Against Iran, Israel Remains the Last Line of Defense

June 29, 2022 | Reuel Marc Gerecht
About the author: Reuel Marc Gerecht is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a former case officer in the CIA with responsibility for Iranian recruitments.

With the Islamic Republic drawing ever closer to producing nuclear weapons, and the United States increasingly disengaged from the Middle East, only the Jewish state has the will, ability, and courage to stop the ayatollahs. So argues Reuel Marc Gerecht:

Zionist hard power has unquestionably deterred Iran: neither Tehran nor Hizballah have let loose missiles, from Iran or Lebanon, for the substantial damage the Jewish state has wrought in Syria. Or in Lebanon: Jerusalem launched Operation Northern Shield in December 2018—a major preemptive action to destroy tunnels Hizballah was building from southern Lebanon into Israel. [But] neither Northern Shield nor the killing in Syria of Revolutionary Guard personnel nor the substantial destruction of Iranian materiel has moved Tehran or Hizballah to up the conventional-military ante.

If the Iranians go nuclear following Israeli inaction and the Gulf states, seeing the prevailing Persian winds, curtail their dealings with Jerusalem, setting in motion again Zion’s isolation, Israelis could shrug it off. Israel has long lived with such ostracism. But it would, nonetheless, be a bad turn of events. Iranian expansionism wreaks havoc wherever it gains traction, searching for ideological, credal, and ethnic fault lines. Iran’s own sharp internal divisions have unquestionably made the clerical regime sensitive to and clever about such stress.

All of Israel’s Arab neighbors in Asia are riven with fractures that could easily expand. It would be a biting irony if the fears—revolutionary Persian Shiism and a retrenching America—that have finally brought many Sunni Arabs closer to the Jewish state ultimately drove Sunni Arabs closer to Iran. Wicked ironies aren’t, of course, uncommon in the Middle East.

Read more on Dispatch: