After 18 months of pleading and begging Iran to return to the failed Obama-Biden 2015 nuclear deal, with concession after concession, Joe Biden may finally realize his profoundly weak approach has failed, and Iran may be nearer than ever to having nuclear weapons.
But thanks to President Trump’s historic ‘Abraham Accords’ and the growing regional defenses between Israel and the Arab Gulf States they created, Biden may still have a viable ‘Plan B’ – a robust regional air and missile defense system.
As the Situation Report by FP writes:
….by the administration’s own account, the talks for a new Iran nuclear deal are not going too well. U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley said earlier this week that Tehran is much closer to having enough fissile material for a nuclear bomb, with the breakout time down possibly to as little as a week.
That has unnerved both Israel—which is already set for new elections in November—and Saudi Arabia, which both fear a resurgent Iran undermining their security. And ahead of Biden’s visit, the two American partners, which are edging closer to an Abraham Accords-like normalization first initiated by the Trump administration, are worried by the uptick in Iran adding more centrifuges while nuclear diplomacy collapses.
But either way, the name of the game for the Israelis, Biden’s first stop, is deterrence. Though most bilateral and multilateral defense ties in the Middle East are fairly nascent, at best, with no NATO standards for interoperability, a senior Israeli official said on Wednesday that the United States was working on a plan to better integrate regional air and missile defenses—something that already has backing in Congress—given Iran’s progress in developing medium- and long-range ballistic missiles.
However, ‘Plan B’ may not be the best label for this alternative effort, as FP notes:
“It’s not a plan B,” the senior Israeli official said, speaking anonymously according to ground rules set by the Israeli government. “Because even if there’s a new nuclear deal with Iran, it does not cover what Iran is doing in the region.” Israel and the Arab countries will still have to deal with Iranian proxies, missiles, drones—and potentially, they worry, an injection of more cash into Iran’s coffers.
“Iran has to see facing it a credible deterrent,” the official said. “They have to realize that if they cross certain lines and take certain risks, there would be consequences.”
What are those red lines, and what are the consequences? Well, the assassination of crucial Iranian intelligence and other figures might give a clue, and so might Israel’s growing capability to strike deep into Iran.
Either way, Biden has created a more dangerous and volatile region by not forcefully confronting Iranian aggression and terror.
Thankfully, the lasting effects of Trump’s Mideast policies might provide Biden, and the region, a small safety net – even as Iran verges on finally getting its nukes.
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