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US decisive moment for Iran


US decisive moment for Iran
US decisive moment for Iran
We thought it was Iran who is afraid of a war launched by the U.S. to make it halt its military nuclear program. The surprise is that we’ve now found out it’s the U.S. who’s afraid of a war with the Iranian regime. It was strange when the American president told Congress that tightening economic sanctions against Iran during the negotiations may drag into a war.
Then why all this display of heroism for so many years? Hadn’t it been easier for American president Barack Obama to let Iran enrich uranium and produce nuclear weapons instead of making empty threats and imposing political and economic sanctions?
Okay. If the Obama strategy stipulates not starting a war, then why doesn’t he stop his security apparatuses from pursuing al-Qaeda and let it be? Isn’t this easier than fighting it in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan?
It’s nice of the American president to think, like the late Mother Theresa, of turning the other cheek to his rivals and reconciling with hostile forces and transferring his troops from Bagram and other bases to domestic military bases at Cherry Point, San Diego and Hawaii.
Applauding the president
But will the Ayatollah in Iran, Sheikh Zawahiri and Taliban’s mullah in Afghanistan and Pakistan really leave him alone because he withdrew the marine forces or shut down his bases in Qatar and Germany? If the world had enjoyed such a lovely way of thinking, we would have been among the first of those applauding President Obama because we would be the first of those to benefit from peace. But this is not a video game, it’s the real world.
Those who die in Syria everyday are real humans and not cartoon characters. When al-Qaeda attacked New York and Washington, President George W. Bush did not initially have a program to confront the terrorist organization or to send troops to the Gulf. On the contrary, Bush had voiced his desire to sponsor peace in the Middle East. He, for the first time, announced his intention to support the establishment of a Palestinian and an Israeli state, and visited the Islamic Center of Washington. He thought al-Qaeda was the problem of the region’s countries.
Obama will find out what Wilson and Roosevelt found out before him: superpowers, who have interests across the world, must perform a global role. President Roosevelt insisted for a whole year to remain neutral during World War II, and rejected to confront Nazi Germany until he realized that Hitler the extent of Hitler’s ambitions and intervened.
What prevents many regimes and terrorist organizations from engaging in adventures is their fear that the price may be high. The idea of deterrence based on the option of using power has, for around seven decades, succeeded at decreasing the number of wars and maintaining stability in most of the world. The opposite is also true - making threats without implementing them deepens wars and encourages crimes to be committed.
Criminal regime
The Syrian regime is criminal in its nature, but it was afraid of an international confrontation at the beginning of events. This is why its troops didn’t dare kill more than 13 people a day. After the regime found out that the possibility of international intervention against it is weak, it increased the number of killings to 100 a day.
When the regime realized that no one will deter it, it used the excuse of the presence of armed gangs to shell cities and towns with tanks, jets and cannons. Since no one acted against it after it used heavy weapons, it then intentionally used chemical weapons several times to suffocate its people. The regime’s crimes went punished and no military action was taken against it, so it dared use chemical weapons again to annihilate hundreds. And thus came the photos of the accumulated dead children that terrified the world.
Sadly, history will record that the American president who spread optimism five years ago calling for reconciliation and abstention from resorting to force is in fact the only one who concluded a truce with the Syrian regime - which used heavy weapons and prohibited chemical weapons - and that he did nothing but grant it more time. And now, at this decisive moment, he’s letting the Iranians get away with their plans.
This article was first published in al-Sharq al-Awsat on Nov. 13, 2013.


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