The Price of Friendship

Yvonne Ridley
Yvonne Ridley is a journalist and author specialising on Middle East and Asian affairs, policy and conflict resolution analysis as well as being a security commentator on the War on Terror. She is also well known as a peace campaigner and member of the RESPECT National Council in addition to being a Director of the World Federation of Arab Islamic International Schools, Patron of Cage Prisoners and Hhugs.

In this piece, Yvonne Ridley speculates as to whether or not Israel would be able to survive independently of aid and support from the United States. Ridley considers whether, politically and economically, Israel has become a greater liability than benefit to its greatest ally.

It is without doubt an obvious fact that Israel would not be here today if it were not for the huge support – financially, militarily and politically – given to it by the United States.

However, I do wonder if the will to continue with that unstinting, unconditional support is still there?

In fact, I wonder if America has had enough.

Israel's foreign policy objectives no longer support American interests, and if you look back to the horrific events of 9/11, the Zionist State has actively hurt its greatest donor.

Furthermore, the desire of young American Jews to go and live in Israel is on the decline and there are now disillusioned Israeli passport holders who are trying to escape the 'land of milk and honey' to get citizenship elsewhere - there's quite a large number living in London under the radar having overstayed on their visas.

In short the Zionist project is running out of steam and I believe even the neo-cons no longer have the stomach for more military action in the region.

According to The Sunday Times, US President George W. Bush has told the Israeli government that he may be prepared to approve a future military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities if negotiations with Tehran break down, as long as it doesn't involve American military involvement.

His own generals are clearly opposed to military action and there is widespread scepticism that America will risk its own military.

“It’s really all down to the Israelis,” the Pentagon official was quoted as saying in The Sunday Times. “This administration will not attack Iran. This has already been decided. But the President is really preoccupied with the nuclear threat against Israel and I know he doesn’t believe that anything but force will deter Iran.”

The official added that Israel had not thus far presented Bush with a convincing military proposal.

Well, this is quite a turnaround to some of the more aggressive rhetoric coming out of Washington in recent weeks. So, what if the US is ultimately going to pull the plug on its support for Israel?

Yes, I know, it seems inconceivable at first, but on further examination, consider the following. The neo-cons and arms dealers have done very well out of the region – last year's unprecedented arms deals in the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia has pretty much exhausted sales opportunities for even more weapons from America for at least another decade.

The militarization of the Middle East, coupled with the spectacular failures of Iraq and Afghanistan pretty much means there are very few real opportunities left for those get-rich-quick folk who also call the shots on Capitol Hill.

What if Israel has become a liability? What if America is looking for a quick exit? What if the US no longer wants to shell out $3 billion in direct assistance annually, roughly one-fifth of its foreign aid budget?

What if America leaves Israel to hang out to dry on its own? After all, it wouldn't be the first time the US has ditched its so-called friends and allies in moments of dire need.

Remember the betrayal of the Shia community which rose up against Saddam in the south of Iraq after the first Gulf War. Remember the US betrayal of the Kurds in the north (and guess what, folks? The Kurds are about to be shafted again)?

Remember how the US sat back and looked the other way when Saddam said he was going to invade Kuwait. The silence from Washington was seen as a green light … and then it turned, using the opportunity to occupy Saudi Arabia under the guise of protection.

What if America sits back – just like it did when Saddam invaded Kuwait – and allows Israel to target Iran with the shiny new weapons sold to the Zionist State just last year by the US?

And then, what if, America just cuts and runs?

The Iranians have made it quite clear they are not going to roll over and stop their nuclear energy programme for anyone. And the latest missile tests have reinforced this view quite clearly.

It is also obvious, should Iran be attacked by Israel, the response will be swift - US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf look more like sitting ducks these days than a show of strength.

A blockade across the Straits of Hormuz will send oil prices up to 300 dollars a barrel - and that's only the start.

I also believe the US is sick of being held to ransom over Middle East oil and now that there are other oilfields closer to home, would the US really care that much if all hell broke out in the Middle East?

Picture the scenario. If Israel targets Iran, be in no doubt that the Persians will strike back with such a force they probably could wipe the Zionist State off the map. It's barely the size of the Kruger National Park in South Africa and it wouldn't take that long – especially if the US sat back and did nothing.

And while the Zionist State has the fourth largest army in the world, it is vulnerable as we saw courtesy of the Hizb'Allah two years ago.

As I said before, the US is very good at sitting back and doing nothing when its friends need it most (remember World War II? Hitler declared war on the US, and not the other way around, thereby dragging Uncle Sam kicking and screaming into the battle - if the Fuhrer hadn't thrown down the gauntlet would the US have bothered?).

Think about it – with Israel gone, America could pull out of the region. The imperial project of Iraq has already collapsed, the huge drain of money would be gone and the Middle East would be left on fire.

This would give the US ample excuse to go for that oil off the Californian Coast and up in Alaska and resume its meddling, big time, closer to home in South America.

The Castro bothers are now old men and with the right sort of intervention, Cuba could become the 51st state.

It is quite obvious that the revolutionary leaders rising to power in Latin America are a big source of concern to the US Administration.

And so, by ending the War on Terror, virtually overnight, America could attempt to restore its Apple Pie image and promote human rights once more.

On the other hand, continuing with the Zionist project is going to cause nothing but pain for any US president. It means sitting down, cutting deals and pretending to make friends with despotic Arab leaders, writing out open cheques every time Israel demands aid and overseeing the genocide of the Palestinian people.

Israel is really more bother than its worth.

Let's quickly revisit 1973 when Israel could have been wiped off the map as Egyptian forces, trained and backed by the Soviet Union, crossed the Suez Canal and the Syrians charged in from the Golan Heights.

Had not the US tooled up the battered Israeli military which had seen its armoured vehicles blown away, Israel would have been history.

As it was, the US intervention triggered a series of events which caused an economic crisis across the West after the oil sheiks from OPEC enforced an embargo as retaliation.

And please don't think for one moment that there is unconditional love between the US and Israel – scratch just below the surface and there are still painful memories during the 1967 Six-Day War when the USS Liberty was bombed by Israel.

The Israeli strikes killed 34 American sailors and wounded 171 in the deliberate attack because the Liberty was intercepting strategic messages from both sides of the war.

In short, Israel is regarded by some as an expensive liability which needs to be off-loaded.

How many more times can America veto the UN Security Council as it attempts to sanction Israel for the slow genocide of the Palestinians?

Israel has violated and/or ignored more UN sanctions than any other country in the world and the rest of the global community is beginning to wake up to this fact.

The threat of another 9/11 will remain for as long as the injustice continues in Palestine and elsewhere in the world today.

Around 20 per cent of Americans possess a passport, the overwhelming majority choosing not to travel because they realise that their country's foreign policy has turned them into one of the most hated in the world today.

They believe (wrongly) that all Arabs hate them and are ready to kidnap, murder or lynch every US passport holder.

They are also waking up to the fact their freedoms and liberties are being carpet bombed at home as their military carpet bomb innocent men, women and children overseas.

Even the dumbest American is beginning to wake up to the fact that the world is a less safe place today than it was before Israel pushed America into invading Iraq.

And even the most hard-nosed American neo-con realizes that the gravy train in the Middle East is about to grind to a halt

What if it is time to cut and run … and leave Iran to take the blame for ending the failed Zionist project?

The Zionists could revive their vile project elsewhere – remember the British suggestion to settle the suffering East European Jews at the turn of the 20th century, in Uganda … then a part of Kenya?

Just think, the misery could start all over again while the US strategically positions a new watchdog in Africa instead of the Middle East … after all Africa is ripe for exploitation.

Imagine the dictators to support, the arms deals to be done, the minerals, oil and gas to be stolen.

Israel is currently lobbying the United States to launch aerial strikes on Iran, but what if the US sits back and does nothing while Iran retaliates?

The reality is that American interests are no longer being served by the Zionist state and if anything, this whole messy business in the Middle East has exposed the US as being somewhat sterile, almost impotent in battle.

And, as I said before, the Hizb'Allah showed just how useless the Israelis are at fighting their own battles.

Dismiss this as wild speculation, if you will but the facts are there, plain to see. Israel is an expensive liability in an age where America is reeling from credit crunches, failed military campaigns and remains vulnerable to more terrorist attacks because of this lop-sided friendship.

America is a superpower in the decline and there is a growing realisation now that it needs to choose its friends more carefully, especially with the new kids on the block (China) making alliances with like-minded states including Russia, Sudan, Venezuela, and Cuba.

Iran might be in the crosshairs of the Israeli war planes – but there can be only one loser.

Yvonne Ridley

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Copyright © 2005 Palestine Internationalist
source: Volume 3 Issue 4,
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