What do you do when you presumed ally’s leader appears to have joined the other side? This is only the tip of the iceberg that Israel and her elected Prime Minister will be facing when the new government is formed sometime this month, possibly towards the end of the month as the forming of a coalition often takes the threat of an impending deadline to alter demands into something more tenable. The Framework Agreement has not made the dilemma any simpler as it appears that every party to the negotiations walked away with a completely different piece of paper or each translation took great amounts of liberty with definitions of the terms. Whatever the actual cause, the statements coming out of Washington D.C. and out of Tehran, Iran appear to be diametric opposites. The classic example is the claim by the Administration in Washington D.C. that the Iranians will be limited to using their slowest, least productive and most problematic centrifuges while the Iranians have had numerous military, civilian and IRGC (Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps) commanders relate that at the date the agreement is signed they will be able to fully implement the use of their advanced IR-8 centrifuges which are twenty-times as productive and reliable as compared to their earliest models. Such gaps in interpretations of the Framework Agreement does not bode well for reaching any desired result in a final agreement with both sides permitted their own so very liberal translations and definition of the terminology. These disparate readings of the Framework Agreement should signal to Secretary of State Kerry and the negotiating team that their attempts to make the wording inconclusive in its desired definitions which has apparently led to such a different take on the Framework Agreement which is probably best served reading the French and European Union versions which are so opaque and generalized using terminology which was technically meaningless leaving the entire document a singular masterpiece in diplospeak doubletalk worthy of a George Orwell novel.
The definitions and interpretations are even less worrisome for the Israelis as they probably have yet to receive a copy of the Framework in any language. The one saving grace is that the Israelis do not need to research the Framework and what might be concluded from the disparate interpretations; they need only consider whatever the Iranians believe is the intent. As much as President Obama has raked the United States relationship with Israel over hot coals and through a harvester shredder, the United States President does not pose any threat or difficulty by having a unique definition of the terms in the Framework while whatever the Iranians discern from the document is potentially a direct threat to Israel and her survival. Yes, it is true that the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was chanting “Death to America” right along with the throngs chanting and cheering right along with their leader, the same man also this past weekend called for the destruction of Israel referring to Israel as that “barbaric” Jewish State which “has no cure but to be annihilated.” The Iranian Supreme Leader went on to present a strategy titled “Nine key questions about the elimination of Israel” which was also placed on his Twitter account Saturday night where he used the hashtag of #handsoffalaqsa, an oblique reference to the continuing terrorist riots and other tensions on the Temple Mount especially in reference to the right for Jews and other non-Muslims to pray on the holy site to three religions. The Ayatollah’s plans laid out a political path to replacing Israel completely with an Islamic run state where the Jews and other non-Muslims would necessarily be forced to accept Dhimmitude and a life of constant disgrace and the downtrodden shame as second class citizens living at the grace and good tidings of their Muslim masters. What he left out and even went so far as to claim his plan did not include was the death of the Jews living in the area once the Muslims were granted rule as at any point the Muslim rulers could give the Jews the choice of paying the Jiyza special tax or converting to Islam and eventually at their whim change that choice replacing the Jiyza tax making the new choice between conversion to Islam or death. Should any Jew choose to convert, if any Muslim believed that the Jew was not a true and faithful believer in Islam, they could bring charges which would inevitable result in the death penalty for apostasy. That is the truth behind the nine point plan by the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
But there is another bothersome problem which has raised it head some claim as many as four different times. Israel, as an ally, so as not to interfere with or be mistaken for a hostile force, will present any military plans to the United States Pentagon who shares these plans with the White House. Off the top I recall once when it was understood that the Israelis would be granted overflight permission which would include potentially refueling of F-15 and F-16 Fighter-Bombers over Saudi Arabian territories potentially just before launching a raid into Iran and potentially repeating such a refueling on their return flight. This was a quiet, under the radar, under even the kitchen table as this was obviously a super sensitive and secret permission being extended by the Saudis. Any revelation of such permission of such a sensitive and volatile agreement would immediately cause massive denials from both sides and the agreement would crash and burn. Not all that surprising but that was exactly what occurred at some point before said raid was launched when somehow the news of this agreement between Saudi Arabian rulers and Israel leaked to the press with in the aftermath it becoming obvious that the leak originated not with the Pentagon but with either the White House or the State Department, which it actually was is irrelevant as the real source of the leak was much closer if not actually to the top man in the White House. Months upon months later there was an arrangement for Israel to lease a pair of derelict unused military airfields in Azerbaijan which both lay a short distance north of Iran. The agreement might have been for these airbases to solely be used in cases of emergency such as a damaged or short on fuel fighter jet needed a landing point for repair or refueling as they would otherwise not be capable of making the entire return trip to Israel from their mission over Iran. Once again there was a leak that Azerbaijan was working with and assisting the Israelis on a potential attack on the Iranian nuclear sites. Needless to say but the complete rejection of there being such a plan was claimed and sworn to by both sides. Again the leak was traced back to the White House. Obviously Israel has a problem informing the United States about any plans to address the Iranian nuclear program in a manner separate from the Framework or any negotiated agreement but rather a more direct approach.
There is another problem with the United States when it would come for Israel to launch an assault on the Iranian nuclear sites or any other targets which might be included in such a scenario, and that is the fact that there are probably always two aircraft carriers and the airbase at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and within range of any Israeli attack route on Iran. These United States assets matter because it has also been rumored that the United States forces in the region have orders to intercept the Israelis and force them to return to their bases in Israel or face being shot out of the air. The actual leaked information stated that the United States pilots were to make it as difficult as possible but not to shoot at the Israeli aircraft first but to sweep them from the skies as soon as one fired at a United States aircraft or ship. These intercepts were to be taken over Iraqi airspace which is technically under United States security until the Iraqi Air Force is competent enough to do the job themselves. Needless to point out that the most direct route for Israeli aircraft would take them over Jordanian airspace followed by Iraq airspace and in reverse order upon their return to Israel. A further problem might exist within the Israeli political and military command and personnel where there are those who firmly believe that nothing Israeli has plans to do should be attempted until they receive affirmation of their plans by the United States. In many cases that person is also a member of the Prime Minister’s inner security Cabinet. One such was Defense Minister Ehud Barak who was feeding intelligence and all plans in detail directly to the White House and quite possibly directly to President Obama. Odds are this was done with the knowledge of Prime Minister Netanyahu and it is possible or even likely that it was Bibi Netanyahu who has ordered the exchange of information, especially on plans for attacks on the Iranian nuclear sites.
This leads to the current Israeli dilemma on what path to take and whether any or every plan should be shared with Israeli allies. Israeli leadership does need to take under consideration the obvious fact that President Obama has an apparent amorous desire to complete a deal with Iran and nurture said plan while building up the Iranian power granting them recognition and respect while protecting the Iranians from threats of a military address to destroy their nuclear program by preventing that option from being taken off the table and put into practice. It appears that President Obama and his closest advisors not only seek to empower Iran granting them hegemonic powers throughout the Middle East and even into South East Asia, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, surpassing Israeli powers in similar areas, and completing this shakeup and restructuring of the Middle East, the President seems set on pressing Israel to take steps President Obama sees as the solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict even if those steps end up being performed unilaterally and result in Hamas or ISIS taking control over Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and causing a direct threat to the Israeli heartlands where close to three-quarters of her citizens reside and an even higher percentage of her infrastructure, industry, manufacturing, commercial and service industries exist. Pulling back to the borders envisioned by President Obama would return Israel to the borders which would permit any attack on Israel from Judea and Samaria to cut Israel completely in half isolating the Galilee from the Negev and destroying and occupying a quarter of Israel simply by advancing the approximately the diameter of the Washington D.C. Capital Beltway which is just a smidge over nine miles. That is the width of the central neck of Israel should she be forced back to the Green Line, the pre-June 1967 Six Day War. As modern artillery is capable of firing well beyond ten miles with great effect and accuracy, simply mounting artillery batteries almost anywhere in western Judea and the Arab forces could systematically destroy all of central Israel within a single twenty-four hour period. Israel would not need fear an attack by missiles from Iran when artillery from Iran would do just as well if not better and cost far less. This would be the biggest gift President Obama could grant Iran, even better than the ambiguous Framework and the agreement to follow. This was why it was assumed even in the United Nations that Israel would be allowed to retain the lands of Judea and Samaria and any refugees would be settled within the country where they were located and considered an even treatment as Israel absorbed many hundreds of thousands refugees from Middle Eastern and North African Arab and Muslim states by 1960 as these were Jews chased from their homes and towns where they had resided often for over fifteen-hundred-years, some even over two-thousand-years.
All those who have been claiming that all Israel has to worry about is surviving the remainder of President Obama’s term in the White House, this is far from true. Israel is facing so numerous threats of annihilation and from so many directions that it is almost impossible to get one’s arms around it. Even Egypt and Jordan, two nations which have made their peace with Israel and now reside with frosty borders and relations, have at least kept those borders peaceful. There are even those occasions where Israel will take steps to aid Jordan and Egypt and they, mostly Egypt, have been known to take measures which assist Israeli survival. The greatest example of such cooperation has been the enforcement by the Egyptians of their own embargo and strict rules enforced for passage through the Rafah Gate into the Sinai Peninsula from Gaza. This is not done by Egypt completely out of friendship as much as it is due to the assistance that Hamas provides the terrorist groups located in the Sinai Peninsula who attacks Egyptian soldiers, border guards, and even attack Egyptian resorts located in the Sinai Peninsula along the coast of the Red Sea. The truth is Iran is also a threat to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and all of the other Arab Sunni nations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and so on. Currently the Iranian threat and control has spread to some very challenging areas where they threaten far more than Israel. Iran is openly supplying arms and also IRGC soldiers to Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad along with Hezballah terrorist forces from Lebanon allowing al-Assad to survive against ISIS and the other rebel groups. Iran has great influence over the Shia majority in Iraq and is assisting the fighting again ISIS in Iraq. This is not entirely altruistic as it is a definitive possibility, some might say inevitability, that ISIS has plans for engaging Iran directly at some point once it gets control over Iraq.
Furthermore, Iranian backed Houthis are moving directly across Yemen and have already swept the United States backed government from the capital and disbanded replacing themselves as the rulers of Yemen. Yemen is doubly important as it furthers the Iranian encirclement of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Their reaching the southwest corner of Yemen gives Iran control of the Bab el Mandeb Strait (Arabic: باب المندب) which translates as “Gateway of Anguish”, or “Gateway of Tears” and is important because it connects through its narrow waterway the exit from the Red Sea, which includes all shipments from the Israeli port of Eilat and the Jordanian port of al-Aqabah and ships passing southward through the Suez Canal, into the Gulf of Aden and on to the Arabian Sea and the east coast of Africa or on to the Indian Ocean and all of Asia. This would be an additional maritime choke point which matches well with their ability to shut down the Straits of Hormuz which is the choke point for the Persian Gulf through to the Gulf of Oman and on to the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean with passing through the straits what is claimed to be at least one-third of the world’s oil. Should Iran ever close both of these points then international trade would be greatly hampered and Europe would basically have to take the old route around the Cape of Good Hope or across the Atlantic Ocean and through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific Ocean which would be longer but some might believe it provides safer waterways. Still, closing these two passages would still bring much of maritime trade to a screeching halt while greatly increasing shipping times and place a burden on retail outlets to raise their prices on many if not all imported goods.
Finally, the biggest threat of an nuclear armed Iran is the threats posed to Israel and other nations of a nuclear armed Saudi Arabia, a nuclear armed Egypt with the potential to have the Muslim Brotherhood return to power, a nuclear armed Turkey, Syria, Hezballah, al-Qaeda, nuclear armed UAE, Kuwait, Iraq and who knows who else as terror elements gain access to nuclear weapons supplied by their state sponsors such as Iran or Saudi Arabia. The spread of nuclear armed states spreading throughout the Muslim world might inspire and motivate other nations to begin their own nuclear armed program and they might receive assistance from other new nuclear powers. The fact is that a nuclear armed Iran would forever alter the balances of power everywhere. We very well might need to adjust to a world without any restraints on who can have nuclear weapons and it simply becomes anybody with the cash to finance their breakout point making it realistic for every nation who really desires such weapons. Of course if your neighbor decides to join the nations with nuclear weapons stockpiles and then another neighbor announced their advanced program and claims to have developed thermo-nuclear devices, hydrogen bombs, and has produced a number of those in their stockpile, how long before the nation, now surrounded by nuclear armed neighbors, makes the only logical decision they can for their future survival they begin their own nuclear weapons research and development. As we pointed out in our April 7, 2015, article titled Historic Lessons and Future Nuclear War where we traced some of the super weapons through the ages as man developed from clubs to thermonuclear devices which can level whole cities or destroy only the electronic infrastructure bring a nation to its knees, we realized that there has never been the development of a super weapon which was not used, sometimes these weapons made such a difference that it decided which trail the human genome traveled from that one crucial super weapon for that warfare. We also found that often the super weapon from the last war is the standard for weapons used in the next war and thus one can only deduce that there will be a future war where some form of nuclear weapon will be used on the battlefield which may easily lead to an exchange of nuclear weapons which might be misinterpreted as a launch and use their nuclear weapons against their enemies while they are still able and the spread continues from this one episode to a conflagration which would be immeasurable. All this might be the eventuality after Iran becomes a nuclear armed state and it spreads through the Arab and Muslim worlds and from there beyond spanning the globe. Perhaps holding such power under one’s control will temper their arrogances and put their pride and conceits in perspective and nation shall choose to no longer lift their sword against their neighbor as war might then draw too large a cost to even be imagined. But what about the terrorist entities of which there are a number who are supplied by Iran which include Hezballah and Hamas, both of which border Israel and have started conflicts using every weapon they could muster. What will be the result if these entities are given access to nuclear weapons which they could then use against Israeli cities? Additionally, Iran has been attempting to gain favor and supply Fatah and Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority which occupy Judea, Samaria and have access to all of Jerusalem and control the Temple Mount through the use of civil disturbances and rioting. Should Fatah receive a nuclear device it would not be impossible to place it in a vehicle, likely a stolen vehicle from within Israel and sporting Israeli citizen plates granting it free travel with relative ease. Such a situation could result in such a device being set to detonate right outside the Knesset Parliament Building and possibly even timed to coincide with a second device being set-off in central Tel Aviv. Such an attack would leave Israeli little choice but to strike back and to do so with the ferocity of a wounded mother protecting her children as that would be exactly what Israel would be engaged in, protecting those Children of Israel who had survived despite having much of her heart torn from within her. Never Again also meant that we would never allow the Masada ending to be played out again and no longer would Israel sit still to be carved-up by her neighbors, Never Again!
Beyond the Cusp