Germany’s Sordid Iran Policy

June 12 2018

As the U.S. is re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic and trying to curb the dangerous reach of its proxies, Germany has come to Tehran’s defense. Yigal Carmon comments:

If any country in the world could be expected to be extremely cautious about aligning with anyone calling for Israel’s annihilation, it would be Germany, regardless of any extenuating circumstances—economic, political or otherwise. The Bundesrepublik should have distanced itself from any substantial tie with the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose murderous regime is threatening to annihilate Israel.

Germany was the first country that should have told . . . Barack Obama that totalitarian regimes, like Germany’s own Nazi regime, are beyond the pale, and should be denied any legitimacy, particularly when it comes to a nuclear deal with them. Germany’s past should have enjoined it to take the moral lead, publicly, in promoting regime change when dealing with a totalitarian regime such as Iran. The reality is tragically the opposite. . . . Germany . . . has shut its eyes to the notorious human-rights violations in Iran, and to Iran’s terrorizing and murder of its own citizens. Iran, of course, is a major partner, along with Russia, in the greatest humanitarian catastrophe of the 21st century: the Assad regime’s slaughter and displacement of millions of Syrians.

The reversal of the Obama-foisted Iran policy by the Trump administration provided Germany with a golden opportunity to reclaim its professed values. But the reverse happened: Germany is legitimizing Iran, even championing it. . . .

Regardless of Germany’s motivations, this is the moment for Germany to demonstrate national leadership and responsibility that rises above petty considerations . . . and builds a policy on its moral values. If it rises to the moment, Germany could isolate the Iran issue from other issues, and serve as a true global beacon of moral policy. There are other ways to resolve its [other] problems with the U.S., and even to take an assertive stand against Donald Trump on economic matters. Unfortunately, Germany’s grand government coalition and the opposition parties are united in defense of Iran and against the U.S.

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More about: Germany, Iran, Iran sanctions, Israeli-German relations, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Foreign policy

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

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More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy