From Israel, a new Front Line
There were bombings. Two by Israel. One by Iran. Not Syria. Iran. In the last weeks Israel espied new truck activity on a quiet (and previously bombed months ago) base in Syria, a no man’s country since the Obama administration drew a “red line” 5 year ago and then stayed put, creating a vacuum where he said we’d stand. For 5 years Europe has accepted millions of fleeing Syrian refugees, while Iran stepped in to replace the Syrian civilians with Iranian troops and to dig in the barren land to bury weapons.
Israelis saw the Iranian base building and bomb piling in Syria for a few years, and were told by Iran the purpose. When underground missiles were brought to the ground surface in Syria this week, trajectories pointed toward northern Israel where Hezbollah plays border guard, the Israeli government opened its bomb shelters in the north and the Israeli Air Force flew. Half of the roughly two dozen soldiers caught on the Syrian weapons bases were Iranians. Israel tried to set Iran Quds well back, and no Iranian bombs launched from Syria hit Israel. The atmosphere in Israel is tense but cautiously optimistic. But the process may be long and the neighborhood remains dangerous for Jews, as does Europe (newly, but yet again) and most of the Arab world today. The world is more dangerous today for all of us who must dutifully take off our shoes and shun H2O in bottles to fly.
Why were sanctions ever lifted? Because the Europeans and the Chinese have rich business dealings with Iran, which bolster their budgets and oil supplies. But the US doesn’t. Indeed Congress wouldn’t and didn’t ratify the accord, so the US document was called a “political commitment“ and remained unsigned. Unsigned and provenly unjustified, since Iran spent much of its people’s released cash on weapons. Weapons they placed in wild wild Syria, in Gaza with Hamas, and in Lebanon with Hezbollah a US labeled terrorist group now clearly in charge and allied with Iran.
US renewal of sanctions is very welcome by Israelis and Sunni Muslims because Iran, a theocracy, wants to roll the world back centuries to the height of Shi’ism, for Shi’ites only. Sanctions roll their money wagon in that same general direction, backward. That’s good, because Iran put its money into weapons and troops in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, all terrorist led, and compared to that trio, Iran has both size and cash. The US heeded the call to stop their cash. The Israelis heeded the call to destroy the weapons in empty Syria, creating hopefully a shorter, less violent path toward final goals of diversity and world peace.
But the path won’t be short. And it will be violent. No matter what.
Welcome to the Middle East 2018.