Israel and US Threats Against Iran

The Bush Administration and their Democratic allies believe that the war in Iraq and now Iran is in Israel’s interest.

“If you’re a supporter of Israel, I would strongly urge you to help other countries become democracies,” President Bush was quoted as saying in the Forward on December 16, 2005. “Israel’s long-term survival depends upon the spread of democracy in the Middle East.”

Democracy by gunpoint that is. As the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction has waned, Bush and his warmongering allies have continued to declare the occupation of Iraq is now about democracy. It was on the backburner of justifications before the war, but now the neocon’s false hopes are front and center. Of course, this so-called “democracy” has clear limitations. For starters, what the Bush administration and their Israeli allies have in mind for the Middle East has absolutely nothing do to with any sort of democratic principles.

On Wednesday January 18, Israeli police detained seven Palestinians in Arab East Jerusalem for next week’s Palestinian parliamentary election. The group was accused of belonging to an outlawed group with ties to terrorists in Palestine. Among those captured was the head of Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a group that was allegedly involved in the attacks on Israelis over the past five years.

That’s the sort of equal representation Bush is talking about — shut out voices that counter your own agenda and call it democratic. That is the real reason why the war in Iraq is in the interest of Israel, for the occupiers will never allow a government to form that opposes Israel’s own brutal occupation of Palestine.

The Iran warmongering that’s become so popular of late has the exact same basis. If there only was democracy in Tehran, cries the Washington Establishment, Israel could sleep better at night. Or so they want us to believe. But anyone with the slightest knowledge of Iran’s history would know that even a democratic Tehran is not likely to befriend Israel’s policies.

President Bush declared on January 13, that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose “a grave threat to the security of the world,” and in particular, Israel.

This exact same rhetoric was invoked prior to the Iraq invasion. But it’s not the world community that really feels threatened. It’s allegedly Israel. So a war on Iran would be a war for Israel’s security, not necessarily the United States’ — and certainly an invasion would not lead to democratization. Never mind that Israel already harbors a nuclear arsenal and has violated Security Council resolutions.

That’s a non-issue.

Many Democrats have joined in, including Senator John Kerry who has also joined the attack Iran, save Israel, bandwagon admitting to reporters last week in India, “Iran has made a dangerous and silly decision of confronting not just the U.S. government but the entire international community If all diplomatic channels fail, we have no choice but to take the issue before the international body.”

The Security Council isn’t likely to back the US and Israel’s disdain for Iran. China and Russia both have huge economic ties to the country, and that is possibly why Tehran feels so comfortable bad mouthing Israel and turning their back on the United States.

So, like the invasion of Iraq, the US and Britain will have to go it alone when they decide to give Iran a chin-check. And that is what the this conflict may be about. As we know, it’s not about democracy or liberation. It’s about expanding empire.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, just published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted through Josh’s blog at Josh can be reached at


JOSHUA FRANK is the managing editor of CounterPunch. He is the author of the new book, Atomic Days: The Untold Story of the Most Toxic Place in America, published by Haymarket Books. He can be reached at You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank.