Germany’s Sordid Iran Policy

June 12 2018

As the U.S. is re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic and trying to curb the dangerous reach of its proxies, Germany has come to Tehran’s defense. Yigal Carmon comments:

If any country in the world could be expected to be extremely cautious about aligning with anyone calling for Israel’s annihilation, it would be Germany, regardless of any extenuating circumstances—economic, political or otherwise. The Bundesrepublik should have distanced itself from any substantial tie with the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose murderous regime is threatening to annihilate Israel.

Germany was the first country that should have told . . . Barack Obama that totalitarian regimes, like Germany’s own Nazi regime, are beyond the pale, and should be denied any legitimacy, particularly when it comes to a nuclear deal with them. Germany’s past should have enjoined it to take the moral lead, publicly, in promoting regime change when dealing with a totalitarian regime such as Iran. The reality is tragically the opposite. . . . Germany . . . has shut its eyes to the notorious human-rights violations in Iran, and to Iran’s terrorizing and murder of its own citizens. Iran, of course, is a major partner, along with Russia, in the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century: the Assad regime’s slaughter and displacement of millions of Syrians.

The reversal of the Obama-foisted Iran policy by the Trump administration provided Germany with a golden opportunity to reclaim its professed values. But the reverse happened: Germany is legitimizing Iran, even championing it. . . .

Regardless of Germany’s motivations, this is the moment for Germany to demonstrate national leadership and responsibility that rises above petty considerations . . . and builds a policy on its moral values. If it rises to the moment, Germany could isolate the Iran issue from other issues, and serve as a true global beacon of moral policy. There are other ways to resolve its [other] problems with the U.S., and even to take an assertive stand against Donald Trump on economic matters. Unfortunately, Germany’s grand government coalition and the opposition parties are united in defense of Iran and against the U.S.

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More about: Germany, Iran, Iran sanctions, Israeli-German relations, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

No, Israelis and Palestinians Can’t Simply Sit Down and Solve the “Israel-Palestinian Conflict”

Jan. 17 2019

By “zooming out” from the blinkered perspective with which most Westerners see the affairs of the Jewish state, argues Matti Friedman, one can begin to see things the way Israelis do:

Many [in Israel] believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won’t end the conflict, because it will wind up creating not a state but a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos, or Iranian proxies, or some combination of both. That’s exactly what has happened . . . in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. One of Israel’s nightmares is that the fragile monarchy in Jordan could follow its neighbors . . . into dissolution and into Iran’s orbit, which would mean that if Israel doesn’t hold the West Bank, an Iranian tank will be able to drive directly from Tehran to the outskirts of Tel Aviv. . . .

In the “Israeli-Palestinian” framing, with all other regional components obscured, an Israeli withdrawal in the West Bank seems like a good idea—“like a real-estate deal,” in President Trump’s formulation—if not a moral imperative. And if the regional context were peace, as it was in Northern Ireland, for example, a power vacuum could indeed be filled by calm.

But anyone using a wider lens sees that the actual context here is a complex, multifaceted war, or a set of linked wars, devastating this part of the world. The scope of this conflict is hard to grasp in fragmented news reports but easy to see if you pull out a map and look at Israel’s surroundings, from Libya through Syria and Iraq to Yemen.

The fault lines have little to do with Israel. They run between dictators and the people they’ve been oppressing for generations; between progressives and medievalists; between Sunnis and Shiites; between majority populations and minorities. If [Israel’s] small sub-war were somehow resolved, or even if Israel vanished tonight, the Middle East would remain the same volatile place it is now.

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East