The time is now.
The Iranian Mullahcracy has been at war with the United States for forty years. Iran declared war when is seized the American Embassy in Tehran, but we refused to hear it.
Ignoring it became harder when the world learned of the Mullahs’ clandestine nuclear program over fifteen years ago, but we kept hoping that the inevitable war would just evaporate. It won’t. Iran will destroy the global energy sector before it fades quietly into the night.
No one in the U.S. has ever wanted this war. Six presidents with six strategies have hoped that the Iranian regime would fall, moderate, or change without a shooting war — to no avail.
The revolutionary Islamic Republic has moved inexorably forward.
By the time Donald Trump entered the White House, the Iranians controlled powerful militias in every country with a sizable Shiite population except Azerbaijan. Iran now exerts undue influence over Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen; it foments riots, exports terrorism, promotes the drug trade, engages in human trafficking, and launders money around the world. The U.S. has kept its military (mostly) on the sidelines.
Iran has taken its revolutionary agenda to the next level with recent — and escalating — attacks on Saudi Arabia, in the Persian Gulf, and to international shipping. Having consolidated its dominance of Shiism, the Mullahcracy seeks to revisit the Battle of Karbala — the war that cemented Sunnism over Shiism in 680.
Iran’s goals are clear: the conquest of Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. The Saudis believe them. The Israelis believe them. We should believe them, too.
So far, Israel has engaged in pinpoint operations to counter Iranian incursions into Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza. The Saudis have contented themselves with attacks on Iranian proxies. The Trump Administration — to its great credit — has helped both allies withstand international diplomatic outcries, intensified economic pressure on Iran, and kept the American military on the sidelines.
Now Iran is escalating. How will we respond?
For the U.S. to minimize its footprint in this looming regional war, we must shore up our front-line allies. That means correcting a longstanding error in American foreign policy. For seven decades, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been reliable U.S. allies. Through myriad regional crises, the long-term strategic interests of the three countries have never fallen on opposite sides.
Yet, to the detriment of American interests, the U.S. has always been content to watch its two key regional allies remain mired in mutual hostility. Saddam’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait provided a golden opportunity to open a dialog, but President Bush and Secretary Baker chose instead to seek “international legitimacy.”
A decade ago, Barack Obama’s purposeful reorientation toward Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood shocked both allies. Israelis and Saudis began edging towards dialog and cooperation, first secretly, then increasingly in the open. They have now laid significant groundwork among their own people for the relationship to move forward. Our allies need each other. We need them to work together.
The only way for the U.S. to defeat Iran while minimizing its own commitment on the ground is to knit these two allies together. They need to retire the Arab/Israeli conflict as a vestige of the twentieth century to work together towards a viable twenty-first.
Israel must annex territory to define clear, secure borders, and forswear any claims beyond them. In doing so, it must reiterate its commitment to the civil and religious rights of everyone living within its borders. Israel must also offer a pact of mutual non-aggression and military cooperation to any neighbors willing to recognize the legitimacy of a sovereign Jewish State throughout those declared borders.
The Saudis must take Israel up on that offer. They must commit to lead an Arab League effort to resettle any Arabs living within Israeli territory who prefer life in an Arab country to life as part of a loyal, law-abiding minority in a Jewish state. They should then call on Israel to offer legal residence or citizenship to any Arabs whose preference runs to loyal minority status in Israel. Israel should accept.
An American-sponsored, Israeli/Saudi pact along those lines will attract others. Egypt and the UAE will join eagerly; Jordan, Kuwait, and possibly Oman somewhat more reluctantly. With such an agreement in place, the U.S. military will be able to remain in the background as a coordinated alliance takes shape to withstand the Iranian offensive. Without such an agreement, Iran — with the support of Russia, Turkey, and the Muslim Brotherhood — will pick off one American-allied state at a time.
The time has come. The flames engulfing the Middle East are getting higher. The U.S. must engage fully. The only question is whether we will choose to lead with diplomacy or boots on the ground. Diplomacy is — as it always has been — the far better route.
Bruce Abramson is the President of Informationism, Inc., a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and the founder of the American Restoration Institute. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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