At the UN, Netanyahu was at his weakest

29 Sep

Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the UN tonight.

What was different this time was that his position at home is more precarious compared to recent years. Naftali Bennet is gaining on him and his popularity has fallen after the recent war in Gaza. And it could get worst if there is renewed rocket fire against Israel’s southern cities.

So this is why this year he sounded even more despondent than other years regarding the prospects of peace between Israel and Palestine.

But he did not disappoint. I mean who on earth believes him when every year he says he is ready for peace while he builds more settlements.

And to try and equate Iran and ISIS? Thats going beyond….

I repeat what I said last year after his UN speech, because its still valid:

Israel has a very legitimate case against the Iranian regime’s current nuclear program, its just unfortunate that Benjamin Netanyahu has to present it.

What is wrong with some #Iran – #Israel schools of thought

28 Sep

If you want to fit in with the anti – Israel gang , then you must remember this golden rule:

Do not ever take a statement by an Iranian politician, especially Rouhani at face value. Always analyze the reasons of what he said and why he said it. Always try to observe the domestic political atmosphere in Iran and see how it impacts the speeches made by various officials. See who their domestic audience is. What are their internal and external interests and how this impacted their statements, towards the West, Israel or whoever.

Thats great. There is nothing with that. Thats the proper way to work as an analyst.

But its the next part which I have observed over the last years which bothers me.

Do take everything Israeli politicians say, especially regarding Iran at face value. Don’t for a second try to see if politician X just made this statement because of his own domestic audience. Or because he is trying to get prepared for elections. No. Israel controls AIPAC. Israel controls the U.S foreign policy. Its Israel and AIPAC which are the biggest reasons why Iran and the U.S don’t have friendly relations. If it weren’t for Israel and AIPAC, Iran and the U.S would have normal, fully functioning diplomatic relations.

I am of course paraphrasing what I have heard many times over the years.

I am not a Netanyahu fan. In fact the opposite. I hope he is voted out of office tomorrow. But just you watch when he makes his U.N speech.

Those who bent over backwards to try and convince us that we should not take what Rouhani said at the U.N at face value, will take everything Netanyahu says at face value. As if there is no domestic politics here in Israel. As if as bad as Netanyahu is, he does not have rivals. And believe me, even if there was another leader in Israel, you are very likely to see the same behaviour. I saw it when Olmert and Ariel Sharon were prime ministers as well.

Now if you want to belong to the anti- Iran gang then do the exact opposite. And I have seen that too, and keep seeing it.

Washington is not short of people or advocacy groups who think along these lines.

The future of #Iran after Khamenei

23 Sep
So what is likely to happen after the death of AyatollahKhamenei? Are we likely to see much change in Iran?

President Rouhani visiting Ayatollah Khamenei at the hospital after his recent prostate operation

My latest opinion piece for Aljazeera America tries to answer this important question.

http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/9/iran-khamenei-succession.html

Funny video: Former #Israel President Shimon Peres Goes Job hunting

22 Sep

Shimon Peres has finished his term as the president of the state of Israel, and is now looking for a new job.

Does he have the skills? Does he have the experience?

This funny video starring none other than Shimon Peres himself asks the questions, and pokes fun.

Not many Nobel Peace prize winners have a sense of humour or more importantly, can laugh at themselves.

Podcast interview with Meir Javedanfar: #Iran drought and nuclear negotiations

19 Sep

One of the reasons I have believed why there could be a deal with Iran is because of the worsening drought in that country.

Its scale and possible severe consequences mean that the Iranian government must act now, and to do so, major investment is needed.

To be able to invest the vast sums required, sanctions must be removed and this is why I believe that chances of a deal are still alive. Failure to remove sanctions and the continuation of the drought could mean the loss of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs in Iran’s agriculture industry. Thats only one of many possible consequences.

Of course I could be wrong and Iran’s supreme leader may ultimately decide that reaching a deal with the US could be more dangerous to his regime. Nevertheless, the impact of water on Iranian history, geography, ethnic make up and geopolitical considerations is impossible to ignore. This is why I believe that it could be a factor, one which the leaders of the regime and the government in Tehran could ignore at their own risk.

I discussed these issues in my podcast interview with the Jerusalem Post. It starts at the 8th minute.

You can listen to the interview here

Former Netanyahu and Obama NSC chiefs talk #Iran

18 Sep

Yaacov Amidror (about whom I wrote about a couple of days ago) was Netanyahu’s National Security Council (NSC) advisor.

Thomas Donilon was President Obama’s National Security advisor.

They worked together extensively on a number of issues, chief among them was the Iranian nuclear program.

On September 16th they got together at Harvard University and talked about their cooperation on the Iranian nuclear file, their differences over the current talks with Iran (especially sanctions), and what would happen if Iran rejects the deal.

Professor Gary Samore who is also at Harvard talked spoke from the audience as to why the Iranian supreme leader may ultimately reject such a deal.

You can watch the panel below. I highly recommend it.

Majority of people in the Middle East are likely to support an independent Scotland

17 Sep

The logo of the Yes campaign in the Scottish referendum

Tomorrow the people of Scotland will take part in a historic referendum to decide whether they wish to stay in the United Kingdom, or to become an independent state.

In my opinion, and this is not based on any particular survey, majority of the people of Iran will support those in Scotland who wish to break away from the United Kingdom.

There are several reasons behind this. Foremost among them is British colonialist ambitions in and around Iran. Now you could say that the Brits also include the Scots. True. But in Iran, Great Britain is usually synonymous with England. When referring to the UK, majority of people say Ingilisi-ha meaning the English, or Ingilis, meaning England.

So the Scots getting independence would be sweet revenge after the Ingilisi-ha helped former Iranian colonies in Afghanistan and Bahrain gain independence.

In fact I dare say that there is a good chance that majority of Arabs and those living in Arab countries will support the pro-independence front in tomorrow’s Scottish referendum.

Again this would be due to a range of reasons.

One is that after the 2003 Iraq invasion, the UK government is not very popular in this region.

There is also the historic baggage. Many people in this region still hold the British government responsible for the Sykes Picot agreement of 1916 as well as the Balfour declaration of 1917. So there will be those who want revenge by seeing the UK carved up.

There are of course also those who want independence in this region. These include the Kurds and the Palestinians. A Scottish victory and a new Scottish state is likely to energize them even more.

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