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Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Israelís Least Bad Options the Day After the Iran Deal

The author of this piece, which could also be considered a Good Read, is optimistic that President Obama will successfully sustain a veto of the Iran Deal. I hope that he is correct.

I am posting the most relevant paragraphs because World Politics Review is a subscription website and readers may not be able to view them otherwise.

The Middle East is changing rapidly, mostly for the worse. Many of the changes are closely related to Iran and will be exacerbated by the added stature and additional funds it will gain from sanctions relief. While Iran has not abandoned its long-term nuclear aspirations, but merely come to terms with current international realities, the nuclear issue is likely to be on the back burner for the foreseeable future. In these circumstances, after repairing its ties with Washington, Israel will face three primary challenges.

First, Israel needs to ensure that the planned inspections regime is, indeed, implemented fully and effectively, so that Iranís nuclear ambitions are checked for the duration of the agreement. ...

Second, even assuming the dealís effective implementation, Israel must still contend with countering Iranís influence in the region, which is likely to grow, especially in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. Much has been made in the media of the convergence of strategic interests between Israel and the Sunni Arab states. Unfortunately, ... it is hard to imagine how common interests can be translated into significant strategic cooperation, especially with the Saudis, for anything beyond even limited intelligence exchanges. ... Moreover, under now-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, once a partner in the region, has made a strategic decision to downgrade relations with Israel. Nothing short of a change in Turkeyís government will lead to an even partial restoration of strategic ties. Israel should seek closer relations with the Kurds in Iraq and Syria, but they are unlikely to prove more reliable allies today than they did in the past.

Third, and maybe most immediately, Israel needs to deal with what remains of Syria. No other issue poses such immediate dangers for Israel and such limited options. Israel should continue to do its utmost to stay out of the Syrian quagmire. But it cannot allow Syria to become a new front for attacks against Israel, which would create one long frontline extending from Lebanon. Should Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remain in power, the Syrian rump state will, for all practical purposes, be an Iranian and Hezbollah stronghold and springboard on Israelís border. Assadís fall, however, also bodes ill for Israel, as the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or some combination of the other Islamist opposition groups now vying for power, will inevitably turn their attention toward Israel once the internal battle is resolved.

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