Iraq’s Disintegration Threatens Israeli Security

Last week, a heretofore unheard-of Iraqi militia, likely sponsored by Tehran, threatened to “bomb” the Jewish state. The week before, Iran-backed guerrillas launched a rocket at an Iraqi military base used by the U.S. military—one of many signs that the Islamic Republic’s terrorist network in the country is stepping up its attacks. Jonathan Spyer notes a common thread connecting these events:

The Iranian strategy for Iraq is clear. . . . The intention, along the lines of what [Iran] has already achieved in Lebanon [through Hizballah], is that the formal structures of representative government should remain, but should be hollowed out of any meaningful content. Political [and] military structures in the service of Iran will enjoy freedom of action and will possess military capacities superior to those of the nominal forces of the state.

The territory of the country will then be used both for the transportation of men and materiel in the direction of Israel, and for the deployment of missiles capable of reaching the territory of the Jewish state. . . . Iran has already deployed missiles in the deserts of western Iraq, in the hands of its militias, that have Israel within range.

In the event of the “First Northern War” as Israeli defense planners call the scenario of a general war between Israel and Iran with its proxies, Iraq would play an important role in the transfer of weaponry. The Shiite militias would be used to provide additional manpower for the Iranian side, as seen in the Syrian civil war. Missiles would almost certainly be launched from Iraqi soil.

Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Iraq, Israeli Security


Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship