2014 Midterms: A Call to Unite Israel and Moderate Arab States Against Isis and Beyond By: Terence Rosenthal

As the November 24th Iranian nuclear agreement emerges, those in the newly empowered Republican Senate must reach out to consolidate the growing union between Israel and moderate Arab nations. It is time to consider future value of new alliances unified in the war of defeating ISIS. Although the U.S. may gain important intelligence by arming and tracking movements of moderate rebels in Syria, a partnership consisting of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf State moderates should provide the basis for which trust U.S. trust in the Middle East emerges.

Although countries like Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia originally unified against a nuclear armed Iran, at present, they are finding common ground with regard to ISIS and militant Islam. In the past, no Arab nation wanted to be seen partnering with Israel regarding balance of power in the Middle East. However, moderate Arab nations realize that Israel has the most developed army in the region. Today, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as Egypt are likely to work with Israel because of its access to the Mediterranean, and its ability to guard against ISIS at the northern borders of both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. ISIS has often exclaimed that once they take over Iraq, their next target is the holy city of Mecca.

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan know how destructive radical Sunni Islamic militant organizations are. Israel endures ongoing war with Hamas. Jordan is wary of threats of insurgency from ISIS, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia struggles with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was recently overthrown, battles anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula, home to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Al-Baghdadi loyalist, Ansar Al Jerusalem.  In addition to internal threats, U.S. allies like Turkey and Qatar do not help when they actively provide support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood, and confront ISIS with ambivalence.

Solidifying a union of Israel and moderate Arab states has numerous benefits with regard to defeating ISIS. First, pro-West, pro-business Arab countries working together will be better able to fortify their northern borders from an ISIS onslaught. Second, they will be better able to detect threats like Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, due to better integration of intelligence. Third, they will have a base with which to reach out to moderate secular groups like the Kurds within the ISIS conflict.

Both moderate Arab nations and Israel desire regional stability and future economic development. Currently, pipeline and infrastructure projects reinforcing the future of the alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt are underway. For example, Israel is set embark on natural gas projects with Egypt for $30 billion, and Jordan for $15 billion. Providing a ready supply of fuels will help considerably in alleviating threats of militant Islam in both of these countries.  In recent years, the U.S. has neglected Arab nations in the Middle East after its pivot to Asia. Economic challenges in countries like Jordan and Egypt urgently require answers. In addition, the new Senate must also quickly begin the task of coalescing Israel and moderate Arab nations around common goals like future economic value.

As ISIS seeks to exploit civil war in Syria and Iraq, Hamas and Al Qaeda seek to gin up radicalism and violence in Israel, Egypt, the Sinai, and the Arabian Peninsula. If the U.S. is going to maintain a passive or surgical strategy in the war against ISIS, then more effort on the diplomatic front should be made with regard to the Middle East. This can be done by meeting with leaders in Israel and moderate Arab states in the pursuit of establishing an ideal partnership on the basis of present and future value.

November 24th Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Call to Action for Newly Empowered Republican Senate – by: Terence Rosenthal

As the November 24th Iranian nuclear agreement emerges, those in the newly empowered Republican Senate must voice their concern with relaxed terms regarding Iranians nuclear program. Once it reaches the threshold of weapons grade nuclear enrichment, there is no telling when Iran will develop a missile. So far, details regarding production and development of nuclear centrifuges in Iran are vague at best.

It is possible that U.S. caution with regard to intervention in the ISIS conflict is an attempt on the part of the Obama administration to place Iran, Israel, and the Arab States into a scenario where they are forced to ally in defeating ISIS.  Recently, Iran has been attempting to use the ISIS conflict as a means for demonstrating that it is capable with working with the West, and moderate Arab coalitions.

Foreign policy experts, Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, Daniel Kurtzer, Nicholas Platt, and Zbigniew Brzezinski helped draft the Wilson Center think tank document entitled “The Iran Project. Iran and its Neighbors. Regional Implications for US Policy of a Nuclear Agreement.” This document encourages an Arab-Iranian-Israeli alliance as a means for defeating ISIS. It employs a strategy that provides license for passivity on the part of the U.S., and may allow Iran to enrich uranium just short of the point limit of becoming weapons-grade.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran all wish to emerge as the dominant power in the Middle East too much for an Arab-Iranian-Israeli alliance to be a realistic option. In fact, the opposite may be true. It is not far-fetched to imagine Saudi Arabia wanting the ISIS conflict to spill over into Iran, or the Iranians wishing that the caliphate spurs civil war in neighboring Turkey.

It is rumored that Iran has nuclear devices capable of being inserted into conventional missiles with the potential of reaching Israel if launched. Recently, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Zarif told the Washington Post that Iran, for all intents and purposes, is already a nuclear power. Perhaps Zarif is merely bluffing. However, the ramifications if this is true should be taken seriously. Iran seeks two goals, first, for global economic sanctions lifted so revolution can be avoided from within their country, second, to become the dominant country in OPEC and the Middle East.

If terms regarding Iranian nukes are too lax, the U.S. could be providing an open invitation to Iran to defy international law, regarding the creation of nukes. Iran emerging as the strongman in the Middle East after negotiations with Obama will result in smaller pro-Western Arabic states falling with them for fear of reprisal. This will result in a completely anti-Western, anti-Israeli Middle East.

Already, Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah and the Houthis have established satellites in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.  Since the rise of the Ayatollah, Iran has consistently promoted global terror, threatening the West with violence, and political takeover. To paraphrase Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing on further Iranian nuclear enrichment and potential weaponry as a way to unite the Middle East to defeat ISIS, is like winning the battle and losing the war with regard to militant Islam.