Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Iraq Study Group Report and Israel

The Iraq Study Group: Implications for Israel

Dore Gold
  • Israel should not try to second-guess U.S. decisions about putting American soldiers in harm’s way. However, the specific strategy that the Baker-Hamilton report proposes for facilitating an American pullback in Iraq – the use of an international support group including Iran and Syria – poses serious problems that affect vital Israeli interests.

  • Baker confirmed on December 6, 2006, that the Iraq Study Group derived some of its inspiration from the “six-plus-two” talks on the future of Afghanistan at the UN. But in Afghanistan, back in the 1990s, Iran sought to contain a radical Sunni regime under the Taliban. In 2006, in contrast, Iran seeks to dominate Iraq through its Shiite majority. The two situations are entirely different.

  • Obtaining a constructive approach from Iran and Syria would involve a 180-degree shift in their policies. Clearly the authors of the report have no awareness of the ideological commitment of the Iranian regime to export its revolution to Shiite communities throughout the Middle East as it seeks to achieve regional hegemony.

  • Should the Bush administration adopt this approach from the Iraq Study Group, it would not be seeking a radical shift in Iranian and Syrian policies from a position of strength. From the perspective of Teheran and Damascus, the U.S. would be seeking their help after they had succeeded in defeating coalition forces. As a result, the price for their cooperation would be exorbitant.

  • The Iraq Study Group suggests that “the Israelis should return the Golan Heights.” There is no negotiation over the withdrawal as in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. It appears that the Golan Heights are being used as an inducement to obtain cooperative Syrian behavior on Iraq. On the Palestinian track, the Baker-Hamilton report does not call for talks over “refugees,” but rather over “the right of return,” adopting Palestinian legal nomenclature and undermining Israel’s legal position.
The entire article can be found here.

The Iraq Study Group Report can be downloaded here.

Dore Gold is the President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and served as Israel’s ambassador to the UN from 1997 to 1999. He is the author of Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003); Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (Crown Forum, 2004); and The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (Regnery, January 2007).

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