Why Israel Must Maintain Its Presence in the Jordan Valley

While Dan Schueftan is skeptical about the benefits of applying Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank settlements, located mostly in the vicinity of Jerusalem, he believes that the Jewish state has much to gain from applying its sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. Otherwise, Israel would be left entirely unable to protect its eastern border:

In 2014 General John Allen, the security adviser to then-Secretary of State John Kerry, suggested a plan that was based on much goodwill yet little understanding of the conditions in the Middle East. . . . The plan included Palestinian sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. The answer to Israel’s security fears would be sensors, unmanned aircraft, satellites, and other technological devices. There was also talk of foreign troops, possibly American, being stationed along the banks of the Jordan River, and a possibility of a U.S.-Israel deal ensuring American support for unilateral moves by Israel when responding to threats on its security.

Establishing [sovereignty] in the Jordan Valley entails abandoning the delusional idea of Israeli and Jordanian security based on technology and foreign presence. What Israel needs is not information on threats and the hope that someone else will respond before it’s too late. Rather, it needs deterrence that comes with a good chance of prevention and an Israeli force that will neutralize threats when needed.

A scheme like the Allen plan is much worse than no arrangement at all. Without it, Israel acts “defiantly” against threats when it sees them, and foreign diplomats protest after they are successfully neutralized. Since decolonization in the mid-20th century, the fate of a foreign military presence in sovereign land of a hostile country has been grim. This scheme will postpone and [enfeeble] the Israeli response to perceived threats and will give the Palestinians an effective tool to damage Israel’s relations with the U.S.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Israeli Security, John Kerry, Jordan Valley, Peace Process

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy