Monday, November 14, 2011

Post #76 - Hold Your Enemy Closer

From the perspective of Iran, Israel is not just viewed as the people who control the fate of the Palestinians. Jalili Roshandel, a political scientist who has taught or done research at Duke University, UCLA, Stanford, Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Copenhagen Peace Research Institute and the University of Tehran, has observed (in a Woodrow Wilson Center publication “The Strategic Partnership between Indian and Iran” in April 2004):

"An Iranian fear that Israel is encircling Iran through an invisible network of relations with neighbouring countries has existed for the past two decades, particularly since the Soviet Union's collapse. Israel has a significant presence in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Qatar and other places. Many Muslim and Turkic-speaking countries from China's borders to the Mediterranean have excellent relations with Israel. The fact that Turkish-Israeli military cooperation is at its peak point has only multiplied Iran's concern." [This, of course, does not reflect the more recent tensions between Israel and Turkey connected to the failed flotillas to Gaza and other irritants.] Most notably, it has been reported by several sources that Israelis have served in Iraq, training forces intended to conduct operations within Iran"

The former government, under the Shah of Iran, had significant interchange with Israel, further complicating the way Iranians view that country. In fact, some of this extended even into the post-Islamic Revolution era.  A book by Trita Parsi, PhD, published in 2007, presents a superb summary of this period. Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States lays out the schizophrenic overt/covert interface between Iran and Israel, which has included exchange of intelligence, commerce in technology and weapons, migration from one country to another and joint training exercises -- while the public rhetoric on both sides was often abrasive and derogatory.  On both sides, broad geopolitical interests have seemingly meant far more than ideology when dealing with the other nation.

(My next few posts will stay on this issue of the Middle East conflict -- one that hold enormous hazard -- and perhaps hope -- for Iranians and Americans.)

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