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Afraid of the Iranian nuclear bomb?

The most self-evident political truth in Israel at the moment concerns Iran: Iran is Israel's deadly enemy and wants to destroy Israel – Israel must therefore destroy Iran's power first.

This article is machine translated by Google from Norwegian

I HATE self-evident truths. Ideals can be self-evident. Political statements are not. When I hear of a self-evident political truth, I immediately doubt it.

Since Iran is a deadly enemy who wants to destroy Israel is self-evident, the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the five members of the Security Council (plus Germany) is terrible. Simply awful. Israel should have ordered the Americans to bomb Iran for a long time ago. If it was unlikely that the United States did not obey Israel, Israel should have bombed Iran itself – before Iran's mad, fanatical leaders had the opportunity to annihilate Israel first.

All of the above are supposedly self-evident truths. In my opinion, on the other hand, it is the purest garbage. There is nothing that is the least self-evident about these "truths." They have no logical foundation at all. They have no geopolitical, historical or factual basis.

Napoleon once said that if one wants to understand a country's behavior, one must look at the map. Geography is more important than ideology, no matter how fanatical it may be. Ideologies change over time. Geography does not. The most fanatical ideological country of the 20th century was the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union detested its predecessor – Tsar Russia – and also wanted to dethrone its successor, Putin's Russia. But surely – the Tsars, Stalin, and Putin, on the whole, pursued the same foreign policy. Karl Marx must turn in the grave.

Historical ties. When the Israeli people of the Bible were born, Persia was already a civilized country. King Cyrus sent "the Jews" to Jerusalem and founded what can be called "the Jewish people." He is remembered in Jewish history as a great benefactor.

When the State of Israel was founded in 1948, David Ben-Gurion viewed Iran as a natural ally. That may sound strange now, but not so long ago, Iran was actually the most Israel-friendly country in the Middle East.

Geography is more important than ideology, no matter how fanatical it may be.

Ben-Gurion was a realist throughout. Since he had no intention of making peace with the Arabs – a peace that would have prevented the originally small state of Israel from constantly expanding – he was looking for allies outside the Arab world.

When he looked at the map (yes, he had great faith in maps), he saw that the Muslim Arabs were surrounded by several non-Arab or non-Muslim entities. There were the Maronite Christians in Lebanon (not Muslims), Turks (Muslims but not Arabs), Kurds (Muslims but not Arabs), Iran (Muslims but not Arabs), Ethiopia (neither Muslims nor Arabs) and more. Seeing this, Ben-Gurion hatched a grand plan: a "peripheral partnership" – an alliance between all these groups that surrounded the Arab world, and felt threatened by the emerging pan-Arab nationalism of Gamal Abd-al-Nasser and other Sunni Muslim countries.

One of those most enthusiastic about this idea was the Shah of Iran, who became Israel's best friend. "King of kings" was a brutal dictator and was hated by most of his people. But for many Israelis, Iran became their second home. Tehran became a mecca for Israeli business people, and some of them became very rich. Experts from the Israeli security service Shabak trained the Shah's hated secret police Savak. High-ranking Israeli military traveled freely through Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan, where they trained Kurdish Peshmerga forces in their fight against Saddam Hussein's regime. (The Shah obviously did not dream of giving his own Kurdish minority freedom.)

Break. This Israeli-Iranian paradise came to an abrupt end when the Shah made a deal with Saddam Hussein to salvage his throne – to no avail. Radical Shiite clerics, who were very popular, overthrew the Shah and established the Shia Muslim Republic in 1979. Israel was thus out of the picture.

By the way, another part of the "periphery" also broke out. In 1954, Ben-Gurion and his army chief Moshe Dayan planned to attack Lebanon and establish a pro-Israeli Maronite dictatorship there. The then Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharet – who knew little about the Arab world – put an end to this adventure, which he considered to be idiotic. Thirty years later, Ben-Gurion's plan was nevertheless implemented by Ariel Sharon – another ignorant figure – with disastrous consequences.

In 1982, the Israeli army invaded Lebanon. In line with the plan, it deployed a Maronite dictator – Basheer Jumayil – who signed a peace treaty with Israel and shortly thereafter was assassinated. The Shiites who populate the southern part of Lebanon warmly welcomed the Israeli army because they believed it would help them against Sunni Muslims and then retreat. I was an eyewitness: When I was driving alone in my civilian car from Metullah in Israel to Sidon on the Lebanese coast, I passed several Shi'ite villages and had trouble freeing myself (physically) from the embraces of the inhabitants.

But when the Shiites realized that the Israelis had no intention of leaving the area, they started a guerrilla war against them. This is how Hezbollah, who became one of Israel's most effective enemies – and an ally of the Shiite regime in Iran, emerged. But is the Shiite regime in Iran such a deadly enemy of Israel? I doubt it.

Weapons trade. When religious fanaticism in Iran was at its peak, something weird happened. It became known as the "Iran-Contras" affair. Some Washington DC conservatives wanted to arm right-wing rebels in left-wing Nicaragua. American law forbade them to do such a thing openly, so they turned to Israel (who else?).

Today's Iranian leaders may be fanatics, but they are not suicidal.

Israel sold weapons to the Iranian Ayatollahs (yes, in fact!) And provided the financial surplus to our friends in Washington, who illegally transferred the money to the Nicaraguan right-wing terrorists, called "Contras."

The moral of this story: When appropriate, the Ayatollahs had no qualms about making arrangements with "little Satan" Israel.

Iran needed weapons Israel sent them because they fought a war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. It wasn't the first. For hundreds of years, Iraq served as a bulwark against Iran for the Arab world. Iraq has a large Shiite population, but the Iraqi Shiites are Arabs, and they still had and have no real sympathy for their Shi'ite traps in Iran.

Israel helped Iran in that war because Israel feared Saddam Hussein. Therefore, Israel helped convince the United States to invade Iraq. The invasion was a huge success: Iraq was destroyed and the historic bulwark against Iran disappeared. So it was Israel who helped remove the main obstacle to Iran's hegemony in the Middle East.

Not suicidal. Does this sound silly? It's stupid. Ben-Gurion's big plan is turned on its head. Currently, the "periphery" consisting of Lebanon and Iran, supported by Turkey, the enemy of Israel's death, and the Sunni bloc of Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Egypt are Israel's open or half-secret allies.

Here I hear the impatient reader shouting: "Cut out the piss, what about the nuclear threat? What about the crazy Ayatollahs who can get nuclear bombs and destroy Israel? ”

Well, I'm not scared. Even if Iran gets its nuclear bombs, I will sleep well. Why – for God's (or Allah's) sake? Because Israel is well equipped with nuclear weapons and has the ability to strike back sharply. Bombing Israel would mean the annihilation of Iran – the multi-millennial civilization, the proud legacy of countless philosophers, artists, poets and scientists. (The word "algorithm" is derived from the name of the Persian mathematician al-Khwarizmi).

Today's Iranian leaders may be fanatics (I doubt it), but they are not suicidal. There are no indications. On the contrary, they seem to be very practical people.

So why are they screaming at Israel like that? Because their goal is to become the dominant power in the Muslim world, and to curse Israel is the obvious way to do so. As long as Israel does not make peace with the Palestinians, the Arab and Muslim masses will hate Israel. Iran's current leaders are very good at cursing Little Satan.

Experts report that Islam has recently lost strength as the most important force in Iran, while Iranian nationalism is progressing. The Cyrus cult, 1200 years older than Muhammad, is gaining ground.

Atomic attack unlikely. Since the nuclear bomb was invented, no nuclear weapons have been attacked. Attempting to attack a country with such weapons simply means suicide. Not even the mighty United States ("Great Satan") dares to attack little North Korea – a country that acts as anything but irrational when it strives to gain its own nuclear power.

So I'm going to sleep well even if Iran becomes a nuclear power. But possibly with one eye on glow.

Commentator in Ny Tid. Avnery is a former member of the Knesset in Israel. Israeli journalist and peace activist (born 1923).

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