How Israel Helps Uphold the U.S.-Backed Liberal International Order

Oct. 16 2019

Seeking to reverse decades of diplomatic isolation, and in response to increasing hostility from Western Europe, Jerusalem in recent years has cultivated better relations with a variety of states, including some with unsavory rulers—ranging from the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While such a policy has provoked sharp criticism in some quarters, Seth Cropsey and Harry Halem explain that a small country like Israel does not have the luxury of disdaining potential allies, and, moreover, continues to do much to support American interests and with them the “liberal international order,” such as it is. Take the fraught case of its relations with Russia:

Small powers such as Israel illustrate the liberal international order’s pathology. The Jewish state in particular feels the existential edge of political competition, having faced annihilation from its inception. Today, Iran is Israel’s greatest adversary. A unique blend of Shiite supremacism and Persian imperial revanchism drives Iran’s leaders to recover Sassanid and Safavid lost glory.

Rather than striking Iran directly, Israel has opted to attack its network of proxies that stretch from the Tigris to the Levantine basin. However, the United States no longer dominates the region’s airspace. Any Israeli action against Iran requires Russian assent as a simple geographical fact. This situation will persist indefinitely, as America shows no desire to challenge the Russian presence in Syria. So Israel must work with Russia if it hopes to combat Iranian expansion—as a matter of course, small powers must search for other options during periods of strategic turmoil, whatever their ideological preferences may be.

The irony is that Israel’s cognizance of Russian interests actually furthers American security goals. Iran poses a threat to the United States irrespective of its alliance with Israel. If a hostile power were to control the Middle East, it could sever the U.S.’s sea lines of communication and supply, preventing effective coordination between American forces and allies in Europe and Asia. Moreover, it could use its oil exports to threaten the reliance of U.S. partners on oil imports, such as Japan.

It is therefore no surprise that the U.S.’s interest in a stable Middle Eastern balance of power has persisted since the 1940s. But the age of imperial dominion has passed. America cannot govern as Britain and France once did. It must work with and through local actors. Critically, every attempt that the U.S., or any Western power, has made to court the “Arab street” has failed irrespective of support for Israel.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Israel diplomacy, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations, Vladimir Putin

 

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank