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Geneva Aftermath

'We must internalize fact that America will not stand by its traditional allies in times of trouble' Photo: EPA
'We must internalize fact that America will not stand by its traditional allies in times of trouble' Photo: EPA
 
Ephraim Sneh
Ephraim Sneh 
 
 

Alone, in the dark

Op-ed: Strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia, Gulf states cannot be established without permanent agreement with Palestinians

Ephraim Sneh
Published: 12.04.13, 20:39 / Israel Opinion

After the initial shock, it's time to examine the implications of the Geneva agreement soberly. The United States achieved a temporary delay in the progress of the Iranian nuclear project. No move preventing Iran from making renewed progress, when it decides to do so, is included in the deal.

 

Iran is left with the existing enrichment system, with the plutonium reactor at Arak, perhaps with less fissile material. It is also left with the array of long-range missiles, whose purpose is to carry this weapon. The ayatollah regime received in fact a permit from the Western democracies to continue operating terror organizations, undermining governments in the Middle East, threatening Israel with 70,000 missiles and rockets, and brutally oppressing the Iranian people.

 

Crisis of Confidence
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With American approval, the region is being divided into two areas of influence: The first one is Iranian, with Iraq, western Syria and Lebanon; the second one is American, with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Jordan and Israel. But this is an insignificant "area of influence." The US has decided to leave the Middle East. New technologies of producing oil and gas have turned it into a gas and oil exporter, and stopped its dependence on imports. That is one of the reasons. We must internalize the fact that America will not stand in practice by its traditional allies, if they are in trouble.

 

This was first seen in the hasty abandonment of Mubarak, and continued with its flirtation with the Muslim Brotherhood. The way it strived to achieve the Geneva agreement proved it. The US ignored its allies in order to reach an agreement which would exempt it from a conflict with Iran, and perhaps allow President Obama to take pride in the fact that during his term, until January 2017, Iran had no nuclear weapons. He has no responsibility for what happens after that.

 

Israel entering difficult times

What will remain from the US commitment to Israel's security? First of all, the declarations. During the AIPAC conference this coming spring its leaders will still state that "the friendship with Israel is rock solid" and cannot be undermined. In practice, the military aid of some $3 billion and the special aid for the Iron Dome, Arrow 3 and David's Sling defense systems will continue. This aid must not be disregarded. We must remember that the American industry enjoys most of it, and the Israeli government can collect NIS 11 billion (about $3 billion) less from its citizens.

 

But beyond all of that, America is no longer with us for facing Iran in any other way. Neither with us nor with anyone else. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, their price in blood and money, their disappointing results to say the least, have emptied out any readiness for a conflict, regardless of its justification and benefit.

 

In the coming months we'll see the major oil companies holding secret negotiations with Iran on future investments. Neither the American administration nor Europe's governments will be able to endure the pressure exerted by these companies, in six months, to implement what they agreed on secretly with Tehran. After all, the Obama administration gave them an example of a secret negotiation of this kind. I very much doubt our Republican friends in the Congress will rise up against the huge companies from Texas. The sanction regime will dissolve.

 

What partners is Israel left with against Iran, which has not changed and only succeeded in deceiving the indolent West? We have Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, whose fear of Iran is even greater than ours. They are closer to Iran geographically and less stronger militarily. A strategic, economic and military alliance with the gulf states could yield mighty practical results.

 

But this alliance, the last which still remains an option, cannot be established without a permanent agreement with the Palestinians. A government controlled by the most radical settlers has no chance of doing so. Israel is entering difficult times, all alone.

 

 

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