Essential Reading to Understand The Headlines

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Misunderstanding the Role of Iran in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Reuters reports that the Obama administration's strategy for Iran is to isolate it further by advancing peace between Israel and Palestine. The reasoning is that by having peace in that region, Iran will run out of influence in inciting people to fight among each other.

President Barack Obama's administration said on Wednesday that progress toward Middle East peace would help thwart Iran's ambitions by preventing it from "cynically" using the conflict to divert attention from its nuclear program.

Obama's national security adviser, Jim Jones laid out this strategy for Iran. The problem with this is that it doesn't address the main issues.

1. The main players in that conflict, Hamas and Hezbollah are Iranian proxies. In fact Hamas is dividing Palestinians with its conflict with Fatah (another Palestinian player). So this means Israel and the US have to talk with these groups to have any meaningful peace out there. In a sense they will still have to talk to Iran!

2. Lack of understanding of how Iran views Israel and the United States. They perceive them as enemies that needs to be annihilated.

3. Lack of understanding about the ultimate goal of Iran. Iran isn't interested in peace on those they see as infidels. The Iranian regime is fueled by the prophecy that the 12th Imam will appear to bring justice in the midst of chaos. So the Iranian regimes goal is to unleash that chaos.

4. Let's say this is indeed successful although logically impossible. Will Iran lose support? What about Russia and China which is knee deep in economic and military cooperation with Iran with billions of dollars involved. Will peace in the Middle East be of any consequence to them?

The suggested solution above is a very limited view of the intricacies of Middle Eastern politics.