By Stuart Littlewood
You can read about it on a British government website.
‘The UK and many other countries have serious concerns about the Iranian Government’s policies,’ says the Foreign Office, ‘its failure to address serious international concerns about its nuclear programme; its support for terrorism and promotion of instability in its region; and its continued denial of human rights…’
I really thought they were talking about Israel and had got the names muddled up. But no… “On Iran’s nuclear programme, we are actively seeking a solution through diplomatic engagement and sanctions to encourage compliance by Iran with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and six UN Security Council resolutions.”
Wow, does this means that Israel, which Iran is supposed to be threatening, is an innocent victim of Iranian aggression, is a menace to no-one, is suddenly co-operating with the IAEA and is now in full compliance with all those UN resolutions?
This is hot news!
The Foreign Office goes further: “Iran’s backing of Hizbollah in Lebanon, Hamas and other Palestinian Rejectionist Groups…”
Just a minute. What exactly is a “rejectionist group”? I had to look it up in the Oxford dictionary. A rejectionist, it says, is a person who rejects a proposed policy, especially an Arab who refuses to accept a negotiated peace with Israel.
Ah. So what are we supposed to call an Israeli who rejects a perfectly reasonable Arab peace deal… like “get off our land and there’ll be no trouble”? What do we call an Israeli who defies international law and denies the human rights of others? An Israeli who treats UN resolutions with contempt?
Rejectionism is an Israeli thing; it’s what they do, they specialise in it. Israel, let’s face it, is king of the rejectionist business.
All this sabre-rattling and talk of pre-emptive strikes against Iran is getting on everyone’s nerves. Iran, after all, is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Israel is not. What does that tell us?
The Treaty dates back to 1970 so Israel has had more than enough time to show good faith and come on board with the other 189 State parties. The NPT has more signatories than any other treaty of its kind. The only refuseniks – OK, let’s stay with the Foreign Office’s new buzzword – the only rejectionists are India, Israel and Pakistan.
The British government says the international community must be prepared to “respond robustly” when a country withdraws from the NPT… “The NPT is not like any other treaty and the risks associated with its abuse are uniquely dangerous. We recommend immediate discussions at the UN Security Council if a country announces its intention to withdraw. The IAEA should be required to report immediately on the nuclear activities of that country.”
It’s common sense really. So what about countries, like Israel, that have stacks of nukes and refused to sign up to the NPT in the first place? What about the “uniquely dangerous risks” in Israel’s case? Where’s the robust response? Is the UNSC addressing Israel’s rejectionism? Has the IAEA reported on Israel’s nuclear activities?
As a matter of fact the IAEA is quite bothered about Israel. The BBC reported yesterda… “On 18 September 2009, the IAEA called on Israel to join the NPT and open its nuclear facilities to inspection. The resolution said that the IAEA ‘expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities, and calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards’…
“Israel refuses to join the NPT or allow inspections. It is reckoned to have up to 400 warheads but refuses to confirm or deny this.”
I’ve seen the 400 “deliverable” nukes figure before – it’s nearly twice Britain’s arsenal – also that European cities were targeted.
Israel is the third or fourth largest nuclear force in the world and the only one in the Middle East. A 2006/7 report by the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission says: “Most unofficial estimates claim that Israel possesses a nuclear arsenal numbering in the hundreds, possibly larger than the British stockpile. Israel is widely believed to possess both fission and fusion bombs. It has an unsafeguarded plutonium production reactor and reprocessing capability and possibly some uranium enrichment capability, along with various other uranium-processing facilities.”
It is the only state in the region that is not a party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has signed but not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. As regards biological and chemical weapons, Israel has not signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. It has signed but not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention.
So why is the focus on Iran and not rejectionist Israel? Israel’s incessant foaming at the mouth over Iran has nothing to do with the alleged remark by Mr Ahmadjinadad to “wipe Israel off the map” – a remark he never made anyway. Long before that, back in 2002 and 2004 Israel was urging the international community to target Iran as soon as it had finished in Iraq and to strip Iran of WMD.
Are we expected to believe that Israel’s leaders, given their lawless and belligerent track record, are saner than Iran’s Ahmadjinadad? Washington and London may believe such tosh but I doubt if anyone in the Middle East would. Or anyone else in Europe for that matter. A European Commission survey finds that the public believe Israel to be the biggest threat to world peace, greater than North Korea, Afghanistan or Iran.
Eighty per cent of Conservative MPs preach that Israel’s enemies are our enemies but who is listening?
War-war Not Jaw-jaw
Perhaps the looniest thing I have heard lately is the passage through Congress of the ‘‘Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011’’. Hidden away where it wouldn’t be noticed, under “General Provisions – Denial of Visas for Certain Persons of the Government of Iran” (Section 601), is this gem…
“(c) RESTRICTION ON CONTACT. — No person employed with the United States Government may contact in an official or unofficial capacity any person that — (1) is an agent, instrumentality, or official of, is affiliated with, or is serving as a representative of the Government of Iran; and (2) presents a threat to the United States or is affiliated with terrorist organizations. (d) WAIVER. — The President may waive the requirements of subsection (c) if the President determines and so reports to the appropriate congressional committees 15 days prior to the exercise of waiver authority that failure to exercise such waiver authority would pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States.”
It effectively bans diplomacy with Iran. Neither the President himself nor the Secretary of State nor any US diplomat or emissary is allowed to engage in negotiations or diplomacy with Iran unless the President can convince the “appropriate Congressional committees” (e.g. the House Foreign Affairs Committee whose strings are pulled by AIPAC) that not doing so would present “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States”.
War-war is preferred to jaw-jaw. And it’s no surprise to discover that this nonsense was cooked up by Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Howard Berman (D-CA), who both lead the Foreign Affairs Committee.
How clever is it to abandon all the channels of normal diplomacy? Those who support the measure must be desperate for more bloodshed – as long as they personally don’t have to act as cannon-fodder. Who can forget the chicken-hawks who casually ordered troops into Iraq and Afghanistan but would never dream of donning uniform and picking up a rifle themselves?
The preamble to this junk piece of legislation states:
“In the 2006 State of the Union Address, President Bush stated that ‘The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats…’ In February 2009, President Obama committed the Administration to ‘developing a strategy to use all elements of American power to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon… Iran is a major threat to United States national security interests.’”
Is it really?
Circulating in the background for years have been rumours speculating on the whereabouts of nuclear warheads dumped by a US B-52 which crashed in 1991. Did freelancers salvage them? Was the nuke exploded by North Korea in 2006 one of these? Does Iran have some? Is this what the panic’s about?
Many people are quite sure that if the increasingly unhinged Israeli leadership, with finger on the nuke button, believed their unlawful ambitions in the Middle East were permanently thwarted, they would think nothing of taking the rest of the world to hell with them.
– Stuart Littlewood’s book Radio Free Palestine can now be read on the internet by visiting www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.