How Black September Helped to Cement the U.S.-Israel Alliance

Aug. 28 2020

Next Tuesday marks the 50th anniversary of the Palestinian uprising in Jordan, and the accompanying wave of hijackings, that came to be known as Black September. In 1967, the Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser—looking for a way to strike back at Israel after losing the Six-Day War—had set the stage for the revolt by supporting Yasir Arafat in his takeover of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Under Arafat’s leadership, the group, based in Jordan, launched frequent guerrilla attacks against Israel—taking advantage of the weakness of the Jordanian monarchy. Sean Durns explains what happened next:

In November 1969, clashes erupted between Jordan’s army and the PLO. Low-level fighting went on intermittently for months with King Hussein still desperate to avoid a full-on confrontation. The king even sought to placate Arafat by offering him a government post, which he refused.

On September 1, 1970, shots were fired at Hussein’s motorcade. Five days later, Palestinian terrorists [affiliated with the PLO] hijacked three airplanes, two American and one Swiss. [Finally]. Hussein, belatedly, chose to act, deploying his troops to crush Arafat and his supporters. The PLO, in turn, called for the king’s overthrow. Pitched battles erupted on Jordan’s streets. Worse still, on September 19, elements of the Syrian military crossed Jordan’s northern border to assist the PLO fighters.

Washington saw Jordan was one of its few reliable allies in the region, in contrast to Soviet-backed Egypt and Syria. But, with its military bogged down in Vietnam, it was reluctant to heed Amman’s calls for help:

On September 20, Secretary of State Henry Kisssinger told Israel’s ambassador to the United States, the future prime minister Yitzḥak Rabin, that King Hussein had asked to have Israel’s air force attack the Syrian invaders. . . . Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered the reconnaissance flights and Israel sent troops to its border with Syria. Israeli jets, meanwhile, flew low over Syrian tanks in Jordan—sending an unmistakable signal that Israel would intervene.

While the IDF never engaged the Syrians, its air cover was sufficient to allow Hussein’s forces to push them back; thereafter Jordan crushed the uprising and expelled the PLO to Lebanon. Both Amman and Washington learned that, rather than be a liability, Israeli military prowess could help them protect their interests and maintain stability.

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Read more at National Interest

More about: Golda Meir, Henry Kissinger, Israeli history, Jordan, PLO, US-Israel relations, Yasir Arafat

Iran’s Dangerous Dream of a Triple Alliance with Russia and China

Aug. 16 2022

Unlike Hamas, which merely receives support from the Islamic Republic, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)—with which Israel engaged in a short round of fighting last week—is more or less under its direct control. In fact, the recent hostilities began with a series of terrorist attacks launched by PIJ from Samaria, which might in turn have been a response to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s call “to open a new front in the West Bank against the Zionist enemy.” Amir Taheri writes:

In Gaza, the Islamic Republic has invested heavily in promoting Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. . . . Islamic Jihad is in a minority in Gaza, hence the attempt by Tehran to help it create a base in the West Bank.

Reliable sources in Baghdad say that [Iran’s expeditionary and terrorist paramilitary] the Quds Force has been “transiting” significant quantities of arms and cash via Iraq to Jordan, to be smuggled to the West Bank. The Jordanian authorities say they are aware of these “hostile activities.” King Abdullah himself has publicly called on Iran to cease “destabilizing activities.”

But such schemes, Taheri explains, are part of a larger strategic vision of creating a grand anti-Western alliance even while engaging in nuclear negotiations with the U.S. and Europe:

Last month, Khamenei praised Vladimr Putin for his invasion of Ukraine. And this month, China’s ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, praised the Islamic Republic for supporting China in “asserting its sovereignty” over Taiwan.

It is clear that some dangerous pipe-dreamers in Beijing, Moscow, and Tehran have fallen for the phantasmagoric vision of “three great powers” banding together and with help from “the rest,” that is to say, the so-called Third World . . . to destroy an international system created by the “corrupt and decadent.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: China, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Russia, West Bank