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Gridlock at the United Nations of New York

Hell week! That’s what this city’s angry, frustrated taxi drivers call each year’s opening of the United Nations.  It was even worse than that in the last two weeks.

Narrow, congested island of Manhattan became a nightmare of gridlocked traffic, blocked streets, blaring horns and fuming drivers.  Convoys carrying visiting bigwigs, large staffs and bodyguards tried to force their way through the impossibly congested streets, blue lights flashing, sirens howling.  A VIP lane was created, shades of the USSR’s Leonid Brezhnev.

Twitchy police and security men were everywhere.  I watched President Barack Obama’s convoy race north along Park Avenue, guards pointing automatic weapons from open windows.

New York looked like an armed camp, or Damascus under siege.  I did an interview at the Regency Hotel where Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu was staying with an army of guards and press officials.  Adoring crowds in the world’s largest Jewish city cheered Netanyahu, who is more popular in New York than Tel Aviv.

Crowds and supporters of the Iranian Mujahidin-i-Khalq, an anti-Tehran cult,  were bused in from far and wide.  I asked a black American wearing a yellow vest with pictures of the cult’s leader why he came.  “They paid me to,” he replied.  The mujahidin, formerly listed as terrorists by the US, had just been taken off the list thanks to Israeli help.  Israel has supplied the mujahidin with fake nuclear “evidence” of Iran’s alleged weapons program.  The muj, in turn, passed on the doctored info to US intelligence.

Angry crowds booed Iran’s Ahmadinejad, who takes delight each year in seeing how apoplectic he can make Jewish New Yorkers by questioning the Holocaust and Israel’s existence as a Jewish state. His reckless, inflammatory speeches have given Israel an excellent pretext for attacking Iran, claiming its leaders are crazy and determined to eradicate the Jewish state with nuclear weapons.  Iran has a knack for making terrible public relations.

It’s not impossible that Israel might hit Iran’s nuclear infrastructure with nuclear weapons, claiming Iran was about to attack with one or two secretly built nuclear weapons.


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Netanyahu overplayed his hand at the UN, using a silly cartoon bomb and a red marker to press his demand the US attack Iran.  Even many Israelis thought his bluffing went too far, carrying signs reading, “not now, not alone.”  There is growing anger in the Pentagon, State Department and CIA over Netanyahu’s effort to provoke a US-Iranian War.

The Israeli leader has shamelessly meddled in the US election, undermining President Obama and openly backing stumbling Republican Mitt Romney. Israel and its US supporters are mounting a noisy campaign in vital swing state Florida to scare little old Jewish ladies into believing Israel is about to be destroyed in a second Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad has become a vital enabler of Netanyahu’s scare tactics. In reality, both are playing to domestic audiences.  Netanyahu is fighting for a third term as Israel suffers from major economic problems.   However, his nuclear alarms over Iran have succeeded in sidelining demands for a viable Palestinian state.  No one at the UN paid any attention to Palestinian’s plaintive chirps.

There was no mention that Israel’s threats to attack Iran, and its demands the US blitz Iran,  clearly violate the UN Charter and international law.  Iran’s claims the West and Israel were waging economic and computer war against it and murdering its scientists were shrugged off.

Few seemed to take notice of Russia’s increasingly forceful comments that a US/Israeli attack against Iran or Syria could produce “consequences.”  For those who enjoy worrying about a possible World War III,”  this could be a good way to begin.

What was again painfully clear is that the UN Security Council is an unfair outdated relic of World War II that needs be expanded and made more democratic – and moved to a neutral nation.    The victors of World War II they make the real decisions.  The rest is just posturing and talk – and crazy New York traffic.

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis

Eric Margolis is a columnist, author and a veteran of many conflicts in the Middle East. Margolis recently was featured in a special appearance on Britain’s Sky News TV as “the man who got it right” in his predictions about the dangerous risks and entanglements the US would face in Iraq. His latest book is American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World.

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