In the three years since President Obama has been in office he has attempted to “engage” Iran, invoke “sanctions” with multiple loopholes, and sign into law even “tougher sanctions” too late to be relevant. While he has “removed nothing from the table” – a euphemism for military action – it nonetheless appears that the administration, by its terminal foot dragging, neither wants to attack Iran under almost any circumstances, nor wants Israel to attack.
In an interview last week, Mr. Obama said that he did not believe that Israel had made a final decision to attack Iran, and wouldn’t attack without first coordinating with the US. He added that Israel and America were “in lockstep” on the Iranian issue. Really?
Recently another in a series of administration orchestrated leaks was released to NBC News by unnamed “US officials” claiming that deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service. Why the US would publicize such an unsubstantiated allegation, true or not, makes no sense unless the point is to damage Israeli freedom of action.
This week, President Obama announced an additional sanction on Iran: the freezing of the Iranian government’s assets in the US. But it was another in Obama’s sleight of hand purported sanctions against Iran. At this stage, Obama still refuses to accept the Senate’s decision, passed by a majority of 100-0, to impose paralyzing sanctions against Iran’s central bank and its oil industry. With time running out, Mr. Obama is still playing the delaying game while giving a false impression to his gullible supporters – especially liberal American Jews – that he is supposedly doing everything to stop Iran short of military attack.
The harsh truth is that President Obama and his policy advisors have gone into ostrich mode and collectively stuck their heads in the sand. Aside from the fact that the purportedly “tougher sanctions” demanded by Israel to avoid the necessity of armed conflict with Iran should have been implemented years ago, it is questionable whether such sanctions would stop Iran’s clerical leadership from pursuing their path to creating a nuclear arsenal.
Sanctions didn’t stop North Korea and the Korean mindset is somewhat closer to the West. Mr. Obama and his advisors appear incapable of comprehending with whom they are dealing. As Professor Niall Ferguson recently noted in The Daily Beast, there are those who believe “a nuclear-armed Iran is nothing to worry about….[and] States actually become more risk-averse once they acquire nuclear weapons.” This wishful thinking prefers to view Iran as if it were the Soviet Union during the Cold War and the threat of MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – is still a viable alternative.
Professor Bernard Lewis, the doyen of Middle East historians for more than half a century, put his finger on the problem in his keynote address at the international Jerusalem Conference back in 2008: “Iran’s leadership comprises a group of extreme fanatical Muslims who believe that their messianic times have arrived,” he warned. “Though Russia and the US both had nuclear weapons, it was clear that they would never use them because of MAD. Each side knew it would be destroyed if it would attack the other. But with these people in Iran,” Professor Lewis explained, “MAD is not a deterrent factor, but rather an inducement. They feel that they can hasten the final messianic process. This is an extremely dangerous situation of which it is important to be aware.”
Iran’s Shi’ite theocratic leadership headed by its “Supreme Leader” the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his acolyte, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, sincerely believe that this is the apocalyptic age, which will result in the triumphant return of their messianic figure, the Twelfth Imam, or “the Mahdi.”
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