By Ummugulsum Boz
JTW conducted an exclusive interview with USAK Middle East expert Ali Hussein Bakeer on the current debate regarding the rising tension between Iran and Israel.
Q: How do you evaluate the latest developments between Iran and Israel?
A: Well, as you know, the tension between Iran and Israel has been rising for the last two weeks regarding the Iranian nuclear issue mainly. Israel has been putting pressure on the international community that if not able to solve the problem, a military strike will be launched.
I think it is just a tactic to put more pressure on Iran. Of course, we cannot totally ignore such threats at least theoretically, but practically, as I said before, it is a kind of rhetoric and not something new when we talk about Iran and Israel.
Both countries have benefited from this strategy of rhetorical propaganda for a long time. Israel exploited the “Iranian threat” to get more financial, economic and military support especially from the United States, trying to make use of the sympathy rising from the idea of “wiping Israel out.” Without such support from the United States and European Union, Israel would have to abide by all international rules and accept peace if wants to be a part of the region.
On the other hand, Iran have been exploiting the Palestinian issue for a long time, making use of the Israeli threats to bomb Tehran to get sympathy mainly from the Islamists and the leftists in the Arab world. And through this issue, they managed to penetrate in the region and to utilize Israel as a leverage for their regional agenda.
Q: What is the stance of the U.S. and Europe toward this situation? How will they deal with the situation?
A: As we all know both the U.S. and Europe do not oppose to a peaceful Iranian civilian nuclear program. They have just been opposing the military side of any possible nuclear program. Most countries refuse to use the military option to deal with this issue.
The U.S. administration, although many times it declared all options on the table while dealing with Iran, it has also warned Israel not to go for the military option. It seems that the U.S. still prefers diplomacy to deal with Iranian issue.
As we know European and American have been applying so much pressure on Iran lately including sanctions on the financial sector and oil embargo. They may try to make use of these steps to bring Iran to the table according to their conditions.
I do not think that Iran will accept to sit on the table from a weak position unless it really feels that the threat to be hit is real and credible. And such threat is nonexistent right now. So the tension may continue in the coming weeks.