Mar. 12, 2018
The Iranians Are Playing Three-Dimensional Chess – Michael Oren (Israel Hayom)
The Iranians are playing three-dimensional chess. The Iranians cunningly took a step back and allowed the superpowers to destroy their main enemies in the region. The Americans weakened the Taliban and eliminated Saddam Hussein, and, along with Russia, they annihilated the Islamic State.
The Iranians also helped Shiite militias exhaust and chase American forces from Iraq. The resulting vacuum in Iraq and Syria was filled by the Iranians and their proxies.
Today, Iran is penetrating deeper across the Middle East and is guiding the Shiite majorities in eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. It has also established a foothold among the Houthis rebels in Yemen. Recently, Bahraini forces thwarted a coup attempt orchestrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
At the same time, the Iranians have forged strong alliances with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Together with their complete control over Lebanon, the Iranians have laid siege to virtually the entire Middle East.
The nuclear deal grants Iran all the advantages of military nuclear capabilities without the costs. While Iran doesn’t have to fear a military strike on its nuclear facilities, sanctions relief and lucrative business deals have provided the immense funds it uses to realize its regional aspirations.
The Israeli government has thus far set clear red lines prohibiting the Iranians from building missile bases and ports in Syria and from transferring sophisticated weaponry to Hizbullah. These red lines must be stringently enforced, while international support must also be enlisted.
The writer is a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. who currently serves as deputy public diplomacy minister.