Stephen J. Sniegoski
November 27, 2017
The Unz Review

Israel has considered Iran to be Israel’s major enemy since the end of the Gulf War of 1991. But why, it might be asked, did the neocons promote war with Iraq, rather than Iran, in 2003? The neocons were in accord with Israeli thinking but planned to begin with Saddam’s Iraq, the elimination of which, they believed, would pave the way for regime change elsewhere in the Middle East. This especially included Iran, which bordered Iraq. Despite all-out efforts by the neocons to have the U.S. attack Iran after occupying Iraq, this failed to materialize, and later President Obama moved in the opposite direction, overriding strong opposition from Israel and its American supporters, and made a deal with Iran that precluded its development of a nuclear weapon, which had been the professed main concern of Israel.

Now with the Islamic State’s significant loss of territory, which the U.S. helped to bring about, Israel and its American supporters are expressing deep concern that the void left by its defeat is being filled by Iran, which supposedly threatens to attain regional hegemony. President Trump, who takes a very negative view of the nuclear deal and describes Iran as a terrorist state, is promoting a tougher line toward Iran. However, Israel and its American myrmidons see Trump’s hard-line position as insufficient, contending that much more must be done to effectively counter the Iranian threat.

Nonetheless, the Trump administration has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization. This puts it on the same level as al Qaeda and the Islamic State.[1] And Trump followed up this action by calling for stiffer sanctions against Iran. All this implies that the American goal is not only to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability but also to prevent it from developing a productive economy, which might enable it to establish a stronger conventional military force and be more effective in arming its allies.

As Joshua Landis, a professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, contends: “The renewed US offensive against Iran is not so much about its nuclear capability or even its missile program; it is about Iran rollback and hobbling its economy.

“Ever since President Obama signed the Iran agreement, howls of disapproval were heard from both Israel and a number of Gulf States, which were not dismayed so much at the sunset clause on Iran’s nuclear refinement as they were at Iran’s escape from economic sanctions. The real danger, in their eyes, is Iran’s economic break out and potential success. The more money Iran has, the more it can consolidate the success of its Shiite allies in the region: Hezbollah, the Syrian government and the Iraqi government.

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