By Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 31, 2021, https://bit.ly/3dnN4zx
The Iran-Turkey threat
The stormy Arab Street has raged since the eruption of the 2011 Arab Tsunami (otherwise known as “the Arab Spring”). It has intensified existential threats – domestically and regionally – to all Arab regimes.
In 2021, Iran’s Ayatollahs and Turkey’s Erdogan – two religiously driven imperialistic regimes – pose the main existential threat to every relatively-moderate Arab regime. They incite domestic conflicts and violence, and leverage the inherent intra-Arab fragmentation, rivalries, intolerance, wars and terrorism, which have precluded an effective Arab front in the face of Iran and Turkey.
In 2021, the Shiite Ayatollahs and Sunni Erdogan – with the financial backing of Qatar – support the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, militarily and financially. The Brotherhood is the largest Islamic terrorist organization, which attempts to topple all Arab regimes (e.g., Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain) – using political and terroristic tools – as a step toward establishing a universal pan-Islamic society, which would overpower the West.
In 2021, contrary to the assumption that Iran’s Ayatollahs may consider abandoning their megalomaniacal vision, and may peacefully coexist and share power with their Sunni Arab neighbors, Teheran is actively exporting the Islamic revolution to every Arab country – via subversion and terrorism – as they have done in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.
In 2021, Iran’s Ayatollahs are taking advantage of their successful cooperation with the Shiite Houthis in the civil war in Yemen, in order to destabilize Saudi Arabia, aiming to topple the Saudi regime and all other Arab Sunni regimes in the Arabian Peninsula.
While Iran and Turkey pursue two conflicting long-term visions – an imperialistic Shiite empire and the reestablishment of the Sunni Ottoman Empire – they are collaborating in the quest of their joint short-term goal to topple every pro-US Arab regime. Advancing this goal would further exacerbate the turbulence in the critical area between Europe, Asia and Africa and between the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, with grave military and economic global consequences, including the proliferation of anti-US Islamic terrorism.
Islamic terrorism targets the US
The US has been systematically targeted by Islamic terrorism, which has been an intrinsic feature of the Middle East since the seventh century, driven by fanatical anti-“infidel” and anti-Western ideology.
Islamic terrorism has focused on the US since the Tripoli Barbary Muslim pirates in the 18th century, independent of US policy, in general, and US policy towards Israel, in particular.
Islamic terrorism has zeroed-in on the US irrespective of the Arab-Israeli conflict, well-intentioned US peace initiatives, frequent pressure on Israel by US Presidents, generous US foreign aid to Arab (including Palestinian) regimes, and occasional US gestures toward the Palestinians, as demonstrated by the following recent examples:
*In March 1973, Palestinian terrorists murdered the US Ambassador to the Sudan, Cleo Noel, and Charge’ d’Affaires, Curtis Moore, notwithstanding President Nixon’s and Secretary of State Rogers’ pressure for Israeli concessions to the Arabs.
*In June 1976, Palestinian terrorists murdered US Ambassador to Lebanon, Francis Meloy, and Economic Counselor, Robert Waring, despite President Ford’s and Secretary of State Kissinger’s pressure on Israel for concessions to the Arabs.
*In November 1979, Iran’s revolutionaries seized the US Embassy and took 63 Americans hostage for 444 days, in spite of President Carter’s support of Ayatollah Khomeini and betrayal of the Shah during the initial stage of the Islamic revolution.
*In April and October, 1983, the Iran-supported Islamic Jihad – in cooperation with Palestinian terrorists – car-bombed the US Embassy and the US Marine Corps Headquarters in Beirut, murdering 36 and 242 Americans respectively, regardless of the on-going US-PLO dialogue (from 1981 through the December 1988, US recognition of the PLO) and President Reagan’s brutal pressure on Israel to refrain from retaliating against PLO strongholds in Lebanon).
*In December 1988, PanAm-103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland by a Libyan-placed bomb, murdering 259 people, seven days after US recognition of the PLO on December 14.
*In February 1993, al-Qaeda car-bombed the NY World Trade Center, murdering six people and causing $500mn in damage.
*In June 1996, Iran-supported Hezbollah car-bombed the US military housing compound of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, murdering 19 US GIs, while President Clinton embraced Yasser Arafat.
*In August 1998, two al-Qaeda bombs blasted the US Embassy in Kenya and Tanzania, murdering some 300 people (12 Americans), while President Clinton was brutally pressuring Israel for concessions to the Palestinians.
*In October 2000, al Qaeda terrorists bombed the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden, Yemen, murdering 17 sailors, while the US and Israel offered unprecedented Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.
*On September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorists crashed two airliners into the Twin Towers and an additional plane into the Pentagon, murdering 3,025 (mostly) Americans.
*In October 2003, Palestinian terrorists attacked a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza, on their way to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarships to study in the US. Three security guards were murdered.
*In November 2009, al-Qaeda-connected US Army Major, Nidal Hasan, murdered 13 US soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas.
*In May 2010, an Islamic terrorist, Faisal Shahzad, tried and failed to ignite a bomb in Times Square.
*In September 2012, Islamic terrorists – who were assisted by the US in their successful attempt to topple the Qadhafi regime in 2011 – assaulted the US Consulate and the CIA compound in Benghazi, Libya, murdering four Americans.
*In December 2015, two Islamic terrorists murdered 14 Americans at the San Bernardino, California Inland Regional Center.
*In June 2016, an Islamic terrorist murdered 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
*In October 2017, an Islamic terrorist drove a pickup truck into cyclists and runners in Lower Manhattan, murdering eight people.
*In December 2019, an Islamic terrorist murdered three US Navy sailors on the Navy Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.
The bottom line
*Underestimating the inherent anti-“infidel” and anti-Western nature of Islamic terrorism, and disregarding the central role played by the imperialistic and anti-Western vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Turkey’s Erdogan – as well as the pan-Islamic and anti-Western strategic goal of the Muslim Brotherhood – would severely undermine the existence of all pro-US Arab regimes, while crippling the national security and economy of the US.
*The close operational, research and industrial US-Israel cooperation has leveraged Israel’s daily experience in the battle against Islamic terrorism. It has provided the US with a unique cost-effective, battle-tested counter-terrorism laboratory, generating critical intelligence, battle tactics, cutting-edge technologies and advanced equipment – a unique force multiplier, sparing American lives and mega billion dollars.