkProgress, and Inter Press Service.



  1. It never ceases to amaze me how our US/Zionist propagandists think they can continue to hide the real “elephant” in the room, i.e. Israel’s Nukes!

    Example: “…shared regional fears of a nuclear weapons possessing Iran might be a catalyst for a breakthrough in this week’s Arab-Israeli peace talks…”

    Say What?

    However, what’s really being kept out of our closeted news is of the Arab nations concerns over ISRAEL’S ‘very real’ covert and unmonitored nuclear arsenal.

    JPOST [8/15/10]: “…Ignoring a US warning, Arab nations urged Washington and other powers to end support of Israel’s nuclear secrecy and to push Israel to allow international inspections of its program, diplomats told The Associated Press Sunday.

    Islamic nations have long called for Israel to open its nuclear program. But the fact that the Arab League has directly approached Washington and other Israeli allies for support at the September meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency is significant, considering that US President Barack Obama last month warned against using that forum to single out Israel.

    The Arab appeal is contained in an Aug 8 letter signed by Arab League chief Amr Moussa that was shared with The Associated Press. It asks for backing of a resolution that Arab nations will submit to the September assembly of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    An attached draft of the resolution expresses “concern” about Israel’s nuclear program and urges it to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and to open its atomic activities to outside inspection…”

    The stench of Hypocrisy is becoming unbearable.

  2. That would’ve been my line — it’s Israel, not Iran, that’s the elephant in the room. Or at least it’s the biggest elephant.

    The Wilson piece contains some pretty shrewd thinking, but my own feeling is that Israel is less and less inclined to strike Iran. The Israelis have come to the table again for two reasons, in my opinion. First, they see their poll numbers declining in America, almost for the first time. Second, they want to get rid of the Palestinian problem before the demographic bomb goes off. I think they are serious about the Palestinians getting a state. How they want that structured is the problem. I don’t see Bibi agreeing to the Clinton plan from 2000. Yet that may be the absolute minimum the Palestinians will accept.

  3. Again, Saudi Arabia has nukes, this has nothing to do with Iran. Israel does want an easy way out of the demographic problem, and the Palestinians know that time is on their side. Hence, the Palestinians aren’t interested in peace talks. Abu Mazen works for Israel/US interests and takes orders well. The Hamas shooting was an act of resolve–sorry fellas. As the hardest Ramadan in twenty years, Muslims know about waiting out suffering. They can smell the food cooking, even though they are tired, near fainting even. But, a one state solution is looming as the only solution.

    Also, Chaz Freeman has another powerful speech–

    Islam charges rulers with the duty to defend the faithful and to uphold justice. It demands that they embody righteousness. The resentment of mostly Muslim Arabs at their governing elites’ failure to meet these standards generates sympathy for terrorism directed not just at Israel but at both the United States and Arab governments associated with it.

    The perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the United States saw it in part as reprisal for American complicity in Israeli cruelties to Palestinians and other Arabs. They justified it as a strike against Washington’s protection of Arab governments willing to overlook American contributions to Muslim suffering. Washington’s response to the attack included suspending its efforts to make peace in the Holy Land as well as invading and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. All three actions inadvertently strengthened the terrorist case for further attacks on America and its allies. The armed struggle between Americans and Muslim radicals has already spilled over to Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries. Authoritative voices in Israel now call for adding Iran to the list of countries at war with America. They are echoed by Zionist and neo-conservative spokesmen in the United States,

    The widening involvement of Americans in combat in Muslim lands has inflamed anti-American passions and catalyzed a metastasis of terrorism. It has caused a growing majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to see the United States as a menace to their faith, their way of life, their homelands, and their personal security. American populists and European xenophobes have meanwhile undercut liberal and centrist Muslim arguments against the intolerance that empowers terrorism by equating terrorism and its extremist advocates with Islam and its followers. The current outburst of bigoted demagoguery over the construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque in New York is merely the most recent illustration of this. It suggests that the blatant racism and Islamophobia of contemporary Israeli politics is contagious. It rules out the global alliances against religious extremists that are essential to encompass their political defeat.

    Freeman went on to say:

    Vague promises of a Palestinian state within a year now waft through the air. But the “peace process” has always sneered at deadlines, even much, much firmer ones. A more definitive promise of an independent Palestine within a year was made at Annapolis three years ago. Analogous promises of Palestinian self-determination have preceded or resulted from previous meetings over the decades, beginning with the Camp David accords of 1979. Many in this audience will recall the five-year deadline fixed at Oslo. The talks about talks that begin tomorrow can yield concrete results only if the international community is prepared this time to insist on the one-year deadline put forward for recognizing a Palestinian state. Even then there will be no peace unless long-neglected issues are addressed.

    Peace is a pattern of stability acceptable to those with the capacity to disturb it by violence. It is almost impossible to impose. It cannot become a reality, still less be sustained, if those who must accept it are excluded from it. This reality directs our attention to who is not at this gathering in Washington and what must be done to remedy the problems these absences create.

    Obviously, the party that won the democratically expressed mandate of the Palestinian people to represent them — Hamas — is not there. Yet there can be no peace without its buy-in.

    excerpt thanks to

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