than Mitt Romney, the only man who can plausibly
derail President Barack Obama's increasingly
likely re-election is Israel Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, whose policy of
"preemption" makes an Israeli military
strike on Iran's nuclear facilities only a matter
that occurs, a disruption of Middle East oil
production and shipments, a spike in U.S. gas
prices, and a renewal of Islamic terrorist attacks
also will be just a matter of time.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a
late-September address to the United Nations that
his country would hold the United States
responsible for any Israeli military assault. In a
subsequent U.N. speech, Netanyahu said that an
atom bomb in the hands of Tehran's virulently
anti-Zionist Shia fundamentalists, which he says
will be a reality by mid-2013, would trigger
military strikes. Netanyahu drew a "red
line," saying that when Iran has 90 percent
of the enriched uranium needed to manufacture a
weapon of mass destruction, Israel
for Obama, whose "two-state solution"
foreign policy emphatically opposes any Israeli
preemption, it will not occur before the Nov. 6
election. The economic impact of a Mideast
"crisis" would be severe. Interestingly,
Romney supports Israel's stance. By attacking now,
Israel could ensure Obama's defeat; by waiting
until next year, it ensures his re-election.
analysis of the geographical and geopolitical
Middle East begins with the "Three H's"
-- history, hate and histrionics. There is no
macro Middle East; there are a bunch of micro
Middle Easts -- Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and
Libya, and, farther east, Afghanistan. The
situation in Pakistan and India, where Muslims and
Hindus are in conflict, also is combustible. Each
has its own economic agenda. Each has a huge
Muslim population. Each has a historical and
religious animus toward Israel, Zionism and a
Jewish homeland. Each has an Islamic
fundamentalist movement which preaches hate toward
Israel and the United States. Each has a huge
underclass of jobless, whom the governments
appease by blaming their plight on the Israelis.
ironically, there is as much Muslim hatred of each
other as there is of Israel. The Sunnis, who
comprise 90 percent of all Muslims, hate the
Shiites. Al-Qaeda, which is Sunni, despises
Hezbollah, headquartered in Lebanon, which is Shia
and which is supported by Iran. Pakistan's
Lashkar-e-Taiba is a rival of Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which is
allied with the Taliban, which operates in
Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hamas, the Sunni Muslim
Palestinian extremist group, has long been a
bitter political rival of Fatah, the
PLO-affiliated party. Hamas, the guerilla
"Army of God," until recently attacked
Israeli outposts in the Gaza Strip area and
refuses to coordinate with Hezbollah, the
Lebanon-based guerillas who are funded by Iran and
who attack Israel's north border.
distinction between Sunni and Shia is that Sunnis
want to create a caliphate, which is a mystical
Muslim worldwide state, where the teachings of the
Quran are inviolate, while the Shiites believe
that Mohammed's voice on earth emanates from
various imams, who interpret the Quran, and that
those clerics -- like the ayatollahs in Iran --
must be obeyed.
is estimated that 42 percent of the world's Jews,
roughly 4.4 million, live in Israel, on a fertile
strip of land comprising 7,800 square miles.
Israel's population is about 6.9 million, of which
20 percent are Arabs, mostly Sunni Muslims. The
Zionists' claim of a Jewish homeland is, at least
to Arabs, highly questionable. The founding
kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the last
Davidian ruler, passed in the 1st Century A.D.
Thereafter, a succession of Roman, Arab, Mamluk
and Ottoman invaders ruled the territory. After
World War I the British seized the area, which was
then known as Palestine and Trans-Jordan,
thereafter creating Jordan and Syria. Under the
1917 Balfour Doctrine, the British decided that
they would "establish in Palestine a natural
home for Jewish people," which was a
political concession to their country's Zionist
nation making is a glacial process. Jewish
emigration to the British colony was meager until
after World War II, when the State of Israel was
finally created through a partition of Palestine,
with only Gaza and the West Bank remaining under
Arab control. Jerusalem, the Biblical city revered
by both Muslims and Jews, was ceded to Israel.
Immediately, almost 100,000 Arabs flocked across
the northern border into Lebanon. After the 1967
Six Day War, Israel absorbed Gaza and the West
Bank -- and about three million Arabs -- into its
zone of control, but not their country.
thus is surrounded by implacable enemies.
which was created in 1988, is the autonomous
governing body in Gaza, East Jerusalem and the
West Bank, with a population of 4.4 million, of
which more than 40 percent are under the age of
15. Once the breeding ground of the Palestinian
Liberation Organization, it is now the staging
area for Hamas, a political and military faction
which controls the Gaza Strip, with a population
of 1.7 million, while Fatah dominates the West
Bank, with a population of 2.5 million.
a demographic standpoint, assimilation of the
occupied Arab areas by Israel is an impossibility.
Arabs already outnumber Jews. By 2025 Israel would
be a Muslim-majority nation. So, too, is a
Palestinian nation. The Obama Administration wants
a "two-state solution," with reversion
to the 1967 borders, and a Palestinian state with
Jerusalem as its capital. It will never happen.
Israel wants the occupied areas for a buffer zone,
and it could never tolerate a Hamas-governed and
some, Israel's preoccupation with Iran is simply a
diversion, taking focus away from military
suppression of the Palestinians.
to the north, beyond the Golan Heights, has a
population of 3.8 million and is riddled with
religious division between Maronite Christians (30
percent) and Muslims, of which Sunni are 60
percent. However, since the days of Ayatollah
Khomeini, Iran has been funding the Shiite
Hezbollah, a military force dedicated to the
destruction of Israel. The Sunni Palestinians who
flocked to Lebanon in 1948 are still confined to
settlement camps at Sabra, Shatilah and Ayn Al-Hilweh.
They cannot be citizens, vote, own property,
attend schools or work in the professions.
Al-Qaeda uses the camps to recruit terrorists.
with a population of 70 million, which was a
secular, military-run dictatorship and a quiet
ally of Israel and the U.S., now is a
fundamentalist Sunni Islamic state dominated by
the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to cleanse the
country of all Western influence and restore the
Islamic status of women. Not good for Israel. If
Israel attacks Iran, Egypt likely will attack
with a population of 17 million, just northeast of
Israel, is a fragile dictatorship with a 74
percent Sunni majority, and the socialist Baath
Party, with military support, has governed since
1983, after Israel's invasion.
with a population of 68 million, is a Muslim
democracy, with Shiites comprising 89 percent of
the population and Sunnis 10 percent. Ahmadinejad
is supposed to leave office next year, but the
capacity to build a nuclear bomb is imminent.
There are well over a dozen "hardened"
refining sites throughout the country, so an
Israeli air strike eradication is problematical.
An Iranian strike would unleash immediate
retaliation by Hezbollah and Hamas.
it should be noted that Israel's surgical strikes
in Syria in 1982 and in Lebanon in 1996 did not
produce a conflagration.
to the west of Israel, with a population of 5.5
million, is a monarchy with a 96 percent Sunni
with a population of 25 million, is 65 percent
Shia and 35 percent Sunni. The late dictator
Saddam Hussein maintained sectarian peace.
"We took out the wrong guy" is a current
refrain. The U.S. props up a
"democratic" leader in a country where
there can be no unity.
Arabia, with a population of 24 million, is a
monarchy. Oil exports generate more than $50
billion in revenue. The royal family, to blunt any
insurrection, funds various terrorist groups, who
direct their ire elsewhere.
obviously, is a country besieged. It is surrounded
by more than 200 million Muslims, every government
is hostile, and an Iranian atomic bomb delivered
on Tel Aviv could wipe out a third of the nation's
population and render the country a radioactive
sophisticated U.S. weaponry and subsidies and
American Jewish donations, Israel could not
survive. Israel is America's most reliable ally in
the Middle East, but how will the Obama
Administration react when Iran has nuclear
weapons? Netanyahu has doubts.
back to U.S. politics, Jews comprise about 2
percent of America's population of roughly 315
million, or six million. Of that number almost
half are Orthodox, for which the preservation of
Israel is paramount. Almost 80 percent of Jewish
voters supported Obama in the 2008 election.
it's crunch time. Romney and the Republicans are
the pro-Zionist, anti-Palestine-independence,
take-out-Iran's-nukes party, while Obama and the
Democrats are equivocators and vacillators. The
Democrats' national party platform, initially,
excised Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
question is this: When Israel attacks Iran in
2013, who do American Jews want as U.S. president?