Mr. Biden’s Green Light?

Exactly one year ago, in July 2008, former President G. W. Bush had more or less encouraged Israel for going ahead with its preparations of a military strike against Iran in order to stop Tehran’s assumed illicit nuclear weapons program. It was actually one week after Iran had aired fabricated pictures of missile tests in the Dasht-e Kavir desert near Qom. Bush’s remarks had widely been interpreted as ‘amber’, not ‘green’, light for former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who, after all, then only organized some war games in the Mediterranean but was more than reluctant of pursuing an attack. While it had been leaked during the weekend that according to a diplomatic source “the Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a statement which has been denied by Saudi officials, the American Vice President Joe Biden, in an ABC interview said yesterday:

“Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else.

“Whether we agree or not. They’re entitled to do that. Any sovereign nation is entitled to that. But there is no pressure from any nation that’s going to alter our behavior as to how proceed.

“If Netanyahu’s (Israel’s Prime Minister) government decides to take a course of action different than the one being pursued now, that is their sovereign right to do that. That is not our choice.”

At least, it is not their (the Obama Administration’s) choice. What Biden actually does, namely publicly declaring that Israel is ‘entitled’ to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities which are run, at least officially, and surveyed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty (NPT), having been signed by Iran but not by Israel, which many believe possesses up to 200 nuclear warheads, is highly questionable. Maybe it is even illicit, and he should better know. While his President is presently in Moscow in order to convince his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev of the advantages of a world-wide denuclearization, his Vice President may have put the Middle East another step further into the direction of a real disaster, as Admiral Mullen has warned on Fox News yesterday.

Meanwhile, the designated new Director General of the IAEA, Yukiya Amano, horrified the Israeli Administration when telling Reuters Friday last week that he has not seen “any evidence in IAEA official documents” that Iran was trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear arms.

The last four weeks have seen an almost struggling regime in Tehran after serious and probably qualified accusations inside the country and by foreign media of massive election fraud. Dozens have been killed in riots after the largest demonstrations the country has seen since the Islamic Revolution. And probably hundreds detained, maybe tortured. Show trials are expected, maybe even executions.

The so-called Green Revolution which has never been a revolution since the silent majority, Iran’s have-nots, did not try a rebellion but rather supported ‘their’ demagogic hardliner President, has failed for the time being. What we have seen is understandable dissatisfaction of Tehran’s upper class, students, and intellectuals, with an oppressive regime which clearly violates human rights, a true dictatorship. It indicates a deep disruption of the whole Iranian nation, not only within the complex and unusual framework of political, economic and social powers. We have also learned about the immense power of the internet and the profound fears of regimes all over the world of the new ways of communication and ease of spreading information.

However, none of this would justify ‘green light’ for Israel to preemptively attack the country right now. Insofar the remarks of Biden are irresponsible and highly counterproductive.

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