The North Korea-China-Pakistan-Iran Axis Threatens Israel

North Korea, China, Pakistan, and Iran together constitute a contiguous expanse of territory stretching across Asia. Each of the four possesses chemical and biological weapons. While the Islamic Republic is currently working to develop nuclear capabilities as well, the other three already have them. Moreover, Pyongyang and Tehran have for years cooperated in the development of nuclear technology and long-range missiles. Beijing, the most powerful of the four, maintains good relations with the others. Considering the implications for Israel of this loose but dangerous alliance, Dany Shoham writes:

On September 8, a meeting took place between the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s national-security and foreign-policy commission and the North Korean ambassador. . . . The meeting was held to discuss the launch of financial and barter networks between the two countries. The U.S. special representative for Iran and Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, responded by saying, “We are very concerned about Iran’s cooperation with North Korea. . . . We will be watching the cooperation with North Korea very carefully and doing what we can to prevent it.”

While the territory comprising North Korea, China, Pakistan, and Iran might form a cardinal unified factor within the geostrategic system of the eastern hemisphere (and beyond), the interactions of China and Iran with Israel are especially meaningful in the [Middle East]. Two remarkable examples . . . are the recent Iranian cyberattack on Israel’s drinking water, which aimed to destabilize the chlorine level and [thereby] poison the country’s citizens; and the approaching operational management of the port of Haifa’s New Bay Terminal—not far from Haifa Naval Base, which houses Israeli submarines, missile boats, and other vessels—by the Shanghai-based, government-owned SIPG, from 2021 to 2046.

If China finds that it needs to prioritize between Iran and Israel—an entirely conceivable scenario—it will favor Iran, no matter what the context.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: China, Iran, Israel-China relations, Israeli Security, North Korea, Pakistan


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount