IRAN, RUSSIA, EGYPT AND THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT – A TOXIC MIX

 

THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT CONFERENCE IN TEHRAN
A Show Of Strength Against The West

Middle East Media Research Institute, August 27, 2012

 
Tehran is hosting this year's Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference August 26-31, 2012; the conferees are slated to include U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who is set to meet with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, along with top officials of the participating countries. These officials include Saudi King Abdallah's son Abd Al-Aziz bin Abdallah, as well as the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait; the king of Oman; the presidents of Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and the Palestinian Authority; the prime minister of India; and the speaker of the Libyan parliament.
 
Tehran is attempting to use the conference as a show of political and diplomatic strength against the West, on two main levels: political-diplomatic and economic. On the political-diplomatic level, Iran is demonstrating that it is not isolated in the international arena despite the efforts of the West to make it so, while on the economic level it is demonstrating its ability to bypass the harsh economic sanctions against it by, according to Iranian officials, signing contracts totalling some $60 billion.

With regard to the ideological aspect, at the conference Tehran will emphasize the "New World Order" as a replacement for the West's hegemony and liberal-democratic system.…Reflecting this direction, the Iranian daily Kayhan, which is close to Supreme Leader Khamenei, defined the NAM conference in Tehran as "a ringing slap not only to Israel's face, but also to the face of the U.S. and the entire 5+1."
 
The following are the main points of an August 23, 2012 Kayhan editorial titled "Prelude to the Establishment of the New International Order," that was published in advance of the conference:
 
"Under the conditions of the awakening against the Western dominance of an extensive part of the territory of the NAM [countries], the NAM is drawing closer to its origins… Under the conditions of the undermining and reduction of the West's economic and political supremacy in the [current] world order, particularly in the territory of the NAM [countries], the NAM – and especially its strong countries, such as Iran, India, and Egypt – now have an important opportunity to review [the movement's] primary aims, and to redefine the movement's approach, so as to adapt to these new conditions. In this way, they will establish an important bloc of strong [countries] – or, in other words, the largest international power bloc, because two-thirds of the world's countries are NAM members.
 
"It is precisely for this reason that the holding of the 16th [NAM] conference in Tehran is especially important. This is because while Iran is the standard-bearer and the focal point of the Islamic awakening on the international level, on the economic and political level it has always been [i.e. since the 1979 Islamic Revolution] and remains the West's most important challenger.
 
"For this reason, the Americans are [right to be] very concerned about the convening of the NAM conference in Tehran, and have taken a resolute stand against it. The Americans know that the process of change proves the justice of the Iranian position vis-à-vis the U.S., and they also know that if this trend continues, the number of countries severing relations with them and coming out against them will grow daily. By the same token, the number of pro-Iran countries, and of the countries siding with Iran, will also grow daily. In practical terms, this is the most natural thing that could happen, and the presence in Tehran of nearly 150 countries and delegations can demonstrate such an event and such a change in world public opinion…"
 
"The NAM conference in Tehran may be essentially the last volley against the liberal-democratic system, and may pave the way for the ignition of a new process in the international arena. It will also yield new economic contracts between Iran and several of the strong NAM members – meaning that the neutralization of the West's boycott against Iran will be one of the conference's main accomplishments. The freezing of the sanctions on Iran can raise a question mark, and challenge the raison d'être of forums such as the U.N. Security Council…
 
"During the conference, Iran has an opportunity to make the delegations aware of Iran's progress in the areas of science, economics, technology, the military, politics, and culture… The diplomatic delegations' awareness of Iran's great progress will bolster the [NAM] countries' desire to disconnect from the unilateral international system and to establish an independent bloc – and this poses the greatest danger for the West…" (Top)
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VICTORY FOR TEHRAN
Smadar Peri
YNet News, August 27, 2012

Here is another reason why Israel must continue seeking ways to reconcile with Turkey and bring the "Marmara" affair to a close.…
 
Turkey is the only country that spat directly in the face of the Revolutionarily Guards, Khamenei and the ayatollahs and said: We will not be attending the gathering of nonaligned nations in Tehran. President Gul is "busy," Prime Minister Erdogan has "health problems," and even Foreign Minister Davutoglu found more important things to do.
 
The summit would not have attracted any attention had it not been held in Tehran. The Non-Aligned Movement, which was established following the collapse of the Soviet Union and managed to recruit 119 nations, does not have sharp teeth. But hosting the summit marks a victory for Iran, which is breaking out of its isolation – if only temporarily.
 
A red carpet will be rolled out for Morsi, who will hand the Non-Aligned Movement's keys to Ahmadinejad. If it were up to him, the Egyptian president would have remained in Cairo rather than scrap the 33-year-old boycott, which began when Egypt closed its embassy in Tehran.
 
It would be interesting to hear what Morsi had to say when his convoy passed through Tehran's Islambouli Square, which is named after Sadat's killer. Mubarak did not set foot in Iran for 30 years because of the assassination, and Morsi also has a score to settle with the Islamic Republic over its funding of terror and secret training camps – which eventually resulted in the murder of 16 Egyptian soldiers in Sinai.…
 
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's insistence on attending the summit is baffling, particularly after he was recently informed that Iran does not plan to cooperate with the UN nuclear agency's inspectors. Moreover, one of Ban's aides has complained that Iran is continuing to transfer weapons and equipment to Syrian forces loyal to President Assad, and Lebanon has told the UN that Iran is trying to ignite a civil war in the country. (Top)

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THE LEGITIMACY FALLACY
Evelyn Gordon
Jerusalem Post, August 27, 2012

 
Of all the arguments against an Israeli attack on Iran, the most inane has to be the “legitimacy argument.” This argument, beloved of leftists like Haaretz columnists Sefi Rachlevsky and Ari Shavit, holds that Israel lacks either domestic or international legitimacy to attack Iran because it hasn’t done everything possible to show itself a peace-seeker. Without such legitimacy, they argue, an attack can’t succeed. Therefore, Israel must launch a far-reaching diplomatic initiative on the Palestinian front, and at the very least postpone any strike until spring, to satisfy U.S. demands for more time to try nonmilitary means of stopping Iran’s nuclear program.
 
This theory is so patently historically false that it’s hard to believe anyone could seriously propound it – which is precisely why most proponents eschew any attempt to provide evidence. Just consider the “proof” offered by those who do make the attempt, like Shavit: Israel, he claims, won in 1948 and 1967 because both the world and Israelis themselves “recognized the legitimacy” of its actions, but failed in 1973 because its “inflexible” policies undermined its domestic and international legitimacy.
 
In reality, Israel certainly didn’t enjoy international “legitimacy” in 1948, despite the recent destruction of European Jewry in the Holocaust and its adoption of the UN Partition Plan (which the Arabs rejected): Its declaration of independence had so little international support that the entire world, including the U.S., slapped an arms embargo on it, even as Britain was pouring arms into the five Arab armies attacking it. Israel won a decisive victory not because of international “legitimacy,” but thanks to a global arms smuggling network run by pre-state leaders and Jewish supporters worldwide, bolstered by Czechoslovakia’s courageous decision to sell it planes despite the embargo.
 
Nor did Israel benefit from global “legitimacy” in 1967, despite having as yet “occupied” no territory: UN peacekeepers in Sinai tamely packed their bags and left at Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s request; the U.S. reneged on its 1956 pledge (given in return for Israel’s withdrawal from Sinai after that year’s war) to ensure that Egypt didn’t close the Straits of Tiran to Israel; France, Israel’s main arms supplier, halted all arms sales the moment the war began, refusing even to deliver planes and boats that Israel had already paid for; and most of the Communist bloc severed diplomatic relations with it. Instead, its stunning victory stemmed from a superbly executed battle plan built around a pre-emptive strike. And [it was] that victory over two Soviet-supplied armies (Egypt and Syria) at the height of the Cold War, rather than any global “legitimacy,” [that] led to the ensuing American-Israel alliance.

In contrast, Israel actually went to extraordinary lengths to secure international legitimacy in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, to the point of refusing to launch a pre-emptive strike or even mobilize its reserves, lest it be accused of warmongering. That quest for international approval cost it dearly: Though it ultimately won a smashing victory, it came within a hairsbreadth of losing the war and suffered higher casualties than in any other war since 1948. And it got nothing in exchange:
 
Every country in Europe still sought to block America’s emergency arms airlift, refusing to let the planes refuel on their soil or even overfly their territory….And due to the ensuing Arab oil embargo, Israel still lost diplomatic relations with most of the Third World.
 
Moreover, by the left’s standards, the 2008 Gaza war should have enjoyed unparalleled international legitimacy: It was launched in response to three years of nonstop rocket fire from territory that Israel had evacuated to the last inch, and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was then conducting far-reaching peace negotiations with both the Palestinians and Syria. Instead, it produced unprecedented condemnation, culminating in the infamous Goldstone Report and its allegations of war crimes…
 
As for domestic legitimacy, the Israeli public has consistently judged military actions by one, and only one, criterion: whether they achieved their goals at a reasonable price. Hence Israelis deemed the Second Lebanon War of 2006 a resounding failure despite its unquestioned “legitimacy” by the leftist yardstick: Israel was responding to a cross-border attack launched after it withdrew from every inch of Lebanon, while Olmert, having just been elected on a platform of sweeping territorial withdrawal from the West Bank, was lauded as a peace-maker both overseas and by Israel’s left. The war did enjoy enormous public support initially. But the incompetent way it was waged soon turned Israelis against it.…
 
The bottom line is that most Israelis couldn’t care less about the left’s “legitimacy” criteria; indeed, most support the government’s policy on the Palestinian issue, viewing the Palestinians as utterly uninterested in peace. Rather, they’ll back an attack on Iran if it proves successful at a reasonable cost and oppose it if it doesn’t.
 
As for the “international community,” it is guaranteed to condemn the attack regardless of any efforts Israel makes to appease it, just as it has every other military action Israel has ever taken. But the alliances that matter, like the American one, will survive, just as they survived spats over previous Israeli operations. Nor will a strike affect international efforts to prevent Iran from reconstituting its nuclear program…(Top)
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ISRAELI GAS, IRANIAN MISSILES AND THE RUSSIAN PRICE TAG
Rotem Sella
Gatestone Institute, August 17, 2012

               
In the on-going debate over an Israeli attack on Iran, attention has largely focused over the last few weeks on Israel and America, for good reason. But what about Russia?
 
A very senior person in the Israeli gas industry tells me: "The Russians have been poking around here for a while. Everyone knows about the Russian interest in controlling the European energy market. Do they want to buy from us, or delay our efforts? I don't know. But they are here."
 
In early July, the Israeli energy and infrastructure news website "Thastiot" claimed that during Vladimir Putin's much publicized visit to Israel, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to form a junior company to Gazprom – the Russian oil and gas giant—which would help develop Israel's biggest gas field, the recently discovered reserves in the eastern Mediterranean, the so-called "Levyatan" (Leviathan) reserves.
 
"Eventually Israeli gas will be exported to the far east," Ohad Marani, CEO of IDLC energy which is already drilling the Myra, said to me. For him, the question is purely economic. "In the Far East we will see three times what we see in Europe. While we won't be able to keep the whole margin, it's surely better than any European option, which would involve an expensive pipe."
 
The senior industry veteran with whom I spoke is not quite sure. Yes, the Far East has unlimited demand…but the European market remains relevant and we have this massive amount of gas already discovered or to be discovered. The US geological survey (USGC) estimates that gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean amount to 345 trillion cubic feet while Russian gas reserves in Siberia are estimated at 643 trillion cubic feet.
 
Big business! With lots of Russians having come and gone to Israel on this question, one wonders about the relationship between the gas deal and Russian involvement on the Iran question.  The same week Putin visited Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Eurasia monitor published that:  “the government agency that oversees Russia's arms exports and imports… confirmed that Iran is suing Russia for damages to the tune of some $4 billion in the Court of Arbitration in Geneva for cancelling in 2010 a contract to sell five divisions of the S-300 long-range antiaircraft missile system worth an estimated $800 million to $1 billion."
 
By some estimates the worth of the Levayatan gas-field might be 15 billion dollars say Gilad Alper, the gas industry analyst at the Excellence Investment house. It trades today at a price of 3 billion dollars.
 
Another way to look at it: Levayatan contains 473 billion cubic meters of gas. Gazprom exported 150 billion cubic meters of Gas to Europe in 2011, at a price of 384$ per thousand cubic meters – revenue of 57.6 billion dollar—this year Gazprom raised the price to 415$, an 8% increase that will generate another 4.6 billion dollar of revenue to Gazprom. What would be the cost of keeping Israeli competition neutralized? Would it be worth the cancellation of an 800 million dollar deal? Could Russian action over the missile sale and Israeli gas reserves indicate that they have come to terms with the Israeli point of view?
 
Prominent Americans like David Petraeus have been saying non-stop that Israel does not have the capability to destroy Iranian Nuclear capacities, and surely not Iran's ambition to go nuclear. But if Israel can indeed delay the project while in the meantime having taken out of the picture one of Iran's most important allies, then things might look very different from the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu. Everyone knows that Russia intends to play the 'spoiler' in the International arena. But this spoiler frequently has a price tag. (Top)

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CAN ISRAEL TRUST THE UNITED STATES ON 
THE IRANIAN FILE?
Ely Karmon
Ma’ariv, August 22, 2012

 

The main issue in the internal dispute in Israel, and between Israeli and American leaders, concerning the timing of an attack on the Iranian nuclear facilities is the question if Israel can trust that President Obama will keep his promise and order the strike before Iran achieves a military capability. Israeli President Shimon Peres recently said "that he trusted U.S. President Barack Obama to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining nuclear weapons."

The historical record of American presidents' response to the challenges posed by the Tehran regime speaks to the contrary.  President Carter not only did not support the Shah of Iran in his fight against the Khomeinist revolution, but he did not solve politically and operationally the ensuing 444 days hostage crisis of the 44 American diplomats imprisoned by the Khomeinist regime. And Carter lost his second bid to the presidency.

President Reagan, an acclaimed fighter against international terrorism, bombed Libya and Kaddafi personally for the killing of two GIs in a bar in Berlin but did not dare challenge Tehran, albeit [he] withdrew American peace troops from Lebanon, after Hezbollah under Iranian guidance twice bombed the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killed 270 marines in one suicide bombing, kidnapped and assassinated dozens of Americans in Lebanon and hijacked American planes.

President Clinton knew precisely the Iranian intelligence's role in the 1996 terrorist attack on the Khobar Towers in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, where 19 U.S. servicemen were killed and dozens wounded. He kept secret the information provided by the Saudi driver of the reconnaissance vehicle in the attack, who flew to Canada and was extradited to the U.S… He preferred to engage in negotiations with the Iranian "reformist" President Khatami (who remembers him?) rather than punish Iran.

President Bush junior…preferred to give Israel the green light to bomb the Syrian plutonium reactor rather than engage the United States in such an adventure.  Public declarations by leading US military leaders…warning against a military attack on Iran, …probably convinced the Ayatollahs and the Iranian military commanders there is little to worry from the Americans.

Finally, the North Korean nuclear military project is a living example of non-fulfilled promises by Presidents Clinton and Bush to dismantle a rogue regime from its aggressive capabilities.

President Obama has adopted a strategy of asking for the legitimacy of the UN Security Council and the international community before deciding on a military intervention abroad, as the Libyan and presently the Syrian crisis prove.…

The Israeli leaders should decide on an independent attack only at the last possible moment of the so called "zone of immunity." They should resist the temptation to do it hastily before the outcome of the Syrian crisis, which could have tremendous impact on the regional balance of power vis-à-vis Iran but also generate major political and social repercussions in Iran itself, possibly leading to a popular uprising of the Persian people. [English version supplied by author – Ed.] (Top)

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On Topic

 

∙       Commentary, August 24, 2012
Seth Mandel

∙       Front Page Magazine, Aug 24th, 2012
Daniel Greenfield

∙       The National Interest, August 22, 2012
Ray Takeyh

∙       Israel National News, August 27, 2012
Prof. L Beres & Gen. J. Chain

∙       Egypt Independent, August 27, 2012
Egypt Independent

∙       New York Times, August 26, 2012
Thomas Erdbrink

∙       Israel ministry of Foreign Affairs, August 19, 2012
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs