As Israel’s old and new parties face off in the haggling for places in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s third government coalition, they are missing hectic events in the background which spell big trouble on their country’s back, front and side doors. This was heralded not least by the arrival in Cairo Tuesday, Feb. 5, of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his offer of a pact with Egypt to “solve the Palestinian problem,” which in his terms means “wiping Israel off the map.”
Iran’s main ally, the Syrian President Bashar Assad is already assured of his coalition with Moscow and Tehran for keeping his regime firmly in power for the foreseeable future. After nearly two years of bloody conflict for his overthrow, the Syrian opposition is knocking on Assad’s door cap in hand to plead with the tyrant for a negotiated end to the agony.
Opposition leader Mouaz al-Khatib has been bustling between US Vice President Joe Biden, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi at the Munich security conference, looking for a concerted multi-national effort to open Assad’s door.
Iran’s National Security Director Saeed Jalili’s trip to Damascus Saturday, Feb. 2, was avowedly to plan retribution for Israel’s reported air strike on the Jamraya military complex and arms trucks near Damascus last Wednesday. But he also put in a word on behalf of negotiations and a request for Bashar Assad to state his terms for opening dialogue with the opposition.
The Syrian ruler is playing hard ball. His strongest card is his regime’s proven survivability in defiance of every Western forecast, including Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s confident prediction since early last year that he would be gone “in weeks.”
Even the Syrian rebels fighting him are beginning to see that they can’t defeat the Assad regime and his army – as debkafile has been reporting for the past year – so long as their archenemy is sustained by Moscow and Tehran with supplies of arms, oil, money and diplomatic support on call.
The Iranian nuclear front never pauses. Tehran can easily afford the optimism voiced by the Iranian foreign minister in Munich Monday, Feb. 4, about the “bilateral dialogue” offered by Vice President Biden, which he welcomed.
This is because Iran is no more than four to six months away from its goal.
Former Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Asher Yadlin, long perceived as the Israeli prime minister’s unofficial spokesman on the Iranian nuclear issue, spoke Monday in his capacity as the head of an Israel research tank, when he said in a lecture that Iran can “achieve breakout in four to six months.”
This would cross the last “red line” set by Netanyahu in his address to the UN last September.
The twin timelines of Syria and Iran look like converging round about May when Iran may have achieved its nuclear weapon capacity at the same time as Assad launches negotiations with his opponents for their capitulation.
Left in ruins would be the grand strategy the Obama administration sold Israel in the past four years, which many Israelis embraced, that it was necessary to break up the Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah axis before tackling the Iranian nuclear threat.
The approaching spring of 2013 will find Israel facing a hostile axis stronger than ever before and, moreover, armed with a nuclear weapon capability.
Netanyahu’s high-flown words about the first priority for his new government being to keep Iran from procuring a nuclear weapon are fast losing their meaning. Iran has already provided itself with all the necessary components for a nuclear device and needs no more than four to six months to assemble them.
It is therefore hardly surprising to find Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, in search of help to save his country from disintegration, bankruptcy and chaos, turning to the rising force, Iran.
Last December, debkafile and other Middle East media reported that Morsi had invited the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods Brigades commander Gen. Qassem Soleimani for a consulation on the establishment of a militia for bolstering his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s hold on power.
This report though widely reported in Egyptian media was generally overlooked by news publications in Israel and the West.
Ahmadinejad lost no time in taking up the invitation to visit Cairo, arriving Tuesday at the head of the Iranian delegation to the 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation which begins Feb. 6.
The first Iranian leader to visit Egypt in three decades, Ahmadinejad was already talking about a joint Egyptian-Iranian effort for solving the “Palestinian problem” and allowing him to pray on Temple Mount, Jerusalem. Solving the Palestinian problem in Iranian terms means wiping the state of Israel off the map.
As seen in his mind’s eye, this should be attainable by a powerful world bloc composed of a nuclear-armed Iran, Egypt, Syria and Hizballah which would triumph over Israel and seize Jerusalem from “the Zionist regime.”
Netanyahu and partners had better hurry up and cobble together their coalition before Israel’s enemies pull ahead.