Back Iranian Aggression by Supporting Israel
Makovsky and Charles Wald
New York Daily
the bloody battle for northwestern Syria underway, the media is focused again on
chemical weapons. However important, the larger moral and strategic issue is the
murderous Bashar Assad regime's drive to reconquer all of Syria, backed by
Russia and Iran. This will mean an expansion of Iranian influence and increased
risk of a significant Israeli-Iranian war and regional destabilization.
the Trump administration reluctant to push back directly against Assad, it
should bolster security assistance for our close ally Israel that has repeatedly
demonstrated a willingness to stymie if not roll back Iran, thereby advancing
regional stability and U.S. interests.
help has kept Assad on the throne, and he is now repaying his debts by giving
Tehran the keys to his kingdom. Much like Lebanon now, Syria appears poised to
become a forward operating base for the world's chief terrorism sponsor and a
beachhead for future Iranian operations against Israel and likely trigger for a
Iranian forces from Syria is critical to preventing a broader conflagration that
might require yet another costly U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.
The United States has roughly 2,000 Special Forces in Syria, and ample airpower
throughout the region, but the Trump Administration is reluctant to utilize
these assets against Iranian expansion. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir
Putin reportedly wants Iran out of Syria but protests, "I can't do it
leaves it to Israel, which this year ramped up its efforts to degrade Iran's and
Hezbollah's assets in Syria. It remains committed to preventing both a permanent
Iranian presence in the country and advanced weapons from reaching Hezbollah and
other proxies, raising the specter of a broader conflict encompassing not only
Syria but also Lebanon and possibly Iraq and Iran itself.
The two could also come to blows over Tehran's nuclear program, which Iranian officials are
threatening to accelerate.
United States should gird Israel for a likely major war with Iran and its
a report released
this May by the U.S.-Israel Security Task Force at the Jewish Institute for
National Security of America (JINSA), we explain how Israel defends America's
interests in the region by defending itself, and consequently the steps
Washington should take to bolster Israel's ability to confront Iran and other
our report was issued, Congress has taken laudable steps toward this goal. The
recently-enacted National Defense Authorization Act, and a U.S.-Israel Security
Assistance Authorization bill that passed the
Senate and appears poised to
clear the House of Representatives, both direct a number of the measures we
recommended. But much more must be done.
law requires America to uphold Israel's "qualitative military edge" (QME)
which ensures it can counter real or potential threats at acceptable cost. A
2016 memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide Israel $38 billion in defense
assistance, spaced evenly over ten years, is a key pillar of QME. But Israel
needs an acceleration of this assistance amid the intensifying threat from Iran
and its proxies. American policymakers must prepare to frontload the assistance
contemplated under the MoU, without adding one cent to it.
could provide Israel with critical capabilities more readily, including
additional F-35 squadrons, KC-46 air refueling tankers, mobility and transport
aircraft, GBU-39, GBU-53/B and Hellfire precision munitions, JDAM kits for
unguided bombs, UAVs and semi-submersible naval vessels. The United States
should also replenish precision munitions and other vital stockpiles of
prepositioned war materiel in Israel, and consider making Israel a
prepositioning base to support operations regionwide.
United States and Israel should also explore a mutual defense treaty to deter an
extraordinary conflict, including potentially with Iran, that could threaten
Israel's strategic and economic viability.
should elevate Israel's status. Despite being one of America's closest security
partners, Israel shares its current "major non-NATO ally" status with
Tunisia and Afghanistan, among others. Instead, the United States should largely
treat Israel as it does Britain and Australia. We recommend President
Trump issue an executive order creating a presumption of approval for sharing
with Israel information, military equipment and technology, and treat Israel
effectively as part of the "Five Eyes" agreement on signals
using the shared costs and benefits of the Arrow missile defense program as a
model, the United States and Israel should explore areas for joint research and
development of military technology to confront Iranian aggression, including
directed energy and hypersonic weapons, hyperspectral military satellites, cyber
operations, artificial intelligence, unmanned vehicles and counter-hybrid
warfare, including special and maritime operations, particularly littoral
defense of critical infrastructure.
Trump administration has explicitly adopted President Ronald Reagan's strategy
of "peace through strength." Restoring peace to a Middle East
destabilized and constantly endangered by Iranian aggression will require
strengthening America's main ally in the region: Israel.