Netanyahu gambles on Trump against Iran

April 25, 2019
Israel supports more US sanctions against Iran,but it could backfire

Donald Trump (right) meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the Oval Office of the White House

Ben Caspit writes in Al Monitor, “The war waged between Israel and the United States and Iran is rapidly approaching its final stages. The time frame everyone is focusing on is November 2020, when the American presidential elections will take place. The Iranians pray that the Democrats will win and that the new president will return to the nuclear agreement, as this would remove President Donald Trump’s sanctions that are strangling the Iranian economy. Israel prays for the reverse scenario: Trump’s continued rule is vital to the implementation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grand plan. According to Netanyahu’s aspired scenario, Iran will either renounce its nuclear arms dream or exchange the ayatollah rulership. (Actually, Netanyahu hopes and prays that both of these things happen.)”

“Two events this week led the sides to the final stretch. The first event was the implementation on April 22 of the final stage of Trump’s paralyzing sanctions — the waivers granted by the United States to several countries that have continued to purchase Iranian crude oil will come to an end. The goal: to lower the export of Iranian oil to zero, or close to zero, thus bringing the entire regime to its knees.”

“Simultaneously, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has replaced the veteran commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, after holding the position for more than 11 years. Israel is keeping a close eye on these developments, and dampens any enthusiasm. “This is not an expression of Iranian weakness,” a high-placed Israeli security official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. “Jafari is worn out in his current position; his accomplishments were only lukewarm. So they turned him into a scapegoat and blamed him for the failed treatment of the [recent] flood disaster and its victims, so that it would be easy to replace him.”

Iranian general Quassem Solemani

“According to Israeli sources, Jafari’s replacement, Gen. Hossein Salami, 59, is highly energized and is straining at the leash to prove himself. This does not bode well for the tension between Iran and its adversaries, including Israel. “On the other hand,” said the security official, “according to assessments, most of Salami’s efforts will be directed at the strategic Strait of Hormuz, with the tightening of the American embargo on Iranian oil — and not directed at our region.”

Until now, none of the sides involved has blinked. The Americans, led by Trump, continue the sanctions at a rapid pace. And Israel, according to the foreign media, continues to attack Iranian targets in Syria, to operate against Iran’s precision missile project and its entrenchment in Syria and in Lebanon, and to wage a widespread, secret campaign against Iran.”

“Meanwhile, on the other side, Ayatollah Khamenei continues to back the IRGC and mainly Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force, and his hard-line approach to Israel and the West. The Reformist side, led by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, has been defeated by the winds of revolution — at least, at this point in time. The impression is that all the players in this game of Russian roulette are equally stubborn, and the question is: Who will blink first?” (more…)


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