OLMERT COMES AWAY EMPTY HANDED FROM MEETING WITH PUTIN – OR DOES HE?
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert paid a quick visit to Russia yesterday to meet President Vladimir Putin anxious to hear what Putin had to say to President Ahmadinejad of Iran who Putin had visited in Tehran only the day before.
The rapidity of Olmert’s visit could well be an indicator that Israel and the US are ready to move on in their quest to deal Iran a blow that it will find difficult to recover from and hopefully, from Israel’s and America’s point of view, usher in the desired ‘regime change’ that Israel needs before it can go ahead with dealing with Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the occupied territories.
President Bush has said that he is determined to go down the diplomatic road to achieving a ‘settlement’ of some kind with Iran over Iran’s alleged ‘nuclear ambitions’. The problem is, as far as Iran is concerned, there is no ‘settlement’ to be reached because Iran doesn’t have any ‘nuclear ambitions’ beyond generating electricity from nuclear powered stations.
The US and Israel are going down the ‘diplomatic road’ first simply because they have to in order to garner as much support as possible from the world community for an eventual attack on Iran that they hope will result in regime change. However, the US and Israel, as well as the Russians, know full well that Iran is not anywhere near having a program that is able to enrich uranium beyond that which is required for electrical power generation. The Russians, indeed, would in particular know because it is they that are helping build the nuclear plants for Iran. Furthermore, a nuclear armed Iran is not in Russia’s interests any more than it is in Israel’s or the US.
But, for the sake of diplomatic appearances, the Israelis and the US must continue to travel down the ‘diplomatic road’ all the while knowing that it is a pointless exercise that achieves nothing accept buy time for the Iranians and the Russians to try and avert a catastrophe that could end in a confrontation that escalates far beyond just the Middle East region.
Olmert went to Russia to see Putin, not to ask Putin to support further sanctions by the UN against Iran – Olmert knows that neither Russia or China are likely to support further sanction – but because he needed to ask anyway as part of the ‘diplomatic road’ Israel and the US need to travel down before launching their attack against Iran.
Over this coming weekend and during the first part of next week Olmert will be travelling to Europe to speak to French President Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown both of whom are likely to support Olmert’s request for sanctions. Visiting Sarkozy and Brown at least keeps up the appearance of ‘diplomacy’. At the end of next week or during the week after, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, will be heading off to China on a similar mission where the outcome is likely to be the same as Olmert’s visit to Russia – pointless.
Without Russian or Chinese support, Israeli and US requests for UN sponsored sanctions are doomed. The ‘diplomatic road’, as far as the Israelis and the US is concerned, will have been fully travelled.
For all his trouble all Olmert got for his efforts was a suggestion from Putin that Israel negotiate with Iran over the ‘nuclear’ problem. Clearly, that is not going to happen because both know there is no ‘nuclear’ problem to negotiate over and both know clearly what the Israelis really want.
The upshot of all this is; the faux ‘diplomatic road’ has as good as come to an end, just as it did prior to the US and their allies launching their attack against Iraq, and this will now leave the US and/or Israel free to tell the world that it has no choice but to deal with the Iran threat in its own way – which, since Iran’s ‘nuclear ambitions’ has always been just a propaganda and rhetoric tool to mask the real intent of Israel and the US, is exactly what Olmert was after in the first place.
Perhaps, looking at it from Olmert’s point of view, he didn’t come away from Putin empty-handed after all.