The question mark there means that this quick post is a guess regarding the current round of sabre-rattling against Iran. I didn't think too much of Netanyahu's yabbering about a possible strike against Iran because he's always doing that. If he stubs his toe it's Iran's fault and the PA/PLO's recent successful UNESCO bid together with the US's failure to prevent it even by pulling the plug on UNESCO funding has given Netanyahu an urgent need for a distraction. This has been all over Ha'aretz for a little while now. But The Guardian is usually a tad more cautious and nuanced over middle east issues and it is reporting mostly a pro-US line on its front page and some inside pages today; including its editorial. In fairness the editorial is urging caution but it is not negating what it is promoting as legitimate Israeli and American concerns. It doesn't mention a UK interest in all this but it does say, uncritically, that the UK is making contingency plans to do whatever America decides.
Now what else has been happening apart from the Palestinian diplomatic efforts? Well, the Arab spring has been happening since, er, the spring. The west has been mostly opposed to the Arab spring because it has challenged some of its favourite dictators. Even Gaddafi had come into business friendly favour in recent years and Assad has been a handy chap for those nasty "extraordinary" renditions. But they lost that Tunisian chap and Israel's fave Mubarak had to go, though his mainstay, er, stays, er, mainly.
So what to do? Trump up an issue with Iran. Distract attention from the Palestinians and try to halt the Arab spring, though smartly, by attacking or just winding everyone up over Iran, a non-Arab middle eastern state.
That's just my guess, that's all. I've rushed this and I ought to have included more links and comments. If I have time later I'll do just that.
Michael Keaton on Middle East affairs
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