23 March 2010
Obama continues Bush's Iran policy - 3
The influence of the Israel Lobby on America's Iran policy
Related series by DeepJournal: The Other Face of Barack Obama.
Just as America needs Israel, AIPAC needs Washington - both for support and for financial resources, and certainly with regard to the Iranian problem. 'When AIPAC activists mount the buses March 23 to go meet their representatives on Capitol Hill, they'll be carrying an advocacy message that emphasizes Iran as the immediate and current concern. In lobbying meetings following the conference, AIPAC will also ask members of Congress to complete the new Iran sanctions bill, which has passed both chambers and is now awaiting reconciliation between the two versions in the conference committee', writes Haaretz. The paper also writes that AIPAC will urge members of Congress to sign a letter to the White House. In the letter, the United States is called on to bypass the UN Security Council by imposing sanctions on Iran.
The Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence
Smith explains in an interview (4:25) that since 2004 the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence (TFI) has been housed in the Treasury Department. It's led by someone appointed by Bush and retained by Obama, Stuart Levey. The Wall Street Journal writes: '[...] Stuart Levey, will travel to Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman. "We are pointing out that they face dramatic risks by doing business with Iran," Mr. Levey said in an interview Tuesday'. Smith: 'It looks as though what it's trying to do is to surround and encompass Iran and maybe, if they're really lucky, get them to leave the Non Proliferation Treaty so that Iran can become an even easier target. [...] It's rapidly proven itself to be mainly a sharp edged tool for setting a lot of these trip wires'.
'The TFI is like the OSP, the Office of Special Plans'
McGovern: Israel is the elephant in the room
For McGovern, ignoring the elephant has its roots in the 'time-worn “passionate attachment” of U.S. leaders to Israel's short-term interests as if they were identical to those of the United States'. Or as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden put it earlier this month in Israel: 'The cornerstone of the relationship is our absolute, total, unvarnished commitment to Israel's security. Bibi, you heard me say before, progress occurs in the Middle East when everyone knows there is simply no space between the United States and Israel. There is no space between the United States and Israel when it comes to Israel's security. And for that reason, and many others, addressing Iran's nuclear program has been of -- one of our administration's priorities'.
According to McGovern, Israel has U.S. policy towards Iran in a stranglehold. His solution: 'This politically super-sensitive issue needs to be addressed openly and without fear'. 'Otherwise, there is virtually no prospect of lessened tensions, and a near-term prospect that things can get dramatically worse — an Israeli provocation and/or a preventive strike on Iran, for example'.
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