The United Kingdom’s Irrational and Contradictory Policy toward Jerusalem

 Although Great Britain has good relations with the Jewish state, it insists that the latter has only “de-facto authority over West Jerusalem.” Thus London’s embassy is in Tel Aviv, even as the seat of the Israeli government is in Jerusalem. Stephen Daisley laments this situation:

As recently as 2016, Foreign Office briefing documents were still referring to Jerusalem as corpus separatum. (You know your foreign policy has really kept up with the times when it requires a working knowledge of Latin.) Jerusalem was designated a corpus separatum in the 1947 Partition Plan for Palestine, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly, accepted by the Jews, and rejected by the Arabs, who went on to launch a war for “the elimination of the Jewish state.” You can see why the Foreign Office would consider this a totally reasonable and unproblematic basis for UK policy on the Middle East.

Originally, corpus separatum meant Jerusalem would be run by the United Nations. These days Israel wouldn’t trust the UN to run a shawarma stand, and rightly so. So corpus separatum, as used by the UK government, has come to mean split sovereignty in Jerusalem, with Israel controlling the western parts of the city and a future state of Palestine the eastern portions. Curiously enough, the government only seems to like parts of the doctrine. Somewhere along the way, the part of the 1947 plan that said corpus separatum could be put to a referendum of Jerusalem residents after ten years has fallen by the wayside.

The result of all this ancient history and failed diplomatic dogma is that the UK must maintain the fiction that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. That the Palestinian Authority has a comparably strong claim to a city which has never been part of any Palestinian state, since none has ever existed. That re-dividing the city is the way to deliver peace and uphold religious freedom, when Israeli control is the closest Jerusalem has come to underwriting religious co-existence. That splitting a capital city between recently hostile nations is a viable policy, or one with any successful precedent in the contemporary world. That by keeping up these pretenses the UK is hastening the arrival of a two-state solution rather than delaying it by pandering to and rewarding Palestinian rejectionism.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Jerusalem, United Kingdom

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy