How Obama is Selling Out Iran to the Middle East
The administration’s policies are leading to a dangerously unstable world order.
A running theme of pro-Israel Democrats is that President Obama’s approach to achieving a nuclear deal with Iran is consistent with his “unshakable” support for the Jewish state.
In that view, nothing that the administration has done undermines President Obama’s promise that “the United States will always have Israel’s back when it comes to Israel’s security.” However, when Israel’s security interests are considered in the context of the P5+1 deal with Iran, the president’s promise rings hollow. Even as Obama claimed the U.S. had Israel’s back, the administration was moving to sell out the region to Iran — and to prevent Jerusalem from doing anything that might disrupt the deal.
Because it repeatedly failed in negotiations, the administration was compelled to shift its policy from rolling back Iran’s nuclear program to managing its nuclear threshold status. Moreover, it became necessary for the U.S. to court Iran on the one hand, while alienating Israel on the other, to prevent Israel from building an effective case against the emerging terms of the deal.
By manufacturing a series of mini-crises, President Obama has created a justification for downgrading the U.S. relationship with Israel. The fissures between the two countries — which have resulted from a combination of national-security leaks and diplomatic strong-arming — have empowered the White House to arrest the flow of security cooperation with Israel and isolate it internationally.
The sensitive information released has not always pertained specifically to Iran, but the leaks generally disrupt Israel’s ability to act against what its government considers a bad deal. The same principle applies to the diplomatic pressure being exerted on Israel. Through thinly veiled threats indicating it could terminate or soften its defense of Israel at the United Nations, the Obama administration has sought to silence any criticism of the looming rapprochement with Iran.
As reports concerning the Stuxnet computer virus and other clandestine efforts confirm, Israel has done much to set back the Iranian nuclear program. Likewise, it was Israeli assets that originally detected several hidden elements of Iran’s nuclear program, the discovery of which helped galvanize the international community to focus on and eventually confront the growing threat.
Indeed, Israel has repeatedly undertaken efforts that have benefited the entire free world. When Saddam Hussein was building an Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak, it was Israeli jets that eliminated it. And when the regime of Bashar al-Assad constructed a Syrian nuclear reactor, it was Israeli jets that destroyed that, too.
Now, however, in its zeal to erode Israeli capabilities, the Obama administration has disseminated classified information about Israeli security policy, in instances both directly and indirectly related to Iran. Last year, for example, the administration leaked news of Israeli air and naval strikes on a shipment of advanced Russian anti-ship missiles to Syria.The leak not only undermined Israel’s ability to prevent the Iranian-sponsored Hezbollah from acquiring game-changing weapons; it also rendered ineffective Israel’s policy of plausible deniability, thus increasing the chances of a potential Syrian military response. Equally important, the leak weakened Israel’s ability to disrupt Iranian hedging on the P5+1 deal by bogging down the Israeli security establishment in an unnecessary quagmire with Syria.
With regards to clandestine Israeli efforts to counter Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama White House has acted in a particularly blunt fashion. Senior officials have accused Israel of spying on closed-door talks, stating that Israel acquired information from confidential U.S. briefings through informants and diplomatic contacts in Europe. But what really set off the administration, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, is that Israel shared the alleged intelligence with U.S. lawmakers. Should Israel have waited for Iran to extract even more tangible, functionally irreversible concessions from the U.S. before it sought to pass along its intelligence findings to Congress?
As the P5+1 deal lurches clumsily yet decisively toward a deadline, the administration is likely to step up its leaks to the media of classified information regarding Israeli operational planning in order to hinder Israel’s ability to undermine the deal. Strategic dialogue and security cooperation, which are critical components for identifying elements of Iranian noncompliance in any deal, are therefore at risk, making the prospects of proliferation — and nuclear confrontation — more likely.
The P5+1deal is bad policy undertaken for bad reasons. By focusing almost exclusively on achieving the deal, the Obama administration has failed to address far broader geopolitical implications. Consider just one small example: America’s critical alliance with Israel. There have been growing demands for the Obama administration to justify its partial lifting of sanctions before Iran fully enters into and complies with a deal. More specifically, the administration has come under fire for allegedly agreeing to provide Iran what amounts to a $150 billion signing bonus, money which is likely to be spent rejuvenating the regime’s proxies in the region, particularly Hamas and Hezbollah, which are currently combating U.S. interests and allies, notably Israel.