by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding US/Israeli ties remain firm. Obama's visit reinforces them. It does more.
It assures continued support. It endorses hardline extremism. It affirms occupation harshness. It lets Israel do what it pleases.
America's special relationship does more harm than good. It's wrongheaded. Israel is more strategic liability than asset. So are other regional allies.
Flynt and Hillary Leverett are former insiders. Their views matter. Their book titled "Going to Iran" discusses why Washington "must come to terms with the Islamic Republic."
It shows no signs of doing so. It's decades overdue. An entirely new approach is needed, they argue. America's regional position is disastrous. It's delusional.
After "failed wars-cum-occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan; a war on terror that has turned Muslim societies ever more firmly against U.S. policy; and de facto support for open-ended Israeli occupation of Arab populations, America's (regional) position is in free fall."
Attacking Iran is madness, they argue. Current strategy suggests it's likely. Engaging Tehran is essential. Candidate Obama promised to do so. Saying his efforts failed doesn't wash.
He never tried. It's high time he did. He refuses to acknowledge Iran's peaceful nuclear program. Harsh sanctions tell Iranians America's a strategic enemy.
Iranian leaders want better relations with Washington. They've wanted it for decades. They want it based on "mutual respect, equality, and American acceptance of the Islamic Republic."
Engaging Iran responsibly is Obama's greatest foreign policy challenge. He's fallen woefully short. His one-sided Israeli support is wrongheaded.
He's heading America for greater trouble. He's making world public opinion more anti-American. His agenda is strategically disastrous. He refuses to do the right thing. He shows no signs of changing.
Fyodor Lukyanov chairs Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy. He's also editor of Russia in Global Affairs. His views matter. He believes Washington's gripped by "strategic insanity."
His Al-Monitor article explains. He discussed America's Iraq war. He said Russia believes US foreign policy reflects madness. He wrote as follows:
"The conclusions drawn by Putin from the situation surrounding Iraq were concerned less with Russian-American relations, and more with general idea of how the world works in the twenty-first century."
"The strong do what they want: they don't contemplate international law, global reality or the costs incurred by themselves and others."
"In the 10 years since the Iraq war, Putin's worldview has only strengthened and expanded. Now he believes that the strong not only do what they want, but also fail to understand what they do."
"From Russian leadership's point of view, the Iraq War now looks like the beginning of the accelerated destruction of regional and global stability, undermining the last principles of sustainable world order."
"Everything that's happened since - including flirting with Islamists during the Arab Spring, US policies in Libya and its current policies in Syria - serve as evidence of strategic insanity that has taken over the last remaining superpower."
He says Moscow's view on Syria reflects realpolitik. It believes targeting governments it opposes assures dangerous destabilization. Doing so affects Russia. Resisting might makes right is essential.
On the tenth Iraq war anniversary, America shows no remorse, no lessons learned. Expect more wars to follow. Allying with Israel assures it.
War rages in Syria. It's Washington's war. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus. Peace prospects are dead. Washington and Israel are in lockstep on Iran. Tactics and timing alone differ.
Palestinians are entirely shut out. Their rights don't matter. During Obama's visit, Israeli security forces violently arrested dozens of Palestinian children. Some were aged 10 or younger.
They're held on baseless charges. They were on their way to school. Israel's Youth Law requires parents or an adult be present during interrogations. Shin Bet pays it no heed. Children are isolated from parents. Obama's visit continues.
Haaretz said he "must make clear to Israel" that continued occupation harms bilateral relations. It compromises America's regional position.
Without US pressure, Israeli policies won't change. They're hardline. They're longstanding. They're lawless. They spurn peace.
On March 19, an Institute for Middle East Studies (IMEU) fact sheet explained.
In the 1990s, Likud opposition leader Netanyahu criticized Oslo. After becoming prime minister in 1996, he dragged out ongoing negotiations.
He delayed or refused to implement signed agreements. According to aides, Bill Clinton reacted angrily saying: "Who the f..k does he think he is? Who's the f….ing superpower here?"
Netanyahu increased settlement construction. Yitzhak Shamir advised him to do so. Had he remained prime minister, he said, he'd "have conducted negotiations on autonomy for 10 years, and in the meantime we would have reached half a million" settlers.
In the past 20 years, Israel's settler population doubled. It numbers 600,000. It increases daily. It's on stolen Palestinian land.
In 2001, Netanyahu bragged about "put(ting) an end to the Oslo Accords." Regarding US pressure, he said: "America is a thing you can move very easily."
He told settlers that the best way to deal with Palestinians is to "beat them up, not once but repeatedly. Beat them up so it hurts so badly, until it's unbearable."
In 2005, he resigned from Sharon's government. He protested his Gaza disengagement. He ignored Sharon's explanation. He said withdrawal helps prevent Palestinian self-determination. It relieves world pressure to permit it.
Sharon advisor Dov Weisglass said disengaging provides the "formaldehyde necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians until (they) turn into Finns."
As prime minister in 2009, Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan University speech affirmed support for Palestinian self-determination. It did so with impossible conditions. They included:
• border, air space, and East Jerusalem under Israeli control;
• Palestinians recognizing Israel as the "state of the Jewish people;" and
• no right of return.
In May 2011, Netanyahu addressed a joint congressional session. He reiterated his views on Palestinian self-determination. He refused to accept pre-1967 borders.
He said Israel would retain and expand large settlements in and around East Jerusalem. Doing so cuts the West Bank in half.
He added that Israel will maintain "a longterm military (Jordan Valley) presence." Doing so controls Palestine's most fertile land. It also controls all entry and exit points.
During Netanyahu's two terms as prime minister, he accelerated settlement construction. He continues doing so now. He wants "facts on the ground" established. Doing so prevents Palestinian self-determination.
In January 2013, Israel's Peace Now said Netanyahu's policies "disclose a clear intention to use settlements to systematically undermine and render impossible a realistic, viable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Years ago it was possible. No longer. Israel controls over half the West Bank. It has much of East Jerusalem. It steals more Palestinian land daily.
Netanyahu and likeminded hardliners want all valued parts. They're hellbent on getting it. Palestinian rights don't matter. They never did.
On March 21, Press TV headlined "Obama gives fresh boost to Western media war against Iran."
He repeated baseless accusations. He cited its nuclear program. He did so at a joint press conference with Netanyahu. He said "all options are on the table."
Washington "will do what is necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining the world's worst weapons."
He endorsed a unilateral Israeli attack, saying:
"Each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action."
"I would not expect (Israel's) prime minister (to) make a decision and defer (it) to any another country any more than the United States would defer our decisions about what was important for our national security."
Expect nothing positive from his visit. He's reckless. He's militantly hardline. He's unbending. He defends the status quo, said Amira Hass.
If America's first Black president can't change things at home, "why should anyone expect him to do anything against the Jewish separation regime that has been created here between the river and the sea?"
Obama ignores reality at home and abroad. He's silent as "Israel devours more Palestinian land, expels, destroys, arrests, obstructs, divides and appropriates."
He blames Palestinians for Israeli crimes. They have no friend in Washington. World leaders pay them only lip service. They're on their own to survive. Hopefully they're up to the challenge.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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