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Monday, November 29, 2010

Wikileaks: The Gulf fear of Iran and the demolition of "linkage"

From the perspective of Israel, the Wikileaks revelations have vindicated Israel's prioritizing the Iranian nuclear issue above all else. The news that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and other Gulf countries have consistently communicated their fear of - and sometimes recommended military strikes against - Iran prove, definitively, that the "Palestinian issue" is not the driving force behind peace in the Middle East.

While the New York Times credits the Obama administration with pushing more far-reaching sanctions against Iran than the previous Republican White House, it doesn't mention that this same administration has been using the Iran issue as bait to pressure Israel to do what it wants. Whether this is a reflection of the importance Obama gives the "peace process" or whether it is an indication that he deep down believes that somehow a peace agreement would truly defuse other Middle East problems is unknown, but the end result is the same - the administration has been using "linkage" as a strategy to push Israel into doing its bidding.

Which is a very dangerous game to play if the real priority is Iran.

What is very clear, though, is that the so-called "experts" and "realists" like Stephen Walt and Marc Lynch who support the "linkage" claim are completely wrong. As Omri at Mere Rhetoric notes:
Either Walt, Mearsheimer, Lynch, Chas Freeman, and their ilk don’t know much about the Middle East, or they’re ignoring what they do know in order to push their own foreign policy wishful thinking as objective analysis.
 Read Omri's entertaining analysis  for more.