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Why Guatemala Was the First to Join the U.S. in Recognizing Jerusalem

Dec. 27 2017

On Sunday, Guatemala announced its intention to move its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem—making it the first country to follow America’s lead in doing so. Honduras, Togo, Paraguay, Romania, and Slovakia are reportedly considering doing the same. Rafael Ahren explains that the decision comes on the heels of a long history of Israeli-Guatemalan friendship:

Seventy years ago, Guatemala’s ambassador to the UN, Jorge Garcia Granados, a member of the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine, played a crucial role in convincing Latin American countries to vote in favor of General Assembly Resolution 181, which called for the partition of Mandatory Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Guatemala was [also] one of the first countries to recognize the nascent state of Israel [after it declared its independence in 1948]. . . .

In the 1970s, Israel was said to have assisted the military juntas ruling Guatemala a great deal in the area of counterinsurgency, providing them with advice and equipment. . . . Ties [have] also been strong in the fields of civilian technology and tourism, among others. . . . In December 2013, Otto Fernando Perez Molina became the first president of Guatemala to visit Israel. . . .

Fast forward to 2015, when [Guatemala’s President Jimmy] Morales—a former comedian who’d never held political office—won the country’s presidential elections with 67 percent of the votes. Morales, a devout evangelical Christian, has . . . called his country’s relationship with Israel “excellent.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy, Jerusalem, Latin America

 

How the U.S. Can Strike at Iran without Risking War

In his testimony before Congress on Tuesday, Michael Doran urged the U.S. to pursue a policy of rolling back Iranian influence in the Middle East, and explained how this can be accomplished. (Video of the testimony, along with the full text, are available at the link below.)

The United States . . . has indirect ways of striking at Iran—ways that do not risk drawing the United States into a quagmire. The easiest of these is to support allies who are already in the fight. . . . In contrast to the United States, Israel is already engaged in military operations whose stated goal is to drive Iran from Syria. We should therefore ask ourselves what actions we might take to strengthen Israel’s hand. Militarily, these might include, on the passive end of the spectrum, positioning our forces so as to deter Russian counterattacks against Israel. On the [more active] end, they might include arming and training Syrian forces to engage in operations against Iran and its proxies—much as we armed the mujahedin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Diplomatically, the United States might associate itself much more directly with the red lines that Israel has announced regarding the Iranian presence in Syria. Israel has, for example, called for pushing Iran and its proxies away from its border on the Golan Heights. Who is prepared to say that Washington has done all in its power to demonstrate to Moscow that it fully supports this goal? In short, a policy of greater coordination with Jerusalem is both possible and desirable.

In Yemen, too, greater coordination with Saudi Arabia is worth pursuing. . . . In Lebanon and Iraq, conditions will not support a hard rollback policy. In these countries the goal should be to shift the policy away from a modus vivendi [with Iran] and in the direction of containment. In Iraq, the priority, of course, is the dismantling of the militia infrastructure that the Iranians have built. In Lebanon, [it should be] using sanctions to force the Lebanese banking sector to choose between doing business with Hizballah and Iran and doing business with the United States and its financial institutions. . . .

Iran will not take a coercive American policy sitting down. It will strike back—and it will do so cleverly. . . . It almost goes without saying that the United States should begin working with its allies now to develop contingency plans for countering the tactics [Tehran is likely to use]. I say “almost” because I know from experience in the White House that contingency planning is something we extol much more than we conduct. As obvious as these tactics [against us] are, they have often taken Western decision makers by surprise, and they have proved effective in wearing down Western resolve.

Read more at Hudson

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen