After the many references to the arch-enemy of Israel and the US during Netanyahu’s recent visit to the US to meet with Obama, address the AIPAC conference and a joint sitting of the US congress, Iran has quietly been moved on to the front burner of Middle East politics and the heat is now gradually being turned up.
The up-front issue of the visit has been the so-called ‘peace process’ between Israel and the Palestinians but always lurking within the narrative of vitriol against the Palestinians generally, and Hamas and Hezbollah particularly, is the role of Iran and its supposed ‘nuclear weapons program’.
Yesterday the neoconservatives upped the ante against Iran when an influential think-tank paper was released relating not to Israel directly, but to Iraq. Entitled ‘Iraq Threat Assessment’ and written by neocon strategist Frederick Kagan, the paper purports to detail the influence Iran has on Iraq and how that influence might spiral after the US ‘leave’ Iraq at the end of the year. In it Kagan argues that, because of the influence that Iran is likely to wield over Iraqi affairs after the US leaves, that the drawdown should be substantially and indefinitely postponed.
There has been, as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency concede, nothing subtle about the way the ‘publics attention has been yanked back to Iran’ after being distracted by the Arab Spring.
Expect the heat on Iran to be turned up even higher as the threat of a unilateral declaration of independence creeps closer and the Palestinian leaders, both Fatah and Hamas, head to the UN in September to ask the rest of the world for the recognition Israel and the US deny them.