President Biden’s foreign policy and national security team reflects a resurgence of the State Department’s worldview. An examination of this worldview and its track record is required, in order to avoid past mistakes.
This track record consists of such critical issues as:
*In 1948, the State Department led Washington’s opposition to the recognition of the newly established Jewish State, contending that the Jewish State would be helpless against the expected Arab military assault, would be pro-Soviet, would undermine US-Arab relations, destabilize the Middle East, threaten the US supply of oil and cause severe long-term damage to US interests. Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Lovett, claimed: “recognizing the Jewish State prematurely would be buying a pig in a poke.”
*During the 1950s, the US courted Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, considering him a potential ally and extending non-military aid, while Egypt evolved as a key ally of the USSR, supporting anti-Western elements in Africa, intensifying anti-US sentiments among Arabs, and attempting to topple every single pro-US Arab regime.
*In 1978/79, the US betrayed the pro-US Shah of Iran, while embracing Ayatollah Khomeini – including intelligence sharing during the initial months of the Khomeini regime – under the assumption that he was controllable and seeking freedom, democracy and positive ties with the US.
*In 1980-1990, the US collaborated with Saddam Hussein, including intelligence-sharing, supply of dual use systems and extending $5bn loan guarantees. The assumption was that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” This US policy was perceived by Saddam as a green light for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, as documented by the meeting between Saddam and the US Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, 8 days before the invasion, when she asserted (reflecting the position of the State Department) that an invasion of Kuwait was an inter-Arab issue.
*During 1993-2000, the US Administration hailed Arafat as a messenger of peace, worthy of the Nobel Prize for Peace and annual US foreign aid, ignoring his annihilationist vision, as reflected by his 1959 and 1964 Fatah and PLO charters, hate-education system and intensified terrorism.
*In 2009, the US embraced the anti-US Muslim Brotherhood, ignoring its terroristic nature, and defining it as a political, secular entity. Thus, the US turned a cold shoulder toward the pro-US Mubarak, paving the road for the Muslim Brotherhood ascension to power in 2012/13, a blow to all pro-US Arab countries, which have been afflicted by Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.
*Until the eruption of the 2011 civil war in Syria, the State Department considered Bashar Assad a reformer and a potential moderate due to his background as an ophthalmologist in London, married to a British woman and President of the Syrian Internet Association. Similarly, Hafiz Assad (“the butcher from Damascus”) was regarded as a man of his word, a credible negotiator, justifying Israel’s giveaway of the strategically overpowering Golan Heights.
*In 2011, the State Department was a key engine behind the US-led NATO military offensive, which toppled Libya’s Qaddafi, notwithstanding his dismantling of Libya’s nuclear infrastructure, fervent war on Islamic terrorism, and providing the US unique counter-terror intelligence. The toppling of Qaddafi transformed Libya into a platform of civil wars and global Islamic terrorism.
*In 2011, the Washington, DC foreign policy and national security establishment welcomed the tectonic eruption of violence on the Arab Street as a march toward democracy, progress toward peaceful-coexistence, Facebook and youth revolutions – an Arab Spring.
However, a reality check demonstrates that it has been a ruthless Arab Tsunami, exposing endemic intra-Arab and intra-Muslim terrorism, subversion and violent power struggles, tribally, ethnically, religiously, ideologically, locally and regionally.
*In 2015, irrespective of Iran’s core fanatical, repressive and megalomaniacal ideology and systematic perpetration of war and terrorism, the architects of the Iran nuclear accord (JCPOA) provided Iran’s Ayatollahs with a $150bn bonanza to bolster their ballistic, terroristic regional and global expansionist machine. They were guided by the assumption that the Ayatollahs were credible partners for negotiation, amenable to peaceful-coexistence and influence-sharing with their Arab Sunni neighbors. Moreover, the US disappointed most Iranians, by renouncing a military (regime-change) option against the ruthless and lawless regime in Tehran.
Middle East reality
In view of the aforementioned track record – which highlights a systematic gap between Middle East reality and State Department policy – President Biden’s Middle East team may benefit from the studies of the late Prof. Elie Kedourie (London School of Economics and Political Science), an iconic Middle East historian, whose politically-incorrect books and articles have been vindicated by Middle East reality.
According to Prof. Kedourie (The Chatham House Version): “The sober assumption that Middle East instability is endemic has found little favor either in Britain or in America….
“One of the simplest and yet most effective means known to mankind of keeping in touch with reality is to contrast what people say with what they do…. Alien conventions and unfamiliar speech add to the confusion…. All too often assumptions are not tested on the pulse of experience, they remain mere abstract doctrines, and men are taken up and praised for what they say rather than for what they are….
“The language of modern English and American politics is now adopted by the whole world and – divorced from the tradition in which it has value and dignity – becomes a debased, inflated jargon, a showman’s patter by which [Middle East] tyranny is made to seem constitutional, and crookedness to look straight….
“What may one properly mean by a settlement of the Palestine problem….? This dispute has become secondary…. The dispute now lies between Israel and the Arab states…. In the wider dispute, Israel is the immediate but not the most important factor. This lies in the rivalries of the Arab states…. A solution of the Palestine problem will accomplish little even if all the Israelis were exterminated and their state destroyed. For then would perhaps come a quarrel about the spoils and issues even more intractable, but certainly not peace….
“Tidy doctrines will not help, and simple answers will deceive. The disorder of the Middle East is deep and endemic, and the disappearance of Israel… will neither cure or even mitigate it. The very attempts to modernize Middle Eastern society, to make it Western or ‘democratic’ must bring about evils, which may be greater than the benefits….
“[In the Middle East], political power is traditionally capricious in the transmissions, acquired by violence and established by repression…. Political stability is chancy and precarious…. Habits of stability are unknown, and the subject has more reason to fear the displeasure of his masters…. Sedition, treason and civil war are common enough in Middle Eastern history….
“The Muslim theory of international relations recognizes two possible situations only: war on the ‘infidel’ or his subjugation to the ‘faithful.’ Peace with him de jure is hostility until he recognizes the authority of the Muslim ruler…. The comity of nations, or the sanctity of treaties, the rules of natural justice, or decent respect for the opinions of mankind, are quite alien and largely unintelligible to the Middle East…. (ibid, pp 1-12)”.
In 2021, ten years following the eruption of the Arab Tsunami – and contrary to the expectations of the State Department – the Arab Street is still dominated by its intrinsic 1,400-year-old instability, unpredictability, violent intolerance, human rights squashing, despotism, intra-Arab and intra-Muslim wars and terrorism, and the tenuous nature of all regimes, policies and accords, while the Arab Tsunami has yet to reach its peak.
Such a policy failure is attributed – if one employs Prof. Elie Kedourie’s studies – to “successive and cumulative manifestations of illusion, misjudgment, maladroitness and failure (ibid, p. ix).”
Will President Biden’s foreign policy and national security team, dealing with Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Middle East at-large – which are epicenters of global proliferation of ballistic and nuclear technologies, as well as Islamic terrorism – learn from past critical errors by avoiding, or repeating, them?
At stake is regional and global stability, including the national security and homeland security of the USA.
A critical battle takes place among Middle East observers, researchers and policy makers in Western democracies: the reality-driven, politically-incorrect worldview vs. the wishful-thinking/oversimplification-driven, politically-correct worldview.
The reality-driven worldview recognizes the potency of the inherently frustrating domestic/regional features of intra-Arab/Muslim relations in the Middle East:
*Local rather than national allegiance
*Terrorism and subversion
*Minority, repressive, one-bullet tenuous regimes, policy and accords
*Absence of intra-Arab/Muslim peaceful-coexistence
*Islam-driven goals and values (including the subservient “infidel”)
*Anti-Infidel hate education and religious incitement
*“On words one does not pay custom”
The reality-driven school of thought hopes for a best-case scenario, but recognizes that in the Middle East it is the bad/worst-case scenario which tends to prevail, requiring extra precaution and added security requirements in order to ensure one’s survival and advance general interests.
On the other hand, the wishful-thinking-driven worldview assumes that it is possible to seduce Middle East reality to adopt Western values, norms, fairness, common sense, reason, “live and let live” and peaceful goals, foregoing its 14- century-old underlying religious, civic, military, domestic and regional features. The wishful-thinkers are convinced that – in return for significant gestures, enhanced standard of living, improved trade balance, peace and liberty – Middle East reality would display the moderate/best case scenario, willing to accord “infidels” long term peaceful coexistence, that they tend to deny fellow “believers.” Thus, the eagerness of wishful-thinkers to expand peace and harmony, by oversimplifying and pacifying the explosive anti-Western Middle East, has intensified regional and global turbulence.
The wide gap between these two schools of thought has been conspicuous since the December 2010 eruption of the current wave of Middle East turbulence. The wishful-thinkers have called the unprecedented bloodshed, civil wars, domestic and global terrorism – extending from northwest Africa to the Persian Gulf – “the Arab Spring,” “Facebook and Youth Revolution” and the “March of Democracy.” In reality, it has been a tectonic Arab Tsunami, which has yet to reach its peak. This has been the frustrating reality for those who refuse to recognize the real Middle East and appease inherently anti-Western elements; thus, eroding the Western posture of deterrence, adding more fuel to the fire.
In 1978/79, the wishful-thinkers sacrificed the Shah of Iran, who was the US’ policeman in the Persian Gulf, on the altar of the Ayatollahs. They provided a most effective tailwind to the leading anti-US terrorist regime on the globe. They mistakenly considered Ayatollah Khomeini, then exiled in Paris, a messenger of democracy and peace, an anti-Soviet leader, a potential ally of the West, easily controlled by pro-US Iranian military leaders.
In 1990, on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, the wishful-thinkers assumed that “the enemy (Saddam) of my enemy (the Ayatollahs) is my friend,” and therefore provided Saddam with vital intelligence, commercial benefits and dual-use systems. They considered Saddam’s threats to invade Kuwait an intra-Arab issue, thus paving the road for the plundering of Kuwait and the First and Second Gulf Wars.
In 2003, the demise of Saddam Hussein catapulted the US posture of deterrence, shaking the confidence of the rogue regimes in Iran, Syria and Libya (in 2004, the latter transferred its nuclear infrastructure to Tennessee). However, the wishful-thinkers decided that the Arab Middle East was ripe for Jeffersonian democracy, ignoring the reality of pro-US Arab regimes, who considered democracy a clear and present lethal threat to their own thrones. Moreover, the wishful-thinkers assumed that appeasing Islam would stabilize the region, failing to realize that gestures, retreats and appeasement are perceived as weakness by Middle East regimes, whetting the appetite of rogue regimes and hampering Western posture of deterrence.
In 2015, the wishful-thinkers assumed that Iran’s Ayatollahs were motivated by economic considerations, amenable to negotiation and peaceful gestures, and could be lured by a $150BN package. In reality, they provided a robust tailwind to the Ayatollahs’ ballistic missile program and their military expansion to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, placing their machetes at the throat of all pro-US Arab regimes.
In 2020, the wishful-thinkers still don’t accept the reality that Iran’s Ayatollahs are not partners to Western style negotiations and peaceful-coexistence, but are motivated by the fundamentals of Islam, which wishful-thinkers consider archaic and irrelevant. The Ayatollahs consider Islam the only legitimate religion, divinely-ordained to rule the globe, while “infidels” must submit themselves peacefully or militarily. While they may sign agreements with “infidels,” they consider them non-binding, temporary truces until sufficient power is gained to overcome the “infidel” and advance their megalomaniacal goal of ruling the Persian Gulf, Middle East, Asia, Africa and the rest of the globe.
In 2020, the isolationist wishful-thinking school of thought has yet to realize that in the global village, the agenda of Shite and Sunni Islamic terrorism is not limited to the Middle East, but is global in nature. Thus, Iran has become an epicenter of ballistic and nuclear capabilities and terrorism, which proliferate throughout the globe. Moreover, Iran’s Ayatollahs are increasingly entrenched in South and Central America (the trilateral border of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay and the trilateral border of Chile-Bolivia-Peru), bolstering their presence in Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico, and establishing sleeper cells in the US. They plan a campaign of anti-US terrorism, which will dwarf 9/11, since they consider the US the most effective obstacle on the road to advance their global Islamic vision.
In 1987, Country Western star, George Strait, warned against the temptation of wishful-thinking: “I got some ocean front property in Arizona… if you’ll buy that, I’ll throw the Golden Gate in free.”
In 1993, 1995 and 2005, Israel retreated from 40% of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges (West Bank) and the entire Gaza Strip. It transformed these regions into platforms of unprecedented Palestinian terrorism and missile launches, supported by Iran, Turkey and North Korea. Moreover, it has intensified lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes, bolstering their security ties with Israel, which they perceived to be the most credible “life insurance agent” in the region. As expected, gestures to rogue regimes and terrorists fuel further violence.
According to Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and Chief Negotiator with Syria (The Brink of Peace, 1999, pp. 164-167): “In November 1994, the peace process had seemed to be in full swing…. [But], an organized campaign began in the US against the idea of stationing US troops on the Golan Heights as ‘peace keepers’, in the event of an Israel-Syria [peace] agreement. The campaign was orchestrated by right-wing organizations and individuals in the Jewish community, with occasional participation of visitors from Israel… [such as] the former Minister for Congressional Affairs in our Washington Embassy, Yoram Ettinger…. The organizers conveyed the message that sending US troops as peacekeepers to the Golan was bad for the US [and that the Syrian armored mechanized divisions stationed between the Golan Heights and Damascus would be deployed to the border with Jordan, aiming to topple the pro-US Hashemite regime]…. The US could lose the lives of its soldiers and become entangled in a dangerous foreign arena…. That would no doubt lead to a rise in anti-Semitism in the US…. Senator Jesse Helms, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations [a friend of Bobby Jacobs] was openly critical of the Assad regime…. The Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, Benjamin Gilman, was under pressure from voters in his own constituency…. This Congressional opposition had at least some negative impact on Assad’s motivation to move forward in his peacemaking with Israel….”
Since 1967, Israel’s control of the strategically-commanding Golan Heights – over-towering northern Israel – has constrained and monitored the Russian, Iranian, North Korean, ISIS and Turkish strategic profile in Syria. Furthermore, the Israeli posture of deterrence has bolstered the national security of Jordan’s Hashemite regime and all other pro-US Arab regimes (hence the unprecedented cooperation between Israel and these regimes). For instance, the September 1970 pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of the pro-US Jordan was rolled back, primarily, due to Israel’s deployment of troops to the Golan Heights, 37 miles from Damascus. The Syrian invasion aimed at toppling the Hashemite regime and producing a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Thus, Israel’s control of the Golan Heights spared the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to save its Jordanian ally, while preventing a potential super-power confrontation, and denying the USSR a geo-strategic bonanza.
The significance of Israel’s control of the Golan Heights for the national security of the US has been intensified due to the following phenomena:
*The raging civil war in Syria which erupted in 2011;
*The escalation of Iran’s involvement in Syria and Lebanon, aspiring to extend its dominance to the Mediterranean and Europe;
*The entrenchment of ISIS cells in Syria, irrespective of their recent setbacks;
*The growing involvement in Syria by Turkey’s Erdogan, who aims to resurrect the Ottoman Empire;
*The inherent Russia-Syria alliance, with Russia expanding its presence in the Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East.
*Since the 1960s, North Korea has been a leading ally of Syria, engaged in illicit military and technology cooperation, including ballistic missiles and chemical warfare. Pyongyang facilitated the construction of a Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed, by Israel, in 2007.
In November 2019, the explosive potential of Syria transcends the boundaries of the Middle East, triggering ripple effects throughout the globe. Since 2010, it has been exacerbated by the Arab Tsunami, which has further destabilized the inherently unpredictable and violent Syria and the Middle East. Thus, the pro-Russia, pro-Iran, pro-North Korea and anti-US Damascus – which provided safe haven to Nazi war criminals – has become a global epicenter of proliferation of anti-US global terrorism and drug trafficking.
The endemically turbulent reality of Syria, in particular, and the Middle East, in general, highlight the self-destructive nature of the attempts to get Israel off the Golan Heights, the potential damage to US interests, and the prospective setback to the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes.
An agreement concluded with Damascus can be no less tenuous than the policies of the transient, rogue regime which signs them (would you buy a used car from Assad?!).
The politically-correct assumptions that “a state of peace was the best security arrangement…. the end of occupation would eliminate the motivation to wage wars, and Syria’s record of keeping its commitments was excellent…. (ibid. page 169)” clash with reality, ignoring the rogue and non-compliant nature of Syria as demonstrated by its systematic violation of agreements, domestically and regionally.
For example, since 1953, Syria has violated all water supply agreements with Jordan (from the Yarmouk River). Notwithstanding the official state of peace with Jordan, Syria invaded Jordan in 1970, threatened to invade again in 1980 and 1989, and periodically supports anti-Hashemite subversion and terrorism.
For 30 years (1976-2006), Syria has violated a series of international and intra-Arab commitments to evacuate Lebanon, until it was forced to withdraw by domestic and international factors.
In 1973, Syria violated the 1967 armistice agreement with Israel, as well as the 1974 Disengagement Agreement with Israel, terrorizing Israel through Palestinian and Shiite terrorists in Jordan and Lebanon.
Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, just like its control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, has bolstered Israel’s posture of deterrence, extending the strategic hand of the US, with no need for additional US soldiers. Israel’s retreat from the Golan Heights would erode its posture of deterrence, relegating the Jewish State from a national security producer/asset to a national security consumer/liability, to the detriment of the US.
In 2019, the inherently unpredictable and violent Middle East has driven all pro-US Arab regimes – which face domestic and external lethal threats – to expand their strategic cooperation with Israel.
The substantial US-Israel strategic common denominator, the growing role of Israel as a unique geo-strategic ally of the US, and the enhanced mutually-beneficial nature of US-Israel and Israel-Arab cooperation, have been a by-product of the following critical developments:
*The recent Iranian offensive as demonstrated by the June 2019 attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and the May 2019 assaults on vessels in the Persian Gulf port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates;
*The mushrooming anti-US, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, imperialistic Turkish military buildup in Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia (the largest since the 1922 demise of the Ottoman Empire);
*The proliferation of Shiite (Iran-related) and Sunni (Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) terrorism and subversion;
*The Iranian military, terroristic and subversive entrenchment in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, the Al-Hasa oil region in Saudi Arabia, etc.
*The intensified regional, military profile of Erdogan’s anti-US Turkey, which pursues imperialistic aspirations, while charging the batteries of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.
*The transformation of the “Arab Spring” illusion of democracy into the “Arab Tsunami” reality of despotic regimes, as evidenced by the intensification of intra-Arab/Muslim and inter-Arab/Muslim conflicts, which threaten every pro-US Arab regime.
*Israel’s systematic track record of democracy, unconditional alliance with the US, military and commercial effectiveness, game-changing technological innovation and second-to-none optimism, patriotism and attachment to roots.
The precarious state of the Middle East, and the top challenges facing pro-US Arab regimes – all of whom resoundingly opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, in particular, and President Obama’s Middle East policy, in general – were articulated on June 18, 2019 by the Arab League Secretary General and former Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit: “The crisis with Iran and Turkey has aggravated to the point that holding a dialogue with them has become futile…. We see today the threats Iran and its wings are posing to Arab and global security as regards safety of global navigation and commercial routs…. Iran considers the Arab region an open ‘terra nullius’ [‘nobody’s land’ available for occupation] for its own expansion, and gives itself the right to interfere [via subversion and terrorism] in the crises of some Arab countries [e.g., Iraq, Syria, Yemen]…. Turkey seeks to promote its own ideologies and political Islam, giving itself the right to [invade/access] neighboring countries [Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia] on the pretext of protecting its own national security, without any consideration to other countries’ sovereignty. Both Turkey and Iran see ongoing crises in the region as a chance for more expansion….”
According to the June 18, 2019 Saudi daily, A-Sharq al-Awsat, which reflects the worldview of the House of Saud, the US has approved Israel’s systematic bombings of Iranian military sites in Syria – in defiance of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile operated by Syria – considering the Israeli raids an effective tool to constrain the Ayatollahs’ regional expansion. Attesting to Israel’s rising geo-strategic role, Iran’s military presence in Syria will be featured during next week’s unprecedented meeting, in Jerusalem, between the national security advisors of the US, Russia and Israel.
Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the growing concern about Iran’s Ayatollahs and other critical regional challenges, increasingly overshadow the Palestinian issue, as was evidenced in the February 2019 Warsaw-hosted 60 country summit on Iran with no Palestinian presence. Furthermore, Israel’s relations with all pro-US Arab countries have improved substantially, irrespective of the paralysis on the Palestinian front.
According to the Atlantic Magazine, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, “like many Arab leaders, has tired of the Palestinians,” while considering Israel a key member in the regional alliance against the “triangle of evil,” which consists of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni terrorist organizations.
In the words of Jamal al-Suwaidi, the founder of the United Arab Emirates Center for Strategic Studies: “The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arab interests…. It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”
In fact, the Arab attitude toward the Palestinians has been consistent since 1949 – when Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea & Samaria and Gaza and did not transfer the regions to the Palestinians; during 1982/83 – no Arab support when Israel devastated PLO terror headquarters in Lebanon, expelling the PLO leadership from Beirut; and 1991 – no Arab outcry when Kuwait expelled some 300,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians in response to Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s destruction of Kuwait; through 2008, 2012 and 2014 – no Arab support during Israel’s wars against Palestinian terrorism in Gaza.
According to The Guardian, intelligence, counter-terrorism, military and commercial cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain has been routine since the mid-1990s, switching to a higher gear in recent years – a reflection of intensified lethal threats, on the one hand, and Israel’s posture of deterrence and reliable capabilities, on the other hand.
Hence, Israel’s existence in the Middle East has extended the strategic hand of the US, bolstering the national and homeland security of US’ Arab allies in the Persian Gulf and throughout the Middle East, producing an effective headwind to Iran’s megalomaniacal aspirations, and enhancing the war on Islamic terrorism. This has spared the need to expand US military bases in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean and the Middle East at-large, and the necessity to dispatch additional US military divisions and aircraft carriers to the region, which would cost the US taxpayer mega-billion dollars annually.
“The Middle East and North Africa have a well-deserved reputation for being a region plagued by war and conflict. Every decade since the end of WW2 has seen at least one interstate conflict; it has also witnessed 25 types of intrastate war, including insurgencies, civil wars and protracted terrorism. In the same timeframe, 2.3 million citizens have died as a result of political violence – 40% of the global total of battle-related deaths, although the region accounts for 5% of the world’s population…. 25 of these [intrastate] conflicts have claimed 1.5 million victims – 64% of the region’s total war deaths…. ” (Florence Gaub, Deputy Director, European Union Institute for Security Studies, October, 2017).
Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – some of them 1,400 year old – have been largely intractable, defying Western conventional wisdom, which has been dominated by the well-meaning pursuit of peaceful-coexistence, conflict-resolution, democracy and improved standard of living.
According to Dr. Daniel Pipes and Prof. Gunnar Heinsohn, some 11 million Muslims have been killed in wars from 1948-2007, only 35,000 of them in Arab-Israel wars – 0.3%!
Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – which preceded the 1948 establishment of Israel – have exposed the oversimplification of conventional Western wisdom, which has approached the Arab-Israeli conflict as if it were “the Middle East conflict.”
Perry Cammack and Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated: “More than any other region in the world, the Middle East is defined not by commercial ties, diplomatic interaction, or regional organizations, but by hard power and military might…. The Middle East suffers from a lack of both regional dispute-resolution mechanisms and diplomatic protocols that might reduce the scope for regional conflict…. In the last six years alone, Arab states and Iran have intervened militarily in four Arab countries (Syria, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain)…. Massive violations of international humanitarian law have become commonplace… including indiscriminate bombing of urban civilian populations, ethnic cleansing and civilian displacement on a grand scale, widespread sexual violence, use of chemical weapons, denial of humanitarian access and use of starvation as a weapon, and the bombing of hospitals and schools….”
Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – which ravaged the area well before the 1967 Six Day War – have demonstrated that the Palestinian issue has never been a core cause of regional turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Thus, Toronto Ryerson University’s Dr. Murtaza Haider wrote: “Since the end of WW2… the Muslim world has fallen into one violent conflict after another, involving mostly Muslims. In the 1980s, the Iran-Iraq war left millions dead…. While intra-Muslim violence is claiming victims all over Pakistan, the violence against non-Muslims, including Hindus and Christians, often brings together Muslims of different stripes….”
The following are some of the inter and intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East conflicts, most of which have dwarfed the Arab-Israeli conflict as far as their impact on the (in)stability of all Arab/Muslim countries, the region and the globe:
Sunni Islam (85%) vs. Shite Islam (15%) has traumatized the Middle East since the 7th century; Shite Iran vs. Sunni-ruled Iraq (e.g., 1980-1988); Shite Iran vs. Sunni Saudi Arabia, directly and via proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Sudan; Shite Iran vs. Sunni-ruled Bahrain; Shite Iran vs. Sunni United Arab Emirates; civil wars in Libya, Syria (6 million refugees and 600,000 fatalities), Iraq (4 million refugees and 400,000 fatalities) , Yemen (3 million refugees and 70,000 fatalities in the last two years) and Sudan (3 million refugees and 400,000 fatalities); recent civil conflicts/wars in Iran (80,000 killed during the 1978-79 revolution), Saudi Arabia (e.g., 1979-1983 in the Qatif and al-Hasa Shite-majority eastern regions), Bahrain (2011), Lebanon, Jordan (20,000 killed in 1970-71), Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria (200,000 killed from 1991-2006); Iraq-Kurdish (200,000 killed by Saddam Hussein), Iran-Kurdish, Syria-Kurdish and Turkey-Kurdish conflicts; Iraq vs. Kuwait (e.g., 1990); etc..
Inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts set the pursuit of Middle East peaceful-coexistence in a realistic geo-strategic context, which has been inherently war-ridden, terroristic, subversive, one-bullet tenuous regime, tenuous policies and agreements, intolerant, violent and devoid of civil liberties.
In 2019, the Arab Tsunami – superficially defined as the Arab Spring – which erupted in 2010, is alive and kicking, posing a clear, present and lethal threat to every pro-US Arab regime.
In 2019, the more turbulent the Middle East, the less attainable is durable peaceful-coexistence, and therefore the higher the threshold for national security requirements.
Can Israel rely on US/international security guaranteesand/or peacekeepers?
All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts.
The well-intentioned US peace initiatives were doomed to failure by the tendency to downplay the complex intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East reality, since they conflicted with the eagerness to advance peace ASAP, wishful-thinking and oversimplification.
US peace initiatives were the casualties of the inherent conflict between Western eagerness for quick-fix and short-term convenience, on the one hand, and the long-term and complicated nature of the intricate reality and national security, on the other hand.
US peace initiatives were frustrated by the tectonic forces which have shaped the well-documented intra-Arab/Muslim labyrinth since the birth of Islam in the 7th century: explosive unpredictability, violence, intolerance (religiously, ethnically, politically and socially), absence of peaceful-coexistence domestically and regionally, minority/rogue regimes, disregard of civil liberties, brutal domestic fragmentation (tribally, ideologically and religiously) and the tenuous/provisional nature of regimes, policies and agreements.
Moreover, the US peace initiatives were further derailed by the politically-correct assumptions that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been “The Middle East Conflict” and that the Palestinian issue has been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core-cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making.
Such assumptions have been dashed against the rocks of Middle East reality, as highlighted by the 2010 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami (erroneously named “the Arab Spring”), which has been totally unrelated to the dramatically less significant Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.
Furthermore, the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue – at a time when the Middle East and the US are confronted with significantly more pivotal national and homeland security challenges/threats – has damaged the US posture of deterrence and its regional and global standing.
All US peace initiatives attempted to force Israel into making major concessions to the Arab/Palestinian side, thus rewarding systematic Arab aggression, which encouraged further aggression. These initiatives exhibited the self-defeating moral equivalence between (Arab) aggressors and the intended (Israeli) victim; between the most effective, unconditional strategic ally of the US (Israel), and a close ally of enemies and rivals of the US, such as Nazi Germany, the USSR, the Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela (the Palestinians); and between the role model of counter-terrorism (Israel) and a role model and a major training ground of anti-US terrorists and a shrine of hate-education (the Palestinians).
The subversive and terroristic track record of the Palestinians, and their closest allies, sheds light on the inherent contradiction between the need to minimize Middle East instability and violence, on the one hand, and the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, on the other hand.
US peace initiatives have forced the Palestinians, in particular, and the Arabs, in general, to outflank the (“infidel”) US from the maximalist/radical side, thus further intensifying conflict and disagreements.
Contrary to the well-meant goal of the US peace initiatives, this added fuel – not water – to the fire, exacerbated instability and undermined US diplomatic and geo-strategic posture and interests. One may note that in spite of the US presidential recognition of the PLO, its support for the idea of a Palestinian state and sustained pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the US has been systematically terrorized by Shite and Sunni Islamic terrorism.
While all US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives have failed (e.g., the 1970 Rogers Plan, the 1973-75 Kissinger initiatives, the 1982 Reagan Plan, the 1989-92 Bush/Baker initiatives, the Clinton initiatives, the G.W. Bush initiatives and the Obama/Kerry initiatives), Middle East reality has highlighted the indispensable role of the US as a facilitator – not initiator – of peace initiatives, which were launched directly between Israel and Arab entities. Thus, it was the critical US support of the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan initiated peace processes – during their intermediary and mature stages – which propelled them to fruition.
Furthermore, the cardinal US role in facilitating and coalescing Israel’s enhanced cooperation with pro-US Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula – which has not been preconditioned upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians – has projected a realistic US policy in the Middle East. It has been a policy which recognizes the order of regional and global priorities, highlighting the intensified lethal threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism to the US’ homeland and national security, as well as to every pro-US Arab regime in the region, none of which is related, directly or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue.
Will the US benefit from the lessons of its many well-intentioned (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives by avoiding past errors?!
Will the US leverage its peace-making experience by focusing on its game-changing, constructive role as a facilitator, rather than an initiator?!
Will US policy-makers adhere to the life-saving advice, shared with drivers in West Texas: When smothered by lethal sandstorms (the Arab Tsunami…), don’t get preoccupied with the tumbleweeds on the road (the Palestinian issue…)?!
www.TheEttingerReport.com, May 7, 2018, https://bit.ly/2roRHCm
A 6-minute video on the Ayatollas’ threat to the US: https://bit.ly/2zNDmUX
A 6-minute video on the Ayatollahs’ anti-US curriculum: https://bit.ly/2EuJwJm
*Will the USA avoid the devastating pitfalls of the JCPOA (please see item #8)?”
*Will the USA approach the Ayatollahs realistically, insisting upon a thorough transformation of the Ayatollahs’ domestic, regional and global nature?
*Will the US and the Free World be willing to demonstrate their willingness to pay a price – if necessary – for sparing themselves the terrorism, conventional and nuclear wrath of the Ayatollahs?
*Will the USA sacrifice wishful-thinking, oversimplification and short-term gratification on the altar of realism, complexity and long-term homeland and national security?
Where is the Arab Middle East heading following the 2010-2017 disintegration of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan; the toppling of several Arab regimes; the estimated toll of 400,000 fatalities and six million refugees, resulting from intra-Arab conflicts; the proliferation of Islamic Sunni terrorism; the unprecedented power-projection surge by Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs; the approaching Sunni and Shiite terrorist machetes to the throat of the House of Saud and all other pro-US Arab regimes; and the intensified squashing of human rights in every Arab country, all ruled by minority-regimes?
Political-correctness suggests that the resolution of the Palestinian issue is predicated upon a dramatic Israeli land-concession and the establishment of a Palestinian state: the two state solution.
Official Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004:
*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.
*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows daily due to births.
*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted. The number expands daily due to births.
*A 390,000 Arab net-emigration from Judea & Samaria is excluded from the Palestinian census, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950. For example, 15,466 in 2022, 26,357 – 2019, 15,173 – 2017 and 24,244 – 2014, as documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority (exits and entries) in all the land, air and sea international passages.
*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.
*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the use of contraceptives.
*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been under-reported (since the days of the British Mandate) for political and financial reasons.
*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).
In 2023: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority. In 2023, a 69% Jewish majority benefiting from fertility tailwind and net-immigration. Arab fertility is Westernized, and Arab net-emigration from Judea and Samaria. No Arab demographic time bomb. A Jewish demographic momentum.
More data in this article and this short video.
Jewish Policy Center’s inFOCUS, Spring, 2023
Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations
*Riyadh does not allow the resumption of the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties to befog the reality of the tenuous and shifty Middle East regimes, policies and agreements, and the inherently subversive, terroristic, anti-Sunni and imperialistic track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs.
*Saudi Arabia is cognizant of the 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious vision of the Ayatollahs, including their most critical strategic goal – since their February 1979 violent ascension to power – of exporting the Shiite Revolution and toppling all “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes, especially the House of Saud. They are aware that neither diplomatic, nor financial, short term benefits transcend the deeply-rooted, long term Ayatollahs’ anti-Sunni vision.
*Irrespective of its recent agreement with Iran – and the accompanying moderate diplomatic rhetoric – Saudi Arabia does not subscribe to the “New Middle East” and “end of interstate wars” Pollyannaish state of mind. The Saudis adhere to the 1,400-year-old reality of the unpredictably intolerant and violent inter-Arab/Muslim reality (as well as the Russia-Ukraine reality).
*This is not the first resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties, which were previously severed in 1988 and 2016 and followed by the Ayatollahs-induced domestic and regional violence.
*The China-brokered March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security interests, and its growing frustration with the US’ eroded posture as a reliable diplomatic and military protector against lethal threats.
*The resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations constitute a major geo-strategic gain for China and a major setback for the US in a region which, until recently, was perceived as a US domain.
*The US posture of deterrence has been severely undermined by the 2015 nuclear accord (the JCPOA), the 2021 withdrawal/flight from Afghanistan, the systematic courting of three real, clear and lethal threats to the Saudi regime – Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and Yemen’s Houthi terrorists –- while exerting diplomatic and military pressure on the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.
*US policy has driven Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE and Egypt) closer to China and Russia, commercially and militarily, including the potential Chinese construction of civilian nuclear power plants and a hard rock uranium mill in Saudi Arabia, which would advance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030.”
Saudi “Vision 2030”
*Effective Israel-Saudi Arabia cooperation is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security and economic interests, most notably “Vision 2030.”
*The unprecedented Saudi-Israeli security, technological and commercial cooperation, and the central role played by Saudi Arabia in inducing the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan to conclude peace treaties with Israel, are driven by the Saudi assessment that Israel is an essential ally in the face of real, clear, lethal security threats, as well as a vital partner in the pursuit of economic, technological and diplomatic goals.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation constitutes a win-win proposition.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation is driven by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’ (MBS’) “Vision 2030.” He aspires to catapult the kingdom to a regional and global powerhouse of trade and investment, leveraging its geo-strategic position along crucial naval routes between the Far East and Europe (the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Arab Sea and the Red Sea).
*”Vision 2030″ has introduced ground-breaking cultural, social, economic, diplomatic and national security reforms and upgrades, leveraging the unique added-value of Israel’s technological and military capabilities.
*Saudi Arabia, just like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy. They consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.
*”Vision 2030″ defies traditional Saudi religious, cultural and social norms. Its future, as well as the future of Saudi-Israel cooperation, depend on Saudi domestic stability and the legitimacy of MBS. The latter is determined to overcome and de-sanctify the fundamentalist Wahhabis in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, who were perceived until recently as the Islamic authority in Saudi Arabia, and an essential ally of the House of Saud since 1744.
“Vision 2030”, the Middle East and Israel’s added-value
*MBS’ ambitious strategy is preconditioned upon reducing regional instability and minimizing domestic and regional threats. These threats include the Ayatollahs regime of Iran, “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists, Iran-supported domestic Shiite subversion (in the oil-rich Eastern Province), Iran-based Al Qaeda, Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen, Iran-supported Hezbollah, the proposed Palestinian state (which features a rogue intra-Arab track record), and Erdogan’ aspirations to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, which controlled large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, Erdogan maintains close security and political ties with the “Muslim Brotherhood” and the pro-Iran and pro-“Muslim Brotherhood” Qatar, while confronting Saudi Arabia in Libya, where they are both involved in a series of civil wars.
*Notwithstanding the March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia is aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which frequently releases explosive lava – domestically and regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2010 and is still raging on the Arab Street.
*The survival of the Saudi regime, and the implementation of “Vision 2030,” depend upon Riyadh’s ability to form an effective coalition against rogue regimes. However, Saudi Arabia is frustrated by the recent erosion of the US’ posture of deterrence, as demonstrated by the 43-year-old US addiction to the diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs; the US’ limited reaction to Iranian aggression against US and Saudi targets; the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the US’ appeasement of the Ayatollahs-backed Houthi terrorists. In addition, the Saudis are alarmed by the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), European vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, and the vulnerability of the Arab regimes. This geo-strategic reality has driven the Saudis (reluctantly) closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.
*Against this regional and global backdrop, Israel stands out as the most reliable “life insurance agent” and an essential strategic ally, irrespective of past conflicts and the Palestinian issue. The latter is considered by the Saudi Crown Prince as a secondary or tertiary issue.
*In addition, the Saudis face economic and diplomatic challenges – which could benefit from Israel’s cooperation and can-do mentality – such as economic diversification, innovative technology, agriculture, irrigation and enhanced access to advanced US military systems, which may be advanced via Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill.
*The Saudi interest in expanding military, training, intelligence, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel has been a byproduct of its high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs (in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself); and Israel’s systematic war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. Furthermore, the Saudis respect Israel’s occasional defiance of US pressure, including Israel’s high-profiled opposition to the 2015 JCPOA and Israel’s 1981 and 2007 bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the Saudis (and the US) the devastating wrath of a nuclear Saddam Hussein and a nuclear Assad.
*A deterring and defiant Israel is a cardinal force-multiplier for Saudi Arabia (as it is for the US). On the other hand, an appeasing and retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security (as it would be for the US).
*On a rainy day, MBS (just like the US) prefers a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.
Saudi interests and the Palestinian issue
*As documented by the aforementioned data, Saudi Arabia’s top national security priorities transcend – and are independent of – the Palestinian issue.
*The expanding Saudi-Israel cooperation, and the key role played by Riyadh in accomplishing the Abraham Accords, have contradicted the Western conventional wisdom. The latter assumes that the Palestinian issue is central to Arab policy makers, and that the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, MBS is aware that the Palestinian issue is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, neither a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, nor a core cause of regional turbulence.
*Independent of the pro-Palestinian Saudi talk, Riyadh (just like the Arabs in general) has demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians. Arabs know that – in the Middle East – one does not pay custom on words. Therefore, the Arabs have never flexed a military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with Western misperceptions of the Middle East.
*Unlike the Western establishment, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude. For instance, the Saudis don’t forget and don’t forgive the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was the most generous Arab host for Palestinians. The Saudis are also cognizant of the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations, including “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose machetes are at the throat of the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The Saudis are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record, which would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening the relatively-moderate Arab regimes.
Saudi Arabia and the Abraham Accords
*Saudi Arabia has served as the primary engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, and has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, consistent with the Saudi order of national priorities.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, the Saudis do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue.
*The success of the Saudi-supported Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by Western policy makers, which produced a litany of failed Israeli-Arab peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue. Learning from prior mistakes, the Abraham accords focused on Arab interests, bypassing the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto.
*Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.
*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries which signed the Abraham Accords. Their stability is threatened by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East.
*The tenuous nature of most Arab/Muslim regimes in the Middle East yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969) and Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.
*Bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record, regional instability, the national security of Saudi Arabia, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be severely undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transform Jordan into a chaotic state in the vein of the uncontrollable Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and produce another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs, in order to tighten their encirclement of Saudi Arabia. This would trigger a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil; threaten global trade; and yield a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US and its Arab Sunni allies, headed by Saudi Arabia.
*Why would Saudi Arabia and the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Why would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces?
The well-documented fact that Arabs have never flexed a military muscle (and hardly a significant financial and diplomatic muscles) on behalf of the Palestinians, provides a resounding answer!
Israel-Saudi cooperation and Israel’s national security interests
*Notwithstanding the importance of Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia, it takes a back seat to Israel’s critical need to safeguard/control the geographic cradle of its history, religion and culture, which coincides with its minimal security requirements in the volcanic Middle East: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), which dominate the 8-15-mile-sliver of pre-1967 Israel.
*The tenuously unpredictable Middle East reality defines peace accords as variable components of national security, unlike topography and geography (e.g., the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights) which are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the non-Western-like Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.
*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would relegate Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US to a terror and war-inducing burden upon the US.
*Contrary to the Western (mis)perception of Israel-Arab peace treaties as pillars of national security, the unpredictably-violent Middle East features a 1,400-year-old reality of transient (non-democratic, one-bullet, not one-ballot) Arab regimes, policies and accords. Thus, as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not entail the sacrifice of Israel’s most critical national security feature: the permanent topography of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure.
*In June and December of 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied its law to the Golan Heights, in defiance of the Western foreign policy establishment. The latter warned that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security priorities, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, Western policy makers warn that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push the Arabs away from their peace treaties with Israel.
*None of the warnings materialized, since Arabs act in accordance with their own interests; not in accordance with Western misperceptions and the rogue Palestinian agenda.
US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..
However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.
United Jerusalem and the US law
Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.
According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:
“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….
“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….
“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’
“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….
“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….
“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”
United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers
The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.
The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel). Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.
The Jerusalem reality and US interests
Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.
Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.
Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.
On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists. As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.
Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure
In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.
in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.
In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.
In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.
In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”
“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord. ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”
In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”
More in Amazon, Smashwords
The goal of Passover’s liberty was not the subjugation of the Egyptian people, but the defeat of the tyrannical Pharaoh and the veneration of liberty throughout the globe, including in Egypt.
Moses received the Torah – which includes 50 gates of wisdom – 50 days following the Exodus, as celebrated by the Shavou’ot/Pentecost Holiday, 50 days following Passover. Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית).
Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and refreshing and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, optimism, defiance of odds and can-do mentality, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.
Passover is an annual reminder that liberty must not be taken for granted.
Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.
More: Jewish Holidays Guide for the Perplexed – Amazon, Smashwords
A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook
*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.
*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.
*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.
*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.
*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.
*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.
Israel’s and the US’ counter-terrorism
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism consider Israel as a critical beachhead – and a proxy – of the US in the Middle East and a significant collaborator with the pro-US Arab regimes. They perceive the war on “the infidel Jewish State” as a preview of their more significant war on “the infidel West” and their attempts to topple all pro-US Sunni Arab regimes. Therefore, Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has been engaged in intra-Arab subversion, while systematically collaborating with enemies and rivals of the US and the West (e.g., Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American, European, African and Asian terror organizations, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba). The more robust is Israel’s war on terrorism, the more deterred are the terrorists in their attempts to bring the “infidel” West to submission.
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has terrorized Jewish communities in the Land of Israel since the late 19th century, adhering to an annihilationist vision as detailed by the Fatah and PLO charters of 1959 and 1964 (eight and three years before 1967), as well as by the hate-education system, which was installed by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accord.
*Israel battles Palestinian terrorism (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) and Islamic terrorism (Iran and Hezbollah), which are not preoccupied with the size – but with the eradication – of the “infidel” Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”
*Israel and the West fight against deeply-rooted and institutional Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, that is inspired by 1,400-year-old rogue values, which are perpetrated by K-12 hate-education, mosque incitement and official and public idolization of terrorists.
*Israel and the West combat terrorism, that has astutely employed 1,400-year-old Islamic values such the “Taqiya’ ” – which promotes double-speak and dissimulation, as a means to mislead and defeat enemies – and the “Hudna’,” which misrepresents a temporary non-binding ceasefire with “infidels” as if it were a peace treaty.
*Israel and the West confront Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, which is politically, religiously and ideologically led by despotic and rogue regimes, rejecting Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy, human rights and good-faith negotiation.
*Israel and the West face off against Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, which does not allow lavish financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend intrinsic, fanatic, rogue and annihilationist vision. Moreover, terrorists bite the hands that feed them.
*Israel and the West are not assaulted by despair-driven terrorism, but by hope-driven terrorism – the hope to bring the “infidel” to submission. The aspiration of these terrorists contradicts peaceful-coexistence.
*Israel and the West clash with terrorists, who view gestures, concessions and hesitancy as weakness, which inflames terrorism.
*Israel and the West struggle against terrorism, which is not driven by a particular Israeli or US policy, but by a fanatic vision. Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Clinton and Obama Democratic Administrations, as well as during the Bush and Trump Republican Administrations.
*The US State Department has embraced a “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, while sometimes hitting soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately hit terrorists, while sometimes, unintentionally, hitting civilians. It emboldens terrorism, which threatens all pro-US Arab regimes, undermining regional stability, benefiting US’ rivals and enemies, while damaging the US.
War on terrorism
*The bolstering of posture of deterrence – rather than hesitancy, restraint, containment and gestures, which inflame terrorism – is a prerequisite for defeating terrorism and advancing the peace process.
*The most effective long-term war on terrorism – operationally, diplomatically, economically and morally – is not a surgical or comprehensive reaction, but a comprehensive and disproportional preemption, targeting the gamut of terroristic infrastructures and capabilities, draining the swamp of terrorism, rather than chasing the mosquitos.
*Containment produces a short-term, false sense of security, followed by a long-term security setback. It is the terrorists’ wet dream, which does not moderate terrorism, but adrenalizes its veins, providing time to bolster its capabilities – a tailwind to terror and a headwind to counter-terrorism. It shakes the confidence in the capability to crush terrorism. Defeating terrorism mandates obliteration of capabilities, not co-existence or containment.
*Containment aims to avoid a multi-front war (Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran), but it erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence, which brings Israel closer to a multi-front war under much worse conditions.
*Containment erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence in the eyes of the relatively-moderate Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the Sudan, Jordan and Egypt), which have dramatically enhanced cooperation with Israel due to Israel’s posture of deterrence against mutual threats, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and ISIS terrorists).
*Containment is also a derivative of White House’s and the State Department’s pressure, subordinating national security to diplomatic priorities. It undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, which plays into the hand of anti-Israel and anti-US rogue regimes. Precedents prove that Israeli defiance of US pressure yields short-term tension, but long-term strategic respect, resulting in expanded strategic cooperation. On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than appeasing, strategic ally.
*The 2002 comprehensive counter-terrorism Israeli offensive, and the return of Israel’s Defense Forces to the headquarters of Palestinian terrorism in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – and not defensive containment and surgical operations – resurrected Israel’s effective war on Palestinian terrorism, which substantially curtailed terrorists’ capabilities to proliferate terrorism in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.
*The containment option intensifies terrorists’ daring, feeds vacillation and the self-destructive “don’t rock the boat” mentality. It erodes steadfastness and confidence in the capabilities to withstand the cost of terrorism, and feeds the suicidal perpetual retreat mentality.
*The addiction to containment is one of the lethal by-products of the 1993 Oslo Accord, which has produced a uniquely effective hot house of terrorism, highlighted by the importation, arming and funding of some 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, who have unprecedentedly radicalized the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel, established a K-12 hate education system, launched an unparalleled wave of terrorism, and systematically violated agreements.
The bottom line
*The 30 years since the Oslo Accord have featured unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and wave of terrorism. It has demonstrated that a retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria has boosted terrorism; that the Palestinian Authority is not committed to a peace process, but to the destruction of the Jewish State; and that terrorism requires a military, not political, solution. A successful war on terrorism behooves a preemptive offense, not defense, containment and reaction; and that fighting in the terrorists’ own trenches is preferable to fighting in one’s own trenches. No Israeli concessions could satisfy international pressure; and diplomatic popularity is inferior to strategic respect. Avoiding a repeat of the critical post-Oslo errors requires a comprehensive, disproportional, decisive military campaign to uproot – not to coexist with – terroristic infrastructures.
*The historic and national security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which dominate the 8-15-mile sliver of pre-1967 Israel – and the necessity to frustrate Palestinian terrorism, behooves Israel to eliminate any sign of hesitancy and vacillation by expanding the Jewish presence in this most critical area. It will intensify US and global pressure, but as documented by all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion, through Eshkol, Golda Meir, Begin and Shamir, defiance of pressure results in the enhancement of strategic respect and cooperation.
*The Palestinian track record during the 30 years since the 1993 Oslo Accord has highlighted the violent, unpredictable and anti-US rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would force the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would transform Jordan into an uncontrollable, chaotic state in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula (south of Jordan), which could topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes. This would reward Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, while severely undermining regional and global stability and US economic and national security interests.