For the First Time: AIPAC Reluctant About War in the Middle East

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Ever since pro-Israel lobbying took a strong shape in the US in the 1960s (there was pro-Israeli and Zionist lobbying prior to that – AIPAC, after all, was founded in the early 1950s by an Israeli foreign ministry functionary – but it never reached the point of crystallization into a formidable political force until the 1960s), AIPAC has been a key champion of war against Arab countries and for a monopoly over exclusive arms (including WMDs) for Israel in the whole Middle East region. In the 1950s and 60s, it was AIPAC’s task to lobby for war against Egypt and Syria, and later against Lebanon and Iraq, or to justify Israeli unending wars against Palestine’s neighbors and beyond. There was never a shortage of Arab countries that AIPAC wanted the US to go against.

Ever since the founding of the Islamic Republic in Iran, AIPAC has been an advocate of a military “solution” (you have to invoke the word solution because in the minds of the Israeli warmongers and their American supporters war is always the solution) to Iran’s “problem” (the problems of a country are not determined by people of that country but by the government of the state of Israel). As soon as Gamal Abdel Nasser died, AIPAC focused on basically allowing Israel to be the only country in the Middle East region to import arms, and to exercise its sacred right to launch wars and to commit massacres at will. There was never an arms deal that the US signed with any Arab country that AIPAC did not oppose. In fact, this was the major bone of contention between Israel and the Gulf regimes, and Gulf regimes, incidentally, worked to establish a (comical) Arab lobby to counter the Israeli lobby. The various Arab and Muslim-American organizations quickly degenerated into lobbying groups for Gulf regimes. Thus, the Arab American Institute speaks for the sons of Zayid while the rest speak for the House of Saud.

But there is a remarkable development in the history of AIPAC’s lobbying. It could be said that for the first time ever, AIPAC is not exhibiting enthusiasm for war in the Middle East this time around, certainly not against Syria. This is unprecedented because AIPAC has never encountered an American war in the Middle East that it did not bless and agitate for. To be sure, AIPAC has this week started to lobby members of Congress and it has announced plans to engage publicly on the subject of Syria, but it seems to be doing that in response to White House demands and expectations, and not vice versa. Usually, the White House and the US Congress respond – invariably favorably – to AIPAC’s lobbying for a war against yet another Arab or Muslim country. The White House, and maybe AIPAC’s allies in US Congress, may have signaled to the organization that its agitation for war on Iran may suffer if AIPAC does not join in Obama’s war effort against Syria.

The real Israeli thinking about Syria was revealed candidly this week in The New York Times when an Israeli diplomat told the paper the paper that, regarding Syria, “Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.” This was the sentiment that was expressed in the same paper days prior by Edward Luttwak, who tend to articulate dominant Zionist thinking but without diplomatic niceties and the deliberate obfuscation that Zionist policy makers resort to in the US Congress.

In fact, the hesitancy and equivocation of Barack Obama on Syria reflects the confusion or lack of consensus about Syria in Israel. There are no good scenarios or options for Israel in Syria, so the leaders there have to discuss and choose from bad scenarios. If the regime’s hands are strengthened, then Israel has reasons to worry, and if the rebels take over the country, the state of Israel also has to worry. Between all those choices, the Israeli government must be preferring a protracted war without end, so that both sides of the war can be occupied and distracted from any engagement with Israel (not that the Syrian regime has engaged Israel since 1973). The Israeli government would in fact not mind (if not outright prefer) the preservation of the Syrian regime, but it knows that this option would strengthen the hands of its real enemies, namely Hezbollah and Iran.

AIPAC may want a limited attack on Syria because the expansion of the conflict into an all-out Arab/Iranian-Israeli war would not necessarily benefit Israel. But Israel would certainly be eager for the spillover of the Syrian conflict into Lebanon. Its agents and operatives in Lebanon are probably involved in the recent clashes that aimed at dragging Hezbollah into a sectarian war in Lebanon. As long as Hezbollah is engaged in a protracted sectarian war in Lebanon, the Israeli state can feel secure, but to the chagrin of Israel (and its Saudi allies) Hassan Nasrallah clearly has shown his utmost rejection of a sectarian war in Lebanon and treated that scenario as Zionist in origin. (Nasrallah is wrong in that regard because the Saudi regime is a full participant in that plot, but Hezbollah, probably at the behest of the cautious Iranian leadership, still refuses to name names when it comes to the sinister Saudi role in Lebanon and in the region.)

AIPAC has joined the fight on Capitol Hill on behalf of Obama, but it is not joining with its typical enthusiasm for war in the Middle East. It may still be lobbying for caution behind the scenes as can be evidenced from the rhetoric of key allies of Israel in Congress. The Israeli government (and its obedient lobby) may have given their allies the freedom of movement in that regard and the Zionists in DC may lack a coherent playbook on this subject. But when the guns are fired and when missiles start falling on Syria, the Israeli government will be wishing that Iran and Hezbollah stay out of the picture altogether and for that it will be signaling to Obama that a limited attack is all that is necessary, and mostly as a message to the Iranian government.


" I have previously observed that al-Akhbar hews slavishly to certain government lines, or the lines of certain governments, but that is normal in the Middle east.'

As opposed, of course to the non-oriental world where newspapers are entirely objective and rise above partisan considerations. They are also, as the NY Times daily shows us, completely independent of governments of whose foreign policies they are strongly critical.

At least that is the way that things look on Planet Rowan, where Al Akhbar and A'sad work night and day on behalf of zionism.

This article has completely missed the most important point about the entire situation with the US Jewish Lobby. The point is that the disastrous timing lag which has affected the lobby has brought into public view the actual coordination between it and Israel government policy, disproving the idea that the US Jewish Lobby organisations act as 'Patriotic Americans' and seek to pursue 'American welfare', 'American safety in the world' and 'American policy goals'. In fact this article has not just missed it, but actually misrepresented it, and presented instead the Zionist cover story, which is that AIPAC, CPMAJO, ADL etc all act without Israeli coordination and that Israel is not responsible for them. The precision with which the article reproduces the cover story suggests to me that As'ad AbuKhalil is actually working directly for the Zionist enemy as a disoformation agent, which is a thought I had never entertained before. It also completely destroys whatever remained of my trust in al-Akhbar as a trustworthy organ of news and comment, able to keep disinformation at bay.

I have previously observed that al-Akhbar hews slavishly to certain government lines, or the lines of certain governments, but that is normal in the Middle east. However, I hate to think what governments (other than those of the US and Israel) could require this particular misdirection. If you want to know the truth about the relationship between Israel and the US Jewish Lobby, which is that they are one and the same, here is an article which should help you grasp it. Read particularly the long quote from the anonymous 'diplomatic source', who says among other things:

"Such a modus operandi should only be employed when we have no choice, and only with regards to a strategic issue that is vital to the very existence of Israel. AIPAC must be kept for consensus issues only. The ‘next time’ — I’m referring to a possible assault on nuclear facilities in Iran — will be really important, fateful and decisive."

Clearly, he is speaking on the premise that Israel controls AIPAC. But if you, that is to say al-Akhbar, wish to serve the disinformational needs of the US and Israel by presenting denials of this vital fact, then you will doubtless continue to do so. I shall only take note for the future, and warn others that you are not what you pretend to be, or that perhaps Hezbollah and/or Iran themselves have entered into some idiotic agreement with the US and Israel which involves protecting them by concealing the realities.

I don't see evidence of the author's main point. Far from being reluctant, AIPAC is very very keen. Look at their website and listen to politicians who are in their camp. They are virtually ALL virulently for an attack. Mondoweiss has documented the AIPAC transition from laying low to very very active campaigning for an attack on Syria over the past weeks. They don't seem reluctant at all.

The NY Times story about Israel wanting the Syrian to continue bleeding is credible and revealing.

Their problem is because the Syrian army has been advancing with victory in Qusayr and appearing close to having a decisive advantage.

That's what Israel and all the 'rebel' sponsors including the US cannot abide and why they are so desperate to get the US actively involved.

Mondoweiss has documented the AIPAC role very well.

Professor please continue your analysis of the Syrian reality. Your commentary and blog are indespensible to telling the real story of these forces at work. Thank you.

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