Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Obama-Gate and World War III

May 20, 2013 1:00 pm 1 comment

North Korean soldier stands guard with rocket in the background. Photo: http://www.conservativecommune.com.

Americans are the biggest losers from the slew of scandals now rocking the White House, but who are the biggest winners? Iran, North Korea, Syria, China, and Russia. If US foreign policy seemed spineless and muddled in confronting bad actors before the Benghazi-IRS-AP scandals surfaced, the US just became that much more irrelevant to its archrivals and antagonists on the world stage.

Unfortunately, the trio of scandals comes at an extremely dangerous time. The ever-unpredictable North Korea just fired three short-range guided missiles. Much more ominously, Russia is reverting to a Cold War mindset in ways far more serious than the recent arrest of alleged CIA operative Ryan Fogle. Russia is doubling-down on its strategy of backing its Syrian client, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Russia recently sold advanced Yakhont anti-ship cruise missiles to Syrian President Bashar Assad. These missiles, outfitted with an advanced guidance system, effectively empower Syria to thwart any attempt by international forces to help Syrian rebels with a naval embargo or no fly zone. Upping the ante even more, Russia sent at least a dozen warships to its Tartus naval base in Syria, according to a Wall Street Journal report last Thursday. Russia has also declared its intention to complete its sale of the S-300 advanced anti-aircraft missile system to Syria. The S-300 is a state-of-the-art system that can intercept fighter jets and cruise missiles at a range of about 124 miles and would therefore – if actually delivered to Assad – represent a game-changer that disturbs the current military balance of power in the Middle East. That is undoubtedly a red line for Israel, and Israel takes its red lines seriously, as it has shown with airstrikes on Syrian targets to prevent the transfer of sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah.

When the above developments are combined with the already combustible circumstances prevailing in the Middle East, the results could quickly explode into a potentially catastrophic regional conflict. The potential belligerents – Israel, on the one hand, and the Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah axis, on the other – have decades of hostility and mistrust between them, and no open communications by which to resolve conflicts or clarify intentions. Thus, the possibility of miscalculation is dangerously high, and the short distance between Syria and Israel only accelerates the time to full-scale war.

The Golan Heights, which borders Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan, is the only buffer between Israel and Syria, and is only about 500 square miles large. Israel’s 2006 war with Lebanon, which is effectively as close as Syria is, illustrates how easily and quickly one miscalculation or attack can unexpectedly lead to something far greater. On July 16, 2006, Hezbollah terrorists fired rockets at Israeli border towns and ambushed two armored Humvees patrolling the Israeli side of the border fence, killing three Israeli soldiers. Hezbollah launched the totally unprovoked attack with the limited goal of abducting some Israeli soldiers, but that offensive sparked a month-long war with Israel that left over a thousand dead, displaced well over a million, and resulted in billions of dollars of economic damage. Without the cooperation of world powers, the conflict might have escalated into something considerably worse.

But with the two-year old conflict in Syria, and the current confluence of events, the situation is much more perilous. In Syria there are chemical weapons and the unabashed involvement of an ex-super-power (Russia), one of the world’s most dangerous terrorist organizations (Iran-backed Hezbollah), and a rogue nation that sponsors global terrorism and is aggressively pursuing a nuclear capability (Iran). Obama’s isolationist stance paved the way for an increasingly jihadist Sunni insurgency to fill the resulting vacuum in Syria and his policy has also allowed Russian designs and influence in the region to go unchecked, however disastrous the results may be.

Since the start of the Syrian conflict, Russia has sniffed Obama’s lack of resolve. But now – with so many domestic scandals plaguing Obama – Russia is even more emboldened to pursue its interests in Syria, and that sets the stage for an inflammable conflict. Israelis knows all too well that when it comes to their security, they can ultimately rely only on themselves. Indeed, no foreign soldier has ever died defending Israel in any of the major wars threatening its existence.

So if Russia ultimately delivers the S-300 missiles, New Jersey-sized Israel may be forced to destroy those batteries before they become fully operational, or even after, if its legendary air force can find ways to overcome the system. But such attacks by Israel would quickly draw in Hezbollah and Iran, vastly expanding the theater of conflict in a way that could have devastating and far-reaching consequences. Will Iran decide at some point to attack U.S. interests across the Middle East and/or Europe, with its ballistic missiles or terrorist sleeper cells? Will Iran block the Strait of Hormuz and send oil prices skyrocketing, challenging NATO military resolve to open the critical waterway by force? Will Israel decide to strike at Iran’s nuclear program?

Much potential peril lies ahead. Will the USA’s Commander-in-Chief be so distracted by three scandals that he can’t effectively respond to, much less proactively manage, the international crises that may soon emerge? Is that how World War III happens during Obama’s second term?

Noah Beck is the author of The Last Israelis, a doomsday thriller about the Iranian nuclear threat and current geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Larry King Asks Saudi Arabian Fan If Taking Pictures With Jews Is Permitted

    Jewish former CNN host Larry King asked a Saudi Arabian fan if taking pictures with Jews is allowed in his country, before agreeing to pose for a photo with the man, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The world-famous interviewer was leaving the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. with a New York Times reporter when a “dark-skinned man” approached and asked to take a picture with him, according to the publication. Whereupon, King asked the fan where he was from. When the man said Saudi […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    Britain’s Lord Sugar Says Synagogues Will Be Empty With Yom Kippur Matchup of Jewish-Supported Soccer Teams

    British-Jewish business tycoon Lord Alan Sugar joked on Wednesday that London synagogues will likely be empty during Yom Kippur with congregants fleeing to watch the match-up of two leading English soccer teams known for having hordes of Jewish fans. “Spurs V Arsenal cup game drawn on most important Jewish festival,” Lord Sugar pointed out on Twitter. “Both teams have loads of Jewish fans. Conclusion Synagogues will be empty.” North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal FC will go head-to-head in the Capital One Cup third-round […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Jewish Men Pass Jimmy Kimmel Social Experiment, Rescuing ‘Spongebob’ in Distress (VIDEO)

    Two Jewish men were the only unwitting participants in a social experiment conducted by Jimmy Kimmel, for his popular TV show. As part of a candid-camera-like sketch featured Monday night on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host devised different street scenes to observe human behavior — in particular, to see how long it would take people walking down California’s bustling Hollywood Boulevard to notice and interact with others in distress. One scene involved a man in a Spongebob Squarepants costume who had “fallen down” on the sidewalk and needed help […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    International Jewish Organization Blasts Israeli-Born Star Natalie Portman for Comments on Holocaust Education

    A major Jewish organization rebuked actress Natalie Portman on Monday for saying in a recent interview that Jews put too much emphasis on teaching about the Holocaust relative to other genocides. The Israeli-born movie star told the U.K.’s Independent that the Jewish community needs to examine how much focus it puts on Holocaust education over other issues. She said she was shocked when she learned that a genocide was taking place in Rwanda while she was in school learning only about the horrors of the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    Book Draws Parallels Between Holocaust and Palestinian Nakba, Sparks Outrage

    JNS.org – A new book that draws parallels between the Holocaust and the Palestinian Nakba (the Arabic term for the displacement of Palestinian refugees during Israel’s War of Independence) has sparked outrage ahead of an official book launch, to be hosted by the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute on Sept. 7. The Zionist organization Im Tirtzu wrote a letter to the institute demanding that it cancel an event it planned in honor of the book’s authors, under the title The Holocaust and […]

    Read more →
  • Education US & Canada Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Natalie Portman Says Holocaust Education Shouldn’t be Used for ‘Fearmongering’

    Famed actress Natalie Portman warned on Friday against the use of Holocaust education to evoke fear and paranoia. In an interview with the U.K. Independent she added that the trauma should make Jews more empathetic to others who have also experienced hatred. “Sometimes it can be subverted to fearmongering and like ‘Another Holocaust is going to happen,’” the Israeli-American star said. “We need to, of course, be aware that hatred exists, antisemitism exists against all sorts of people, not in the same way. I […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    A Righteous Gentile Navigates the Sharkpool of Washington’s Middle East Correspondents (REVIEW)

    The Tribalist, by Louis Marano, is ostensibly a work of fiction but at its core a kind of love song by a gentile journalist for the State of Israel, and especially its secular Zionist core. (Because of the relentless attacks by left-wing polemicists on Israel’s allegedly “messianic” fringe, it’s often forgotten that most of Israel’s founders and all its leaders have been secular Zionists.) The author, the product of an Italian-American family in Buffalo, served two tours of duty in […]

    Read more →
  • Food Jewish Identity Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    Rugelach Roundtable: Does Beloved Pastry Need Dairy to Taste Good?

    JNS.org – Rugelach (singular: rugala) are a beloved traditional Jewish pastry, with a quirky history to boot, but they often present a kosher conundrum. Though parve rugelach are often a preferred dessert after a meat meal for those observing kosher laws (which stipulate a waiting period between eating meat and dairy), some of today’s most popular rugelach are known for their dairy fillings. Pastry chef Paula Shoyer—author of the books “The Kosher Baker: Over 160 Dairy-free Recipes from Traditional to Trendy” and […]

    Read more →