Iran Strike: Too Much for Israel to Handle

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Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (front row facing camera, 3rd L) stands with Army commander General Ataollah Salehi (4th L), Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Hassan Firouzabadi (2nd L) and Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari (L) while attending a graduating ceremony for Iran's army land force academy in Tehran 10 November 2011. (Photo: REUTERS - Khamenei.ir - Handout)

By: Ali Rizk

Published Monday, November 14, 2011

Despite talk of Iranian involvement in assassination attempts, and the possibility of an Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear facilities in Iran, there is one undisputed fact: the US recognizes that Iran has become a formidable and influential regional player.

During an interview on Hezbollah's al-Manar channel, the party's Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said Iranian officials had been approached by their American counterparts to hold bilateral talks related to Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier media reports made reference to these attempts, but given Nasrallah's close ties to Tehran, it is likely that they did take place.

Nasrallah also pointed out that US accusations of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington were a response to Iran’s rejection of an American request to open a hotline aimed at preventing possible military conflict in the Persian gulf due to potential military misunderstandings between the US and Iranian navies. The US is thus trying to pressure Iran into direct communication by alleging an assassination plot. But as many commentators have pointed out the so called “assassination plot” is so wild – including allegations of Iranian coordination with a Mexican drug cartel – that it is unbelievable.

Despite the assassination attempt fiasco, the US is still bent on having some form of direct contact with Tehran. The spokesman of the Iranian foreign ministry has stated that in a letter to Washington Iran demanded an apology for these accusations. Spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry Ramin Mehmanperast said the apology demand came in response to a letter sent from Washington to Tehran, the contents of which were not revealed.

The media storm raised over the the assassination plot was followed by heightened tensions due to the Iranian nuclear dossier and the possibility of military action. The alleged assassination plot will be used to back up the argument against Iran’s nuclear program. Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to Washington, said in light of the alleged plot, the Iranian regime “is not rational” and “imagine what they could do if they had nuclear weapons.” There will be attempts to get countries like China and Russia on board for tougher or “more crippling sanctions.”

But the US efforts to talk to Iran, especially the US request of a hotline to avoid escalation suggests that the US is against any military action against Iran.

So will there be an Israeli strike on Iran ? If the Israeli government is indeed intent on attacking Iran it will be putting its alliance with the US at great risk.

It may be argued that the Israeli lobby will be there “to save the day.” But the situation is longer as it was, as many more Americans including officials and prominent scholars have made it clear that American and Israeli interests are diverging like never before. America’s ties with Israel are also on the verge of becoming a much bigger issue for the US public. The Occupy Wall Street movement is beginning to touch on US foreign aid to Israel and even some US presidential candidates have called for cutting aid off.

Such circumstances suggest that unilateral Israeli military action against Iran has the potential to put an end to the American Israeli alliance, regardless of lobbies and their power. An end to this alliance would virtually mean an end to Israel itself.

Ali Rizq is Press TV News Director in Beirut.

The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect al-Akhbar's editorial policy.

Comments

Excellent analysis except the reference to American presidential candidates cutting off aid to Israel. Except for Ron Paul, not a single Republican candidate would dare suggest cutting off aid. Aid to Israel is the cornerstone of any strategy to win election as a Republican. Candidates oppose aid to Israel to their own detriment.

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