Mullen. Puts on psychiatrist’s robe
Photo: AFP
Ahmadinejad. A chameleon
Photo: AP

The grand mask ball

Everyone putting on a show in Middle East, but costumes are flammable

Purim was not only celebrated in Jerusalem. In Washington, Damascus, and Tehran as well everyone was wearing a costume; everyone puts on masks and pretends.


The Americans, for example, are a peacock in an eagle’s costume. They brandish their feathers, flex their chest, and threaten Iran with paralyzing sanctions – yet as we approach the time for sanctions, it turns out that we are no longer dealing with a bald and furious eagle, but rather, barely a small peacock. It can barely run or fly, but it makes the loud noises of a fiercer bird.


Harsh sanctions on Iran? Not quite. It won’t be happening in February, as they threatened initially. Maybe in March. More likely in April. Suddenly they realized that the sanctions will cause suffering among regular Iranians. What a pity. We must not punish the Iranian because of their regime (which they elected.)


Hence, in the first phase, until the end of the year at least, no sanctions will be imposed on refined oil imports to Iran or on oil exports from Iran. How about pressing the financial system? Yes, but only in respect to banks and bodies that are related to the Revolutionary Guards. As if the Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian economy are not interdependent.


What’s truly important for the Americans today is to get a majority of 9 out of the 15 Security Council votes and prevent the Chinese from imposing a veto when the proposal for Iran sanctions is submitted – the fifth such resolution in the past four years. In order to secure this objective, the Americans turned the juicy sanctions into empty ones.


Yet Israel’s prime minister and defense minister, in the role of Care Bears, screamed out “oy vey!” – We cannot accept such symbolic sanctions. Next, we saw the screaming headlines: Disagreements between Israel and Washington.


Americans don’t need our advice

But who is even asking us? One would think, mistakenly so, that we are engaged in negotiations with the Americans regarding the nature of the sanctions. Everything is a show. They already decided whatever they decided and did not ask Israel to voice its views.


The strategic dialogue held last week between the US undersecretary of state and Israel’s deputy foreign minister was a sort of situation assessment. The Americans don’t need our advice. Our job in this story is to play the role of Care Bears: Cute and harmless.


The defense minister was scheduled to return from the US Sunday, and soon our army chief will be heading to America to get the periodic message of reassurance from his counterpart, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen.


We should make no mistake about it: Mullen puts on a psychiatrist’s robe every time he approaches the Middle East. This is not a consultation session, but rather, a treatment session for abandonment anxiety. Next week, Vice President Joe Biden will also be arriving here; he too will be carrying tranquilizers and rosy glasses for paranoids in his suitcase.


Ahmadinejad again star of show

Yet even on the occasion of Purim, the most brilliant artist is Iran’s President Ahmadinejad. Right now he’s a chameleon. The more threatened he feels, the more colorful he becomes and the louder the sounds (and curses) he utters. The Americans are starting to embrace the Syrians? Well, here he is in Damascus, embracing his ally Assad so he won’t run away. Ahmadinejad is willing to change his spots to such extent that he, a Shiite, is willing to pray at a Sunni mosque with the Alawite infidel.


And what about the Syrian lion? Deep inside he’s a shaking poodle. He’s scared of Israel, fears Iran, and is worried about losing his grip on power. If he doesn’t get the Western pats he needs, he starts to bark, pees all over the international living room, and ruins (his own) doghouse.


Last week, the Syrian president surprised the Americans and the French by opening the border for free entry of Iranians, without visas. So today he is a lion and is disparaging Secretary of State Clinton, but tomorrow, when the Iranians will flood Syria, he will realize the damage he brought upon himself – the roaring lion will then be running over to Clinton like a poodle in the hopes she throws him a bone.


And as we’re dealing with the world’s largest mask ball on the occasion of Purim, an important reminder: All these costumes are flammable.


פרסום ראשון: 03.01.10, 11:24
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