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Herb London : Divided Middle East Unites Over Israel

In a commonly told Israeli joke or aphorism, two taxi drivers come to an impasse on a single road. The first driver says move aside so I can pass; the second driver says the same. Emotions explode. After hurling insults, the first driver leaves his cab with fists flailing. He sees a Jew seated in the back of his rival’s taxi and proceeds to beat him up. The second driver upset by what he observed, gets out of his cab and heads for his rival’s taxi. Quite coincidentally, there is also a Jewish passenger in the back seat and he too is beaten up. What is the moral of this story?

Assume for a moment, the drivers are Sunni and Shia. In the story they are rivals, but most notably they are united in their hatred of Jews. The Middle East assumption that religious differences will lead to fragmentation and a stalemate between Sunni and Shia is a fiction since both sides have a common enemy and a common goal: Removing the U.S. and Israel from the Middle East.

Recently the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned members of al Qaeda who are based in Iran. What journalist Armin Rosen pointed out is that the Shia dominated regime doesn’t care about sectarian differences with Sunnis as long as al Qaeda bogs down the U.S. on every battle front in the Middle East.

Iran’s ties with al Qaeda have been well known and documented since 2011. According to the 9/11 Commission report, “Eight of the fourteen Saudi ‘muscle’ operatives (in the attacks) traveled into or out of Iran between October 2000 and February 2001.” After the 9/11 attacks, several members of bin Laden’s family sought sanctuary in Iran.

For Iran, terrorism comes first. It has been known for a considerable period that Iran is the primary sponsor of Hezbollah (a Shia terrorist group) and has assisted Hamas (a Sunni terrorist organization). The common principle they share is inflicting violence on and in Israel.

Defense analysts who assume the Shia-Sunni conflict represents a balance of power arrangement that will maintain regional equilibrium may be underestimating areas of common interest. Theological squabbles aside, there are Middle East matters on which the terrorists on either side of the religious divide agree, starting with mayhem in nations that oppose them.

Clearly both would like to see a Palestinian state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. Those nations that have grown close to Israel for strategic reasons, e.g. Egypt, are targeted by both al Qaeda and the Quds (Iranian Revolutionary Guards).

Nothing reported here is unknown to the Intelligence community, yet astonishingly the U.S., as part of the P5+1, engaged in a nuclear deal with Iran that gave this terrorist state our tacit approval for accelerated enrichment programs which, we now know through the revelations of a secret document, will allow Iran to produce nuclear weapons in under five years - with a “break-out” period reduced to six months.

From financial legerdemain to providing a sanctuary for 9/11 planners, from promoting the death of innocents to violent jihad, Iran is Terrorist Central. Most interesting, of course, is despite the adherence to Shia principles, the Iranian government is most interested in uniting with Sunni groups in order to promote a national and globalist agenda. That the U.S. is indirectly complicit with Iran through the nuclear deal and the war against ISIS, will, at some point, come back to haunt the USA.

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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