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Iran: Laughing all the way to ground zero

12/25/2006

Time out for a bit of history. The year is 1935. Italy had invaded Abyssinia, the League of Nations failed to stop it.

According to a laundered and standard account in Wikipedia

The League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed economic sanctions in November 1935, but the sanctions were largely ineffective. As Stanley Baldwin, the British Prime Minister, later observed, this was ultimately because no one had the military forces on hand to withstand an Italian attack.

Actually, Stanley Baldwin was an authority on this issue. He, more than anyone else was responsible for the fact that Britain had not the military forces on hand to withstand an Italian attack. Though his government had been repeatedly warned of the ambitions of Hitler and Mussolini by Churchill and others, he ignored them. It was not actually necessary to have any forces. A real embargo of Italy would probably have sufficed. Italy did not have the strategic materials needed to continue with the war. However, none of the great powers were willing to impose real sanctions on Italy, because it would hurt their own economies. They were making good profits from selling war materials to Italy. Armies and economic embargoes were expensive, you see. Consequently, the League passed a watered down set of economic sanctions that only deprived Italy of things it did not need.

History is repeating itself. The Wikipedia dorks of 2070 will record that "sanctions were largely ineffective" in discouraging Iran's program of nuclear weapons development. The unclear world policy on Iranian nuclear development is now clear, if it was not before. "Speak loudly and carry a wet macaroni."

After the Iranians predictably thumbed their noses at UN Security Council Resolution 1696, Security Council members floundered about for several months. Evidently, they were looking for a formula that would satisfy honor, but do nothing. Eventually, they found it. A part of the process, which involved giving in to Russian demands, is explained in an interim report. UN Security Council Resolution 1737 goes through the motions of imposing sanctions of Iran, without really imposing much of anything, because everything important is exempt from sanctions, and everyone important is exempt from financial and travel restrictions either entirely or on a "case by case" basis.

Barry Rubin characterized the resolution thusly:

The elephant has gone into labor and brought forth a mouse. That's the most apt remark about the end-game in the international effort to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.

After three years of intensive diplomacy involving the highest-ranking policy-makers and "best minds" of the Western countries, the Iranian government has literally run rings around its adversaries. Tehran has repeatedly lied and misled its interlocutors, rejected good offers and broken its own promises.

And, at the end, the UN Security Council proposes to pass a resolution not only without teeth but with scarcely any gums either...

An impressive list of paragraphs and subparagraphs and annexes hides the facts, with many of the paragraphs cancelling the effectiveness of previous paragraphs. Iran is forbidden to export any missiles or UAVs or other gadgets except for the ones that it actually exports. Iran is frobidden to import anything except for what it needs.

According to paragraphs 12 and 13, funds of problem agencies and individuals are frozen except in 2 cases:
1- If the funds are needed to meet regular expenses.
2- If the funds are needed to meet extraordinary expenses.

Other eventualities are to be judged on a case by case basis. All of this is left up to the judgment of the member nations of course.

To determine whether or not Iran has complied with the demands of the irresolution, a committee will be set up. If (when) Iran does not comply in 60 days there might be further ineffectual sanctions imposed under Article 41 of Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. The measures may (or may not) include, "complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations." That is serious. Ahmadinejad may not be able to send any more of his famous letters of advice to European and American leaders. He is surely quaking in his boots.

By then, America may decide to "engage" Iran as the Iraq Study Group report recommends. After all, a regime that arrests 2,600 people a day and holds Holocaust denial conferences can't be all bad. They must be eligible for "egnagement." But why should Ahmadinejad bother with engagement and marriage, when he already has such a yielding partner, who gives him everything he wants without the sanctity of wedlock?

Virtually everyone is silent about the truth, hailing the resolution as a great victory. Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Russian allies of convenience maneuvered the US and its supporters to the perfect position. The Bush administration and its supporters do not want to admit a humiliating defeat. The Iranians want to show that they are persecuted by the USA and the evil Jewish conspiracy, the Russians and Chinese want to make believe they aren't supporting a fascist regime in the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. From all these points of view, the resolution is commendable. From the point of view of putting a halt to Iran's nuclear weapons drive, it is worthless. Ahmadinejad capitalized on the boon. The Iranian regime announced "defiantly" that is going to add 3,000 new gas centrifuges to its program and accelerate the rate of enrichment. The UN set up a paper tiger, and Ahmadinejad could score points by "defying" it, knowing full well that the ferocious roar was a recorded soundtrack.

Perhaps the US should have vetoed this shameful document. The alternative was almost assuredly nothing, but pseudo-action that meets with a humiliating rebuff may be worse than nothing.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000546.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 10 comments

Seriously this has turned into a ridiciulous game, Iran has been lying to the whole world including arab countries for years, gaining their support by defying and sometimes bribing them and will certainly continue to lie if not stopped.

The iranian goverment is a total hypocrite they would love to see the arabs beheaded, but when they need their support their claim is that we too are muslims like you, even though their version of Islam is far different than those of the arab nations. My point here is their hypocricy and that if we allow them to obtain nuclear missiles they not only will be a threat to Europe but even to arab countries as well, and yet you still see Sunni nations defending them.

I don't understand why the people of this earth always expect US to be the world saviour, specially in this case. I am not saying that the world does not need US's help but that Europe is in more need of a deperate plan against Iran's ill natured goverment, and yet we don't see much action from them, their only strategy has been talk talk talk, trying to maintain good relations with Iran, a country who dreams of Europe being destroyed and it's economy crumbled.

We know this is a greater issue than most people assume it to be. The world in all is taking it too lightly, causing a great problem for their future.

Posted by DanielC. @ 12/26/2006 08:14 AM CST

Just as the speculation that Saddam had WMD grew over time to be an assertion, let's remember that Iran so far has enriched for energy purposes not weaponry purposes. It is your opinion of what that country's intentions are and, unfortunately, your willingness to destroy innocent lives on a fear-based foregone conclusion that must be seriously questioned. Just because you fear it, just be cause you want it and just because there are some similarities between people today and those who did not heed a warning prior to WWII doesn't mean you are right or that an armed attack is justified. I suspect, though, that you won't be on the front lines of the attack.

Posted by Robert H @ 12/26/2006 04:56 PM CST

The report below indicate that you don't have any knowledge or idea what is happening in Iran. My advise to you is that you get all the facts before give your opinion especially if you are a jewich.

"Report says Iran’s oil exports could decline to zero in less than a decade
By Associated Press"
Monday, December 25, 2006 - Updated: 06:04 PM EST

Posted by Jamshidy @ 12/26/2006 06:04 PM CST

What interesting comparisons you Zionists can work out for your audience's delight. This time it's Italy and Iran. May I ask what the hell they have in common, considering that Italy had actually attacked another country when sanctions were imposed on it and Iran has never started any aggressive war since it fell under Islamic rule?

Posted by Ulfsteinn @ 12/26/2006 10:28 PM CST

To answer some of the uninformed comments above point by point:

1.) “…let's remember that Iran so far has enriched for energy purposes not weaponry purposes.” Yes, but they are playing it both ways. On the one hand, the IRI asserts that their nuclear ambitions are for peaceful energy production. On the other they assert that they have a “right” to nuclear weapons as in “look the U.S. and Israel have them.” More to the point - how do you think Ahmadinejad plans to make his "World without Zionism" i.e. without the Zionist state (Israel) a reality with terrorism, conventional war, etc…? He certainly knows the answer.
2.) "Report says Iran’s oil exports could decline to zero in less than a decade” – that’s great comfort considering even conservative estimates say they’ll have a bomb in about half that time.
3.) “…Iran has never started any aggressive war since it fell under Islamic rule?” – Is there such a thing as a non-aggressive war? In any case, Iran has committed many “acts of war” including in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Iraq to name a few. The comparison is therefore, valid as both Italy and Iran were seeking to expand their powers at the expense of other countries freedom.

Posted by JasonGP @ 01/04/2007 05:54 AM CST

Ok, Jason, I'll try and be patient.
"Is there such a thing as a non-aggressive war?" Yes, there is. It's when you fight to defend yourself against an aggression. Remember October 1973?
"Iran has committed many “acts of war” including in Lebanon etc..." Don't be ridiculous. Hezbollah would never have been born without the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and until 2000 they legitimately fought against an occupation of their land, apart from terrorist acts, that are always to be condemned and that don't amount to acts of war. So stop the fuss and be happy.
"both Italy and Iran were seeking to expand their powers at the expense of other countries freedom" Don't be ridiculous, another time. Developing nuclear technology is not limiting the freedom of anyone, and the same can be said of training guerrillas.
One final point: according to the Shin Bet Iran won't have the bomb before 2009-2010. Ahmadinejad will be out of office by 2009, so he actually won't have time to put his menaces into practices, in the remote hypotesis that he means what he says. And even if he had the time, he still wouldn't have the power, for the very simple reason that Iranian law DOESN'T allow him to declare war or to declare an aggression against any other nation. Will you Zionists ever get real?

Posted by Ulfsteinn @ 01/10/2007 02:28 AM CST

Why thank you, I’ll reciprocate.
I was being facetious but, how successful is a nation going to be without aggressively pursuing their war goals? See: Lebanon.
Maybe, maybe not. Khomeini like all revolutionaries wanted to spread his message and Lebanon was attractive for a number of reasons with or without Zionists – although, arguably a good selling point.
Who’s land? Until 2000 Hezbollah did not control South Lebanon; Israel and the SLA did. Please don’t tell me Hezbollah is Lebanon, they don’t even get the majority of the Shi’a vote.
“don't amount to acts of war”? - Depends on the leaders will however, anything can constitute an act of war from assassination (WWI) to a cross-border kidnapping (Lebanon).
“Developing nuclear technology is not limiting the freedom of anyone…” – Right, unless you don’t have a nuclear arsenal of your own to balance off your enemy’s new found technology. Hence, Egypt’s recently expressed interest and as if there were any doubts, Olmert’s “candidness.” Wrong – on the count of guerrillas. Hezbollah’s goal remains to take over all of Lebanon one day and turn it into an Islamist state.
“Ahmadinejad will be out of office by 2009” – No, he faces an “election” in that year which he very well could “win” one way or another like Mubarak.
“Iranian law DOESN'T allow him” – Of course, let’s trust Iranian law. One quick example: Iranian law always says that someone cannot be executed below the age of 18 yet, the BBC found many cases of just that and made a documentary about one girl named Atefah. In that case, the IRI just declared her 22. Clearly, their compliance for other things like war and peace will be much better than their penchant for the laws of chastity, right?

Posted by JasonGP @ 01/11/2007 08:42 AM CST

Jas, if these are your points, well, I'm afraid my patience was wasted.
"how successful is a nation going to be without aggressively pursuing their war goals?" Pray, what, if any, is this sentence's meaning?
"Until 2000 Hezbollah did not control South Lebanon; Israel and the SLA did". Well, I hate to repeat myself, but don't be ridiculous. Israel was illegitimately occupying the land and Hezbollah was made up of native inhabitants of that very land, and as such they had the right to defend themselves from occupation even by violent means.
"unless you don’t have a nuclear arsenal of your own to balance off your enemy’s new found technology" Israel has 200 nuclear missiles, to say the least, so stop the fuss.
"Hezbollah’s goal remains to take over all of Lebanon one day and turn it into an Islamist state" Don't be ridiculous, and it's the third time. This was true in the 80's, but Nasrallah has explicitly renounced it.
"No, he [Ahmadinejad] faces an “election” in that year" which he is bound to lose, as sure as the sky is blue, unless we attack Iran, in which case the Iranian Constitution concedes suspension of the electoral process. So go ahead, bomb Iran and give Ahmadinejad a great chance to stay in place.
"Of course, let’s trust Iranian law" Yes, boyo. It's the Iranian Constitution, and it gives the authority to declare war and order attacks only to the Supreme Leader. Are you suggesting that Khamenei would gladly see himself stripped of his authority by Ahmadinejad? Now that's a bold political theory. Could you elaborate?

Posted by Ulfsteinn @ 01/13/2007 02:13 AM CST

JasonGP: you claim that

"On the other they assert that they have a “right” to nuclear weapons"

I'm not sure that this is the case. All of the claims that I've found have been regarding the right to nuclear energy, not nuclear weapons. Perhaps you could provide references to the assertions you claim they have made?

Posted by Robert Ham @ 01/30/2007 03:38 AM CST

Is it true that Jews want Solomon's Temple? Given history it would seem that would be a goal. That would be the origin of much of the violence nd would explain a lot.

Posted by Ottobock @ 02/06/2007 09:02 AM CST


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