Since it was signed a month ago in Geneva, the pact with Iran received much attention in the media, it’s many shortcomings and it’s few (if any) upsides have been rehashed and analyzed over and over again. The open rift between President Barak Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has received the full attention it deserved, and there are even speculations about a new alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia. As it turns out, the US and Iran have been engaged in secrete negotiation for many months, and when one strips away the bells and whistles all that the agreement with Iran really accomplished was buying some time. A six months delay to be exact. But what was the urgency? Why the hurry? Why not continue the secret talks and allow the sanctions more time to work and soften Iranian resistance?
The answer may reside in the timeline of the recent events in Washington, Geneva, Jerusalem, Cairo, and Riyadh
On Dec. 22 2012 a story published in Egypt’s Rose El-Youssef An Egyptian magazine, claimed that six American Islamist activists who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who enjoy strong influence over U.S. policy and suggested the six turned the White House “from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.” The six include Arif Alikhan, assistant secretary of Homeland Security for policy development; Mohammed Elibiary, a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council; Rashad Hussain, the U.S. special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference; Salam al-Marayati , co-founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC); Imam Mohamed Magid, president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA); and Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships. This rapprochement between the US and the Muslim Brotherhood was, to say the least not the liking of Saudi Arabia. By mid to late 2013, the events in Libya, the White House’s support of Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi in Egypt, and the opposition to the subsequent military take over in Egypt, made it clear to the Saudis that they can not count on US support.
If there was any doubt left, about the deep penetration of the Muslim Brotherhood of the White House, the recent revelations by Seymour Hersh puts any remaining doubts to rest. Hersh reported that the White House knew that the sarin nerve gas attack of August 21st in Damascus was perpetrated by al-Nusra (an Al-Qaida affiliated group), and not by Syria’s President Bashar Assad, as was claimed by the administration. The White House knowingly lied to the American people about the perpetrator of the attack in order to use it as pretext to attack the Assad regime. By late September of 2013 Obama was readying to go to war in support of the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated rebels. At the very last moment (perhaps realizing that the truth is bound to come out at some point), Obama decide to seek congressional approval and the American effort in support of Al-Qaida in Syria was ultimately foiled by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s agreement with Assad.
With the conclusion of the Syrian fiasco, the Obama administration had to turn it’s attention to a more imminent threat. While the US and and Iran have been negotiating in secret for quite some time, so were Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel and the Saudis (bound by their opposition to both nuclear armed Shia Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood) have been discussing mutual concerns regarding the events in the Middle East. Feeling betrayed by America’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and being kept out of the negotiating loop between the US and Iran, the two countries have been exploring mutually beneficial options since at least as far back as March of 2013 when a prominent Israeli politician (her name is yet to be officially revealed) visited Abu Dhabi. Since then multiple other meeting between the two countries are rumored to have taken place, including a most recent one in November of 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. It is reported that during these meetings an understanding was forged whereby in return for some Israeli concessions with regard to the Palestinian issue, the Saudis have given Israel a green light (or at least a yellow one) for a fly over Saudi air space to attack Iran (the Saudis were of course quick to deny any such meetings or understandings).
Netanyahu in his UN address of October 1st 2013 was unequivocal about Israel’s intentions, and just in case the White House was not paying attention, he repeated it three times, “Ladies and gentlemen, Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map. Against such a threat, Israel will have no choice but to defend itself. I want there to be no confusion on this point. Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone.“ Then he went on to allude to newly forged alliances and common understandings, “Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others. The dangers of a nuclear-armed Iran and the emergence of other threats in our region have led many of our Arab neighbors to recognize, finally recognize, that Israel is not their enemy. And this affords us the opportunity to overcome the historic animosities and build new relationships, new friendships, new hopes. Israel welcomes engagement with the wider Arab world. We hope that our common interests and common challenges will help us forge a more peaceful future.“
By November of 2013 the heat was on. On November seventh Israel voiced strong opposition to reported American concession to Iran’s demands for continued enrichment of uranium. After that it became a race to reach an agreement as quickly as possible in order to prevent Israel from striking first. On November 21st a top White House official sounded the alarm and warned that Israel’s proposals and demands would likely lead to war. Tree days later, on November 24th, not leaving any room for further maneuvering by Israel, and preempting any possible Israeli action, the Geneva agreement was signed. Preemption of Israel by capitulation to Iran’s demands is the only plausible explanation for the rushed signing of what is by all accounts is a bad agreement. It bought the Obama administration 6 months, unless Israel turns up a smoking gun and attacks Iran when the world and the Iranians least expect it.Igal Zuravicky MD FACC
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