Why Pakistan Won’t Be Israel’s Next Muslim Ally

Jan. 18 2021

With each of the Jewish state’s groundbreaking normalization agreements with countries that previously treated it as a pariah, there has been increased speculation about which Arab or Muslim nation will be next to follow suit. In this vein there have been rumors and discussions about the possibility of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Islamabad. Efraim Inbar judges such a development beneficial for both parties, but highly unlikely:

Pakistani-Israeli peace is unlikely because of Pakistani domestic constraints and Islamabad’s foreign-policy orientation. [There] is great opposition to rapprochement with Israel, particularly among various Islamist circles that carry considerable political weight. Moreover, anti-Semitic convictions are widespread in Pakistan. According to a 2019 Pew poll, 74 percent of Pakistanis held unfavorable views of Jews.

Pakistan’s enmity towards Israel is of no real advantage to Pakistan. Arab states have not really supported Pakistan [in its own conflict with India over Kashmir]. By boycotting Israel, Pakistan forfeits much needed Israeli expertise in agriculture, telecommunications, water management, medical services, and high tech. A relationship with Israel also could open doors in Washington, where Pakistan is increasingly under suspicion for cooperation with China and Islamist terrorists.

Nevertheless, Israel would welcome in principle any approach by an important Muslim state such as Pakistan. . . . Israel also has an interest in diluting the religious dimension of conflict in the ethnoreligious Israel-Palestinian conflict. In contrast to the more secular West, Israelis understand the importance of religious matters in politics.

Unfortunately, international politics do not augur well for a near-term improvement in Israel-Pakistan ties. Pakistan is getting closer to Iran, a country whose leadership seeks the destruction of Israel.

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Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Abraham Accords, Anti-Semitism, Israel diplomacy, Pakistan

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism