It’s interesting to look at the parallels between the latest Western diplomatic debacle and an earlier one.
Both were examples of self-inflicted catastrophes, unnecessary projects in which the stronger Western power initiated a process to give its weakened opponent new funds, protection and international legitimacy, instead of finishing it off. Both were initiated in secret, prosecuted despite protests from important decision-makers, and ultimately presented as faits accomplis.
In the case of Israel’s Oslo accords, the Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin, wasn’t informed until talks with the PLO were well under way. The Obama Administration’s Iranian nuclear negotiations were initially secret, and the final agreement was made over the objections of a largely impotent Congress.
In both cases the Western side presented the agreement as a ‘peace’ deal while the other side did not hide its intention to pocket the concessions it would receive and continue the struggle until its opponent was defeated.
In the case of Oslo, the PLO almost immediately began to violate its commitments to stop incitement and terrorism. It is too early to tell if Iran will break the new agreement, but its continued violation of Security Council resolutions and actions that many observers believe violated the interim agreement it signed in 2013 suggest that it will do so.
I’ve argued that Oslo was the greatest single strategic error made by Israel since 1948 (the only one that comes close was the decision in 1967 to give control of the Temple Mount to the waqf). Oslo resuscitated the moribund PLO and began the ‘process’ by which anti-Israel elements in Europe and the US are working to grind Israel down.
The recognition of the Jew-hating and murderous PLO as the voice of the Arab residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and creating the pseudo-government called the Palestinian Authority (PA) guaranteed that any attempt to reach an accommodation with them was doomed to fail. While the “peace process” is at least temporarily dead, the PA continues its diplomatic and legal warfare against Israel.
The Iranian nuclear deal approved in Vienna may well be the biggest diplomatic mistake the US has made in decades. It empowers the radical Iranian regime, providing it with a bloodless victory that will strengthen it against its opposition, in addition to billions of dollars to solidify its power at home and project it abroad. It declares that Iran, which was formerly characterized as a rogue nation developing nuclear weapons in contravention of the non-proliferation treaty it signed, will now be a full member of the family of nations, its nuclear program defined in the agreement as “peaceful.”
Oslo provided cash and weapons to the PLO, which quickly led to war: the second Intifada, begun by Arafat in 2000, was the first act (in fact, some writers call it “The Oslo War”). Had it not been for Oslo there would also have been no Hamas takeover of Gaza, which has already brought about three small wars.
The Iran deal not only allows Iran to continue nuclear weapons development almost unhindered but cancels UN resolutions that embargo sales and purchases of conventional weapons. In fact, one such resolution justified Israel’s seizure of an Iranian arms shipment on its way to Gaza via Sudan in 2014.
It also removes limitations on development of ballistic missiles. These changes, plus the cash windfall that Iran will get as assets (some frozen back in 1979) are released, will make it possible for Iran to intensify its military activities in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen. Tensions with Saudi Arabia or an attempt to close the strait of Hormuz could also lead to war.
The likelihood of a clash between Israel and Hezbollah and Hamas, both which receive weapons from Iran is increased, along with the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities if Iran moves rapidly toward breakout.
Despite their perceived importance here in Israel, the Oslo accords were small potatoes compared to the agreement between Iran and the West. Israel is just a tiny country and the PLO’s ambitions are confined to expelling or murdering some 6 million Jews. Iran, on the other hand, intends to dominate the Middle East, take control of a large portion of the world’s oil supply and establish an Islamic caliphate over the region. It regularly announces that it will ‘defeat’ or ‘destroy’ the US, which it considers the “Great Satan.”
Indeed, in a speech on Saturday, “Supreme Leader” Khamenei said that Iran’s policies were “180 degrees” opposed to those of the US, and that “even after this deal our policy towards the arrogant US will not change,” while the audience chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
The Obama Administration suggests that welcoming Iran into the fold will moderate its radical ambitions, but there is nothing in Iranian behavior or the public statements of its leaders to suggest this. The same was said of the PLO, but in that case as well this argument turned out to be dangerous wishful thinking.
As I’ve said before, America is massive and powerful, but it is also a highly interconnected, even fragile structure. With its open borders and cutbacks in military readiness, it is a soft target. Iran does not need ICBMs to deliver nuclear weapons to key cities, and even conventional terrorism could do a huge amount of damage. An agreement that strengthens the radical regime there is more than just stupid.