February 3, 2006 - A resolution before the International Atomic Energy Agency that would report Iran's nuclear program to the Security Council is in danger. What's holding it up is an Egyptian demand that the resolution include language supporting a nuclear-free zone throughout the Middle East. This is transparent code referring to Israel: the demand is that if Iran gives up its nukes, Israel must do likewise.
Russia, China, and Europe are supporting Egypt's demand. Only the United States opposes it. The Europeans have been pressuring the U.S. to give in. "It's five against one," stated one European ambassador.
Clearly, the world is not serious about the Iranian nuclear threat.
Iran is a clear threat. Why link Iran to Israel, as if once again everything that happens in the Middle East, no matter what its origin, must be Israel's fault?
Israel does not sponsor terrorist groups that work outside its borders. Israel has not threatened to attack its neighbors. Israel has not advocated wiping any other country off the map. Iran has done all of the above. Israel is also not led by a religious fanatic who believes in suicide martyrdom and that the end of the world will arrive within two years. Iran is.
Israel is the only state in the Middle East that must constantly justify its existence. It has survived numerous wars instigated by the Arab states with the racist aim of destroying it simply because it is not Arab and Muslim. Israeli civilians have been bombed and murdered, but Israel never used a nuclear weapon even though that might have solved its problem. Yet Muslim terrorist groups have spoken of using nuclear weapons against Israel, and would do so if they had the capability. Yet for some odd reason the world community continues to insist Israel is the real threat in the Middle East.
Perhaps this is not so surprising. China, whose economy is expanding, hungers after Iranian oil. Russia has huge business deals with Iran and has been aiding Iran's nuclear program. What is Europe's excuse? Indifference to an Iranian strike against Israel or the U.S., an interest in oil at the expense of human rights, or simply old-fashioned hatred of Jews?
To link Israel with Iran is simply perverse. Israel is no threat either to regional or world stability. If anything, the suspicion that Israel might have nukes has protected it from further attacks by the Arab states, who have been the aggressors throughout Israel's short but troubled history. If Russia, China, and Europe are so concerned about clearing the world of nukes, why don't they start by divesting their own?
No one called for a nuclear-free Middle East when Saddam had his reactor, or more recently when he was thought to be trying to acquire nuclear weapons. Why now? Why drag Israel into the quagmire just when Iran is on the verge of becoming a major menace to the world?
If Iran does attack Israel, it will not be only Israel's problem, any more than Hitler's war against the Jews was only a Jewish problem. Now as then, the devastation will be felt around the world. The world is making the same mistake now that it did then. Only a united response to a global threat stands a chance of stemming the catastrophe. But there are no signs such a response from the world is forthcoming.
(Postscript 2/4/06: The U.S. backed down to the pressure, dropped its opposition to the clause indirectly criticizing Israel, and the resolution passed. Iran now has an opening to use Israel as an excuse for noncompliance.)
Sciolino, Elaine. Dispute Over Israel Delays Vote on Iran Nuclear Resolution." New York Times, February 3, 2006.
Sciolino, Elaine. World Nuclear Panel to Refer Iran to U.N. Security Council." New York Times, February 4, 2006.
Peace with Realism