Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Linkage Theory

Shalom All,

The linkage theory contends that moving the peace process toward Palestinian goals in order to appease the Arab League would then encourage or enable Arab states to stand up against Iran and its nuclear ambitions. This theory makes no sense for many reasons. At the most basic level, it benefits the United States, Israel, AND THE ARAB NATIONS for Iran NOT to have nuclear weapons. This is something the Arab nations wish to avoid also. They are not on the other side of the issue. They do not need to be convinced to oppose Iranian nuclear weapons.

Everyone for whom Israeli-Palestinian peace is of vital importance is already aligned against Iranian nuclear weapons. Those nations unwilling to stand against Iran do not agree that it is actually pursuing nuclear weapons and do not wish to punish it regardless of what happens between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The L.I.E. from 2007, excuse me the NIE or National (Lack of) Intelligence Estimate, concerning the Iranian nuclear program continues to bolster opponents of action against Iran. It is almost certain that the Obama Administration, beyond loathe to engage Iran militarily or even strongly with sanctions, is increasingly reluctant to release a new NIE that would refute the earlier one because it would result in a political necessity to act with far more force than the administration currently desires and would be highly embarrassing.

Another major problem for the Linkage Theory is that Iran is a major supplier of weaponry to both Hizballah and Hamas. One of the most basic principles of the peace process is that it must result in security for Israel. It would make far more sense to address first reducing the threat to Israel from Hizballah and Hamas, something requiring dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue and Iranian weapons distribution to Palestinian and anti-Israel forces. Ensuring Israel's security as the process moves forward is perhaps the top priority of the peace process.

The theory that advancing Israeli- Palestinian peace would enable action against Iran makes no sense without even taking into account any issues besides these two: that the nations who believe that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons are already aligned to oppose it and that the security of Israel, the major issue in the peace process, cannot possibly be guaranteed unless the Iranian nuclear weapons program is halted.

If there is a linkage between Iranian nukes and peace, it is precisely the REVERSE of what is being proposed, namely that peace between the Israelis and Palestinians necessitates progress on reducing the Iranian nuclear threat.

Please see Yoram Ettinger's article concerning the linkage theory below:,7340,L-3876368,00.html

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