From: The Arab Washingtonian
Author: Trita Parsi

Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the USpresents a clear understanding of the nature of relations among three of the most important players in the Middle East : Iran, Israel and the US.

The book, by Trita Parsi, reveals many of the secretive liaisons between Iran on the one hand, and the US and Israel on the other since the middle of the 20th century. It also brings to light the various geo-strategic factors and compulsions that have affected political relations among these sides, and which have usually been hidden and misunderstood under the garb of ideological bluster and posturing.

The author’s main argument suggests that the major transformations in Israeli-US-Iranian relations are more a result of geopolitical compulsions rather than ideological shifts. Therefore, a negotiated resolution of the strategic rivalry among the parties would facilitate the resolution of regional problems, by keeping the ideological claptrap out of the equation. The author also argues that unlike Iraq under Saddam, and the Taleban under Afghanistan, theocratic Iran is not an irrational adversary of the US and Israel. In what Parsi calls is Tehran’s often “simulated irrationality,” is nothing but a diplomatic posturing. Iran, at times, makes provocative statements but has till date not acted in an imprudent and reckless manner that would seriously destabilize its regime or even the region. For instance, it has been wise in not sharing its chemical or biological weapons with many of its proxies, like Hezbollah, out of fear of its consequences. Therefore, Iran can be safely predictable in its responses to international pressures and enticements, and does not represent a danger that cannot be contained through conventional diplomatic means.

Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the USseeks to emphasize the fact that Israel and Iran rival each other in carving their sphere of influence in the Arab world, and that this rivalry did not begin with the onset of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, but has been in existence since the time of the Shah’s reign itself. Thus, the author contends, that Iran feels it would be isolated if Israel is able to effect peace with its Arab neighbors and is, therefore, opposed to the Arab-Israeli peace process. Israel, on the other hand, is wary of the Islamic card that Iran seeks to promote in the Arab world against Israel to extend its sway in the region. Therefore, when Israeli-Arab relations hit a low, then there is a noticeable cooling off in the Israel-Iran rivalry.

Parsi cites instances when even after the Islamic Revolution, Israel sought to improve relations with Iran to counter Arab-Israeli strife. Curiously, when Iran was most vocal in its support to the Palestinians in the 1980s, Israel and its lobby in Washington told the US not to pay attention to Iranian rhetoric. It was only after 1991, says the author, when US sought to broker peace between Israel and Arabs that Iran’s proxies became active and carried out suicide attacks within Israel to derail the peace process.

According to the writer, the peace process hurts Iran’s geo-strategic interests in that it could wean away Arab parties, especially Syria, away from Iran and strategically isolate it in the region, but also because a peaceful settlement would facilitate greater US military presence in the region, which Iran detests. The author also contends that one of the reasons for Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in the year 2000, was because Israel wanted to undermine Iranian influence in the peace process, by de-legitimizing Hezbollah’s after Israeli pullout of its forces.