Mideast Cooling Threat

The looming threat of a cooling of Mideast tensions is putting extremists on edge. That seems to explain the Israeli Defense Minister’s insulting attack on Secretary of State Kerry.

A few days after the recent international agreement with Iran on its nuclear research program, the defense minister of nuclear Israel attacked Kerry for working to achieve Palestinian-Israeli peace [Times of Israel]. Yaalon is a long-term leader of the expansionist bloc in Israel trying to repress Palestinian aspirations for equality and/or independence.

On January 12, a statement from Kerry described the schedule for U.S.-Iranian cooperation to implement the recent nuclear accord [The Guardian]. Kerry’s statement optimistically portrayed emerging U.S.-Iranian cooperation:

…for the first time in almost a decade, Iran’s nuclear programme will not be able to advance, and parts of it will be rolled back, while we start negotiating a comprehensive agreement to address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s programme.

While both Tel Aviv and Washington have taken care to avoid publicly linking Israeli efforts to colonize the West Bank with the Iran nuclear issue, the public explosion of discord between the U.S. and Israel over its repression of Palestinians at the most delicate moment in the global efforts to achieve a nuclear agreement with Iran is no coincidence.

Israeli militarists have long exploited whatever Mideast tensions they could find or manufacture for domestic political gain, with their Washington allies playing along. Netanyahu’s coalition survives thanks to his base among illegal West Bank settlers. Netanyahu’s primary weapon against anyone in Washington advocating peace is tensions over an alleged “nuclear threat” by Iran. A nuclear accord with Iran would expose Netanyahu’s game for what it is: an effort to use the “Iran threat” as cover for the permanent colonization of Palestine. Even more seriously for Israeli expansionists, it would destabilize ties between the U.S. and all Mideast states, especially Israel, by bringing U.S.-Iranian relations out of the deep freeze. Even if Americans are mostly blind to the broad range of policies on which the U.S. could profit from cooperation with Iran, Israeli leaders are surely well aware that a lowering of tensions could easily start a rapid warming trend in U.S.-Iranian ties that have been artificially frozen for thirty years–to the advantage of regional extremists not just in Israel but also among Sunni Salafis and in the Iranian military and arch-conservative clerical circles.

As U.S.-Iranian tensions cool, a major struggle is heating up between moderates and extremists, making allies of Netanyahu, al Qua’ida, American supporters of Israeli expansion, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. One can only wonder how well this curious alliance will work.

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