Like it or not, Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that has both the resolve and the power to stop Iran from becoming a regional nuclear terrorist. Yet Arab leaders continue to see Jerusalem as an enemy rather than an ally. And Tehran proactively feeds and manipulates their hostility to keep Israel at bay.
Is there still time for Middle Eastern leaders to open their eyes and clear their heads?
Frustrated by Moscow’s delays in fulfilling its contract with Tehran for half a dozen S-300 missile systems, Iran built its own air defense system which it claims is even more sophisticated than the Russian version—with a range of more than 100 miles and the ability to intercept both low- and high-altitude ballistic missiles and aircraft.
Earlier this month, Tehran boasted that it is building 10 new uranium enrichment plants deep inside mountains.
Washington’s response was predictable and tepid. The escalation, said President Obama, is “not acceptable,” and he threatened “a significant regime of sanctions that will indicate to them how alone they are.”
But the administration fails to understand that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants to be alone—at the top. Alone as the supreme nuclear power in the Middle East. Alone as caliph of more than a billion Muslims worldwide. To Ahmadinejad, alone is good. And sanctions are merely a nuisance. They failed to deter development of Iran’s nuclear program, its sophisticated air defense system or its shiny new Karar bomber drones, with a 620-mile range and the ability to launch up to four cruise missiles.
Ever since Shock & Awe, things have been looking up for the Iranian dictator.
Throughout and after the Iran/Iraq War, Tehran’s Shi’a regime repeatedly tried and failed to overthrow Saddam. Then, in 2003, seemingly ignorant of Islam’s bloody 1400-year Shi’a/Sunni conflict, Coalition forces stormed into Baghdad and saved the Iranians the trouble. Within a couple of years, they had replaced the ruling Sunni minority with the Shi’a majority, overlooking its strong and ancient ties to the Shi’a leadership in Iran.
In short, the U.S. naively handed Iraq to Iran on a platter. And the recent U.S. troop withdrawal removed yet another obstacle.
On a roll, Ahmadinejad tested public opinion waters last May with the blockade-busting “Freedom Fleet”—an insolent attempt to establish an Iranian port on the Mediterranean—and delighted to watch the international community blacken Israel’s eye.
Meanwhile, Hamas, Iran’s Sunni puppet, continues to stir up trouble in Gaza. Despite deep theological differences, Hamas is more than willing to accept all the rials and weapons Iran is willing to share. And Iran finds Hamas useful for coalition building among other Sunni.
All the while, Iran continues to sap American resources in Lebanon and Afghanistan and expand its influence throughout the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
So why should Ahmadinejad curb his military buildup, given the world’s obvious lack of serious interest and America’s growing policy of accommodation and appeasement toward Islam?
And if Israel does not act, who will? But has Jerusalem waited too long? And can it rely any longer on support from the White House?