Photo: AFP
Barack Obama. Knew the Iranians wanted out of their nuclear program
Photo: AFP
Sever Plocker

Israel should be grateful to Obama

Op-ed: One day we will appreciate the fact that the American president effectively removed the threat of chemical and nuclear weapons in the hands of our enemies Syria and Iran.

The fact that an agreement with Iran had been reached shocked Israeli and world opinion. The camouflage and confusion deliberately created by the participants of the Lausanne talks led to a generally poor assessment of the chances of reaching a detailed understanding. Journalists and experts alike predicted the collapse of the talks, or at the very most a non-binding and undetailed agreement.



Almost no one expected the results that emerged, further undeniable proof of the dangers of following the pack. A generation earlier, American historian Barbara W. Tuchman warned against blindly adhering to popular narrative that takes over independent and critical thought, which she called "The March of Folly."


Fortunately for humanity, there will always be infidels who do not wish to toe the line. A day before the events that led Operation Protective Edge, I had the opportunity to speak to a very senior defense official, who personally told me (the quote is not word for word, but accurate nonetheless) that, "President Obama's actions have removed the non-conventional threat from Israel. Obama made the Syrian leadership give up its chemical weapons, and is about to make the Iranian leadership give up its nuclear weapons development program."


When I asked him what happens if the talks with Iran ultimately fail, he told me that this will not happen as Iran does not want nuclear weapons anymore. Obama knows it and the Iranians know that he knows.


Negotiations in Lausanne. No one really expected a deal. (Photo: AP) (Photo: AP)
Negotiations in Lausanne. No one really expected a deal. (Photo: AP)


The Khomeini leadership had sought to develop nuclear weapons, but at some point concluded that not only was it unrealistic, but also counter to the interests of the regime itself. From that critical point - from the moment the die was cast - all that was left for the regime was to find the right way to market this decision domestically and to the rest of the world. And they found it, in their view, by presenting themselves as making the decision due to unbearable external economic pressure, which was punishing the entire population, and in return getting the best possible agreement.


To this end, they successfully sold to Western public opinion the argument that they are "a proud Iranian people marching in step on the path to nuclear development." For peaceful purposes, they said with a wink. But the Iranian people were not asked about it directly, and when they were polled indirectly, they selected a president who openly espoused ending the nuclear enterprise, such as Mohammad Khatami, or covertly, like Hassan Rouhani.


The regime in Tehran realized its enormous mistake after wasting around 100 billion dollars on its nuclear project, which met no economic or national need, and did not add any value at all, but rather only significantly weakened Iran's might.


Realistic analysis in this vein began to appear by more and more senior analysts in the intelligence community both in the West and in Israel. Experts who swam against the current, kept an open mind and stuck to the facts, began to speak out.


But no one in the corridors of power was interested in exposing this Iranian sea change: not the leadership in Tehran, not Israel's defense establishment and not the American government.


The latter wanted to prove its astounding ability to bend Iran to its will and force it to concede. This achievement would have paled had it become common knowledge that Iran was ready to give up on its nuclear ambitions anyway.


The Israeli security establishment, meanwhile, wanted to ensure that the Iranian concession was one thousand percent true, based in action and not just a trick to get some relief from the crippling sanctions.


And inside Tehran, a heated battle has been raging over the future of the non-Arab Islamic Republic in a hostile Arab environment. It appears that the Revolutionary Guards, the only ones to benefit directly from this nuclear white elephant, are not so eager accept a plan that would eliminate the source of their power.


This is the most real danger, and could prevent the implementation of the international inspections that have to be the epitome of both seriousness and rigor. This should be the aspect of the deal that Obama and Israel focus on.


The day will come when we thank Barack Obama for his enormous contribution to Israel's national security. The American president has removed the threat of chemical and nuclear weapons in the hands of our enemies. We are being ungrateful.


פרסום ראשון: 04.05.15, 23:41
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