“Language and Assertive Diplomacy: How U.S. Senate Must Reassert American Influence in the Heart of the Middle East” By: Terence Rosenthal

How much risk to global security and economy are leaders in the U.S. Senate willing to take to reverse current language in the Middle East regarding its foreign policy? With respect to Iranian nuclear development, perhaps the U.S.’s own worst enemy is its politically correct State Department, and complicit Western media. As related to Iranian nukes, Malcolm Hoenlein, when interviewed by David Horovitz and Raphael Ahren in the Times of Israel states, “The impression (in the media) is that we froze them (Iran) in a certain place, [but that’s] not [the case]. The R&D should have been frozen, everything else [should have been frozen]. We haven’t stopped the missile development, we haven’t stopped the weaponization process, we haven’t stopped them from doing other kinds of research…. They’re (Iran) going to be in a much better position. Because with the new centrifuges, you can get from 3.5% to the 90% [levels needed for a nuclear bomb] much faster. They can move to the point that, once the deal ends or breaks down, they will be then emerging as a threshold state” (2014).

The Obama administration wishes to be vindicated for reducing the U.S. footprint in the Middle East. It has attempted to change the perception of Iranian leadership, villainizing or keeping allies in the region at an arms – length. Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia come to mind. Does President Obama realize that by hastening a deal with Iran, he risks advancing a nuclear arms race in the region? “Once you start building the infrastructure for a nuclear capacity, to cross over is really simple… Jordan has indicated it wants to build several nuclear [reactors]. And Saudi Arabia and the UAE and many others want to do it. And once it starts, you’re not going to be able to stop it” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).

Language placating Iranian leadership gives hope enemies of the U.S., and demoralizes regional Western allies. Leaders in the Middle East are pragmatic, they view the prospect of a nuclear Iran as license to self-protection with regard to their own nukes. With respect to the people of Iran, “The West, as a whole, failed the people of Iran when they went out during the Green Demonstration, when the students went out…They were looking to the West for at least signals of support. … And now, they look at the execution of political prisoners in the largest numbers ever… There were 600 public executions in the past year: political dissidents, religious leaders — anybody that they see as a political threat. And of course they will, in some cases, invent crimes allegedly committed… A homosexual could be hung because he’s a homosexual; a Christian who is accused of proselytizing, which, in most cases, just means practicing their religion, will be hung — and they hang them from cranes! The White House — the whole Western community — ought to be taking action, as we would against any country that engages in this kind of action.” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).

It is one thing for U.S. executive administration to use isolationist language with regard to foreign policy. It is quite another when that administration excuses terrorist threats, vindicating terror groups, and putting its allies and itself at risk. “One of the most egregious examples of the politicization of U.S. intelligence came to light yesterday (March 17). The Worldwide Threat Assessment issued by the Director of National Intelligence on behalf of the U.S. intelligence community no longer reflects either Iran or Hezbollah as terrorist threats” (Gaffney, 2015). If James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence declares that Iran and Hezbollah are not terrorist threats, the world should just carry on its merry way, in spite of the fact that “Ever since 1979, the mullahs of Iran and their proxies, Hezbollah, have engaged in relentless, murderous jihadist attacks against us, our allies and interests” (Gaffney, 2015).

Recently, legislatures, using the limited power they have are attempting to create a new paradigm with regard to executive transparency with regard to the U.S. executive administration’s approach to the Middle East. U.S. Congressional leaders visited the Middle East, meeting with leaders to discuss regional threats as related to defense, political infrastructure, and economics. The U.S. Senate, second in power to President Obama must meet with these leaders as well. The Senate has an ever-closing window of time to reverse the language of regional pessimism the Obama administration has helped create. Fred Fleitz, affiliated with Center for Security Policy states,  “In response to Speaker John Boehner’s invitation to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress, and yesterday’s letter to Iranian leaders by 47 U.S. senators that a nuclear agreement with Iran might be reversed by the next president, my friend Carol Giacomo wrote in a New York Times column today ‘by now it should be obvious that a vocal segment of Congress is determined to do whatever it can to undermine President Obama’s attempts to negotiate an agreement that would restrict Iran’s nuclear program’” (2015). “The real problem is not that we do not know what war is, but that we refuse to see what is right in front of us and always has been. The big question for us is why we keep ourselves blind. We have lost wars because fighting the war we wanted was more important to us than winning the war we had. — as in Vietnam, as in Iraq” (Vlahos, 2014).

It must be reiterated that language, dialogue, or lack thereof among those who control global media and policy is as harmful as any rebel army or terrorist force. “People also can’t let their domestic political objectives dictate what they say, if they don’t think about the broader consequences of their remarks… We draw the line. We have to say that there has to be zero tolerance for intolerance. We are the ones. It’s what Martin Luther King once said: ‘We won’t be judged by the attacks of our enemies, but by the silence of our friends.’ The lesson of history is that we give the license to our enemies. It’s not what they do; it’s what we fail to do. And right now, we’re falling into that trap again” (Ahren and Horovitz, 2014).

 

 

References

Ahren, Raphael; Horovitz, David. 2014. “Malcolm Hoenlein: ‘I don’t want any more memorials

to dead Jews’: The head of the US Jewish establishment slams the interim deal on Iran, the

public Israel-US sniping, and the deafening silence in the face of new anti-

Semitism.” Center for Security Policy.org, February 7, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/malcolm-  hoenlein-i-dont-want-any-more-memorials-to-dead-

jews/

 

Fleitz, Fred. 2015. “GOP Senators Try To Stop Bad Nuclear Deal With Iran.” Center for Security  

     Policy.org, March 10. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/03/10/senators-are-warning-iran-over-nuclear- 

     weapons-ambition/

 

Gaffney, Frank Jr. 2015. “A Threat Assessment that Ignores Two Threats.” Center for Security

     Policy.org, March 17. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/03/17/a-threat-assessment-that-ignores-two- 

threats/

 

Vlahos, Michael. 2014. “EYELESS IN GAZA — ARE WE BLIND TO AN ENDURING

REALITY OF WAR?” War on the Rocks.com, August 20, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://warontherocks.com/2014/08/eyeless-in-gaza-are-we-blind-to-an- enduring-reality-of-

war/

“Infrastructure and Assertive Diplomacy: How U.S. Senate Must Reassert American Influence in the Heart of the Middle East” By: Terence Rosenthal

How much risk to global security and economy are leaders in the U.S. Senate willing to accept to avoid involvement in the Middle East? Military strategy, valuable as it is, does not provide answers to many of the region’s most pressing challenges with regard to future global security. What if U.S. legislatures in the Senate were to unleash a war of ideas with regard to establishing new, economically binding Middle East alliances?

Recently, a Congressional delegation travelled to Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries to meet with leaders regarding military and economic infrastructure. However, the U.S. has a lot of catching up to do with regard to restoring trust among its allies. As John Bolton states, “Our declining prestige is already apparent globally; when all three Middle East negotiations fail conclusively, America’s influence will fall further. Friends and adversaries alike are recalibrating their policies accordingly, particularly because the underlying causes of the three impending failures will spell trouble and misfortune elsewhere” (2014). This is why members of the Senate must be more assertive in reaching out to Israel, and Middle East allies.  Dialogue must be created to assure partnership in future infrastructure and strategic alliances.

To thwart ISIS, the Iran, and militant Islam, diplomacy, trade, and infrastructure must be used to dissolve existing traces of the Arab league boycott against Israel among states in the GCC. Although many aspects of the Arab trade boycott created during Israel’s founding have been abandoned, most GCC states, including Saudi Arabia still refuse to trade directly with Israeli owned companies. This may change if the status of Israel as a major Mediterranean port becomes permanent. If links to the boycott can be dissolved, a precedent will be set showing unification between Israel and GCC states, counterbalancing the power of ISIS and Iran. Rather than isolating the Arab trade boycott head-on, the boycott must be shown to be impractical to the region.

In spite of the carnage, chaos, and confusion created in the wake of the Syrian civil war, the rise of ISIS, and the expansion of Iran’s regional proxies, hope exists for Israel, Egypt, Jordan and the GCC.  Ari Rabinovitch and Tova Cohen of Reuters explain, “Until three years ago the cargo these trucks carry – fruits, cheese, raw material for the textile industry, spare parts, and second-hand trucks – would have come through Syria. But civil war has made that journey too perilous” (2014). Rabinovitch and Cohen further state, “The number of trucks crossing between Israel and Jordan has jumped some 300 percent since 2011, to 10,589 trucks a year, according to the Israel Airports Authority. In particular, exports from Turkey – food, steel, machinery and medicine – have begun to flow through Israel and across the Sheikh Hussein Bridge to Jordan and a few Arab neighbors” (2014). Use of Israel as a port of access to the Middle East including Saudi Arabia and the rest of the GCC would drastically cut the cost of trade to that region.

Israel, the most diverse market economy in the Middle East may serve as the cornerstone Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and GCC members need to thwart the growing power of Iran and militant Islam. It is possible that an informal trade and military alliance between Israel and neighboring Arab states will help diversify these markets for a prosperous, new Israeli – Arabian century. If the members of the GCC do not take advantage of present opportunities, consequences may be dire. “The Arab world is facing a ticking time-bomb, with approximately 70 percent of its population under twenty-five years old. It desperately needs to find ways for its growing population to contribute to its economy. For most Arab countries, the commitment to strengthen their economies and develop trade relationships has taken precedence over the desire to enforce a secondary boycott against Israel” (Alford, 2010).

In the Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Fikra Forum, Naday Pollak explains, “…the Syrian civil war, the Iranian nuclear program, and as of late, the rising “Islamic State”, are common threats to both Israel and the Arab states. These threats have pushed Israeli and Arab security officials to put their differences aside and work together. Moreover, the latest round of violence between Hamas and Israel has further demonstrated how similarly Israel and many Arab countries see certain issues. For example, Saudi Arabia, which delayed its condemnation of Israel, also blamed Hamas for its role in the last round of hostilities” (2014). Pollak continues, “In the long term Israel will be an especially relevant trade route for the Gulf Arab states. They already import 80-90 percent of their food, and any disruption in the Suez Canal or the Strait of Hormuz – ever more likely in the current regional environment – could lead to major food shortages. Exploring alternative trade routes, such as Israeli ones, is crucial in such a contingency” (2014).

Although the odds are favorable that Israel will earn permanent status as a main trade port for the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, and other countries in the GCC, significant challenges stand in the way. Frederick W. Kagan of the Hoover Institute explains, “The Kingdom is easily the most frustrating of all U.S. allies in the Middle East. It dominates the global oil market, making enormous profits from the West and holding the stability of the global economy in its hand…its royal family relies on support from extremist Wahhabi clerics to justify its right to rule the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Saudi kings have recognized the threat posed to them by al Qaeda, itself an offshoot of Wahhabi theology, but have not stopped their own relatives from giving large donations to the terrorist group” (2015).

If leaders in the U.S. Senate unite officials from Israel with its Arab neighbors in the wake of threats posed by ISIS and Iran, new dialogue will change language with respect to current foreign policy in the Middle East. It is difficult for leaders to accept each other’s status as related to current regional vulnerabilities. However, many economic challenges would be addressed if Israel was to permanently serve as a major port of access for its Arab neighbors in the GCC. For many in Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities, trade alignment between Israel, its Arab neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and the GCC may seem like a violation of morality. However, given the current the rise of Iran, ISIS, and militant Islam in the region, this may be the most principled choice.

 

 

References

Alford, Roger. 2010. “The Death of the Secondary Boycott Against Israel.” Opiniojuris.org,

May 25, 2010. Accessed April 23, 2015. http://opiniojuris.org/2010/05/25/the-death-of-the-

secondary-boycott-against-israel/

 

Bolton, John. 2014. “The coming crash of American diplomacy in the Middle East: Obama’s

policy failures on Iran, Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian dispute will have devastating effects.”

Los Angeles Times.com, February 18, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://articles.latimes.com/2014/feb/18/opinion/la-oe-bolton-obama-mideast-failure-20140218

 

Cohen, Tova; Rabinovitch, Ari. 2014. “Truck by truck, Israel builds trade gateway to Arab

world.” Reuters.com, July 1, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/01/us-israel-trade-insight-

idUSKBN0F63DF20140701

 

Kagan, Frederick W. 2015. “A HOOVER INSTITUTION ESSAY ON ALLIES AND

ENEMIES IN THE WAR ON TERROR:

Realism about Allies What The U.S. Can Expect From Middle Eastern Partners.” Hoover

     Institution, February 10. Accessed April 23, 2015.

file:///C:/Users/Owner1/Downloads/250516794-Realism-about-Allies-What-the-U-S-Can-

Expect- from-Middle-Eastern-Partners-by-Frederick-W-Kagan.pdf

 

Pollak, Naday. 2014. “Opportunities for Israeli-Arab Trade Cooperation.” Fikra Forum. Org,

August 28, 2014. Accessed April 23, 2015. http://fikraforum.org/?p=5304

“Five Middle East Foreign Policy Objectives for the U.S. Senate to Consider” By: Terence Rosenthal

As Americans, we need to take calculated risk to assure positive results. This past month, Speaker of the House, John Boehner yielded an effective outcome by allowing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak in front of Congress on behalf of Israel. Until last election, Republicans were in the minority, merely controlling Congress with regard to carrying out their agenda. Now, however, Republicans have control of both the Senate and the Congress. Democrats have many factors with which to minimize Republican action. Lame-duck presidency, the media, and universities are a few. If Republicans do not take risk with regard to ISIS and Iran, there will be a major global war. Many politicians, pundits, and academicians believe we are in one now.

 

1. Republican Senate leaders should aim to build a strategic partnership between India and pro-Western countries in the Middle East. These countries include Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. The best way to cement this partnership would be to convince leaders in India that it is worth it for them to partially fund the construction of a new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines from Egypt to central Oman. This will signal to Iran that even if it wins current negotiations, Iran will face severe economic contraction. Fortunately, moderate Arab countries who are either neutral or de facto allies with Israel have good standing with India, as does Israel. Why would India go for this? They need the oil for their billion plus population. The Middle East needs India’s business.

 

The creation of new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines bypassing territories influenced by ISIS or Iran will benefit all countries through which they travel. Egypt and Israel will have an unobstructed means of trading fuels and other goods to and from Europe and Asia. Jordan will have greater access to fuel and irrigation that passes through these pipelines. Saudi Arabia will have greater ease of transport with regard to trade of its oil. In addition, desert communities in Saudi Arabia will become more hospitable to growth among its young population. Oman will benefit as well, becoming the choice port for the transport of oil from the GCC to Europe and Asia. With new trans-Arabian water and oil pipelines, countries like Qatar, may stop supporting of organizations like Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood if they can benefit from contribution of trade that avoids conflict areas like the Strait of Hormuz.

 

2. U.S. Republican Senate leaders should persuade moderate Arab countries in the GCC that they will have much more power and wealth in the Middle East if they end their trade boycott with Israel. Perhaps what may entice countries like Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, and Oman to end the boycott is Israeli investment in pipelines rerouting oil and irrigation away from the Persian Gulf to the new safe harbor in Duqm, located in central Oman. In addition Israel would assist these countries in fortifying their ports against a potential Iranian attack. Iran must realize that, if necessary, all income derived from trade in the Persian Gulf can be halted.

 

3. A daunting challenge among pro-Western countries in the Middle East is the high percentage of unemployed youth. With assistance from Republican or pro-Israeli leaders in the U.S. Senate, Israel must reach out to these countries. Israel, the only true market economy in the Middle East will able to provide direction regarding how to transform oil and infrastructure based economies of its neighbors into market economies. The potential labor force of Israel’s moderate neighbors is a perfect match with regard to what Israel offers in terms of agriculture, irrigation, medical, and defense technologies. Republican leaders in the Senate must convince moderate members of the GCC that it is worth it for them to end their boycott with Israel as Egypt and Jordan effectively have.

 

4. Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan all have much to gain in fortifying the Gaza border, providing better protection of pipelines, and greater fortification of ports in Israel and Egypt. All of these countries need ports in Egypt, the Sinai, and Israel to safe so that trade to and from Europe is reliable. Republican leaders should reach out to the Sissi government in Egypt to propose this fortification of the Gaza border as a way of encouraging commercialism of its ports on the Mediterranean, and providing employment to the local Bedouin population of the Sinai. It would send a clear message to Iran and militant Islamic groups that economic power trumps the power of militant Islam. And that the Middle East youth would rather be promised a future with such infrastructure projects instead of prolonged regional strife.

 

5. The Republican Senate should conduct an investigation verifying Iranian Quds presence among illicit organizations in the Americas. This should be followed by a crackdown against these organizations in our hemisphere, and the use of IRGC prisoners as a bargaining chip against Iran in its nuclear negotiations. Iran is alive and well in the Americas. Its presence in Venezuela is alarming. The IRGC has served with the Venezuelan Army, while the Quds Forces have helped supervise transport of drugs from illicit Venezuelan crime syndicates. Conceivably, the most well-known partnership of the global IRGC is with Hezbollah, Iran’s most recognizable terrorist sponsor. The presence of Hezbollah and Quds forces in neighboring Mexico present the United States with a major threat at its southern border.

 

Pursuing any of the challenges listed would originate merely in the field of public relations with regard to global politics. However, public relations yields significant results. Observe how well public relations magnifies the power of Iran and ISIS. Public relations has the power attract followers and yield public faith exponentially. It would be decisive in terms of public relations for Republican Senate leaders to merely meet with diplomatic leaders from the countries mentioned.