Political and social observations from two aspiring hedgehogs who love the Isaiah Berlin essay.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
What was an Iranian General Doing on the Golan Heights?
An Israeli airstrike directed at Hezbollah vehicles in the Golan Heights of Syria ends up taking out an Iranian general of the Revolutionary Guard. What was he doing there? COMMENTARY has the answer--the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Hezbollah were scouting out possible locations for ballistic missile launching sites outside of Lebanon, from which Iran and Hezbollah could rain death and destruction down on Israel. This is the regime with which our President seeks engagement, while the Obama Administration continues its pivot away from Israel and Sunni Arab states, and toward Iran.
Why does Iran back the Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen in their largely successful attempt to take over that country? Iranian missiles supplied to a Houthi regime would threaten Israeli shipping from its Red Sea port of Eilat, which must pass through the narrow passage leading from the Red Sea to the Sea of Aden. Of course those same missiles would also threaten the shipping of Sunni Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and indeed might block world shipping to and from the Mediterranean Sea, passing through the Suez Canal. Major wars have erupted for far less, including the June 1967 Arab-Israeli War, which was triggered by Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Hormuz, which also threatened Israeli shipping from Eilat.
The United States will probably do nothing to counteract the Iranian threat in Yemen. Like sanctions, opposition to Iran's initiative in Yemen might offend the mullahs. As for Iran's active role in Syria, why it's an ally against ISIS.
Ironically, when President Obama announced the initiation of the bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, he cited Yemen as an example of his foreign policy successes. A few more such successes, and we may be worrying about Iranian missiles in Venezuela.