The Zionist Power Configuration in America and Israel's War with Iran by James Petras / July 17th, 2008


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Zionists and their allies in Congress authored, implemented and enforced sanctions against Iran, which hinder the ambitions of the world's biggest oil and gas companies. Israeli war exercises and public declarations threatening a massive air assault on Iran has pushed petroleum prices to world records. This spring 2008, the most powerful pro-Israel Jewish Lobby in the US, AIPAC held their annual conference and secured the support and commitment of both major US Presidential candidates and the majority of US members of Congress for an Israeli initiative to impose extreme economic sanctions on Iran with threats of a US/Israeli military attack. In early summer 2008, the AIPAC operatives, who wrote this US Congressional resolution, successfully rounded up Congressional leaders' support of an air and naval blockade of all critical imports into Iran – a blatant act of war.


Israel adopts a `peace policy' designed to isolate Iran in preparation for an attack – and then immediately violates its terms. The entire spectrum of major Jewish organizations unquestioningly and unconditionally give their active support, as they have in the past, to AIPAC's domination of the US Presidential candidates as well as to the twists and turns in Israel's war preparations via military exercises and phony peace gestures.


In the entire history of US relations with oil and gas-producing countries, there is not a single previous case in which it sacrificed profitable investments by its major oil companies at the behest of a foreign power (Israel) and its "lobby" – the Zionist Power Configuration.


Israel's Two Track Policy Toward Iran


Israel's policy to obliterate Iran, in much the same war that the US has devastated Iraq, has followed a carefully planned multi-prong strategy. Israel has relied on direct military attacks, all out wars, economic blockades and the use of overseas Zionist front organizations to destroy Iran's allies and strangle its economy.


The Israeli strategy is directed at undermining, weakening and enticing Iranian allies to politically and militarily isolate Tehran, in order to facilitate a full-scale massive air assault without having to deal with military fallout from Iranian allies on its borders.


In pursuit of this `isolate and destroy' strategy, Israel launched a full-scale invasion and massive air and missile bombing of Lebanon knocking out critical civilian infrastructure in the hopes of obliterating Hezbollah, a staunch Iranian ally. Israeli preparation for its Lebanese war began a full year before its sneak attack, using a common minor border incident to invade Hezbollah strongholds in Southern Lebanon. Israel's offensive against Hezbollah made no sense from the point of view of its border security. No Israeli military official ever envisioned Hezbollah being any kind of military threat to its national security. At most Israel saw Hezbollah as a serious counterweight to its anemic puppet allies in Beirut.


From the perspective of Israel's regional hegemonic perspective, an attack and destruction of Hezbollah would isolate Iran and allow Israel to develop a strategic Middle East client in Beirut, facilitating an air attack.


Hezbollah's defeat of the Israeli invasion seriously weakened Tel Aviv's military based strategy to `isolate Iran' and strengthened Hezbollah's power in Lebanon, raising its prestige immensely among the Arab and Muslim populations.


The second prong in Israel's strategy was to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government in Palestine by financing and arming a coup attempt by its Arab clients in the Palestinian Authority,Abbas and Dahlens. Hamas successfully routed the putschists and proceeded to consolidate its rule in Gaza. Israel turned toward a destructive blockade to starve the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians in Gaza into revolt against Hamas. Israel's allies in the US and EU poured hundreds of millions of dollars and euros to prop up the corrupt Israeli client regime in the West Bank. Once again Israel failed to militarily or economically destroy Hamas, but that didn't prevent the Jewish state from turning to its third target – Syria.


In 2007 Israel launched an air invasion of Syria, bombing what it described as a `military target', a low-grade non-military nuclear facility in order to intimidate Syria and weaken the Assad regime's ties to Iran. While Israel demonstrated its military capacity to violate Syrian sovereignty with impunity, its action did not have any major impact on Iran-Syrian ties.


In response to the repeated failures of the Israeli military strategy of undermining Iran's allies, Tel Aviv turned toward a different `divide and conquer' approach. Israel, through its Turkish ally, began `peace negotiations' with Syria, offering to discuss the return of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The trade off for Israel takes the form of peace talks over the Golan in exchange for lessening Damascus'

military dependence on Iran. Since the Israeli public and most of the Knesset are overwhelmingly opposed to returning the Golan, the peace talks are not intended to end Israeli occupation, but to give the Assad regime a certain credibility among the Western imperial powers and lessen its isolation. The Israeli regime had no trouble selling its new line on Syria to its highly subservient and disciplined supporters among the Presidents of the fifty-two leading American-Jewish organizations. They are well practiced in following the zig-zag of Israeli policy, switching policy of demonizing Syria one day and acknowledging its pragmatism the next. French President Sarkozy followed up the Israeli initiative by inviting Syrian President Assad to Paris with all the pomp and honors of a chief of state.


Two years after its failed military invasion of Lebanon, Tel Aviv sought and pursued negotiations with Hezbollah to exchange prisoners (and/or their remains) as part of a tactical mini-`détente'. Once again, the US Zionist Power Configuration, after years of denouncing Hezbollah as a mere tool of Iran, accommodated the new Israeli line of recognizing Hezbollah as an independent political interlocutor.


At about the same time (June 2, 2008), Israel finally and perhaps temporarily recognized it could not militarily or economically destroy Hamas, or prevent its military retaliation against Israeli attacks or undermine its mass base of support and signed a military truce to end armed incursions and open entry points in exchange for the end of retaliatory rocket attacks on Israeli towns.


While the new Israeli turn toward peace negotiations, cease fire agreements and prisoner negotiations seems to augur a less belligerent and more realistic assessment of the Middle East balance of power, in fact the new policy is linked with a more extremist, aggressive and war-threatening military policy toward Iran. In late May and early June 2008, while Israel was proposing a more conciliatory approach toward Iran's allies, it engaged in a massive military exercise, involving over a hundred warplanes and thousands of commandos in an unmistaken dress rehearsal for an offensive war against Iran. Top officials from the Israeli military command, cabinet and Knesset publicly pronounced their intention to bomb Iran if it proceeded in its entirely legal and non-military uranium enrichment program.

Israeli officials secured the tacit and overt approval of US and European Union for its military posture. More important Israel practically dictated the terms of debate in the United Nations Security Council by insisting that it would launch a war unless the harshest economic sanctions (and even a military-economic blockade) were not implemented and enforced by the United Nations.


Israeli policy was operating on several parallel and reinforcing

tracks: The `peace track' to engage and neutralize Iran's Middle East allies, to isolate Iran and polish up its image in the Western mass media; the `military track' to prepare for war, which remains its defining strategy in order to destroy an isolated (from its allies) and economically weakened (by US/EU/UN sanctions) Iran. In pursuit of its relentless drive for Middle East supremacy and the implementation of its two-track strategy, the Israeli state depends on the power of the major American Jewish organizations to promote the policies of the Jewish state in the US.


The Centrality of the ZPC in Israel's Pursuit of the Destruction of Iran


The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC), through its dominant role in making US-Middle East policy, plays a central part in the implementation of all aspects of Israeli foreign policy goals in the region. Israel's principle goal over the past five years is the destruction of Iran, to end its opposition to Israel's domination of the region. In pursuit of the Israeli agenda, the ZPC led by AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee) has exploited its control and influence over the US Congress and Executive branches.

AIPAC has leveraged the presence of highly placed Israel-Firsters in key positions in Treasury, the Pentagon, Commerce, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Homeland Security to design and pursue economic and military policies in line with Israel's war policies toward Iran. AIPAC, through its media and economic leverage undermined domestic opposition. Israel's power over US bellicose policy toward Iran is so complete that even critics of Washington's military posture toward Iran refrain from mentioning the powerful role of the ZPC in designing and implementing that policy.


Zionist power was on open display at its annual conference in Washington. At the 2008 AIPAC Conference, over 7,000 delegates representing 100,000 members, met to discuss how to force Washington to implement Israel's Middle East priorities, overwhelmingly focused on the Jewish State's stated objective of militarily destroying Iran.

Over 300 US Congress members attended (over 60% of all members of both

houses) along with the three major presidential candidates, major cabinet members, including the Secretary of State, Vice President Cheney from the White House and a host of Hollywood celebrities, media moguls and prominent financial and real estate billionaires from Wall Street and its environs.


Presidential candidates competed with each other in swearing their total and unconditional servility to Israel, swearing their utmost to back any and all past, present and future Israeli military attacks.

Hillary Clinton promised to implement the equivalent of twelve holocausts against Iran's 70 million citizens in her rant to `obliterate Iran' if it endangered Israel. Obama backed the ultra-orthodox Jewish demand to give Israel sole control over Jerusalem, and joined John McCain and Clinton in promising to bomb Iran if it continued its uranium enrichment program (which they equated with a nuclear weapon – despite the objections of the IAEA and the US intelligence community). All endorsed Israel's starvation of Gaza's 1.5 million inhabitants and rejected any concessions or negotiations with Hamas, Syria and Hezbollah – even as Israel was already engaged in negotiations for tactical reasons. AIPAC's entire agenda has been endorsed by the US Congress, the Executive and both parties, including a military blockade of Iran, harsher world sanctions against all global oil and gas corporations, banks and industries dealing with Iran, the immediate transfer of the most advanced missile and attack technology to Israel to facilitate an attack on Iran, and a substantial increase in yearly US military grants to Israel totaling an additional $30 billion dollars over the next decade. The top Israeli officials present, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Olmert took the opportunity to reiterate and re-affirm their will to use military power to force Iran to submit or face destruction, to standing ovations and wild cheering from the ecstatic AIPAC delegates, deriving delirious pleasure from these blood thirsty calls for US military and economic sacrifice!


Nary a single word of dissent was heard from the entire Congressional entourage in attendance; the Presidential candidates assured the zealous Israel-firsters that for the next 4 years Israeli interests would be the centerpiece of US Middle East policies.


The AIPAC conference was no simple `show of force' nor an exercise in `group think' meant to keep the faith of the zealots. It was the kick-off to a full-scale ZPC campaign to implement a series of measures designed to accelerate a US and Israeli military assault against Iran.


The Congressmen and women in attendance at the AIPAC were there for a

purpose: to be instructed on what Middle East policies Israel and the ZPC would demand of them. Their presence at the AIPAC conference was not just a courtesy call intended to `network' with wealthy Jewish campaign fund contributors. They were there because of long-standing and intense relations with the ZPC, which made it obligatory to show up and pay obeisance to demanding paymasters who shortly thereafter visited their offices and presented them with proposals and resolutions for immediate action.


The Aftermath of the AIPAC Conference


Under AIPAC tutelage, if not actual authorship, a Congressional resolution was introduced, which called for a naval blockade of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a deliberate act of war. H. Con. Res. 362 calls on the President of the United States to stop all incoming international shipments of refined petroleum products from reaching Iran by any means. By the middle of June 2008, three weeks after it was introduced, the resolution had attracted 146 co-sponsors. In the Senate in two weeks time a similar measure secured 19 co-sponsors. The Congressional resolutions use almost the exact wording of an AIPAC memo issued just prior to the Congressional action. AIPAC got its cue from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who, in early May 2008, told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that sanctions were not enough and called a US naval blockade `a good possibility'1 The loyal AIPAC servants made their Israeli masters' wish a reality – in a matter of days. (Who says critical issues get `bogged down' in Washington?)


In late June 2008, under AIPAC leadership and direction, the US Congress added $170,000,000 dollar increase in military assistance to Israel as part of a 10 year, $30 billion dollar war commitment to the Jewish state. AIPAC was instrumental in drawing up the bill and openly declared that the addition was designed to maintain Israel's military dominance and superiority in the Middle East but specifically designed for its war preparation against Iran and the Palestinians. AIPAC pointedly emphasized that, "The US commitment to maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge is the cornerstone of American (sic-ZPC) policy in the region…This year's package holds heightened significance…as the US and Israel face new challenged from Iran's drive to acquire (sic) nuclear weapons…"2


At a time when the US government faces a major financial crisis and refuses to refinance millions of Americans facing loss of their homes through foreclosures, AIPAC secured a 25% increase in military handouts to Israel. Olmert praised his US Zionist agents for improving Israel's take. The 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations and their million members and affiliates successfully pursued AIPAC's proposal to increase economic sanctions on Iran via its captive US Congressional bloc, its appointed agents in the Treasury Department and in the UN Security Council via its influence in the White House. Each and every sanction introduced by the US representative in the United Nations is a thinly veiled copy of memos and resolutions written and powerfully pushed in the Executive branch by AIPAC. They are backed by several hundred professional lobbyists and scores of pro-Israel PACs (political action committees) and ten propaganda mills (the so-called `think tanks') with tight links to AIPAC. Through their influence in the US, the ZPC has successfully secured the acquiescence of other members of the UN Security Council.


Throughout 2008, a presidential election year, the ZPC has successfully engaged in sustained interrogation and pressure on the major candidates, securing pledges of unconditional support for every aspect of Israel's murderous policies in Gaza and the West Bank, including its policies of starvation and assault. All major candidates have echoed the ZPC-Israeli line of labeling the elected Hamas movement, Hezbollah, Iran and Syria as `terrorist' organizations and states and pledged to attack or back an Israeli offensive war against Iran.


In so far as the Middle East is the center of US foreign policy, the ZPC has ensured that the next President of the United States will continue the bellicose pro-Israel policies pursued by George W. Bush.

The ZPC's influence over the next US President guarantees that the issues of war and peace will be dictated by a minority of a minority ethno-religious group, comprising less than 3% of the population and loyal to a foreign state. Whichever party wins the Presidential election or controls Congress, the ZPC will set the Middle East agenda, the head of which is the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran.


During the entire run-op to the November 2008 elections, not a single political leader has raised the issue of the catastrophic consequences of a war with Iran for the world economy, the astronomical rise in oil prices, which will result in the conversion of the US recession into a depression, the killing of hundreds (if not millions) of Iranian citizens and the loss of American lives. In other words, the greatest of all ZPC successes is their ability to focus the entire political elite and mass media on the advantages of launching a preemptive war for Israel and to distract public and political attention away from any reports relating the world-shattering destructive consequences.........


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