Israel’s Military Campaign Makes Iran More, Not Less, Likely to Negotiate with the U.S.

Sept. 12 2019

During a single week in August, Jerusalem attacked military installations belonging to Iran and its proxies in Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq. It seems to have struck Iraq again since then. Rejecting the explanation that these strikes are a cynical attempt by Benjamin Netanyahu to rally support in the weeks before an election, as well as the claim that they somehow make the Islamic Republic more combative, Steven A. Cook argues that such effective military operations increase Tehran’s willingness to compromise—perhaps far more than American economic pressure.

Earlier in the summer—before the Israelis stepped up their operations—the Iranians were busy sabotaging shipping in the Persian Gulf, shooting down an American drone, and seizing a number of tankers transiting the Strait of Hormuz. Now they are believed to be inching toward talks with the United States.

Of course, there are several reasons why the Iranians may be showing some new flexibility—the Iranian economy’s continuing struggle under sanctions being chief among them. That is certainly pressure, and perhaps they fear the consequences for internal stability [and thus] they are looking for some relief in the way of negotiations. It is certainly plausible; crippling sanctions brought the Iranians to the table before, producing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Still, it seems it is the combination of sanctions and Israeli military prowess that may . . . cow the Iranians into talks.

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Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy

With Talk of Annexation, Benny Gantz Sends a Message to the U.S.

Jan. 24 2020

On Tuesday, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who is campaigning for a third time to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from the Israeli premiership, announced that if elected he will seek to annex the Jordan Valley. He added the important caveat that he wants to do so “in coordination with the international community”—a promise that, as many have pointed out, is nearly impossible to fulfill. While it is easy to speculate about the political calculations behind this pledge, Jonathan Tobin suggests that it is also intended as a message to American liberals:

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Read more at JNS

More about: Benny Gantz, Democrats, Israeli Election 2020, Jordan Valley, U.S. Politics