FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Those Attacks on Israeli Diplomats

by ARSHIN ADIB-MOGHADDAM

Let’s assume that sections of the military and security apparatus in Iran are responsible for the string of bombings in Georgia, Thailand and India. What would be the motive? The argument that Iran is retaliating for the murder of five civilian nuclear scientists in Iran is not plausible. If Iran wanted to target Israeli interests, it has other means at its disposal. It is hard to imagine that the Iranian government would send Iranian operatives to friendly countries, completely equipped with Iranian money and passports – making the case against them as obvious as possible.

If the Iranian Revolutionary Guards are as professional, highly trained and politically savvy as we have been told repeatedly by Israeli politicians themselves, if they have successfully trained and equipped the cadres of Hezbollah and other movements with paramilitary wings in the region, then why would they launch such a clumsy and self-defeating operation?

And why India, Georgia and Thailand, three countries that Iran has had cordial relations with during a period when Iran is facing increasing sanctions spearheaded by the United States? A few days ago, India agreed a rupee-based oil and gas deal with Iran and resisted US pressures to join the western boycott of the Iranian energy sector. As a net importer of 12% of Iranian oil, India’s total trade with Iran amounted to $13.67bn in 2010-2011. What would be the motive for damaging relations with one of Iran’s major trading partners and regional heavyweights?

For Iran it doesn’t make sense to risk alienating India by launching an assassination attempt in the capital of the country. Similarly, Iran has good economic and political relations with
Georgia and Thailand. Why would the leadership in Tehran risk a major crisis with these countries during this sensitive period when IAEA inspectors are moving in and out of Iran to investigate the country’s nuclear programme?

The true answer is that at this stage no one knows for sure who is behind the attacks. There have been news reports that the security agencies in India are examining the similarities between the explosion in Delhi and the Jama Masjid shooting and blast in 2010 when similar methods were used. According to these reports, the culprits could be the so-called Indian Mujahideen, which is unrelated to Iran and which is opposed to India’s relations with Israel. There are several other such groups that support the Palestinian cause and that have targeted India before.

It is politics that will prevail over the truth in this case; the Netanyahu administration will attempt to exploit the situation in order to make the case for increasing sanctions against Iran. Undoubtedly, it will attempt to derail Iranian-Indian relations, which has been a primary objective of the administration’s grand strategy to isolate Iran. For the Netanyahu administration, the culprit of these attacks has to be the Iranian government, irrespective of the truth, because it is politically expedient to represent the country as an existential threat in order to hype up the nuclear issue and to divert attention away from the Palestinian question. Certainly, on the fringes of the Israeli right wing the drumbeats for war will beat louder.

The Iranian government, on the other hand, will continue to deny any involvement in order to ward off a diplomatic fallout. Iran is not interested in any military confrontation. But at the same time Israel is a convenient bogeyman for Iran’s own right wing. Cyclical, confined confrontation with Israel is politically useful in order to foster support for the country’s policies, both domestically and in the wider Arab and Islamic world. Finally, the international community, including the Obama administration, is likely to contain the repercussions of what happened in order to give diplomacy a chance, and to cool down the hawks in Tel Aviv. We are in the middle of the realm of politics then, not the truth.

Apart from a tiny minority that is tied to the military industrial complex, no one really has a penchant for yet another disastrous war in the Islamic world. One thing is certain, however. If the current cold war between Israel and Iran is not managed diplomatically sooner rather than later, the tensions will continue to rise with potentially devastating consequences for Israelis and Iranians alike.

Policies of terror and intimidation yield wars; diplomacy and dialogue yield peace and stability. It is time that this fundamental logic of international politics is enforced in west Asia and north Africa. To that end, the case for reconciliation has to be made continuously and emphatically, especially during periods of massive rage and trepidation. We are exactly at such a decisive juncture. It is all the more imperative then that intellectual acumen and analytical sobriety prevail over the resurgent pro-war lobby.

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is reader in the comparative and international politics of western Asia at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of several books including Iran in World Politics: The Question of the Islamic Republic and A Metahistory of the Clash of Civilisations

This article originally appeared in the Guardian.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
February 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Pierre M. Sprey - Franklin “Chuck” Spinney
Sleepwalking Into a Nuclear Arms Race with Russia
Ajamu Baraka
Malcolm X and Human Rights in the Time of Trumpism: Transcending the Master’s Tools
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Exxon’s End Game Theory
John Laforge
Did Obama Pave the Way for More Torture?
Mike Whitney
McMaster Takes Charge: Trump Relinquishes Control of Foreign Policy 
Paul Street
Liberal Hypocrisy, “Late-Shaming,” and Russia-Blaming in the Age of Trump
Patrick Cockburn
The Coming Decline of US and UK Power
Louisa Willcox
The Endangered Species Act: a Critical Safety Net Now Threatened by Congress and Trump
Vijay Prashad
A Foreign Policy of Cruel Populism
John Chuckman
Israel’s Terrible Problem: Two States or One?
Matthew Stevenson
The Parallax View of Donald Trump
Norman Pollack
Drumbeat of Fascism: Find, Arrest, Deport
Stan Cox
Can the Climate Survive Electoral Democracy? Maybe. Can It Survive Capitalism? No.
Ramzy Baroud
The Trump-Netanyahu Circus: Now, No One Can Save Israel from Itself
Edward Hunt
The United States of Permanent War
David Morgan
Trump and the Left: a Case of Mass Hysteria?
Pete Dolack
The Bait and Switch of Public-Private Partnerships
Mike Miller
What Kind of Movement Moment Are We In? 
Elliot Sperber
Why Resistance is Insufficient
Brian Cloughley
What are You Going to Do About Afghanistan, President Trump?
Binoy Kampmark
Warring in the Oncology Ward
Yves Engler
Remembering the Coup in Ghana
Jeremy Brecher
“Climate Kids” v. Trump: Trial of the Century Pits Trump Climate Denialism Against Right to a Climate System Capable of Sustaining Human Life”
Jonathan Taylor
Hate Trump? You Should Have Voted for Ron Paul
Franklin Lamb
Another Small Step for Syrian Refugee Children in Beirut’s “Aleppo Park”
Ron Jacobs
The Realist: Irreverence Was Their Only Sacred Cow
Andre Vltchek
Lock up England in Jail or an Insane Asylum!
Rev. William Alberts
Grandiose Marketing of Spirituality
Paul DeRienzo
Three Years Since the Kitty Litter Disaster at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
Eric Sommer
Organize Workers Immigrant Defense Committees!
Steve Cooper
A Progressive Agenda
David Swanson
100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
Andrew Stewart
The 4CHAN Presidency: A Media Critique of the Alt-Right
Edward Leer
Tripping USA: The Chair
Randy Shields
Tom Regan: The Life of the Animal Rights Party
Nyla Ali Khan
One Certain Effect of Instability in Kashmir is the Erosion of Freedom of Expression and Regional Integration
Rob Hager
The Only Fake News That Probably Threw the Election to Trump was not Russian 
Mike Garrity
Why Should We Pay Billionaires to Destroy Our Public Lands? 
Mark Dickman
The Prophet: Deutscher’s Trotsky
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of the Toilet Police
Ezra Kronfeld
Joe Manchin: a Senate Republicrat to Dispute and Challenge
Clancy Sigal
The Nazis Called It a “Rafle”
Louis Proyect
Socialism Betrayed? Inside the Ukrainian Holodomor
Charles R. Larson
Review: Timothy B. Tyson’s “The Blood of Emmett Till”
David Yearsley
Founding Father of American Song
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail