Aug. 25, 2017
Video: Thwarting a New Iranian Empire – Dore Gold (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- People do not understand what it means to leave Iran inside of Syria as currently envisioned by the Great Powers.
- The Iranians established themselves in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon back in 1982 and in a few short years established Hizbullah, a guerrilla army that accepted the idea of Iranian domination and leadership of all Muslims. It served as a surrogate for Iran in the Middle East.
- It was originally thought that if Israel withdrew from Lebanon, the Hizbullah problem would go away. But Israel did withdraw from Lebanon in 2000 and the Hizbullah threat only got worse because it had nothing to do with Israel. It had everything to do with Iranian regional ambitions.
- Years ago, when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was sitting with a high-level American official, he criticized U.S. policy in Iraq for having recreated the Safavid Empire. The Safavid Empire was the Persian Empire back in the 16th century.
- It was then that Persian control stretched over parts of Syria; it covered Iraq including Baghdad; it went south into the Persian Gulf; it included the island of Bahrain; it stretched into half of Afghanistan and into what used to be referred to as Soviet Central Asia. This was a huge state that still exists in the fond memories of many in the Iranian leadership.
- Just as Lebanon became a base for Iranian operations across the Middle East, leaving Iranian forces in Syria will create a challenge on a much greater scale. This will pose a direct threat to the future security of Israel as well as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.
- The bottom line is: Iranian forces must be withdrawn from Syria back to Iran. If the Great Powers leave Iran in Syria, they are setting the stage for the next great crisis in the Middle East, which will be far larger than anything we have seen until now.
The writer, president of the Jerusalem Center, served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN and director general of the Foreign Ministry.
(Click on the article’s title to see the video…Ed.)