US Faces Pressure From Israel, Saudi Arabia to Rebuff Iran Overtures

John Glaser, September 30, 2013

Given the divisive political climate up on Capitol Hill right now, one might think the greatest liability to the Obama administration for its positive reaction to Iran’s diplomatic overtures would be Republicans who prefer sanctions and war over détente. But one would be wrong. The real pressure to rebuff Iran’s extended hand comes from America’s closest allies in the Middle East: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

“Israel and a number of allied Persian Gulf states are voicing concern about the pace of rapprochement,” reports the Wall Street Journal, “arguing that Iran will use the diplomatic cover to advance its nuclear work.”

The article goes on to report that Obama is scheduled to have what is sure to be a fretful meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today at the White House. And administration officials have listened to strong opposition to easing tensions with Iran from the Arab Gulf states.

Note the misleading reason given in the lede that Israel and the Persian Gulf states are concerned about Iran “advanc[ing] its nuclear work.” No, they are not. As the U.S. intelligence community has repeatedly established, Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and, according to the IAEA, none of Iran’s enriched uranium has been diverted to uninspected facilities for possible military use.

If Israel were truly concerned about the possibility of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons, it would have responded affirmatively to the successive proposals to impose a nuclear-weapons-free zone in the region, instead of opposing it each and every time. Truthfully, Israel needs Iran as a foreign bogeyman to keep attention away from the Israeli-Palestinian issue. As former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar has written, “the Iran issue” provides a “distraction” from international “attention to the Palestinians’ lack of popular sovereignty.”

And the Persian Gulf states aren’t worried about an Iranian bomb so much as they are concerned that, absent U.S. pressure to keep Iran down, Iran’s geo-political role in the region would expand at the expense of their own.

The Wall Street Journal acknowledges this in its buried lede half-way through the article: ”U.S. officials acknowledge that the Persian Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, also are concerned about the U.S. rapprochement with Iran. The Arab states are concerned that Iran could use improved ties with Washington to advance its efforts to dominate the Mideast.”

This is purely realpolitik for the GCC states. The same has been true for Syria, where Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and others have pressured the U.S. towards undermining and even toppling the Assad regime. This was made starkly clear in an email exchange among employees at the intelligence contractor Stratfor, released by WikiLeaks, in which one analyst writes about “the Saudis trying to put a hole in the
Iranian plan to its radical/Shia arc of influence stretching from Iran to Lebanon.”

Riyadh can’t do much in Lebanon and has lost Iraq. The uprising in Syria provides for the Saudis an opportunity to undermine the arc if they can topple the regime in Damascus. This would be a huge blow for the Iranians, which is why they have been trying to support the Syrian regime. For Iran, which is still waiting to finalize its hold over Iraq and thus complete the arc, the loss of Syria would be huge. For a quarter of century the Iranians sought Iraq but couldn’t get it and now when they are almost there they staring into the abyss of loosing Syria and with it Lebanon.

The U.S. was on the brink of war with Syria earlier this month because of these types of pressures. Our supposed allies in the Middle East would like the same fate for Tehran.

Here’s an idea: Let’s stop outsourcing our own “national interests” to nefarious “allied” regimes in the Middle East.




20 Responses to “US Faces Pressure From Israel, Saudi Arabia to Rebuff Iran Overtures”

  1. Well one is a tyrant feudalism regime the other is an apartheid Zionist regime, when you cooperate and support such regimes treating them as your especial friend, you can only expect pressure to do what they demand from you to do, in return you get a gold neckless for all that hard work starting Syrian war, weakening another nation for your friends to remain and expend their regional power.

  2. pathetic. it is america who should be putting these regimes on notice that we plan to make peace with iran and that war is off the table.

  3. The US military are officially mercenaries for the tribal chiefs of the Gulf and the zionist snakes. What happened to the American patriots? But in other good news, 76% of Americans are in favor of peace with Iran and direct negotiations.

  4. Will our leaders listen to the people or will they listen to Israel?

  5. Since withdrawal of consent, nullification, and secession are now the new buzzwords, it is unlikely that this will result in listening to Israel.

  6. [...] mentioned this briefly in a post yesterday, but Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on [...]

  7. [...] mentioned this briefly in a post yesterday, but Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council on [...]

  8. So, how accurate is the US Intelligence that Iran so far hasn't been on the road to developing these weapons? I agree everyone has their own agenda, and we i.e. the US should act independently, but we should also act to ensure complete national security. Its not hard to surmise that Iran's leaders could be lying their way to get fully operational weapons, while delaying the time. Why would you trust them at all in the first place? America should act independently, we don't have to listen to Israel of the rest of the gulf. But that doesn't mean we should trust Iran in the first place anyway.

  9. [...] US Faces Pressure From Israel, Saudi Arabia to Rebuff Iran Overtures [...]

  10. {But that doesn't mean we should trust Iran in the first place anyway.}

    Do you believe in "american exceptionalism" that write such a nonsense? You should ask
    yourself why do we as american, reserve the right to have all kind of weapons including nuclear weapons, CW, Biological weapons and more, but not allow others to defend theselves against YOU. As Ahmadinejad, a wise leader said: What can Iran do with ONE BOMB against 20000 of your nuclear bombs?
    Before hitting the keyboard, it is better to use your brain.

  11. Israel you dunce they own American government they asslick the Zionist entity almost all of them,

  12. They the yanks only think of burgers with cheese Iran is 12 thousand yrs old America less than 300yrs the Zionist less than 50 both practise cavemen diplomacy at the point of a gun.

  13. It does not mean sh#t that 76% of Americans 'are in favor of peace". When the government repeatedly ignores the will of the people then its time for revoloution.

  14. You are technically right, but the latest thing with the Syrian crisis and Putin giving Obama a lifeline gives us hope. Congress reps were for the first time in recent history scared from their constituents and they would never have given Obama thew war he wanted.

  15. My final take on this regarding the Saudis is the futility of having lots of money without your own military. We live in a country eat country world and all the bullshit about human rights, rule of law and the UN is absolute hogwash for political ends. Saudi and Israel has always used the American military power either directly or indirectly. But the time of reckoning is extremely close for both countries. Israel was beaten hands down in Lebanon back in 2006 and for the uninformed, Saudi was also beaten hands down by a Yemeni resistant group with less weapons than Hizbollah.

  16. [...] mentioned this briefly in a post yesterday, but Daniel Levy, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at the European Council [...]

  17. You cannot apply into national security while your regime is at war and been at wars for last 65 years creating enemies after another, adding the help to jihadists and other affiliated Al-Quaeda terrorists around the world is not about national security, such application well and have produced new enemies to the lists of existed enemies. These acts are calculated expending the USG militarism operation around the world. The idea is adding new terrorism agendas and states that are terrorists sponsored governments as Saudis and UAE, they get their support and weapons provided by USG among others, in return they provide the kind of "terrorist" operations for USG adding to existing militarism operations conducted by USG.

  18. [...] US Faces Pressure From Israel, Saudi Arabia to Rebuff Iran Overtures (Antiwar) [...]

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