For US, 'My Enemy's Enemy' is Not a Friend

Expert on US relations says Obama administration making catastrophic mistake allying with Iran against ISIS.

Hillel Fendel ,

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's warnings that U.S. President Obama is mistakenly working with Iran, instead of confronting its nuclear designs, received a supportive back-wind this past Friday.

Former Israel-U.S. Congress liaison and long-time government consultant for US policy and projects, Yoram Ettinger, wrote this past Friday that "the enemy of my enemy is my potential ally" has had disastrous consequences in the past with Iraq, and can be expected to have even worse results with Iran.

"Enemy's enemy is a friend" underlies the 2014 Western policy toward Iran, enemy of ISIS, writes Ettinger – and it also underlay US policy toward Iraq's Saddam Hussein, Iran's enemy, until his occupation of Kuwait in August 1990.

The latter led to a $1.25 trillion war with 4,500 American military fatalities and a surge of anti-US Islamic terrorism – and the same, and worse, can happen now, Ettinger warns, if American continues to relate to nuclear-seeking Iran as an ally in its fight against ISIS.

During 1989-1990, Ettinger reminds, "the US Administration portrayed Iraq's Saddam Hussein as a potential ally, enhancing Baghdad's strategic capabilities through an intelligence-sharing agreement, supplies of sensitive dual-use systems and the extension of $5bn loan guarantees. Instead of constraining Saddam's regional maneuverability and inherent, violent, megalomaniac expansionism, the US Administration chose to ignore Saddam's core, imperialistic, rogue, radical, anti-US ideology, which triggered the Iraq-Iran war."  

The same wishful, "enemy's enemy is a friend" thinking underlay Israel's 1993 policy toward the PLO, the then-enemy of Hamas. Yitzchak Rabin believed that Arafat would deal more effectively with Hamas than Israel could – "without a Supreme Court, and without B'Tselem [a left-wing civil rights group] - in return for the Israeli concessions of the Oslo process. Instead, as is well known, the Oslo Accords led to a huge wave of PLO/Hamas terrorism and resultant catastrophes that continue up until this very day.

This mistaken strategy, Ettinger writes, "underestimates the following endemic, unique features of Iran's Ayatollahs and Mullahs:

* the compulsive, core, Islamic/Shi'ite, supremacist, megalomaniac, anti-infidel, anti-US ideology;
* the perception of the US as the "Great Satan" and the chief obstacle to an imperial Islamic Iran;
* the intimate military ties with America's enemies and adversaries;
* the sponsorship of global anti-US Jihadist terrorism, including in Iraq and Afghanistan;
* a 30-year track record of non-compliance and deceit in their negotiation with the West;
* President Rouhani's key role in misleading the West;
* the clear and present danger posed by a nuclear Iran to the survival of Saudi Arabia and other pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes and to global and homeland security, national security and economy;
* the impact of Iran's occupation of Iraq's Shi'ite section upon the stability of the Gulf;
* the egregious violations of human-rights by Iran's minority, tyrannical, ruthless regime which sent 500,000 children to clear minefields during the Iraq-Iran War;
* and the ineffectiveness of sanctions, and any diplomatic option, when applied to rogue regimes, bent on domination, and the rejection of peaceful-coexistence."