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14 April, 2018

Regime Change, Partition, and “Sunnistan”: John Bolton’s Vision for a New Middle East

Bolton is likely to push for the creation of a new sectarian state out of Syrian and Iraqi territory, now that the groundwork has been laid and the path largely cleared to building a “new Middle East.” Iran is currently the only country in the region with the potential to foil that plan.

by Whitney Webb

Part 7 - Adelson’s man

However, beyond Bolton’s past and rhetoric, his commitment to the Israeli government – even when that commitment directly conflicts with the positions of the U.S. government – confirms that war may well be on the horizon. For instance, Danny Gillerman, the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, stated last Sunday that Bolton, while he was serving in the Bush administration, was prone to “direct fire on his own forces,” — i.e., the U.S. government — in order to advance the goals of Israel.

In addition, Bolton’s close relationship with Republican billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson, who has financially backed both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Donald Trump, also indicates that war with Iran is on the agenda. As MintPress recently reported, Adelson has long promoted Bolton and is the man largely responsible for H.R. McMaster’s exit and Bolton’s subsequent appointment. Unfortunately, Adelson’s views on U.S. foreign policy, particularly in regard to Iran, are extremely dangerous.

For instance, while the negotiations that eventually led to the Iran nuclear deal were taking place, Adelson advocated for a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran without provocation, so the U.S. could “impose its demands [on Iran] from a position of strength.

Per Adelson’s plan, the U.S. would drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert and then threaten that “the next one is in the middle of Tehran” to show that “we mean business.” Tehran, Iran’s capital, is home to nearly 9 million people with 15 million more in its suburbs. Were Tehran to be attacked with nuclear weapons, an estimated 7 million would die within moments, significantly more than the number of Jews killed during the Holocaust of World War II.

Any sort of diplomatic engagement with Iran, according to Adelson, is “the worst negotiating tactic I could ever imagine.

In other words, Adelson – who is currently one of the most influential men in U.S. and Israeli politics – has called for dropping nuclear weapons on a country, including its heavily populated capital city, for no reason other than to show that the U.S. “means business.” Given their close relationship, it is unsurprising – but nonetheless alarming – that Bolton has more or less echoed Adelson’s positions, calling for preemptive strikes against Iran by either the U.S. or Israel and flatly rejecting a diplomatic solution.

Adelson — as well as the far-right Israeli government and, by extension, Bolton — wants regime change in Iran for two main reasons. First, Iran is a major supporter of Palestine and the Palestinian cause. Palestine resistance group Hamas has consistently praised Iran’s aid to Palestine, and Iran’s foreign policy — a foreign policy born out of Iran’s many decades under the brutal rule of a U.S.-backed dictatorship — has demonstrated time and again its support of self-determination and its resistance to U.S. empire. Of course, Israel, as well as the U.S., are diametrically opposed to self-determination, particularly in Palestine.

Second, Iran has become a regional economic power, even when it was under heavy sanctions, which led the country to diversify its economy. Since the sanctions were lifted after the adoption of the Iran nuclear deal, Iran’s economic clout has continued to grow, as have its natural gas exports. In addition, Iran is set to become a major supplier of natural gas to the European Union, with European gas companies recently leading the push to develop the world’s largest gas field – jointly held by Iran and Qatar. Thus, Iran is an economically resilient and powerful country that is not only fully capable of resisting the ambitions of Israel — as well as the Gulf monarchies that have become increasingly allied with Israel — but also intent on doing so.

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