Better Relations with Israel Are in Pakistan’s Interests

In 2003, Pakistan’s then-dictator Pervez Musharraf floated the idea of establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, a position he has also repeated even after stepping down—although little came of the suggestion. A few weeks ago, the country’s current government told reporters that it is considering an overture to Jerusalem. Ephraim Inbar explains what Islamabad would gain from doing so, and that Israel’s ever-closer friendship with India—Pakistan’s chief rival—is an inducement, not a hindrance, to a thaw between the two countries:

Pakistani national interests dictate better relations with Jerusalem. Israel’s new relationship with India was gradually transformed into what Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed “a strategic partnership.” Israeli technology and arms served the Indian military effort well in the 1999 Kargil war against Pakistan. Moreover, closer Indian-Israeli cooperation after the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks enhanced Delhi’s capacity to deal with Pakistan-sponsored terror. It can be argued that better relations with Israel might balance the intensified Indian-Israeli military ties. . . .

Iran is also a point of convergence. Pakistan fears Iran, its neighbor to the west, less than Israel does. Yet it’s hard to imagine that Islamabad is indifferent to the possibility of having another nuclear-armed neighbor on its western border. In addition, both countries play games with the Baluchi minorities beyond their borders and compete over influence in Afghanistan. Therefore, the Israeli campaign against Iran, which weakens an adversary, is not [inimical] to Pakistani interests. . . .

Israel, a state in quest of international legitimacy for many years, has always welcomed Pakistani overtures. Pakistan is a large Muslim state, and better relations with Islamabad could be useful in further diluting the religious dimension of Israel’s regional conflict. Israel desires a normalization in relations with all capitals of the world. Furthermore, the Pakistani-Saudi special relations could be leveraged to let both states overcome their inhibitions on relations with the Jewish state.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Iran, Israel diplomacy, Israel-India relations, Pakistan


To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy