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Australians Remember the Battle of Beersheba

Feb. 24 2017

At nearly every public appearance Benjamin Netanyahu has made during his visit to Australia, someone has referred to the charge of the Australian Light Brigade at the Negev city of Beersheba in 1917—a World War I event that every Australian schoolchild has heard of. Herb Keinon writes:

[As the Australian prime minister Malcolm] Turnbull put it during [a public event with Netanyahu], the “Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade captured the town of Beersheba from the Ottoman Turks in the fading daylight of the 31st of October 1917” in what proved a pivotal moment in the [British-led] Palestine campaign.

Netanyahu called it “the last great successful cavalry charge in history,” one that liberated Beersheba and led to the end of Ottoman control of the area. For Australians, the battle is remembered not for what it meant for Zionism, but what it meant for Australians as an independent people.

In fact, thousands of Australian tourists and World War I buffs are expected to [come to Israel for] ceremonies commemorating the battle’s [upcoming] centennial. For, as Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma explained in a recent interview, that battle “has a lot of resonance for the Australian public” because it was a major Australian success in the First World War. . . . “While the Battle of Gallipoli was a military defeat, the Battle of Beersheba was seen as a great success, with the Australian horse brigade turning the tide.”

The Battle of Beersheba . . . was fought on the first day of the Palestine campaign. From there Australian troops went on to march into Jerusalem, capture Tiberias, go to Megiddo, and eventually take Damascus and Aleppo.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Austria, Benjamin Netanyahu, History & Ideas, Ottoman Empire, World War I

In Dealing with Iran, the U.S. Can Learn from Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan arrived at the White House in 1981, the consensus was that, with regard to the Soviet Union, two responsible policy choices presented themselves: détente, or a return to the Truman-era policy of containment. Reagan, however, insisted that the USSR’s influence could not just be checked but rolled back, and without massive bloodshed. A decade later, the Soviet empire collapsed entirely. In crafting a policy toward the Islamic Republic today, David Ignatius urges the current president to draw on Reagan’s success:

A serious strategy to roll back Iran would begin with Syria. The U.S. would maintain the strong military position it has established east of the Euphrates and enhance its garrison at Tanf and other points in southern Syria. Trump’s public comments suggest, however, that he wants to pull these troops out, the sooner the better. This would all but assure continued Iranian power in Syria.

Iraq is another key pressure point. The victory of militant Iraqi nationalist Moqtada al-Sadr in [last week’s] elections should worry Tehran as much as Washington. Sadr has quietly developed good relations with Saudi Arabia, and his movement may offer the best chance of maintaining an Arab Iraq as opposed to a Persian-dominated one. But again, that’s assuming that Washington is serious about backing the Saudis in checking Iran’s regional ambitions. . . .

The Arabs, [however], want the U.S. (or Israel) to do the fighting this time. That’s a bad idea for America, for many reasons, but the biggest is that there’s no U.S. political support for a war against Iran. . . .

Rolling back an aggressive rival seems impossible, until someone dares to try it.

Read more at RealClear Politics

More about: Cold War, Iran, Politics & Current Affairs, Ronald Reagan, U.S. Foreign policy