A Grand Bargain with Iran

When US forces overran Saddam Hussein’s army in the spring of 2003, the encircled Iranians proposed a grand bargain that would put all contentious issues on the table, from the nuclear issue to Israel, from Hezbollah to Hamas. Neo-conservative hubris ruled out a pragmatic response to Iran’s demarche, but it is time to re-visit the issue.

The specter of a nuclear Iran haunts Arabs and Israelis alike, but it is the United States and Israel that are the driving force behind efforts to curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The America-Iran-Israel triangle is where the clue to the problem and its possible solution lie.

Though Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic revolution in 1979 disrupted Israel’s old alliance with Iran, the two countries continued to conduct business with America’s blessing. The Iran-Contra affair of the 1980’s, through which Israel supplied arms to the Islamic Republic in its war against Iraq is a case in point. Israel and Iran, two non-Arab powers in a hostile Arab environment, shared fundamental interests that the Islamic revolution could not change.

It was during Yitzhak Rabin’s government in the early 1990’s that Israel and Iran entered into open conflict, owing to the changing strategic environment after America’s victory in the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union. The US-sponsored Arab-Israeli peace process, which produced a series of breathtaking achievements – the Madrid peace conference, the Oslo accords, Israel’s peace agreement with Jordan, a near-rapprochement with Syria, and Israel’s inroads into Arab states from Morocco to Qatar – was an increasingly isolated Iran’s worst nightmare.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/2gCB11d;
  1. China corruption Isaac Lawrence/Getty Images

    The Next Battle in China’s War on Corruption

    • Chinese President Xi Jinping knows well the threat that corruption poses to the authority of the Communist Party of China and the state it controls. 
    • But moving beyond Xi's anti-corruption purge to build robust and lasting anti-graft institutions will not be easy, owing to enduring opportunities for bureaucratic capture.
  2. Italy unemployed demonstration SalvatoreEsposito/Barcroftimages / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

    Putting Europe’s Long-Term Unemployed Back to Work

    Across the European Union, millions of people who are willing and able to work have been unemployed for a year or longer, at great cost to social cohesion and political stability. If the EU is serious about stopping the rise of populism, it will need to do more to ensure that labor markets are working for everyone.

  3. Latin America market Federico Parra/Getty Images

    A Belt and Road for the Americas?

    In a time of global uncertainty, a vision of “made in the Americas” prosperity provides a unifying agenda for the continent. If implemented, the US could reassert its historical leadership among a group of countries that share its fundamental values, as well as an interest in inclusive economic growth and rising living standards.

  4. Startup office Mladlen Antonov/Getty Images

    How Best to Promote Research and Development

    Clearly, there is something appealing about a start-up-based innovation strategy: it feels democratic, accessible, and so California. But it is definitely not the only way to boost research and development, or even the main way, and it is certainly not the way most major innovations in the US came about during the twentieth century.

  5. Trump Trade speech Bill Pugliano/Getty Images .

    Preparing for the Trump Trade Wars

    In the first 11 months of his presidency, Donald Trump has failed to back up his words – or tweets – with action on a variety of fronts. But the rest of the world's governments, and particularly those in Asia and Europe, would be mistaken to assume that he won't follow through on his promised "America First" trade agenda.