Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The MidEast Unhinged: Iran Rising

Netanyahu Raising Alarm on Iran, Again - Ben Caspit

An Israeli security official told his American counterparts in Washington, "Take heed, a few days before President Donald Trump arrived for his visit in Saudi Arabia in May, the rebels in Yemen fired missiles toward Riyadh. It's a clear message. The Iranians are already building the capacity to strike with surface-to-surface missiles across a huge belt in the region, which will strike fear among the Sunni regimes. Do you think the king of Jordan would survive this? That stability in Saudi Arabia will be maintained?"

"Whatever happens here after the war in Syria will shape the face of the Middle East, and perhaps the entire world, for generations. If the cease-fire agreement does not also include a Shiite retreat, a disaster will happen. You're disturbing the incredibly delicate balance in the Middle East. The immediate price will be paid by those who live here, but in the end, the bill, once again, will be sent to you."

An Israeli intelligence source noted, "The Iranians are the only ones who are working toward the long term. They are the only ones with a strategy in this sphere. They think and act like a world power."

Netanyahu sees the nuclear deal as a grave mistake whose ramifications will be suffered for generations. He believes his current warnings to Trump's staff and Russian President Vladimir Putin are like Winston Churchill's attempts to warn Europe and the West about the German threat in the late 1930s. As with the Iranian nuclear deal, the Israelis are making sure to tell the Americans, and also the Russians, that "if Israel's security needs won't be met in the cease-fire agreement in Syria, we'll act in other ways," the source said.

Iran Is Taking Over Syria. Can Anyone Stop It? - David W. Lesch

Since the civil war began in 2011, the government of Bashar al-Assad has relied on Iran and its proxies like the Lebanese Hizbullah to stay in power. If Syria's orientation toward Iran continues, Israel will feel that when it looks across the Golan Heights, it sees Iran staring back.

The Trump administration has so far seemed willing to cede Syria to Russia, but this really means ceding it to Iran. Moscow wants little more than to maintain its military bases in Syria. It will not actually provide a counterweight to Iran once the war is over. If the U.S. isn't interested in Syria and if Russia continues to focus solely on security issues, Iran will be dominant in Damascus. If Iran is the only party invested in Syria's future, the outcome could be catastrophic.
The writer is a professor of Middle East history at Trinity University in San Antonio.
(New York Times)

How to Get Out of the Nuclear Deal
-John Bolton

Defining a compelling rationale to exit Obama's failed nuclear deal and elaborating a game plan to do so are quite easy. In fact, Steve Bannon asked me in late July to draw up just such a game plan for the president.  Here it is. 
[Gatestone Institute]

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