The U.S. Stands Poised to Continue a Disastrous Strategy of Empowering Iran and Abandoning Its Allies

In a comprehensive analysis, Tony Badran and Michael Doran argue that the Biden administration’s Middle East policy aims to reinforce and to build upon that of Barack Obama, which they term “the realignment.” As Doran explained in a 2015 essay for Mosaic, the Obama White House’s goal was to promote the interests of Iran, against those of Israel and Saudi Arabia—America’s traditional allies—in order to bring “balance” to the Middle East. This approach is bound to fail, as indeed the events of the last few years have already proved:

The doctrine of realignment builds on the erroneous assumption that Iran is a status-quo power, one that shares a number of major interests with the United States. According to this doctrine, conservative Americans and supporters of Israel fixate on Iran’s ideology—which is steeped in bigotry toward non-Muslims in general, and which advertises its annihilationist aspirations toward the Jewish state in particular—but it is not useful as a practical guide to Tehran’s behavior.

The United States, so the thinking goes, [can, through rapprochement with Iran], finally remove itself from the war footing that traditional allies, with their anti-Iran agenda, have forced on it. Thereafter, diplomatic engagement with Iran will be the primary tool needed to maintain regional stability.

The realignment rests on, to put it mildly, a hollow theory. It misstates the nature of the Islamic Republic and the scope of its ambitions. A regime that has led “Death to America” chants for the last 40 years is an inveterately revisionist regime. The Islamic Republic sees itself as a global power, the leader of the Muslim world, and it covets hegemony over the Persian Gulf—indeed, the entire Middle East. But the only instrument it has ever had to achieve its objectives is regional subversion.

Iran’s militia network and nuclear program have made it strong enough to be a major factor in every troubled corner of the Middle East, but not strong enough to build an alternative order. Herein lies a curious contradiction in Khamenei’s project. Iran cannot actually hold or stabilize contested areas without a helpful American posture.

This entire strategy, moreover, aligns neatly with left-wing “cosmology.”

It equates a policy of containing Iran with a path to endless war, and transforms a policy of accommodating Iran into the path to peace. It reduces the complexities of the Middle East to a Manichean morality tale that pits the progressives against their mythological foes—evangelical Christians, “neoconservatives,” and Zionists. The realignment depicts these foes as co-conspirators with the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman, and the Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, plotting to keep America mired in the Middle East.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Joseph Biden, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy

Iran’s Responsibility for West Bank Terror

On Friday, a Palestinian stabbed an Israeli police officer and was then shot by another officer after trying to grab his rifle. Commenting on the many similar instances of West Bank-based terror during the past several months, Amit Saar, a senior IDF intelligence officer, predicted that the violence will likely grow worse in the coming year. Yoni Ben Menachem explains the Islamic Republic’s role in fueling this wave of terrorism:

The escape of six terrorists from Gilboa prison in September 2021 was the catalyst for the establishment of new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank, according to senior Islamic Jihad officials. The initiative to establish new armed groups was undertaken by Palestinian Islamic Jihad in coordination with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, implementing the strategy of Qassem Suleimani—the commander of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards who was assassinated in Iraq by the U.S.—of using proxies to achieve the goals of expansion of the Iranian regime.

After arming Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, Iran moved in the last year to support the new terrorist groups in the northern West Bank. Iran has been pouring money into the Islamic Jihad organization, which began to establish new armed groups under the name of “Battalions,” which also include terrorists from other organizations such as Fatah, Hamas, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. First, the “Jenin Battalion” was established in the city of Jenin, followed the “Nablus Battalion.”

Despite large-scale arrest operation by the IDF and the Shin Bet in the West Bank, Islamic Jihad continues to form new terrorist groups, including the “Tulkarem Battalion,” the “Tubas Battalion,” and the “Balata Battalion” in the Balata refugee camp.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, West Bank