In a Changed World, Declining Democratic Support Might Be One of Israel’s Greatest Challenges

Surveying the geopolitical changes that have swept the world, and the Middle East, in the last several decades, Yaakov Amidror takes stock of what they mean for the Jewish state. Among the most important developments he points to are the rise of China, the return of Russia to the Levant, and the evolution of the Internet and cyberwarfare—the last of which poses an array of new threats to any advanced country’s wellbeing. And then there is the collapse of some Arab states, coupled with the retreat of the U.S. from the Middle East:

The two Muslim non-Arab countries—Iran and Turkey, central to the history of the region and to the present power struggle—are now trying to make use of the regional vacuum and to advance their national interests and the ideologies to which their leaders adhere. Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan promotes the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, with an added layer of revived Ottoman pretensions, which had vanished since the aftermath of World War I. . . . As for the Arabs, they detest the Ottoman dream—and the Turks—and while they admire the Persians and their ancient culture, they also fear their power.

In the face of Iran’s efforts to destabilize the region and obtain nuclear weapons, and Turkey’s attempts to extend its authority from the Caucasus to Libya, the Arabs have no good answers. There is no acceptable Sunni Arab leadership and no Arab state leads the pack. All this comes against the background of a gradual American retreat from the region. When the leaders of the Arab states look around, they see no steady anchor to latch onto.

Amidror identifies a single threat to Israel on par with that from the Islamic Republic, namely:

the erosion [in America] of traditional bipartisan support for Israel, which U.S. Jewry had been able to secure in the wake of World War II and up until the presidency of Barack Obama. This may well be the result of an inevitable historical trajectory. . . .

At the end of the day, only a militarily strong Israel, ready to preserve [its historic] national defense doctrine . . . of defending itself by itself against any coalition of enemies—can sustain its regional position and thus retain its attraction as a partner to other significant international players.

Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Barack Obama, Democrats, Iran, Israeli grand strategy, Israeli Security, Turkey, US-Israel relations

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy