Nowruzgate II

23 03 2009

As I suggested in a post last week, it seemed to be more than coincidental that the U.S. and Israeli President’s would both issue Nowruz messages to Iran without any forethought or coordination.  I postulated that the difference in tone and audience (Obama’s was to the Iranian people and their leadership, while Peres’ was only directed at the citizens of Iran) did not suggest to me a lack of  coordination of effort (as was suggested by many), rather it seemed to display a tacit understanding that Washington was going to make the statement and Tel Aviv decided to follow suit, in their own way.

Now, Haaretz is reporting:

Senior U.S. officials are preparing to present President Barack Obama with a plan for dialogue with Iran on its nuclear program, including increased international sanctions against Tehran alongside dialogue.   Top Israeli and U.S. officials have been holding meetings on Iran.

To think that officials at the level that would be discussing Iran strategy would not have discussed the Nowruz message from Obama is naive at best.   It appears that when Tel Aviv could not dissuade Washington from making the statement, it determined on it’s own message, with it’s one tone.

As M.J. Rosenberg notes, it hardly seemed coincidental that Peres, a long-time Israeli uberhawk on Iran,

suddenly sends “greetings” to the Iran people urging them to rise up against their government at the same moment that Obama respectfully addressed the “Islamic Republic of Iran” with the most conciliatory US message in decades….

As one close observer of Iran-Israel matters put it, there is little doubt that Shimon Peres’ subversion of Obama’s Nowruz message was as deliberate as it was destructive.”

The reports that Washington is “furious” at Tel Aviv over the message are likely more for show (to Iran and others in the region) than of any real substance.  For all their alignment on substantive policy issues, Israel has always charted its down path in diplomacy and there is no indication this is about to change just because Washington’s tone towards Iran has started to.  This all seems like much ado about nothing – the United States (because of too many reasons to note here) will never abandon its special “protector” relationship with Israel and any divergence in approach (coordination) to Iran will be surface at best.  Underneath the covers, Washington and Tel Aviv are pretty straight with each other (their relationship allows for divergence of action) and that is not likely to change.  Whether they act out publicly as seems likely in the Peres case, the foundation of the relationship is too deep, and necessary, on both sides to be seriously damaged.



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