Iraq and Iran: A Plague on Both Their Houses

(Jerusalem Post) Zalman Shoval - ISIS, though similar in its Islamist ideology and outlook to other jihadist organizations around the Muslim world, is different in one important respect: its aim is not merely to supplant the regimes in various countries, but to erase national borders altogether and create a radical Sunni caliphate in their place, first in Syria and Iraq, then in the rest of the Middle East - and later in North Africa and parts of Europe. Israel cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the turmoil in Iraq and elsewhere - not only because of ISIS' ideological expansionist designs on itself, but, more concretely, because Israel's own optimal "strategic depth" is the eastern border of its Jordanian neighbor. It is in this context that one must also regard Prime Minister Netanyahu's announced plan for constructing a security fence all along the Jordan Valley. Astoundingly, there are those who favor cooperating with Iran in order to bolster the disintegrating military forces of Baghdad's Shi'ite rulers. Any warming of the U.S.-Iranian relationship will grant the Ayatollah regime greater scope for its nefarious activities in the region, as well as against its own people, just as it would strengthen its hand in the nuclear talks and open the door to a permanent Iranian military presence in Iraq. The threat posed by ISIS must, indeed, be stopped, but none of this justifies a counterproductive and immoral decision to join forces with Iran. The writer is a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.

2014-07-04 00:00:00

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