The Only Thing Standing between Iran and Nuclear Weapons Is the Israeli Airforce

While it is not clear what the outcome of negotiations concerning the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will be, Reuel Marc Gerecht finds it highly likely that the ayatollahs will—at the very least—have the option of going nuclear whenever they wish after a year or two. Nor does he see much possibility that a Republican administration could reverse the situation after the 2024. What then is left to do?

[When Barack Obama was in office], lots of folks in DC thought Hassan Rouhani, a founding father of the Islamic Republic’s police state, would as president somehow create a new, less antagonistic modus vivendi between Washington and Tehran. With Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his mini-me president, Ebrahim Raisi, at the helm, it’s probably impossible for the Biden administration to conjure up a promising, “moderate” Iranian counterpart. Republicans can be stupid and unnuanced about the Islamic Republic. . . . But the American right has done better in appreciating what the supreme leader and his men have tried to make crystal clear: they zealously hate us.

Really only one question remains now: will the Israelis strike? Excluding the outside chance that the Iranian people might rise up again and terminally convulse the Islamic Republic, only Israeli air raids, might, just possibly, upset Khamenei’s nuclear plans. The clerical regime has displayed impressive tenacity and ingenuity (the decision to back the construction of a clandestine nuclear site in Syria was an especially bold move, which the Israelis successfully countered by bombing it in 2007). We should always be able to admire our enemies when they play a weak hand well.

Even without the nuclear achievement, Khamenei ought to be considered the most accomplished post-World War II dictator in the Middle East. Add on the bomb, and he could rightfully look upon Ruhollah Khomeini’s massive mausoleum, and, like Justinian within the Hagia Sophia remembering Solomon’s Temple, he could proudly say:

“I have surpassed thee.”

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Barack Obama, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy

Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy