Cartoonists all over the world showed rare talent this week as many depicted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘Wylie Coyote’ presentation in colourful montages, one illustrating his head in the shape of a bomb, and an imaginary red line above which the fuse ignited.
Stated mildly, Netanyahu’s appearance at the UN General Assembly meeting was a debacle, especially as US President Barack Obama telegraphed his opposition to any ‘red line’ demands. Lacking finesse, Israel cranked up its displeasure of the Obama White House, as it attempted to salvage a third world war and the Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
It was within such a context that the nascent news of a secret 82-page report titled ‘Preparing for a Post-Israel Middle East’ received additional attention, even if leaks on its putative existence circulated for at least two months.
Of course, the document was not available, presumably because the only format for such a document would be a classified National Intelligence Assessment (NIA), though Kool-Aid experts opined that they knew what it said and how grave its contents were.
In the event, an NIA required a client (presumably a high-ranking official in the administration), and a complicated vetting process. Whether the alleged report described how much of the US military and intelligence infrastructure distanced itself from Israel could thus not be verified.
Be that as it may, the report purported to reveal that the undefined American national interest was fundamentally at odds with that of Zionist Israel, as Franklin Lamb, a Beirut-based journalist, opined on the Foreign Policy journal’s website. He affirmed that Israeli “actions prevent[ed] normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries and, to a growing degree, the wider international community”.
Even if nonsensical, Israeli allies retorted that the Obama administration worked hard to balance support for Israel against other American interests that, presumably, was not an intelligent step. Obama supposedly concluded that struggles like the moribund Arab-Israeli conflict ended up “costing [Washington] significantly in terms of both blood and treasure”, which contained an element of truth, although the wily politician was also on record for explicitly supporting Israel over all Arabs.
Reportedly, the secret paper further claimed that Obama wished to develop “normal US relations with Arab and Muslim countries”, which he apparently started doing with the June 2009 Cairo speech that “praised Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood in an unprecedented and an ahistorical manner”.
Pro-Israeli writers noted that then Egypt president Hosni Mubarak did not attend the Cairo oration, and pointed out how Obama threw Mubarak “under the bus and supported the Muslim Brotherhood’s takeover of Egypt”, in 2011.
Many are now salivating that President Mohammad Mursi and the Brotherhood are not kowtowing to Obama in a classic tail-wagging-dog scenario, although few know what kind of relationship is developing between Washington and Cairo.
More recently, the Obama administration allegedly revised federal counter-terrorism training materials that eliminated references to jihad and Islam, which were excellent steps if true. Regrettably, that was not the case, but the idea was to link a ‘Muslim’ Obama with presumed anti-Israeli initiatives. Anyone with the slightest notion of how US intelligence agencies functioned, including the FBI, would know that few politicians have the power to limit what such agencies can teach their agents.
That was not the point of such accusations, however. Rather, the effort was to depict Obama undercutting Israel in the peace process by ignoring Netanyahu, though in a presidential election year, Obama would commit political suicide if he were to telegraph that the US withdrew its assurances from Israel. Even worse, Obama purportedly opposed Israeli plans to attack Iran, refusing to become complicit in any unilateral steps, although he reiterated time and again that he would do everything in his power to prevent Iran from acquiring such a weapon.
Of course, secret or otherwise, Preparing for a post-Israel Middle East was a classic sham operation, revealing nothing new. If Israel was supported by well-placed allies in the US — to the tune of over $150 billion in direct aid since 1948 — it was because its leaders knew how to play the democratic game rather well.
Over the years, they nurtured the American people through their representatives, invested in those politicians that stood with them who, for sheer political survival, backed Israel. The practice, pejoratively known as lobbying, was as American as apple-pie.
Arabs in general and Palestinians, in particular, relied on the US view of justice and fair play instead. They failed to heed David Ben-Gurion who summed it up best in 1948 when he said: “Let us not delude ourselves, we [Israelis] are the aggressors, they [Palestinians] fight to defend their land.”
Strangely, every American official, including Obama, neglected to see the inlaid problem in this provocative pronouncement, which was the real threat to US national interests in the Muslim world.