You Can’t Stuff the WikiLeaks Cat Back Into the Bag

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With gratitude toward that person of dubious repute, Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, many of us now know with one hundred per cent certitude what our instincts have been telling us for years:  The Sunni Arab world, and in particular Saudi Arabia, despises and fears Iran, and their concerns for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is exceedingly far down their list of priorities, and has been used as a smokescreen to avoid making changes within their own regimes towards democracy, towards human rights and towards giving their people an infrastructure in which they are educated to truly actualize their potential as human beings.

We now can finally and conclusively put an end to the philosophy of linkage between progress in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and progress in totally stopping the most destabilizing factor on the global scene today:  the prospect of a nuclear Iran.

As one of my Saudi dissident friends told me in the year 2000, “If the Sunni Arab world wanted to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we could have done it years ago. We have the wealth; we have the resources; we even have thousands upon thousands of acres of vast stretches of empty land to relocate them.  All of the Arab leaders have been using the Palestinian issue as pawns to rationalize their rejection of the state of Israel, and to delay giving human rights to their citizens, because a “State of Emergency” has been imposed since 1948. We all despise the Palestinians, and we don’t trust them. They are the Jews of the Arab world.”

What is far more disturbing, however, is that our own nation has used the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a smokescreen for delaying real and meaningful action against the Iranian nuclear program.
Successive American administrations have continuously told us that a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “the true root cause” is foremost on the agenda of the Sunni Arab world and what is delaying a truly comprehensive policy of serious action against the Iranian nuclear threat.

There is no way that this Persian rug can be dusted off and resold to us from the White House or the Arab shouk. There is no way to stuff this cat back into the bag.

This whole WikiLeaks episode was deplorable in terms of devaluing American credibility and confidentiality, and the perpetrators of such offenses should never see the light of day. However, it did offer some reality therapy for an unhealthy policy that was leading us no-where.

Not only do we know that the premise of linkage that was predicating President Obama’s foreign policy towards Iran and the peace process is baseless, but it has acted as a way to delay serious action against Iran. Iran, let me remind you, is one of the most, if not the most dangerous, inhumane, genocidal totalitarian regimes out there, and it has hegemonic ambitions.

Iran is not only by far the most destabilizing country in the world today, it is run by a bunch of apocalyptic, religious fanatics who truly believe that by annihilating another nation they will bring the coming of the twelfth imam, their Messiah, and then they will be able to reclaim what they believe is their rightful mantle as the true leaders of the Muslim world.  They deny the Holocaust, while they are assiduously at work preparing for another one.

There absolutely is no morally justifiable rationale for a failure to mobilize everything possible, including much more robust and comprehensive sanctions ,  which should include a total international embargo on all business with Iran, including an embargo from our country to other nations who do any sort of business with Iran,  including anything having to deal with their highly remunerative oil industry .

As Mark Dubowitz and Benjamjamin Weinthal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies wrote in the Wall Street Journal on September 29, 2010, “some European companies continue to sign up for business deals that may be directly and indirectly supporting Iran;s nuclear-weapons development.”

The authors of this article point to the fact that the Swiss firm, Cerosala TLS has recently signed an agreement worth over one billion European rubbles with Tehran’s Raha What is specified in the contract is that Ceresola Engineering Establishment has agreed to provide Rahab with the technology for building tunnels that will “facilitate the construction of a metro line in Iran. However, the regime in Iran in the past has used similar contracts to help conceal its nuclear weapons program.

As Dubowitz and Weinthal point out, “Although the confirmation order lists the deal as a project for a metro line, obtaining heavy earth moving equipment and technology is also a top priority for Iran’s nuclear program.  Tehran needs to know how to hide military nuclear installations deep underground, as it did with Qom and Natanz.”

A United Nations resolution of June lists the Tehranian Rahab Engineering Institute as one of the firms involved in “nuclear or ballistic missile activities”, and is owned by the Iranian government’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

American credibility is suffering.  Unfortunately, what has emerged from the WikiLeaks chapters is that our diplomats and the administration have continuously prevaricated to us and have taken us and much of the world to be children or fools. They have sought to sell us the same old, tired, failed formulations and delaying techniques, again and again.

It is time to for America to once and for all regain its credibility.

One way for it to do so would be to finally stop stalling in a much more robust and comprehensive sanctions regimen against the Islamic republic of Iran, including a total embargo of America dealing with companies or nations who do any sort of business with Iran whatsoever, which we should enforce with renewed rigor and consistency.

We should redouble our efforts to cooperate with other democratic allies to use the new cybertechnology , such as Stuxnet, which the Iranians, themselves, have admitted has set their nuclear program back significantly.

And most importantly, we should support the Green movement, and do everything in our power to empower the scores of democracy loving dissidents and bloggers who despise their regime and who are out there in droves.

It is absolutely criminal that there are scores of people who have been disappearing from the streets, raped and tortured in un-known prisons or summarily executed.

Last year, everyone knew the name of Neda Agha-Soltan , the beautiful young dissident who was killed in the demonstrations against the government manipulated elections in June of 2009, and whose image was quickly flashed around the world through the cell phone cameras of other freedom loving dissidents.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, more of Nedas out there, languishing in unknown and unmarked prison cells throughout the vast country of Iran.

People think it is impossible.  I simply cannot understand how we have so rapidly lost our courage and our vertebrae, as a nation. In terms of history, it is simply a blink of an eye away that our nation was able to successfully stare down the Iron Curtain, and the former Soviet Union was a much more formidable threat then, than the Islamic Republic of Iran is today.

In order to do that, we linked “most favored nation trading status” to the issue of emigration of Soviet Jews.

Today, once again, our foreign policy should be able to reclaim the moral clarity that is predicated on intellectual honesty and integrity and support for human rights.  We should be doing everything within our power to empower the freedom loving dissidents of the Green movement and to strangle the ability of the Islamic Republic of Iran to progress in the building of its nuclear capabilities with total impunity.

Either we are to assume our place as the moral leaders of the world,  as President Ronal Reagan had called us,  “ That Shining City on the Hill”, which supports freedom and democracy, or our international prestige around the globe will continue to erode, by the day.  It will, no doubt, erode as we continue down the path of trying to reach out through diplomatic channels to tyrannical regimes, as we continue to appear like prevaricators who treat our own people like children or fools, and whose diplomats continue to cover up for both the heinous and deplorable words and actions of the despots and dictators, with whom we want to engage.

Instead, we should be embarking on a new paradigm of foreign policy predicated upon truthfulness and moral clarity.
And for that we have to thank that ignoble personage of Julian Assange.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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