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Former US President Obama
Photo: AFP
Ben-Dror Yemini
Obama chose dishonor, and Israel will have war
Op-ed: The nuclear agreement—misleadingly presented to the world as the lesser of evils—allowed Iran to grow rich and expand its influence in the region. Now, Tehran is taking over Syria, and the distant enemy is coming closer to Israel.
Iran is taking over Syria. The distant enemy is coming closer. The US is out of the picture. Those who put their trust in the new world sheriff, Donald Trump, have to admit he appears to be far more concerned with the American media than the Iranian imperialism. That is who he is.

 

 

The world's sheriff is not whoever has more power—the United States has a lot more—but whoever uses the power he has.

 

Netanyahu had to go to Vladimir Putin this week again for another round of talks with the Russian leader during his vacation in Sochi. It's not clear whether Putin is going to stop the Iranian threat. It is clear, however, that he's the only one there is any point in talking to.

 

Iranian President Rouhani (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)
Iranian President Rouhani (Photo: AFP)

ISIS has been defeated on the ground. Over the last year, its fighters have been pushed out of Mosul in Iraq, and in the coming year, probably, they'll also be pushed out of Syria's Raqqa, the caliphate's capital. The problem is that the alternative for ISIS on the ground—Iran and Hezbollah—is just as bad.

 

The strengthening and spreading of Iran's influence were made possible, inter alia, because of the nuclear deal. European nations were quick to court the country that got Barack Obama and John Kerry's stamp of approval. Most of the sanctions were lifted. Europe rushed to renew the massive deals and oil purchases. In the five months that followed the sanctions' removal, Iranian exports—excluding oil—grew by $19 billion. The oil production soared from an average of 2.5 million barrels a day during the sanctions to close to 4 million barrels a day in recent months. The billions increased accordingly.

 

Iranian troops fighting ISIS in Syria.
Iranian troops fighting ISIS in Syria.

  

Many of the heads of Israel's defense establishment, unlike Netanyahu, determined the nuclear deal was the lesser of evils. Its advantages, they claimed, outweigh its shortcomings.

 

I'm afraid they were wrong. The Iranian threat was twofold: Both the development of nuclear weapons and regional subversion. It is possible there is a temporary waning of the first threat. The second threat, meanwhile, continues growing. Iran is stirring the pot: it has militant affiliates in Yemen; it is fighting in Iraq and turning it into a protected state; Syria is also becoming a protected state; and Lebanon, for a long time now, has been under the control of Iran's proxy, Hezbollah.

 

The Iranian architects of the nuclear deal: Foreign Minister Zarif and nuclear chief Salehi (Photo: AP)
The Iranian architects of the nuclear deal: Foreign Minister Zarif and nuclear chief Salehi (Photo: AP)

 

Between Iran and Israel there is a growing, ever expanding territorial corridor under Iranian control, and the Shiite nation is planning on building a sea port in Syria, perhaps an airport as well.

 

This didn't happen because of the nuclear agreement, but there is no doubt the nuclear agreement served to bolster Iran and its expansionist aspirations.

 

Obama and Kerry managed to mislead the international community in general—and the American public in particular—by claiming the alternative to the agreement was war. That's not true. The alternative was continuing and the sanctions and imposing additional, harsher sanctions. Only then, it might have been possible to deal with both threats. Now, it is too late.

 

Misled the international community: Obama and Kerry (Photo: AP)
Misled the international community: Obama and Kerry (Photo: AP)

 

Most of the time, Netanyahu's conduct was appropriate. He was among those who pushed for the sanctions on Iran. He spurred the international community into action.

 

But at some point, something went wrong. Netanyahu became a nuisance. Instead of showing a little more flexibility on the Palestinian issue, in order to get more on the Iranian issue, he made himself the American administration's enemy on both matters. The result was a complete failure. Iran's nuclear capabilities were not curbed, and Tehran is now turning into a regional power.

 

Chamberlain, said Winston Churchill, was "given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war."

 

As time goes on, it becomes all the more apparent Obama has chosen dishonor. Iran is becoming a world power, and Israel might pay with another war.

 

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