Iranian juju: A purported existential threat to Israel
Published : Wednesday, 20 June, 2018 at 12:00 AM Count : 225
It was not long ago when some Arab nations and the Israelis, the two Semitic cousins, were engaged in strife and Iran backed the Israelis surreptitiously. But we now see the opposite scene in the same place: the Middle East (ME). Iran and Israel have turned arch enemies against each other. At the same time Israel has found some cooperative Arab regimes. The Iranian nuclear issue has added fuel to rivalry between the parties. But neither Iran nor its nuclear program is a threat to Israel and its allies. Now, it is the Iranian regime that supposed to be a threat to Israel.
Recently a de facto cooperation among Israel and some Arab regimes, especially Saudi royal family, has been established to thwart Iran. The enmity between the Arabs and the Israelis is a very old phenomenon. And in recent time they engaged in a decade long feud. Iran-Israel rivalry is very new which happened for the first time in more than a thousand years. According to historians, the Jews are indebted to the Iranians. A large portion of the Jewish population was under the captivity of Babylonian king. When Cyrus the great of Persia occupied Babylonia in 539 BC, he freed the Jews from 70 years of captivity and permitted them to return to their home.
Even Benjamin Netanyahu recognises that the Iranians were friendly to the Jews for over a thousand years. In reality, Iran is not against the Jews or Judaism, but they oppose Zionism. The growth of Jewish community in Iran corroborates the fact. Iranian Jews are proud of being Iranian; they fought voluntarily in Iran-Iraq war, and they spurned the proposal of Israeli citizenship. Below I point out in details.
Western influence in the region:Israel was established following a cunning western policy as a manmade state to promote and sustain geopolitical, military and cultural conflict in the ME while paving the path to interfere in the regional affairs. Consequently, Israel is serving the western interests, in the ME by performing, what many experts say, the role of a mediaeval crusader state.
It keeps the region under extreme tensed situation by illegitimately grabbing Arab lands. One of the eccentric characteristics of Israeli un-codified constitution is that it does not define Israel's national territory, which has long opened all doors for the illegitimate state to grab whatever land is now left in Palestine. Sadly it is being done with the West's active sponsorship -- political, intelligence, economic, diplomatic and military.
It is true that this support is the most important thing to ensure the security of Israel. It can be easily assumed that the existence of Israel might be seriously threatened without the western support. It nearly happened in the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
The regional rising power Iran turns its back to the west, particularly to the US after the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The revolution took place to dethrone the western backed autocratic regime. After so many years, the relation has not normalized between US and Iran. Iran still considers US the 'Great Satan' while it deems Israel a 'Little Satan'.
After the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, the regime that was established was evidently the opposite to the previous regime of Shah Dynasty. The new regime rejected the contentious existence of Israel and cut off all the diplomatic and trade relations. But Iran didn't take any initial action against Israel. Until 1990s, they didn't consider each other as opponents; rather they maintained a comparatively peaceful relation.
The article 152 of the new constitution of Iran says that "the foreign policy of the Islamic republic of Iran is based upon the rejection of all forms of domination, both the exertion of it and submission to it."
Article 154 states that, "...Accordingly, while scrupulously refraining from all forms of interference in the internal affairs of other nations, it supports the just struggle of oppressed against the oppressors in every corner of the globe."Iran maintains an ethical ground to interfere in domestic affairs of other countries, and Iran boasts that its foreign policy is designed to fight injustice while Western intervention has so far wreaked havoc in the Arab region.
Iran has a special branch, the Quds Force, of the revolutionary guard to assist armed movement of the oppressed beyond its national territory. And Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) one of the priorities is to export the Islamic revolution abroad which embraces the ideology of rejecting all forms of domination. So the presence of western military and political influence in the region is one of the main reasons of antagonism between Iran and Israel.
A purported existential threat:
Until 1990s Israel considered Iran to be a friend despite the emergence of Hezbollah in 1982, which was established by Iranian backup. Yitzhak Rabin addressed Iran as "Israel's best friend" in 1987. During Iran-Iraq war, Israel tacitly supported Iran following its Periphery Doctrine (a way of counterbalance the diplomatic and economic boycott of the Arab world). And during the war, Israel sold USD 5 million worth of arms to Iran between 1981 and 1983. Most of it was paid in oil.
Few years later, after the defeat of Iraq in the First Gulf War, Mr Rabin changed his voice and drummed that Iran is an existential threat to Israel; though Iran hadn't changed policy towards Israel. He declared Iran is country's "dark murderous regime". Shimon Peres in 1996 declared Iranian regime as "more dangerous than Hitler."
One major thing happened between Israel's two opposite positions -- the defeat of Iraq in the First Gulf War. The country was considered enemy to both Iran and Israel. The defeat resulted in a huge power vacuum in the region. And only then the Israeli politicians vehemently disseminated anti-Iranian sentiment both nationally and internationally. They claimed Iran an existential threat to Israel for the first time. Strangely, Israeli intelligence agencies found no basis of this claim despite the resistance movement of Hezbollah. Tamir Pardo, Director of the Mossad until January 2016, denied the Israeli politicians' claim of Iran being a threat to Israel. In fact, geographically it is impossible for Iran to be an existential threat to Israel since Iran cannot occupy or destroy Israel by means of direct intervention or proxy warfare.
All about regional dominance:
It seems that Israel plays the Iranian nuclear juju to suppress Iranian economic, military and most importantly regional influence. If, Iran succumbs to Western pressure, and cancels its nuclear programme; even then we cannot expect the ice between the trios Iran-Israel-US to melt. Because, the rivalry started before the nuclear issue and it is not the prime cause of the antagonism.
It is all about the current Iranian regime which has redefined the state interest after the Islamic revolution, but it went against Israel and still remains so. And that is why Iran backs the resistance movement of Hezbollah and Hamas in a response to Israel's land grabbing and the persecution of the Palestinian civilians.
Israel plans to expand its territory and influence as well as seeks strong US Backed western influence in the region. It also wants some autocratic Arab regimes to persist. Simultaneously, it does not want any strong or powerful country to exist in the region. The propaganda of nuclear threat (despite international observation) and existential threat are being used as lame excuses to make Iran economically and militarily weak so to ensure Israeli's unopposed dominance in the region.
The writer is Editorial Assistant,
The Daily Observer