North Korean adventurism only adds to Israel’s proliferation concerns. North Korea's fourth nuclear test, the P5+1 agreement to lift Iranian sanctions, and the billions of dollars' worth in deals between Tehran and Asian and European companies, together constitute a significant challenge. In addition, Jerusalem faces a difficult task of being the watchdog that monitors Iran’s adherence to the nuclear deal.
Three important events in the fight between Sunnis and Shiites took place this week, including the removal of global sanctions on Iran, and Pakistan's announcement that it would respond to any attack on Saudi Arabia. Is the world's only Muslim nuclear nation about to intervene in the Middle East?
The Middle East is today divided into four rival camps: Iran with her proxies and allies; the Salafi Jihadists, currently dominated by the so-called “Islamic State”; the Muslim Brotherhood movement in its various manifestations, including Hamas, supported by Qatar and by Erdogan's Turkey; and the “forces of stability”: all those who fear and resist the rise of the first three camps, with Israel an active and important player in this latter camp.
The reasons for the dislike of Israel are numerous and often reinforce each other. Christianity and Islam, the religions adhered to by most of the world, are critical of Judaism for its rejection of their terms for redemption, while Israel’s unique story of an ancient people returning to the homeland is not easily accepted.
By executing a prominent Shiite leader, the Saudi King and his son the Deputy Crown Prince sent a strong signal to Iran, to the kingdom’s beleaguered Shiite minority, and to the world. To its Iranian Shiite rival, Sunni Riyadh was saying that it would absolutely not tolerate intervention in its internal affairs. It was telling its own Shiites that it would not allow “Arab Spring”-like dissent. And to the world, Salman and Muhammad were signaling that the Saudis were growing into their new role as a defender and leader of the Sunni Muslim countries; especially since the Obama administration appears to be siding with Iran.
Israel has a strategic interest in, and long-standing commitment to, the safety, security, stability and prosperity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In current times, the relationship is buttressed by a broad-ranging series of cooperative ventures in the strategic, security, diplomatic, economic and energy fields.
The risk of ISIS employing chemical, biological, and radiological warfare agents is real. In fact, ISIS already has attacked with chemical agents. ISIS has mobilized Iraqi and Syrian scientists who are assisting in the development of chemical weapons, particularly nerve and mustard gas, alongside foreign experts. It also has reportedly moved its labs, experts, and materials from Iraq to Syria.
The flourishing new relationship between Israel and her two Hellenic neighbors in the eastern Mediterranean – Greece and Cyprus – is important on its own merits. But equally important, the Israel-Greece-Cyprus alliance seeks to block Turkey’s ambitions of regional hegemony, while at the same time offering Ankara a key place in the new Mediterranean political order, if and when she comes to her senses.
While there is no doubt that Israel is facing a difficult security situation, the surge in Palestinian violence does not pose any existential threat to Israel. Israel has weathered longer and harsher waves of terrorism. Israeli leaders must keep things in proportion, and reject calls for “massive retaliation” that will not truly improve security and could make things worse.
האירועים הקשים בעת הנוכחית אינם מסכנים את קיום המדינה. אסור בשום פנים ואופן שהמצב הקשה, הנובע ממתקפת הטרור הבלתי פוסקת, יביא לחקיקה שתפגע בערביי ישראל או לנקיטת אמצעים קיצוניים נגד האוכלוסייה הפלסטינית בשטחים. אלה אמצעים וחוקים אשר בטווח הבינוני והארוך נזקם רב מתועלתם. קל ופופולרי להתלהם בימים אלה, אך דווקא כעת כדאי לראות את חצי הכוס המלאה.