Digging Deeper XXXIX @ Mandolin Café (Tacoma, WA) November
26, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and theU.S.
(New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2007).
“This is a book about foreign policy . . .not . . . internal developments” (xii). “Based on130 in-depth interviews I’ve conducted withIranian, Israeli, and American officials andanalysts,” including thirty key figures (xii). Allaccounts have been “cross-checked”; “[n]oargument in the book is dependent on one or twoquotes alone” (xiii). “The Iranian perspective, inparticular, has largely been unknown to Westernaudiences . . . A key reason why the analysis of this book differs greatly from the conventionalwisdom regarding the U.S.-Israel-Iran triangle isbecause it is based on the perspectives andaccounts of high-level decisions-maker from
” (xiv; emphasis in original).
Primary debt to FrancisFukuyama, Parsi’s advisor at Johns Hopkins (xvii).Charles “Doran’s power cycle theory constitutesthe book’s analytical bedrock” (xvii [cf. Andrew W.Mellon Professor of International RelationsCharles Doran, “Power Cycle Theory of SystemsStructure and Stability: Commonalities andComplementarities,” ch. 4 in
Handbook of War Studies
, ed. by Manus I. Midlarsky, which noteson p. 86 that “The United States has been anascendant power in the international systemsince the middle of the nineteenth century and amember of the central system since the firstdecade of the twentieth century, and empiricalevidence suggests that it is at or just past theapex of its power cycle”; Doran first developedhis “power cycle” theory in
The Politics of Assimilation: Hegemony and Its Aftermath
(1971). His basic idea is that the “power cycle”itself is a major cause of war; he has extended itto the area of political risk analysis, and advisedmany businesses and governments]). “[F]oreverindebted to Ruhi Ramazani, the dean of Iranianforeign policy studies” (xvii). Help on ms. fromChris Rogers of Yale and Nikki Keddie [of UCLA].
Ch. 1: Introduction: An Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla.
(I.e. the Israeli-Iranian rivalry.)Portraying what is a “fundamentally strategicconflict” between Iran and Israel as an ideologicalclash has been part of Israel’sstrategy―democracy vs. totalitarianism (1-3).Iran had its own reasons for desiring anideological frame; the ideology is effect ratherthan cause, as is also the case for Israel (3-4). Inreality, Israelis and Iranians have much incommon and have ancient ties (4-9), as well asmany differences, exemplified by the differencebetween
(insincere politeness) and
(gall): “Getting a nuanced answer froman Israeli can be as tricky as getting a straightanswer from an Iranian (11; 10-13). The July2006 Israel-Lebanon war was widely viewed aswarm-up for clash between Iran & Israel/U.S. (13-15).
PART ONE: THE COLD WAR ERA
Ch. 2: An Alliance of Necessity: The SecretFriendship of the Shah.
Despite official non-relations between the two states, “By the late1950s, an Israeli-Iranian entente had takenshape,” based on common threats (22; 19-28).
Ch. 3: Rise of Israel, Rise of Iran.
Israel’smilitary victories raised concerns in Iran, whichmoved closer to Egypt (29-34). U.S.-Sovietdétente and Vietnam (U.S. “Twin Pillars” policy)led to opportunities for Iran 34-38).
Ch. 4: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy.
Historically, Iran has been a regional hegemonicpower (39-40). In a position of strength, itattempted the “Arab option,” which led it todistance itself from Israel (41-44). In the YomKippur War, Iran helped both sides (44-48).
Ch. 5: Sealing Demise in the Moment of Triumph.
After the Yom Kippur War, Israelcultivated Iran despite Iran’s criticism of its questfor land; Israel believed it still needed Iraniansupport against the Arab world; Uri Lubraniheaded mission to Tehran (49-52). Israelpersuaded Iran to help back Iraqi Kurds & so didthe U.S., but in March 1975, without consultingIsrael or Iran, Iran signed Algiers Accord with Iraqand abandoned the Iraqi Kurds (52-58). The Shahwas making a bid to win Arab support for Iranianregional hegemony, but it proved to be “a majorstrategic mistake” because it facilitated Iraq’s bidfor power (58-60).
Ch. 6: Megalomania.
Though widespread inIran, “for most Iranians, anti-Israel sentiments didnot reflect a deeper anti-Semitism” (63; 61-64).Iran voted for U.N. Gen’l Assembly Res. 3379(Zionism = racism) in Nov. 1975 (64-65). In mid-1970s, the Shah’s autocratic tendenciesincreased; Israeli officials considered him amegalomaniac (65-67).
Ch. 7: The Rise of Begin and the IsraeliRight.
The right’s victory in Israel in 1977 wasbad news for Iran(68-74). But Likud hoped toreach accommodation with Iran, and fear of Iraqled to Project Flower (1977-1979), in which Israelsecretly helped Iran to develop a missile with arange of 200 miles that “included American-madeinertial navigation equipment and a guidance