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India Has Finally Acknowledged That Israel Is a Friend Worth Having

Jan. 23 2018

Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to India, met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and concluded nine trade deals between the two countries. The visit is just the latest manifestation of the growing alliance between Israel and India, a country that was long hostile to the Jewish state, and refused to have formal diplomatic ties until 1991. To Swapan Dasgupta, New Delhi’s reluctance to improve relations with Jerusalem came from its excessive fear of provoking Muslim rage:

For the longest possible time, Indian diplomacy has run scared of facing the truth over Israel because of the fear of a Muslim backlash at home and recriminations against migrant Indian workers in the Islamic nations of West Asia. Someone had to take the bull by the horn and end this nonsense. The Modi government took the step in 2014, culminating in the Netanyahu visit last week.

There may have been a few angry editorials in the [mostly Muslim] Urdu press, some inflammatory sermons in mosques, an isolated black-flag demonstration or two in some cities, and some snide comments about the hug [with which Modi greeted Netanyahu upon his arrival]. However, in the main, the visit was a spectacular success. If tomorrow India starts making preparations to shift its embassy, now in Tel Aviv, to Jerusalem—as I believe it should—the protests will be insignificant.

The lessons should be obvious. The veto of a handful of activists should not deter governments from doing what is right and what is in the national interest. Fear should never be the reason for inaction.

Israel may be a tiny country, perhaps even equal in size to some of India’s larger parliamentary constituencies. Yet the popular respect it commands is disproportionate to the area it covers on the world map. This may have partly to do with Israel’s status as the custodian of an ancient Jewish civilization and partly with its doughty battle to survive while being surrounded by implacably hostile countries. Israel today epitomizes a gritty determination that is a source of colossal admiration. It is a friend worth having.

Read more at Daily Pioneer

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, India, Israel & Zionism, Israel diplomacy

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