Treacherous Alliance – the secret dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States. Trita Parsi.
As the prospects of a limited ‘strike’ or a full out attack on Iran become more and more familiar in the media, and as the end date for the Bush-Cheney regime in the United States draws ever nearer to its close, a better understanding of the tripartite relationship between Iran, Israel, and the U.S. requires a strong presentation of the underlying so far verbal conflict between the three governments. Trita Parsi succeeds in this goal in Treacherous Alliance, in which he discusses the relationship between the three. There are two main overlapping views that Parsi uses within this examination: first, that of the difference between the public rhetoric (ideology) and the often secret governmental discussions and deals between the three (geostrategy); secondly, he accounts for the many flips in the geostrategy views depending on the perceptions and needs of a particular moment in time. In sum, it is about the conflicting views of ideology and geostrategy, with the prime mover of events being geostrategy, not ideology in its many manifestations (religion, rhetoric, ‘clash of civilizations’).
Within the political triad, the main role falls upon the relationships between
Parsi provides an excellent summary of his work in the final chapter (as all well written arguments should) and then proffers suggestions for possible solutions (other than the apparent Bush-Cheney goal of some form of pre-emptive attack). He concludes “
While it may seem tiringly redundant when foreshortened into a review format, Parsi effectively reiterates the ideology/geostrategy idea throughout his work through strong examples and many quotes from sources that were or are involved in the apparent and real conflicts of the triad. Another note emphasizes the constraints of geostrategy over ideology as “Neither the honor of Islam nor the suffering of the Palestinian people figured in the deliberations.” Although the Israeli-Palestine question “touches everyone…in a profoundly emotional way, it is not a conflict that sets the geopolitical balance.” As is true with the majority of government to government disputes, the people at times hardly seem to matter, whether it is the beliefs and rights of one’s own people or the humanitarian rights of other people or the rights of all people as provided for by the UN charter and many conventions that the vast majority of countries have signed on to. It is mainly an argument between those in power wishing to retain their power, using the rhetoric and patriotic hubris and jingoism to keep their own masses in line as much as possible. Interestingly enough, while Bush-Cheney are dismally low in American polls, they and the media have managed to establish the idea that an attack on
And that returns me from my mini-editorial to Parsi’s work as he sees the current situation in a similar way. The American administration has a “divorced-from-reality outlook [characterizing] the Bush administration’s approach to the
As for Israel, they fear a nuclear Iran, even if with only the capability of building the weapons, as it would “significantly damage Israel’s ability to deter militant Palestinian and Lebanese organizations,” mainly through destroying the myth of Israeli invincibility. While the argument was made that the Palestinians do not affect the geopolitical balance, the
The current situation has been long in developing. It is a history of deceit, conceit, rhetoric, back room dealings, back room stabbings (figuratively), and treachery. Each side has at one time or another played off one side against the other, switching tactics and rhetoric as the geostrategic interests shifted. Included in Parsi’s story are excursions around the Middle East, mainly into
For those unversed in Iranian-Israeli affairs – other than perhaps the hysterical rhetoric on nuclear weapons and the carefully crafted ‘history’ of the 1979 hostage taking - Trita Parsi provides a well-documented, easily readable, and at times captivating story of this “Treacherous Alliance.” With nuclear armed Pakistan on the boil, with neighbouring Afghanistan becoming more and more susceptible to Taliban and other warlord tactics, with Iraq superficially calmer as the Sunnis and Shias have cleansed themselves of each other but not the occupation, with Turkey knocking on the Kurdish back door, with Hezbollah demonstrating military readiness in recent war ‘games’, with the Horn of Africa now embroiled in more “terror wars”, this work should be on the ‘to read’ list as the U.S.- Israeli partnership threatens further instability throughout the region. Even though rhetoric appears to have trumped geostrategy (and plain common sense) within U.S. and Israeli political circles, the reader can only hope that the previous secret intrigues are still continuing out of sight in order to avoid what could become the greatest of all ‘unexpected outcomes’ for the Middle East and the world.
Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews to Palestine Chronicles. His interest in this topic stems originally from an environmental perspective, which encompasses the militarization and economic subjugation of the global community and its commodification by corporate governance and by the American government. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.