“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.

“Republican Senate Leaders: India and a New Trans-Arabian Pipeline” By: Terence Rosenthal

India, the largest accessible power to the Middle East, with a Muslim population outnumbering all nations in the Arab world, may play a role in undermining the economic strength of Iran. Republican leaders in the Senate should deliberately foster stronger ties between Israel, moderate Arab countries, and India. Partial Indian backing of new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines from Egypt to central Oman will signal to Iran that even if it wins current negotiations, it 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.

The creation of new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines that bypass 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.

If oil produced by Saudi Arabia and other members in the GCC remains low in price, it is possible that Iran will be unable to compete, and will diminish economically. For the Iranian economy to profit, oil must sell at over $120 per barrel. Currently, oil costs less than $70 per barrel. The assurance of low Saudi oil prices will be high if speculators learn that trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines are being discussed. Geopolitically, it pays for the price of Saudi oil to stay low, as it entices European markets away from Russian oil. Russia is one of the prime backers of Iran and Syria.

India already has solid relationships with peaceful countries in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is one of India’s largest trading partners. It is estimated that trade between both countries is $40 billion annually. Oil and petrochemicals consist of most of Saudi Arabia’s exports to India. Israel is also one of India’s strategic trading partners, exporting defense, technologies, irrigation and agricultural products. Jordan and India have recently celebrated renewed diplomatic ties. Egypt and India have recently agreed to double trade between both countries. Oman and India are strategic trading partners, as Indians are the largest expatriate group in Oman. In addition, in 2013, joint trade between Oman and India exceeded $5.5 billion. Oman and India have also considered building a natural gas pipeline linking both countries.

Israel and moderate Arab nations are entering a new age of stability and strategic diplomacy. For example, Jordan and Israel have been fortifying their alliance through the trade of Israeli natural gas to Jordan. They will also be starting the Red-Dead project, designed to build up the Jordan River, and the Red Sea. In addition, the Red-Dead project will bring greater supply of fresh water to Jordan. This project is peacefully being pursued in waters bordering Saudi Arabia, in the Gulf of Aqaba. Currently Israel also trades natural gas with Egypt and is one of their most important intelligence sharing partners with regard to counter terrorism.

Although a boycott exists regarding trade between Israel and the GCC, it is suspected that annual trade between both is approximately $500 million dollars per year. In addition, certain elements with regard to the Arab boycott of Israeli products are becoming less enforced. Israel even has a “virtual embassy” online with other countries in the Middle East. However, Iran is also a major strategic trading partner with India. Eventually India will have to make a choice whether to side with Israel and the Arab world, or Iran, who also happens to be one of their largest trading partners. Perhaps opportunities that new trans-Arabian oil and irrigation pipelines present will entice India to invest more in Israel and its moderate Arab neighbors. It is incumbent that Republican leaders in the Senate make this a reality.