As Britain tastes the fruits of its foreign policy in Iran, the international community would do well consider the implications – not only for an ill-advised offensive against Iran based on hypocritical allegations of preparations for nuclear weapon capability – after all, neighbouring Israel has been permitted to develop and use such weapons against its neighbours for decades, without a peep out of them – but also for just and equitable relations between sovereign nations.
While it is clearly desirable for every government to guarantee the safety of diplomatic missions within its territory, it is equally clear that the people are no longer prepared to sit by when they perceive gross injustices against them, either committed by their own governments, or others. Think Tunisia, think Egypt.
While it is clearly desirable that less dangerous alternatives to nuclear energy are pursued, while any sovereign state is permitted the right to develop and use nuclear power, so must Iran and any other sovereign state be accorded those same rights. Think Britain, think the USA, think France.
Britain’s sabre-rattling over the past month, threatening the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iranians citizens, has had consequences – consequences that any government with any real intelligence should have foreseen. Foreign policy does not occur in a vacuum, but in a context, and the British government appears incapable of appreciating the Middle Eastern context, let alone respecting its peoples or governments with policies and interests independent of the UK/USA/European cartel.
It is worth noting that Iran has not launched an attack or invasion of another country for over 200 years, has stated no intention to do so, and does not have any nuclear warheads. The same cannot be said of the cheer-leader behind the latest frenzy against Iran – its already-nuclear-capable neighbour Israel, who has been using nuclear weapons in attacks against Lebanon and Gaza since 2005. The same cannot be said of the furies at the forefront of this latest frenzy – Britain, with a nuclear arsenal of at least 225 warheads, France with an arsenal of 300, and the USA with an arsenal of more than 8,000 – all of whom have participated in attacks and invasions in middle eastern countries in the past five years, and have declared their intention to continue to do so – specifically against Iran.
The hypocrisy is so blatant, and so extensive, that it is little wonder that Iranian citizens, like those elsewhere in the Middle East and throughout the world, are taking matters into their own hands.
The silence and inaction of the international community in general, and the United Nations in particular, in the face of numerous reports documenting Israel’s use of nuclear weapons against its neighbours, and recommendations in those such as the Goldstone Report, that Israel be referred to the International Criminal Court for investigation of war crimes and crimes against humanity, does nothing to reassure either citizens or governments of Middle Eastern countries that they can expect any protection, or justice, from international law.
The reality is that the United Nations and the international community has failed to hold Israel accountable for things it has ALREADY DONE, but is implicitly condoning attacking Iran for things they say it MIGHT DO IN THE FUTURE.
As would any first-year law student, the peoples and governments of the region are rejecting this scenario outright.
According to an October 2010 poll carried out in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and other pro-western Arab states by US pollsters Zogby and Maryland University, when asked which countries threatened their security, 88% of respondents replied Israel, 77% the US and just 10% Iran.
The greatest nuclear threat to the region is Israel, not Iran. The greatest threat to peace in the region is Israel, not Iran.
Unless and until Britain and the rest of its cartel get this through their foreign policy heads, and until the United Nations in particular and the international community in general, stand up to Israel’s gross and ongoing breaches of international law and end its impunity, it will remain in the hands of the people to do so – and they are showing unequivocally that they will no longer hesitate to raise, and to use them.
Whilst the British government chokes on the bitter pill of Iranian popular sentiment, and the Israeli government gloats over their latest attack on an Iranian nuclear facility in direct contravention of international law, their publics, and those of every other country, wonder just how long it will be before their governments adopt prinicipled and equitable foreign policies, how long it will be before the UN applies the principles of international law without fear or favour – and whether they have the patience to wait.
Julie Webb-Pullman is a New Zealander now based in Gaza, who has been writing for independent news websites including SCOOP, Dissident Voice, Global Research and others, since 2003.