How to Restore U.S. Credibility in the Middle East

(CNN) Michael Oren - As Israel's ambassador to Washington and, later, as a member of its government, I held many conversations with Arab diplomats, ministers, journalists and businessmen from Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States. All believed that America was secretly allied with Iran. Fighting Iran's enemies such as Saddam Hussein, ISIS and the Taliban, while refusing to stop Iranian conquests in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq, was presented as proof of Washington's collusion with Tehran. No evidence was more damning than the Iranian nuclear deal, which preserved Iran's nuclear infrastructure while enabling the regime to overcome financial crises. Advocates of the deal warn that canceling it will cost America credibility abroad and alienate important allies. But it is the deal itself that has created a credibility deficit for the U.S. in the Middle East. To restore America's stature in the Middle East, the international community, led by the U.S., could mount a campaign to roll back Iranian conquests and combat Iranian-backed terror. The production and testing of ICBMs by Iran must also completely stop. Efforts must be made either to cancel the nuclear deal or link it to Iranian behavior. The dangers of the "sunset clause" must be addressed by assuring that the deal's restrictions will never expire as long as Iran is ruled by a terror-sponsoring regime. Standing firmly with its Arab and Israeli allies against Iran will contribute immensely to restoring America's credibility in the Middle East. It will also have a material and positive effect on nonproliferation efforts elsewhere in the world.

2018-02-02 00:00:00

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