Israel, US cover up differences over Iran, but friction remains
Scoop: Public harmony masks dissonance in private
This week, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hosted Israeli National Security Advisor Eyal hulata as part of the US-Israel Strategic Advisory Group.
No wonder most of the discussions have focused on Iran. Reading the White House made it clear the US president Joe biden“The fundamental commitment to the security of Israel and to ensure that Iran never obtains nuclear weapons”, adding that although the United States believes that “diplomacy is the best way to achieve this goal” , if diplomacy fails, the United States “is prepared to look to other options.”
Washington and Jerusalem both want to maintain a fluid and collegial collaboration, and they are, especially in public. Nobody wants a return to bad blood between the former US president Barack obama and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin netanyahu on the 2015 US-led Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which Israel opposed.
But this week’s collegial discussions and press readings cannot mask the profound differences between the Biden administration and the Naftali Bennett–Yair Lapid government over Iran.
“Diplomatic sources say that away from the public eye, the climate in closed meetings is much less favorable,” writes Ben caspit. “In fact, the opposite may be true. Israeli frustration is growing, as is the realization that Israel and the United States are not on the same page and that their strategic perceptions of the Iranian nuclear threat differ considerably.
Israel wants “other options” to include a credible military threat, and has suggested that the US position on Iran could benefit from a new round of sanctions and demonstrations of military force, such as exercises in neighboring countries. or aircraft carrier deployments.
“The Israeli effort is aimed at showing and convincing the Americans that military action could also provide a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, not just talks, that they should show serious intentions and convince Iran that with carrot, the United States is also holding a stick, ”adds Caspit. “This effort has failed for the moment. Al-Monitor has learned that during the numerous meetings between the parties, many Israeli officials, including the Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, proposed a series of actions. “
In an Al-Monitor podcast this week, Ali Vaez The International Crisis Group says Iran would probably only consider developing a nuclear weapon following an attack on the country.
Israel is on what Rina Bassist calls a “diplomatic blitz” to keep the focus on Iran. Foreign Minister Lapid was in Moscow last month to talk about Iran, and will be in Washington on October 12.
During this time, Mazal mualem has the scoop on rising tensions between Gantz and Bennett, after Bennett revealed details of a Mossad operation to get information on the navigator Ron arad, who was captured and disappeared in Lebanon 35 years ago. It had, until now, been mainly taboo to talk about the ongoing Mossad operations in public. The top-secret account suggests that Israel may have kidnapped an Iranian general and questioned him before releasing him. Gantz, who despite his leadership position lies outside Bennett’s circle of trust, also knows he could yet break the fragile government at any time by making a deal with Netanyahu.
The elections in Iraq, a “historic moment”
In other multilateral security matters, the Foreign Ministers and Secretaries of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, from Sweden, the UK and the US praised the Iraqi Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) for its preparations for the Iraqi elections on 10 October.
Ministers called the elections “an important moment in Iraqi history”. The early elections are at the initiative of the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, in response to the numerous demonstrations which led to the resignation of his predecessor, Adel Abdel-Mahdi.
The steps to ensure a smooth and transparent process can set a new regional standard. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), supported by a mandate from the UN Security Council, has worked hand in hand with IHEC. The UN electoral mission will be “the largest of its kind in the world, with five times more UN officials than there were in the 2018 elections,” the joint statement said.
The election includes 3,200 candidates from more than 400 parties, which are organized into 22 electoral alliances, vying for 328 seats in the Iraqi Council of Representatives (parliament). 82 of these seats are reserved for women.
Alliances then tighten on the selection of the prime minister (attributed to the Shiite parties), the president (attributed to the Kurdish parties) and the speaker of the parliament (attributed to the Sunni groups).
Kadhimi and the Iraqi President Barham Salih convinced the leaders of Iraqi political parties and blocs to sign a document on standards of electoral conduct earlier this month, Omar Sattar reports here. Unlike in the past, Iraq enforces its electoral laws, with fines and other penalties for violations.
In August, Kadhimi organized a national dialogue conference with Iraqi political and civil society leaders and encouraged Iraqi independents and those associated with protest movements to participate in the elections.
Some of the nascent Iraqi protest groups will remain absent, however, as Mustafa Sadoun reports here, preferring to focus on the need for a comprehensive reform of the Iraqi political system.
But many new and independent parties will also be on the ballot.
Election turnout set to be boosted by Iraqi Grand Ayatollah’s September 27 statement Ali Sistani, the most revered political figure in Iraq. Sistani’s message contrasts with his lukewarm approval ahead of the 2018 election, as Ali Mamouri Explain.
Meanwhile, the populist Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr, who previously decided not to participate in the election, now fully agrees. As Adnan Abu Zeed reports from Iraq, speaking to officials of Al-Sadr’s Sairoon coalition (“Going forward”), the Sadrists are rallying the vote and expecting to be the brokers of the next government, including the prime minister.
Shelly kittleson reports on politics between Iraqi Sunni parties, and how the influence of tribal leaders in the western provinces of Iraq still prevails. The most powerful Sunni post in Iraq is that of Speaker of Parliament, held by Mohamed Al-Halbousi. Sunni communities in Iraq north and west of Baghdad continue to be plagued by episodic terrorist attacks from the Islamic State, as Kittleson reports here.