Treacherous Alliance | Trita Parsi

Summary of: Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States
By: Trita Parsi

Introduction

Dive into the intricate world of politics and diplomacy in the Middle East through this summary of ‘Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States.’ Authored by Trita Parsi, this book closely examines the complex relationship between these three states. Unveiling the facade of ideological wars, the book reveals the true driving forces of regional superiority. Discover the historical context of Iran and Israel’s diplomatic strategies, their cooperation and conflicts over the years, and the impact of the United States’ involvement in the region. Enrich your understanding of the key factors shaping the contemporary Middle Eastern landscape, essential for both avid followers of the region and those eager to understand the broader implications of these international connections.

Israel and Iran – An Ideological Battle

The conflict between Israel and Iran began after the Cold War and has since become increasingly complex. Both sides frame the dispute as an ideological clash, with Israel viewing Iran as a radical Islamic state that cannot responsibly manage nuclear materials. Iran, on the other hand, rejects Israel’s right to exist. Both are driven by a desire for regional supremacy.

Behind these threats and sound bites lies not only a political and strategic reality but also a human reality of millennia-old Iranian-Jewish friendship. While Israel and Iran have escalated their rhetoric to include the threat of attacks, their heated slogans negate centuries of Jewish-Iranian political, social, and strategic relations.

Jews have been living within the present-day Iran region for 800 years, and King Cyrus himself liberated the Jews from Babylonian captivity. Persian Zoroastrians contributed pivotal monotheistic ideas to Judaic thought, including demonology, angelology, heaven and hell, proving that Israel and Iran’s relationship exists at different levels.

Iran is independent and self-reliant, seeing itself as anything but Arab, as its Persian culture and history predate Islam. Although some 200,000 Iranian Jews and their descendants now live in Israel, Iran itself is still the home of an estimated 25,000 Jewish people.

Israel has always been known for pitting democracy against the most radical, anti-West theocracy. It claims that the “mad mullahs” governing Iran intend to utilize radical Islam to establish common ground among Arabs and then eliminate Israel. Meanwhile, Iran accuses Israel of disregarding U.N. resolutions, disrespecting Islam, and grabbing land.

“In their efforts to redefine Middle Eastern political power, Israel and Iran have escalated their rhetoric to include the threat of attacks. Their heated slogans belie centuries of political, social and strategic Jewish-Iranian relations.”

Both countries hold the view that their adversary is the central root cause of conflict in the Middle-East. Israel sees Iran as supporting terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas in their endeavors to destroy Israel. In contrast, Iran views Israel’s imperialist and expansionist policy as a significant cause of instability in the region.

The relationship between these two nations has always been a complex one. Israel and Iran once maintained diplomatic relations during the time of the Shah, who saw relations with Israel as a counterbalance to Egypt’s pan-Arab nationalism. They collaborated on matters such as oil and military training, with the Israelis secretly training Iran’s pilots, paratroopers, and artillery staff.

The tension that has existed between the two nations for years has grown increasingly complex in recent years. Both countries would do well to respect the human reality and millennia of Jewish-Iranian friendship and move towards greater cooperation and understanding.

Iran’s Complex Relationship with Israel and the US

In the book summary, it is discussed how Iran and Israel faced common threats during the 1950s and 1960s from Soviet-backed Arab nationalism and the Cold War, but those eventually eased. As Iran began to earn more money from oil, its relationship with Israel and the US changed. By the mid-70s, Iran became one of the biggest spenders on defense and accounted for one-third of US arms sales from 1972 to 1977. Iran also lent billions to Arab nations to bolster its weight among them. During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Iran publicly distanced itself from Israel but continued selling it weapons and oil. Iran selectively pursued its self-interests, which tilted the balance in favor of its historic enemies for strategic ties with Israel. Iran also worked with Israel to support the Kurds’ efforts to gain independence from Iraq and Turkey. However, this abruptly ended when the Shah signed the Algiers Accord with Saddam Hussein in 1975, betraying Israel and infuriating Washington.

The Paradoxical Relationship Between Iran and Israel

The Israeli conservative party’s policies on annexing West Bank land and building regional military superiority increased tensions with Iran, pushing the Shah towards aligning with Arab nations. The Shah refused a prominent slot at diplomatic events to avoid being seen as too pro-Israel. In 1979, Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries pursued Shia fundamentalism to bridge the gap with Arab nations and become an anti-U.S. powerhouse. The revolutionaries secretly dealt with Israel, buying arms, and allowing Iranian Jews to emigrate. The Iran-Iraq war created a paradoxical strategy for Iran; they dealt with Israel clandestinely despite publicly criticizing Zionism. Iran continued buying arms from Israel from 1980 to 1983 and used Israeli intelligence services to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor. The demonization of Israel helped deflect criticism from the Ayatollahs and bolstered their stance among Arab masses.

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