ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
By Israel Shahak
Israeli Foreign Policies,
8 August 1994
The scope of Israeli foreign policies can be said to be truly worldwide. This is especially the case when, in the wake of recent terrorist assaults against Israeli and Jewish targets in Buenos Aires and London, the Israeli government professed the eradication of all such terror in the entire world as its aim. At the same time, however, due to Israeli automatic attribution of responsibility for all those assaults to Iran, Israeli foreign policies are also firmly anchored in the region of the Middle East. It can even be conjectured that the primary purpose of the Washington treaty with Jordan recently signed by Rabin and King Hussein was not so much to make peace as to seek to use Jordanian territory for action against Iran. And the same purpose was by no means absent from the `peace process' pursued earlier with Arafat. Here I will deal with the Israeli antiIranian propaganda campaign which is being intensified: its policy context clearly being the Middle East in the widest possible meaning of that term, that is, extending from Afghanistan to Morocco, the Muslim republics of the former USSR included.
Let me proceed to discuss the strategic significance of the Israeli Accord with Jordan. It is both defensive and offensive. Jordan commits itself not to allow and third state's army to enter its territory. (But there is no mention of a possible entry of the Israeli Army into Jordan.) Most Israeli commentators understood this stipulation as precluding the threat of the so-called `Eastern Front', that is, of allied Arab armies attacking Israel from the east. Even though Israel's border with Jordan is more difficult to defend than its Egyptian border, the whole notion has in my view long belonged to the realm of fiction. With the Jordanian border secure and a firm peace with Egypt, only the borders with Syria and Lebanon remain hostile. They are relatively short, allowing for heavy concentrations of troops and fire, the preferred Israeli method of warfare. The prospect of so shortening the potential front line has been discussed for a long time in professional military magazines of the Israeli Army. But Israeli strategists are also keenly aware of the two-fold importance of the Irbid area of Jordan, located just south of the Golan Heights and Syria. By penetrating this area, the Syrian
Army could out(lank the Israeli troops deployed in the Golan Heights. By penetrating the same area, however, the Israeli Army could outflank the bulk of the Syrian Army, entrenched in its fortifications opposite the Golan Heights, and speedily advance toward Damascus. Now, the Israeli military alliance with Jordan (which is what the agreement with that country amounts to), precludes the former prospect while enhancing the likelihood of the latter. All too clearly, it poses a major threat to Syria.
Still, the most likely target of a possible Israeli armed attack is at the present moment Iran. Oren (Davar, 7 January 1994) views the agreement with Jordan primarily in that context: `The agreement is intended to establish a military alliance between Israel and Jordan and thus extend the boundary of Israel's military presence to the eastern tip of the Jordanian desert. Israel's undisguised military presence there, right on the border of Iraq, means that the route of its war planes to Iran will be hundreds of kilometres shorter.' Had they had to take off from Israeli territory, only the most advanced Israeli planes, practically only the F-15s, could reach Iran without refuelling in the air. A glance of the map of the Middle East will suffice to show that the Iraqi-Jordanian border area is alread7 quite close to Iran: close enough to let Israel use its plentiful older model planes (or missiles) for bombing raids on Iran after overflying the Iraqi territory. Oren does expect Jordan `to grant the Israeli Air Force the tight to overfly its territory, at least in emergency situations.' Sure enough, the use of Jordanian territory for a possible assault of Iran implies the existence of a tacit Iraqi complicity with Israel. Oren must imply no less than that when he says that once Israeli alliance with Jordan is fully operational, `Rafsanjani will be compelled to approach Israel with greater restraint than to date.' In more general terms Oren opines that `just as Israel had opened the flow of American dollars to Sadat and enabled the Egyptian Air Force to receive advanced planes from the US within no more than year and a half after Sadat's visit to Jerusalem, so the Rabin government which enabled Jordan to receive not a few US dollars, will feel entitled to use its agreement with Jordan not just for the sake of the military status quo, but in order to improve Israel's military strength considerably, to the point of letting the Israeli Air Force and eventually Intelligence reach the western boundary of Iraq.' In my view, this crucial change in strategic configurations in the Middle East either has already occurred or is likely to occur in the coming months.
I feel tempted at this point to digress in order to recount some new revelations about the past relations oC the Zionist movement and the State of Israel with the Hashemite regime in Jordan. A veteran of Haganah's Intelligence Service, Yo'av Gelber, recently published a book bearing the title The Roots of the Lily, (the lily being
the emblem of Israeli Military Intelligence), which heavily relies on documents declassified only in recent years. According to Gelber, King Hussein's grandfather, Abdullah, was recruited as a spy for the Zionist movement in the early 1920s, soon after being appointed `Emir of Trans-Jordan' by the British. He was instructed to spy on all sorts of Arab leaders, but his main task was to spy on his British masters. Heaps of documents depict Zionist intra-agency squabbles over whether Abdullah's demands for payment for each rendered service should be fully respected or subject io some bargaining, the late Moshe Sharett being a consistent advocate of the latter. All payments to Abdullah were in cash directly delivered to him. Other intra-agency disputes were over Abdullah's occasional demands to be paid not in banknotes, but in gold coins. In addition to .his, one of Abdullah's wives was put on the Zionist pa7roh to spv on her husband. Gelber boasts that the British discovered the whole scheme only after more than twenty years, in 1946. Their reaction was not only to offer Abdullah more money than the Zionist movement could possibly pay, but also to give more military aid for Abdullah's army. Most importantly, however, they dangled before him a vision of becoming king of `the greater Syria' - Syria, Lebanon and Palestine together. This displeased Ben-Gurion greatly, and relations between the Zionist movement and subsequently the State of Israel with Jordan dwindled to a coordination of policy directed, as Oren defines it, `against their common enemy, Palestinian nationalism'.
A fuller cooperation between Israel and Jordan was revived by King Hussein in 1958, right after the revolution in Iraq in which his close relatives from the Iraqi royal family perished. As Oren puts it, Hussein `sent his Armenian Intelligence advisor to Israel' with dispatch. On the Jordanian side cooperation with Israel was carried through solely by the kingdom's Armenian or Circassian functionaries. Azarya Alon (Davar, 28 July) informs us that one unit guarding King Hussein is comprised solely of Circassians and considers this fact advantageous to Israel.
The Israeli alliance with King Hussein endured until 1965. Oren points out that, as subsequently revealed by declassified American documents, George Bush, acting in capacity of CIA Director had in that year offered King Hussein personal payment. Bush's scheme was considered in Israel hostile and it was recalled when he became President. But Hussein again became subservient to Israel before the `Black September' of 1970. After that date he became a virtual Israeli spy, as his grandfather had been. As is well known, it was he who in September 1973 forewarned Golda Meir about the incipient attack of Egypt and Syria on Israel, although he was not believed. Good relations have been maintained since, regardless of which party ruled Israel. As was reported by the Hebrew press
on the occasion of the present Washington Accord, Shamir had met King Hussein in London even during the Gulf Crisis, in November 1990, in order to assure him that unless Iraqi land forces are let into Jordan, Israel was not going to invade it, even in the case of it launching hostilities against Iraq. The present Israeli-Jordanian alliance is therefore the crowning point of decades of thinly disguised cooperation.
Let me now quote at some length an instructive portrayal of Israeli relations with Morocco by Daniel Ben-Simon writing in Davar (7 June). After gloating about how excellent the relations between the two countries have been, Ben-Simon admits that `the web of relations between the two states rests on the shoulders of a single individual: King Hassan II. Morocco's kindness toward Israel and all the Jews depends solely on his feelings ... Only a few thousand Jews have remained in Morocco: most of them in Casablanca where they are among the wealthiest people. Hassan II has highly appreciated the Jewish contribution to the development of his country. When the French left in 1954, the Jews tended to replace them in their occupations in industry and commerce.' Ben-Simon fails to understand that if the Jews `replaced' the French in Morocco with the effect of becoming very wealthy in the process, then the same grudges which ordinary Moroccans had had against the French and their role in Morocco are now likely to be revived against the Jews.
Ben-Simon continues: `Hassan II has a weakness for Israel. To many of his visitors he expressed his admiration for Israel's ability to turn wilderness into a fertile land. He does not hide his belief that Jews are cleverer than other nations, and that economic, social and cultural revolutions and progress were a product of Jewish genius. In the early 1970s, when the hostility between Israel and the Arab states reached its peak, he indulged in fanciful reveries about what could be achieved by blending Jewish genius with Arab capital. "If there is peace, the Middle East may in this way become the strongest power on earth", he used to say.' This sounds not unlike the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
But such visions for the future depend on a purely personal factor: `Hassan I1 is an absolute monarch, one of the few such still left in the world. All state affairs depends on his decisions and orders. In theoryo, Morocco has a constitution and democratic institutions. But their impact is very limited. In practice, everything is subordinated to his will. In the West, Hassan II succeeded in manufacturing for himself an image of an enlightened, open-minded, liberal, educated king who relies on democratic institutions. Consequently, the western countries would turn a blind eye to oddities of that democracy, and content themselves with the existence of many parties and periodic elections in Morocco.
Hassan II fights like a lion to maintain this image. It was not too easy, after books appeared depicting his regime as one of the most obscurantist in the world. A French journalist Gilles Perrault wrote a book documenting the outrages committed by the King's regime, in the first place the atrocities in treating the regime's opponents. The King not only banned the book, but also sought to prevail upon President Mitterrand to do the same in France. Regardless of whatever Mitterand might have wanted, the French law precluded the possibility of his satisfying the King.
`On several occasions, the King would berate his Western critics, "Do you want Morocco to become an Islamic state like Iran? Just say so", he would reply to queries about his misdeeds. Western countries do realize that they can ill afford another state resembling Algeria or Iran. This is why western governments prefer to turn a blind eve on whatever the King might do and speculate about what may happen after Hassan II. If he just retires he will be succeeded by the Crown Prince Sidi Mohammed. The Crown Prince is a very different character than his father, gentle, refined, with a penchant for romanticism. Some in the West would prefer the King to appoint his younger son, Moulay Rashid, as his successor. Like his father, Moulay Rashid is tough, determined to hold on to power at any price. He wants to be Crown Prince in order to assure that the country toes the pro-Western line. If Morocco remains a monarchy, its further rapprochement with Israel can be expected. If monarchy is abolished there, everything becomes possible. Then, the very survival of the tiny Jewish community in Morocco may also be in doubt. For in Morocco, everything depends on the will of our friend, the King.' I guess that `some in the West' is Ben-Simon's codename for Israeli Intelligence whose links with Hassan II have been notorious. But his whole treatment of Israeli relations with the Moroccan regime shows how much Israel and the organized Jewish communities in the Diaspora have always tended to support despotic regimes, especially in the Muslim world.
Let me return to Iran, on which Israeli foreign policies currently focus. Prior to the last wave of terrorist attacks on Jewish targets in Buenos Aires and London the situation in this respect was summed up by Aluf Ben (Haaretz, 12 July), whose article deserves to be quoted at some length: 'During the last two years the Iranian threat has been the central element in Israel's foreign and security policy. After the Gulf War ruined Iran's rival Iraq, Iran emerged more powerful than ever. Israel feared that Iran could aspire to regional hegemony and ruin the peace process by virtue of having nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, of building a modern air force and navy, of exporting terrorism and revolution and of subverting Arab secular regimes.' Let me observe that when (as
plenty of other evidence shows) Israel `after the Gulf War' decided that Iran was its enemy number one, the latter was still exhausted after the lengthy war with Iraq and hadn't yet begun its nuclearization. Really, Israeli enmity toward Iran stemmed from the fact that it `could aspire to [the] regional hegemony' to which Israel aspires. `Last year Rabin said that Iran was the main threat to Israel's security. The Chief of Staff Ehud Barak described the monster of Tehran as the most terrible danger to peace in the whole world. Why? Because Iran undermines political stability in the Middle East, because it opposes the flow of oil to the developed world and because it wants to upset the cultural equilibrium between the West and Islam. "The Iranian regime poses a danger to the very foundations of world order", said Barak.' I believe the quote from Barak is authentic, but I don't know where he said it. Certainly, it has never been published before. Although I don't disregard the dangers such utterances may entail, the spectacle of an Israeli general concerned about the potential upsetting of `the cultural equilibrium between the West and Islam' strikes me as having its comic side as well.
Commenting on a terrorist attack on Jewish targets, on 29 July, Uzi Mahanaimi wrote in Shishi: `The Iranians are now busy hiring foreign experts to make the little gifts they obtained fully operational. Is this perhaps why Israel vacillates about knocking the downtown of Tehran with all its might? Is somebody in Israel afraid that the madmen in Tehran may already possess the bomb? Is this the reason they cannot be touched? I hope things are not that bad. I find it absolutely clear that as long as the heads of the Iranians do not get whacked, and as long as Israel keeps playing its games with Hizbollah in Lebanon, our embassies cannot but continue to be blown up.' Mahanaimi has no doubt that the Iranians 'are responsible fot the bombing of our embassy and Jewish Centre in Buenos Aires'. He claims that `the proofs of this abound', but he mentions only one, namely that `through their Argentinian embassy the Iranians denied any connection with the outrage.' Why should the denial be a proof? Mahanaimi's argument runs as follows: `I know them bloody well. This is why I can say with confidence that had Israel reacted properly to the bombing of its embassy in Argentina two years ago, the Iranians would have thought twice before sending their saboteurs once again. After the first bombing in Argentina, it was the Commander of Israeli Military Intelligence who accused the Iranians of complicity, lot a journalist voicing his opinion, but the very Commander of Israeli Military Intelligence said that. Why did Israel do nothing then? After all, if Katyushas are fired upon the Galilee, Israel escalates almost to the point of a war. So why didn't we react likewise when our entire embassy was blown sky high? The Iranians have plenty of sensitive targets across
their country. Hitting them could make the Ayatollahs think twice before they play with fire next time.' And so on and so forth.
Ron Ben-Yishay (Yediot Ahronor, 29 July) says that `Intelligence sources estimate that one and the same hand in Tehran was behind the terrorist assault in Buenos Aires, the Hizbollah attacks in Lebanon and the two terrorist assaults in London': the operational medium being the `Iranian Intelligence officers masquerading as diplomats and working in all Iranian embassies the world over'. BenYishay claims that `until two weeks ago' Israel did nothing against Iran `except abuse it verbally', but now `many Israeli politicians, including the Prime Minister, believe that Israel should hit the Iranians right where it hurts.' Ben-Yishay does not seem to mean by that an armed attack on Iranian territory, but only a world-wide elimination of whomever Israel may 1abe1 as an `Iranian' terrorist. This transpires from his saying that Israel `should treat all Iranian terrorists as it treated the PLO's international terror after the 1970 Black September'. He refers to Israeli Intelligence then killing Palestinians and other Arabs (including some innocent people like a Moroccan waiter mistakenly identified as a PLO agent in Lilienhammer, Norway), but stopping short of doing anything more violent. Ben-Yishay says that `the dragon is already too powerful for Israel to slay it alone'. He hopes the western states will help Israel in its struggle against the Iranian dragon.
However, voices advocating some caution and moderation have resounded as well. Let me quote two. A Labor Party stalwart Shalom Yerushalmi writing in Maariv (3 August), admits that `in Lebanon Israel did commit against Hizbollah, the operational arm of Khomeinism some "eliminations" Iranian style, e.g the Sheikh Mussawi affair [murdered together with his family] or kidnappings, e.g. of Sheikhs Obeid and Dirani. It is not clear what Israel gained thereby, but there also have been massive bombardments of civilian populations. I Think we should stop playing such dangerous games.' Yerushalmi advises Rabin to follow in the footsteps of Shamir's judicious conduct during the Gulf War. Shamir then merely threatened that Israel would retaliate but didn't follow his threats through. But restraint toward Iran would, argues Yerushalmi, be even more advisable now than in the past toward Iraq. Iran is stronger than Iraq, larger in size and population. The war against Iraq was really `only a war against an insane dictator and a handful of his henchmen', whereas Iranians are in their majority `united in their support for the mad ideology hammered into their heads by the Ayatollahs'. Yerushalmi advises Rabin to ask the West to impose `some potent economic sanctions against Iran', paired with a propaganda campaign to the effect that Iranian nuclearization threatens everybody.
Even more interesting are the views of some components of Israeli and apparentlyo also US intelligence as relayed by Tzvi Bar'e1 in Haaretz (24 July). Contrary to the quoted commentators who believe (presumably after being briefed by the Israeli Prime Minister's Office) that Iran was solely responsible for the Buenos .Sires and London terrorist assaults, Bar'el quotes `a senior Israeli Intelligence source' as telling him that `the working presumption [of Israeli Intelligence] is that the assault was committed by local terrorists hired for pay, the moneyo being traceable to Hizbollah. The same source claims that the Iranian connection amounts only to political and economic patronage Iran bestows on Hizbollah: "I presume that under different political circumstances Israel could blame Syria or Libya in the same way as it now accuses Iran. In the same way it was once customary to blame the former USSR for standing behind terrorist acts which gained international publicity".' Bar'el contrasts this point of view with Rabin's and Netanyahu's views. Rabin `rushed to announce that Iran was responsible. After a while, without retracting the first version, he pinned the responsibility on Hizbollah.' Incidentally, this seems to be Rabin's jafon de parler. When the Intifada had just broken out he rushed to blame Iran and Libya for their `exclusive responsibility' for it. This stupid falsehood was then, for some time, elevated to the rank of Israeli propaganda line. Rabin's mendacity borders on the pathological, even more so than Sharon's or Shamir's. The western media only show how biased they are when they fail to document Rabin's systematic lying. Netanyahu surpasses even Rabin in mendacity. According to Bar'el, Netanyahu opined that `Iran, Hizbollah and Syria were equally responsible.' A record in lying, however, has been attained in this affair by the Israeli Chief of Staff, Ehud Barak. He is reported by On Levy (Davar, 3 August) to have said that `the intelligence community of the entire world knows for sure that Iran stands behind the terror.' Dissenting from Rabin, Netanyahu and Barak alike, Bar'el reports that `Israeli Intelligence has so far failed to find evidence linking the Buenos Aires terror with any of the three factors', that is, with `Iran, Hizbollah and Syria'.
But Bar'el makes also some fairly keen observations about the nature of state terror, which deserve to be quoted at length: `Iran is a terror state in the same way as Iraq, Libya or Syria. But the list of terror states can be extended. Not so long ago Argentina, Chile and South Africa qualified as well by virtue of committing routinely political murders or terrorist assaults against dissenters living outside their borders.' Let me comment that Israel, and especially the Labor Party was chummy with the three regimes named here as terrorists. Rabin particularly cultivated close relations with the South African apartheid regime. Helped by his present
Defence Deputy Minister Motta Gur, he advanced the ties with Argentinian and Chilean juntas. 'Still', continues Bar'el, `some states can be said to be more terroristic than others. At the present moment, by far the most terrorist state in the Middle East, and perhaps in the entire world, is Afghanistan. As estimated by various intelligence experts, most subversive and terrorist acts against Arab regimes were committed by veterans of the war against communism, or of the tribal war continuing to grip that country till this very day. The Afghan government and other authorities maintain training programmes in terror for the cohorts of volunteers who for this very purpose come to Afghanistan.
`Paradoxically, however, Afghanistan is not defined as a terror state. Instead, it is glorified by the US as a nation of valiant patriots who expelled the Soviet invaders. On the opposite side, the US seeks to overthrow Saddam Hussein not 6ecause his henchmen have committed lots of terrorist acts but because he poses a threat to US interests in the Middle East ... Fortunately for Israel, Iran is nowadays an easy target to be branded as a terror state ... Its diplomats have admittedly been found to be involved in some terrorist acts, but acts aimed only at exiled Iranian political dissenters. Iran is a fundamentalist state, but no more so than Saudi Arabia or the Islamic opposition in Algeria. Yet the US has the best of relations with the former and is perfectly prepared to parley with the latter.
'The crucial factor which helps uphold the definition of Iran as a terror state is the non-operational character of such a definition. By itself, the definition cannot authorize Israel to dispatch its Air Force to raid some targets on Iranian territory. Nor can it by itself warrant the imposition of economic sanctions on Iran, aggravating its economic plight. Intelligence experts commonly estimate that acts of retaliation directed against Iranian targets would hardly deter Iran while mounting trouble for Israel. A senior foreign intelligence source told me that in the absence of decisive evidence linking the recent terrorist assaults to Iran, the definition of Iran (or of any other state for that matter) as a terror state discredits a state advancing such a definition because it brings into relief the dismal failure of its intelligence. Talking of "decisive evidence", my interlocutor meant evidence as decisive as that found by the US linking the Libyan government with the terrorist act in Berlin discotheque.' This `senior foreign intelligence source' sounds as if he were an American.
Bar'el formulates an interpretation of what he heard from this presumed American intelligence source: `In other words, the more vague a given state's concept of the sources of terrorism, the more its intelligence can be faulted for incompetence. As the same source put it, "occasionally you may have good intelligence as in some cases
in Lebanon. But then you are catching individual criminals, not states. When your intelligence is rather poor, you bomb wide areas, but not close to the borders of Syria, in spite of the obvious fact that without the latter Hizbollah couldn't move a finger. You also take care to spare the Lebanese state machinery as far as possible, even though the Hizbollah are represented in the Lebanese parliament".' After his observations of American Intelligence, Bar'el returns to Israeli Intelligence: 'The problem, as indicated to me by my intelligence source, is that when political authorities choose to put blame for terror on a country according to what under given political conditions may be convenient, intelligence work is bound to suffer. It is because those authorities then want to find "proofs" of what they have already assumed, instead of looking for genuine proofs showing who was really responsible for a given terrorist outrage.'
However, in spite of Israeli military censorship (recently more lenient), the Hebrew press has for years been full of pragmatically-minded criticism of Mossad and of stories about scandals and personal squabbles rampant among its high-ranking staff. This criticism became sharper after the last wave of terror revealed Mossad's incompetence. As Bar'el puts it, 'From the viewpoint of the terrorists the first recent assault in Buenos Aires is already the second terrorist success. For anti-terrorist struggle agencies, whether Israeli, Argentinian or otherwise, the successes of Argentinian terrorism must be particularly embarrassing, because investigations of the first assault [the bombing of the Israeli embassy] failed to yield any clue as to the identity of its perpetrators and because neither assault was preceded by specific advance indication that it was going to occur.' Similar views were widely echoed in the Hebrew press.
Ze'ev Shiff (Haaretz, 5 August), whose `connections' are in my evaluation better than Bar'el's goes farther in his criticism of Mossad, without sparing Military Intelligence either. According to him, `the latter's complete failure to penetrate Hizbollah's ranks was not its finest hour. With the exception of whatever could 6e learned through kidnappings, e.g. of Dirani, everything indicates that Israel knows very little about Hizbollah.' Shiff deplores the fact that `in the past it was much easier to penetrate the PLO organizations in Lebanon and thus obtain information, than is now possible to obtain information about Hizbollah, even by way of continual observation from distance.' Still, Shiff views Mossad as more incompetent than Military Intelligence, the proof being that within the two years which have lapsed since the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires was bombed `Mossad failed to learn anything about it.' In spite of lack of evidence, Shiff assumes that the embassy was bombed by `fundamentalists' who committed the
recent assault. But he denies that responsibility for these bombings can be pinned on any state and he backs this conclusion by a finding reached by some unnamed intelligence bodies that explosives used in Buenos Aires and London were manufactured from locally available raw materials, `which means that the explosives were not smuggled in by any embassy'. He concludes that `Israel is not in a position io claim that the terrorists have been dispatched by a single agency. It does not know who are their leaders.' None the less, Shiff says that `we need a lot of Israeli operations of the same kind which were used against Palestininian terrorism in the 1970s, only superior in quality.'
In pursuing its anti-Iranian campaign, Israel seems to aim higher than a mere Mossad operation. To all appearances, the conditioning of the Israeli public for the peace process is to be followed by an alliance with Saddam Hussein. A curious piece of evidence that such an alliance is in the cards is the complete silence of the Hebrew press, which for months already hasn't uttered a single word about the never-ending atrocities occurring in Iraq. The prospect of alliance with Iraq is already being mooted by Mossad veterans. Shmuel Toledano, a ex-Mossad senior who once served as the Prime Minister's Advisor on Arab Affairs and is active in politics, writes in Haaretz (7 August) that `if Israel is attacked from the east, the Jordanian army will at first try to contain the attack on it, thus giving Israel time to mobilize its forces to encounter the attackers.' This opportunity has, nevertheless, one hitch: `Something may yet go amiss in the Hashemite kingdom's interior, giving rise to unwelcome developments.' This is Toledano's elegant way of alluding to the possibility that the Hashemite dynasty may yet be toppled by a popular revolution. The remedy, as seen by Toledano, of an Israeli peace and alliance with Iraq, is the best way to protect the Hashemites from `unwelcome developments'. Although Toledano sees them as unwelcome to Israel, they could be no less unwelcome to Saddam Hussein. And the strategic value of Iraq to Israel would be no mean consideration either.
Toledano is well aware that in the way of making such an alliance `stands the US which thus far hasn't been favourably disposed toward any state seeking to circumvent the sanctions against Iraq, and especially to help Iraq emerge out of its international isolation.' `But', says Toledano, `President Clinton who now badly needs to shore up his domestic ratings, will perhaps be able to explain his approval of Israeli-Iraqi alliance as a step towards advancing peace in the Middle East.' Toledano wants 'Israel to obtain from the US the entry ticket letting Iraq rejoin the family of the civilized nations'. Toledano recalls that `Iraq still has accounts to settle with Syria for joining the [US-led] coalition during the Gulf War.' This is why `an Iraqi alliance with Israel is going to hurt Syria badly and reduce
its bargaining power. At the same time let us not forget that Saddam Hussem owes a moral debt to Arafat for supporting him fervently throughout the Gulf War and paying a high price for that support. Now Arafat wants as many Arab states to make peace with Israel as possible. But he must be particularly interested in making Iraq do so, simply because Iraq has been so friendly to him. Besides, Iraq may then help him negotiate with Israel. And the Palestinians will then see that Arafat is not isolated.' For all such reasons, Toledano defines the alliance with Iraq as lying in `Israel's existential interest'.
It is fairly safe to predict the formation of such an alliance, overt or covert, in a not very distant future. It can be also fairly safely predicted that the Clinton administration will either overtly support or tacitly condone the whole scheme. What I cannot predict is whether the envisaged Israeli world-wide anti-terrorist drive will incline the Clinton administration to support Israel, Whatever happens, however, I find it likely that the peace process with Jordan is on Israel's part intended as a preliminary step to a violent contest with Iran.
ISRAELI NUCLEAR AND FOREIGN POLICIES
By Israel Shahak
Israel's Strategic Aims and
from chapter 2
Syrian Cities and Relations with Saddam Hussein
Israel Versus Iran chapter
Israeli Foreign Policy after the Oslo Accord
Israeli Foreign Policies, August 1994
Israeli Policies Toward Iran and Syria
from chapter 8
Israel and the Organized American Jews
from chapter 11
The Pro-Israeli Lobby in the US and the Inman Affair