Why Guatemala’s Embassy Move Matters

March 8 2018

Guatemala declared that it would do the same. The editors of the Weekly Standard explain why this matters:

“It is important to be among the first,” the Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales said on Monday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, “but it is more important to do what’s right.”

Guatemala was one of only nine nations that backed the U.S. embassy move when the UN passed a resolution condemning it. The other countries were similarly small players on the global stage: Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and of course Israel.

We hear the guffaws of the foreign-policy elite in Washington and London and Paris. Guatemala? Honduras? Togo? The alignment of these few little nations with U.S. policy is itself, members of this elite suggested, an indication of just how outlandish the American policy is.

Well, okay. But 35 nations merely abstained in the UN vote, and many of them are both sizable and influential: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, to name a few. We wonder what would happen if some of these nations also decided to move their embassies to Jerusalem? Perhaps not much, or perhaps some halfhearted protests in Middle East capitals and some formulaic denunciations from the usual suspects in Turtle Bay. Perhaps not even that. . . .

[F]ar from jeopardizing the at-present nonexistent peace process, moving those embassies would help to rid future negotiations of the pernicious delusion that the Palestinians may one day control all of Jerusalem. The only basis on which to negotiate is the truth, and so far the U.S. and Guatemala are the first openly to acknowledge that truth. Others are welcome to follow.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Latin America, U.S. Foreign policy


To Undermine Russian and Iranian Influence in Syria, the U.S. Must Go on the Offensive

March 22 2018

When Iranian-lead, pro-Assad forces attacked U.S. allies in Syria last month, they found themselves quickly overwhelmed by American firepower. The incident, writes Tony Badran, makes clear that the U.S. has the capability to push back against the Damascus-Tehran-Moscow axis. By taking a more aggressive approach while working closely with Israel, Badran argues, Washington can at once prevent Russia and Iran from cementing their control of Syria and avoid getting drawn into a wider conflict:

Israeli assets can augment U.S. capabilities considerably. A few days after the skirmish in Deir Ezzour in February, Iran flew a drone into Israeli air space. Israel responded by destroying the Iranian command center at the Tiyas military air base near Palmyra, and then proceeded to bomb a large number of Iranian and Assad-regime targets. The episode again underscored the vulnerability of Iran, to say nothing of the brittle Assad regime. Close coordination with Israel to expand this ongoing targeting campaign against Iranian and Hizballah infrastructure, senior cadres, and logistical routes, and amplifying it with U.S. assets in the region, would have a devastating effect on Iran’s position in Syria.

By going on the offensive, the U.S. will also strengthen Israel’s hand with Russia, reducing Jerusalem’s need to petition the Kremlin and thereby diminishing Moscow’s ability to position itself as an arbiter on Israeli security. For instance, instead of haggling with Russia to obtain its commitment to keep Iran five or seven kilometers away from the Israeli border, the U.S. could adopt the Israeli position on Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and assist Israel in enforcing it. Such a posture would have a direct effect on another critical ally, Jordan, whose role is of high importance in southern Syria and in the U.S. zone in the east.

Assad and Iran are the scaffolding on which the Russian position stands. Targeting them, therefore, undercuts Moscow and reduces its leverage. By merely forcing Russia to respect Israeli and Jordanian needs on the border, the U.S. would undermine Russia’s attempt, more generally, to leverage its position in Syria to make headway into the U.S. alliance system. In addition to adopting a more offensive military posture, the U.S. should also intensify the economic chokehold on Assadist Syria.

Read more at Caravan

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Syrian civil war, U.S. Foreign policy