Prime Minister Begin pledged that there would be no establishment of new settlements until after the final peace negotiations were completed. But later, under Likud pressure, he declined to honor this commitment, explaining that his presumption had been that all peace talks would be concluded within three months. (Washington Post, Nov. 26, 2000)
Carter makes a similar charge in his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, though with some subtle differences:
Sadat always insisted that the first priority must be adherence to U.N. Resolution 242 and self-determination for the Palestinians, and everyone (perhaps excepting Begin) was convinced that these rights had been protected in the final document. All of us (including the prime minister) were also confident that the final terms of the treaty would be concluded within the three-month target time. Everyone knew that if Israel began building new settlements, the promise to grant the Palestinians "full autonomy," with an equal or final voice in determining the ultimate status of the occupied territories, would be violated. Perhaps the most serious omission of the Camp David talks was the failure to clarify in writing Begin's verbal promise concerning the settlement freeze during subsequent peace talks. (p. 50; emphasis added)
While the first passage implies that it was Begin's expectation alone that the subsequent peace talks would be concluded within three months, the book passage indicates that all participants had that expectation. This contradiction aside, in both passages Carter clearly charges that Begin broke a promise to impose an open-ended settlement freeze.
Carter's long standing claims about the settlement freeze have been accepted by other experienced Middle East observers. For example, in an otherwise quite hostile review of the book in the New York Times, Ethan Bronner, a former Middle East correspondent for the Boston Globe, wrote:
To see the narrowness of Carter's perspective, it is worth returning to 1979, the year of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty that resulted from Carter's Camp David mediation as president, a hugely significant accomplishment. Carter rightly accuses Menachem Begin, then Israel's prime minister, of deception regarding the expansion of West Bank settlements. Begin promised to freeze the settlements. Not only did he not do so; he had no intention of doing so. (New York Times, Jan. 7, 2007)
But did Prime Minister Begin make such a promise to freeze the settlements, and then violate it? The answer is no he did not – Begin promised and delivered a three month freeze, and further, Jimmy Carter knows this.
Here's the proof. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Camp David Accords, the Carter Center on Sept.17, 2003 held a symposium in Washington, DC. Participants included Mr. Carter, Samuel Lewis, who had been the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, William Quandt, who had been a staffer on the National Security Council, and Aharon Barak, who had been Israel's Attorney General. Ambassador Lewis brought up the question of the settlement freeze, and Barak stated that he was in the relevant meeting, had been the only one taking notes, and that his notes showed that Begin had agreed only to a three month freeze. Off camera Carter is heard to state, "I don't dispute that." William Quandt then added that while he had not been in the meeting, Cyrus Vance, who had been, told him immediately afterwards that Begin had agreed to a three month freeze, but they hoped to get it lengthened the next day. Neither Carter, nor Barak, nor Quandt indicated that Begin had ever agreed to extend the freeze. Here's the sequence from the symposium:
So, confronted with the evidence in 2003 Jimmy Carter admitted that Begin had agreed to only a three month settlement freeze, but now Carter revives his false charge that Begin violated a promise to impose an open-ended freeze.
In doing so, Jimmy Carter is once again violating his promise never to lie to the American people.
We grew weary of explaining to the Left… and far too often to the Right… why the War in Iraq was not fought by the US for energy purposes, for as we euphemistically said in speech after speech after speech, the US got very little crude oil from Iraq when compared to its other suppliers, while in fact France got a much larger percentage of its total oil requirements from Iraq, and so too did Germany.
so there would be the incentive for Europe to be against a war... wouldn't there be?
Back in ’03, for example, prior to the War, the US got approximately 5% of its oil imports from Iraq, while back then the US got 15% of its oil imports from that war-like state to our north, Canada, and got 12% from those vicious Mexicans to our south [Ed. Note: We are of course speaking tongue-in-cheek here, so to our friends in Canada and Mexico, please bear with us; we need to make a point here to everyone else. We at TGL know all too well how dependent we are upon our true friends in Canada and Mexico if few other Americans do.].
Even now, we are hardly dependent at all upon Iraqi crude oil, for as of September Iraq ranks behind Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and of course Canada, and it is barely ahead of “mighty” Ecuador, with Brazil having ranked ahead of Iraq several times in the past six months but having ranked below Iraq in August and September ...
Even more interesting, however, are the results from recent oil lease auctions in Iraq, which one would think that the US would “win” rather easily if the War effort there had been fought solely to win Iraqi crude oil, wouldn’t one? Wouldn’t one reasonably expect that the auctions would be properly rigged in order for the US to win more than its share of Iraq’s crude oil if the war was fought for Iraqi crude? One would be wrong, however, for in these recent auctions the US was effectively shut out.
Exxon Mobil was the only US company that lead a winning bid team in the recent auction, winning the right to develop Iraq's West Qurna 1. Oh, and we will acknowledge that Occidental Petroleum ended up as a “junior partner” in another winning bid, but on balance the US lost, lost and lost again in the bidding.
When then were the winners: Well, Royal Dutch Shell won the right to operate the Majnoon field. The Majnoon has a production target of 1.8 million bpd, and Royal Dutch Shell’s joint bid gets it 45% of that total. Malaysia's Petronas joined Royal Dutch Shell and “won” 30%, with the rest kicked down to more and more minor partners none of which were American.
Moving on, Petronas was again successful, along with CNPC of Hong Kong and France’s Total to develop the Halfaya oil field that is expected to produce just over half a million bpd. Again, no US companies were involved. Oh, and Russia’s oil company Lukoil was busy, joining with Norway’s Statoil to develop the West Qurna 2 field, whose target is 750,000 bpd.
Were any US companies involved in that bid? None; zero; nada. Zilch. CNPC and British Petroleum joined to win control of the huge Rumaila oil field that has reserves of 17.8 million barrels; again, no US companies were involved. Angola, where the OPEC summit will be held tomorrow, who bid in the auction via its national oil company Sonangol, won the right to the Qayara oil field and the Najma oil field, whose combined “target” shall be 230,000 bpd. Was there any US participation in Angola’s bid? Nope! Then Brazil’s Petronas and Japan’s Japex won the right to develop the Gharraf oil field; Russia’s Gazprom, joined with Turkey’s TPAO, S. Korea’s Kogas and Malaysia’s Petronas to jointly win the right to the Badra field, whose target is a smallish 170,000 bpd. Again, there were no US participants.
Yes, these were auctions, but this was and is Iraq where corruption is rampant. If the US defeated Saddam Hussein solely to gain access to Iraqi crude oil, wouldn’t one reasonably think that the governments would have rigged the auctions so that the US could take Iraq’s crude cheaply, effectively and quickly? Certainly we would think so, but the auction results would seem to suggest otherwise. But then again, what do we know?
This is a curious development that has indeed surprised many observers. Why have so many Iranians, most of whom are educated professionals, turned against Russia? There are two sets of underlying reasons for growing Iranian disappointment with Russia.The first concerns the opposition to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government. Many Iranians blame the Russians for masterminding the brutal suppression that followed the controversial Iranian presidential elections in June. When the results of that election were announced by the government, many Iranians poured onto the streets of Tehran and other cities and disputed Ahmadinejad’s victory. The government responded by brutally suppressing the unrest. Dozens were killed and many of Ahmadinejad’s critics were detained and are still in prison.
The government accused the opposition of trying to wage a so-called “velvet revolution” with the help of the US and Britain. Rumors began to circulate in Tehran that Russian security advisers had strongly recommended to Iranian leaders to stand firm against any opposition protests and to swiftly and thoroughly disperse any gathering by the people in order to avoid a repeat of what happened in some of the former communist states following their general elections. Whether or not such recommendations were actually made by Russians to Iranian security officials is inconsequential; Iranians assume that was the case.
I don't buy that. the Russians are attempting to profit and would make money from either the old regime or the new one. If anything Mousavi would have close ties with Russia
In addition, protesters generally tended to oppose the Islamic regime’s friends and allies at the international level, viewing them as the enemy. During Quds (or Jerusalem) Day protest rallies, where Iranians had hitherto supported the Palestinians and condemned Israel, hundreds and thousands of protesters chanted the strange new slogan, “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, my life for Iran.” Correspondingly, protesters viewed the regime’s enemies as friends, or at least not as enemies. Thus instead of the traditional slogans of “death to America” and “death to Israel” they called for “death to Russia and China.”
The June election was not the only reason for Iranians to turn away from Russia. Many Iranians who are in fact supporters of the regime have also become increasingly disappointed with Moscow’s policies toward Iran. Russia’s treatment of the Iranian nuclear program and its strategy in the Caspian Sea are the two fundamental reasons for this hostility toward Iran’s northern neighbor.
Iranians feel that Moscow has always used the nuclear issue as a bargaining tool to win concessions from the West while simultaneously convincing Iran that it has prevented the 5+1 from passing severe sanctions against it. In short, Moscow has exploited the nuclear crisis to obtain economic and political benefits from both Iran and the West.
well that is obvious...
Then there is Iranian concern over Moscow’s approach to the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Construction of the plant was begun by Germany before the Islamic Revolution. It was about 90 percent complete when the revolution took place; the Germans left the country and subsequently refused to complete it. In the late 1990s, Russia signed a contract with Iran to finish the plant. After more than a decade and billions of dollars of payments to the Russians, there are no signs the plant is being completed. More than a dozen times the Russians have set a date to begin operating the plant, only to postpone yet again.
This happened most recently last November. This time, however, many supporters of the government publicly condemned Russia and accused it of not really wanting to complete the plant, in order to gain concessions from Washington. The critics also raised Moscow’s reluctance to sell Iran S-300 anti-aircraft missiles despite an earlier agreement – again, only to please the West.
Finally, there is the problematic issue of Iran’s portion of the Caspian Sea. Russia and the three other coastal states have thus far refused to recognize Iran’s equal share in the Caspian.
if they really were rational this is what they should really be pissed off about. real power comes from their resources.
The Russians are of course aware of the Iranian complaints. They have their own side of the story. Moscow maintains that Iran always comes to it not by choice but by necessity. In other words, had any of the Western powers been prepared to finish the Bushehr plant, Iran would not have chosen Russia. Iran is forced to deal with Moscow because of Western sanctions. If the sanctions are lifted and Iran’s relations with the West improve, Russia will no longer occupy a position of importance in the Islamic regime’s diplomacy.
in fact Russia is a competitor in the resources such as gas that Iran sells
In short, both countries believe that their present alliance is more one of circumstance than of inherent geopolitical necessity.
Sadegh Zibakalam is a professor of Iranian studies at Tehran University. This commentary first appeared at bitterlemons-international.org, an online newsletter.
maybe there is hope for Iran if they see the Russians have plaid them? It would be better if they stopped looking to blame outsiders. Iran is very capable of being a profitable and successful country if their people can just evolve. This appears to be public relations from those in Iran who have concluded that bombing their country has reached a zero hour and are begging for mercy.
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