Based upon a lecture by Ambassador Yoram Ettinger
By Jerome S. Kaufman
Once again, the incomparable military analyst and astute political advisor, Yoram Ettinger, appears to be the only authority able and willing to see the forest from the trees.
We were privileged to hear the ambassador at our Palm Beach Synagogue, April 21, 2012. He was introduced by proud American, proud Jew and dedicated Zionist, Steven Stern.
The ambassador made the startling announcement that Israel was totally secondary in Iran’s master plan – almost kind of a red herring! Huh? The ambassador went on to advise us that the world and especially the American State Department with the current administration has never really understood the geopolitics and military ambitions within the Middle East and how Iran’s master plan fits into the current dynamic.
Please look at the map. It is a map of the Middle East showing the vital importance of the Persian Gulf. The Gulf is a large body of water that lies between Saudi Arabia, the powerbroker for Sunni Muslims and Iran the strongest power within the Shiite Moslem world. Much to their disappointment, neither of the two has controlled the Persian Gulf, primarily because neither has ever had any realistic ambition to rival the United States as a naval power. Unfortunately, Iran has obtained a far easier, less cumbersome and less expensive road to this power.
The Persian Gulf happens to be one of the main avenues for commerce, especially for all-powerful oil, in the world. It constitutes the easiest access to the Arabian Sea which immediately borders Pakistan and India and constitutes a much shorter route to the Far East. At this moment, Iran is threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz (see on map) at the bottom of the Persian Gulf which gains entry to the Arabian Sea and thus wreck havoc with the world’s oil supply. Iran claims this war provoking action would take place if the United States or Israel or both attempt to take out Iran’s nuclear facility.
Ambassador Ettinger asks what of this Iranian threat to close the Straits of Hormuz if it is attacked? So what, points out Ettinger. How does the relative minor skirmish that would ensue to quickly take back the Straits and defeat a conventionally armed Iran, compare to having to deal with one that had obtained even the rudiments of nuclear warfare and has furthermore gained the support of the surrounding nations? There is no comparison. There is nothing, in fact, to talk about except in the minds of the world’s talking heads who have thus far failed to see the forest from the trees.
A not incidental problem is that if Iran gains control of the Persian Gulf, it also obtains total domination of the small, virtually powerless Persian Gulf States – Qatar, United Arab Republics. Oman, and Yemen – all very important politically and vital in the production of oil. As the ambassador reminds us, loyalties change at the bat of an eye in the Middle East – not far different from the rest of the world. These countries that have long been supposed allies of the United States, under the threat of merciless punishment from an immediately adjacent neighbor, nuclear armed, would quickly change sides. This change of loyalties is particularly likely given the shocking, senseless, counter productive abandonment of allies by a painfully unreliable Obama administration.
How then does Israel fall within this dynamic? It does not. As much as Ahmadinejad despises Jews, he is far from stupid. He has simply been using the world’s all-consuming congenital hatred of Jews and Israel as a ploy to hood wink the world away from his master plan. Look at the map. Does it make sense for Iran to travel over 1000 miles, in exactly the opposite direction, to attack Israel and risk immediate massive Israeli nuclear retaliation? Does he really want to cripple Iran’s much more productive and politically more sensible (to their minds) plan of domination of the Arab world and the world’s oil supply? Hardly.
Then, one might conclude that the US and the rest of the world’s talking heads had better stop talking about nonsensical, consistently failed “negotiations” see the forest not the trees and act immediately, if not sooner. They could quickly enlist the vital help of their only loyal ally in the area – Israel – and take out Iran before a much greater military and political disaster is there at our own doorstep – like it is right now.
Jerome S. Kaufman, Editor
Yoram Ettinger is a consultant on US-Israel relations as well as the Chairman of Special Projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research. Formerly the Minister for Congressional Affairs to Israel’s Embassy in Washington, DC, Ettinger also served as Consul General of Israel to the Southwestern US. He is a former editor of Contemporary Mideast Backgrounder, and is the author of the Jerusalem Cloakroom series of reports which is featured on the ACPR website.