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Linkage Alright

First we hear that the Saudis wouldn’t be chagrined by an Israeli strike on Iran. Now we hear, although not much reported or remarked upon over the holiday weekend (h/t TNR):

An Israeli submarine sailed the Suez Canal to the Red Sea as part of a naval drill last month, defense sources said on Friday, describing the unusual maneuver as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran.

[. . .]

A defense source said the Israeli navy held an exercise off Eilat last month and that a Dolphin took part, having traveled to the Red Sea port though Suez. Israel has a naval base at Eilat, a 10-km (6-mile) strip of coast between Egypt and Jordan, but officials say it has no submarine dock there.

“This was definitely a departure from policy,” said the source, who declined to give further details on the drill or say whether the Dolphin had undergone Egyptian inspections in the canal, through which the submarine sailed unsubmerged.

This might be a wake-up call to Tehran:

Another Israeli defense source with extensive naval experience said the drill “showed that we can far more easily access the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf, than before.”

But the source added: “If indeed our subs are capable of doing to Iran what they are believed to be capable of doing, then surely this is a capability that can be put into action from the Mediterranean?”

It looks as though Hillary Clinton and the president have had the “linkage” concept backward, as some of us have long argued. In their book, an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement was the price to be paid for Arab co-operation with Israel on the Iranian threat. But that seems not to be the case. In fact, the Arab states and Israel have a common objective in limiting Iranian hegemony in the region, curtailing Iranian support for terrorist groups, and preventing Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. And all sorts of co-ordination and productive mutual defense activities seem to be proceeding while Obama continues his search for the key to unlock that magical “peace process” (and for the Grand Bargain with the mullahs).

Iran, contrary to the Clinton-Obama view, has become a motivating factor for Israel and the Arab states to leave aside the non-existent “peace process” and deal with something far more critical — an existential threat to the region. And once again, just as on the response to the Iranian uprising, America seems to be trailing or playing the role of a mute bystander, rather than leading the international response.



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