Iran fear is deliberately exaggerated

The Obama administration may have abandoned its early goal of engaging with Ahmadinejad, but it hopes that sanctions will persuade Iran to prove to the international community that it does not have a nuclear weapons programme. But even this last element of peaceful diplomacy is under serious attack, as the hawks in Washington make common cause with the Israeli lobby to push for military action.

The Israeli lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), held its annual conference in Washington this week, and attracted a very high level of speakers and interest in what they had to say. Most of the attention focused on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that Israel is allowed to continue building colonies on the West Bank. But despite the apparent disagreement over colonies, consensus is building that Iran is a real danger and military action may be required to deal with it.

Israel seems to have succeeded in convincing American policy makers that Iran is a direct threat to the US, and also that Israel is the only country in the Middle East able to do something about this. This dangerous combination of agreement on both the danger that Iran poses and Israel’s potential role in reacting to that perceived danger emerged in several speeches this week.

It was not surprising that Netanyahu led the charge. In his speech he repeatedly harped on fears of “radical Islam” and its wish “to annihilate Israel”. He quoted Iran’s gove… >>>

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