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Why Israel has an interest in a militant Iran
Despite the aggressive rhetoric. from Israel’s leaders, Israel benefits from Iran remaining a militant extremist regime. Israel has secretly supplied Iran with weapons and exploits the perception of Iran as a radical nation against the reality of Israel’s needs for a “bad guy” in the region
By Ray Hanania
During the Iraq and Iran wars in the 1980s, the United States, Britain and France provided funding and arms to Saddam Hussein to fuel a war they hoped would topple the reign of the Ayatollahs who ousted their ally the Shah of Iran Mohammed Reza Pahlavi.
But during the 10-years long conflict, Iraq failed to destroy the Ayatollah’s influence over the Persian country on the other side of the Arabian Gulf – often called the Persian Gulf – which separates Iran from Saudi Arabia and the Arab Gulf nations. All Iraq managed to do was to stock up on weaponry, mostly provided by America. And that weaponry was later used in Saddam’s conflict with the father and son administrations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush resulting in his eventual arrest and execution.
Not mentioned often in that narrative is the fact that while the West was using Saddam Hussein to try to topple the Ayatollah’s, Israel was secretly providing weaponry to Iran under an agreement approved before the Iraq-Iran war by President Ronald Reagan to allow Israel to sell “unsophisticated” American-made weaponry given to Israel to give to Iran in order to redirect the weapons to the Contras who were a secretly US-funded military group seeking to topple the Communist led regime in Nicaragua.
The secret agreement came after Iran released the 52 hostages it had captured under his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter. The release came the day Reagan was sworn in as president.
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The Iran-Contra agreement, which violated a U.S. embargo on the sale of weapons to Iran, turned into one of the biggest scandals that Reagan faced and it exposed Israel’s role with Reagan insisting in his memoirs that Israel was the main driver of using Iran. Reagan used the secret agreement to secretly leverage Iran in a scheme to trade arms for hostages.
I think you get the complexity of what happened here, and maybe understand how Israel established and then later grew its secret relationships with Iran.
Why would Israel supply Iran? Because that is how Israel works. Its sophisticated foreign policy is unlike the simplistic policies of the Arab World. Israel needs Iran as the bad guy for several reasons. With it gone, Israel has a lot more to lose.
Making Iran the bad-guy allows Israeli leaders to fear-monger in the region. Israel can flex its powerful military arm fueling a divide in the Muslim World and forcing the Arab World to secretly side with Israel: the Arab World is predominantly Sunni and in constant conflict with Iran, which is Shi’a.
The conflict with Iran is also one of the cornerstones of America’s generous foreign aid to Israel, the largest amount of aid given to any foreign country. Before leaving office in January 2017, President Barack Obama, whose top and closest aide was raised in Iran and who constantly battled with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, increased American foreign aid to Israel to record levels of $3.8 billion a year over a 10 year period.
With all the talk about how Obama and Netanyahu did not get along and were enemies, you would wonder why Obama was so generous and supportive of Israel? Obama needed that appearance of being “pro-Israel” to off-set his efforts to undermine Netanyahu’s extremist government.
Over the years, that support of Iran in Israel has become the dividing line between Israel’s Left and Israel’s Right with the conservatives secretly backing continued “need” for Iran’s regional militancy. Fear of Iran continues to fuel Israeli voters to support the right, as witnessed int wo recent failed Israeli elections.
The conflicting policy with Iran also has opened secret doors for Israel into the Arab countries that border on Iran. In recent years, concerns about Iran in the Arab-Israeli relationship have eclipsed concerns for achieving peace and statehood for the Palestinians.
That has fueled a longstanding wishful policy in Israel led by the powerful conservative movement to undermine Jordan’s King Abdullah II in order to weaken the movement for a Palestinian State while projecting Jordan as the true “Palestine state.” Jordan’s population is at least half Palestinian, descendants of refugees from Israel’s brutality.
The Iran threat overshadows those concerns.
As a consequence, Israel allows extremist nations like Qatar, which fuels the radical Muslim Brotherhood, to provide millions of dollars to Hamas, a Muslim Brotherhood proxie in the Gaza Strip.
How does that help Israel which has a contradictory military stranglehold on Gaza? Simply put, a strong Hamas undermines the unity of the Palestinian people and creates an unbridgeable divide between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestine National Authority in the West Bank.
This goes back to Israel’s political decision to help create a religious movement in the 1970s in Gaza to rival Palestine’s secular leaders of Yasir Arafat that led to the creation of Hamas. It’s a relationship I have detailed in sourced research and published over the years.
The bottom line, as long as Iran is a threat, Israel can beat the drums of fear and conflict in the region, building its military strength and preventing their greatest fear from happening, the creation of a Palestinian State in land Israel seeks to eventually annex.
As long as Iran is a threat, military and existential, Israel has a road paved with secret intentions to the capitals of the Arab World.
Israel’s perplexing and contradictory policy towards Iran is what has become the fuel that keeps Israel’s extremist political movement alive and has kept Netanyahu in power longer than any predecessor.
That could change in Israel’s 3rd attempts at new elections in March.
As long as Iran appears militant and remains under the punishing restrictions of the United States and Israel, it serves as the perfect prop to fuel Israel’s Middle East hegemony.
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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