Categories: kazi mahmood

Cracks in the Tight US-Israel Tie

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In this brief note, we look at Stratfor’s view on a possible divide between President Joe Biden’s government and Israel on two thorny issues, Iran and Palestine.

The tight bond in the U.S.-Israeli relationship so far seems to have stood the test of time but with a major shift in the Middle East cracks are appearing!

With more Arab nations opening up to Israel — recognising Israel as a nation and working with Tel Aviv on commercial and other interests — Iran’s nuclear programme stands out.

Stratfor says the shift in the Middle East’s geopolitics has also shifted the factors that have kept the US and Israel so close for decades.

The fall of the Soviet Union, Syria’s ongoing civil war and treaties with Egypt, Jordan and now the UAE, Bahrain, only Iran remains as a test of the relationship between Tel Aviv and Washington.

But it is not only the geopolitical shift in the Mideast that is of concern for the Israelis in particular, it is also the shift in American politics.

LEFTISM

The Democrats have fallen into the hands of a resurgent but leftist movement in the US that has allied with the Dems to defeat President Donald Trump in the last Presidential elections.

Now, they are in power and they are pressuring the Joe Biden administration to have a different look at the ‘monstrosity of Israel’s apartheid-look-alike policies towards the Palestinians.

With the Dems in power, the US and Israel are not seeing eye-to-eye (and this might cause one to lose some sight) on US policies towards Iran.

The US wants to renegotiate the nuclear deal with Iran and reduce tension in the region. It wants to focus on China which for the US is a major external threat to its acquired position as a global superpower.

Israel wants to strike Iran to destroy its nuclear plants and end its nuclear programme and with it the risk of Iran building or obtaining a nuclear ‘revolution’ bomb.

While Trump was readying his forces for a possible strike against Iran, Biden is not listening to this argument.

His main concern is Xi Jinping, the powerful Chinese President who has global ambitions and is pushing the nerves of the US over Taiwan and Hongkong to the limit.

There is the South China Sea and China’s growing influence in the world with its Belt and Road Initiative.

These are the priorities for the US administration, not Israel’s backdoor issues with the Iranians and the Shia militias that are, in a way, surrounding Israel from Lebanon to parts of Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

PALESTINE

With the toning down of the risks of war and destabilisation in the Mideast, the focus is now on Palestine and this is not making the Israelis happy. They see this focus as unwarranted attention from the ‘West’, particularly from the now so nosey Dems in power in the US.

Israel will resist all attempts to sit for peace talks with the bomb-throwing Palestinians. A civilised nation does not deal with terrorists, it will be saying.

Israel will also continue its policy of robbing the Palestinians of the land and houses or olive plantations. This is not sitting well in Washington.

There is a lot of pressure and lobby in the US that is causing a stir in Israel and there is a wind of change that is blowing over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an unending conflict that is bound to keep the Biden administration busy.

But do not get all this wrong. While the pressure is mounting on Israel to deal with the Palestinians as a civilised nation, the US has its limitations in pushing Tel Aviv to act like a civilised nation in this matter.

Nevertheless, the cracks are there and Iran is one country that will take advantage of this moment of the fraternal divide between the Israelis and Americans.

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Kazi Mahmood

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