Netanyahu has convinced Trump that leaving the Iran deal protects Israel. But the US walk-out means a full-on Israel-Iran war in Syria now becomes far more likely.
The largest and most imminent threat to Israel’s security right now is not a nuclear Iran, but Iranian activity in Syria.
The entire world watched as President Donald Trump announced America’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, and his re-imposition of the full range of sanctions on Iran.
While the British, French, and German governments made clear their strong preference that the US maintain the JCPOA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was not shy in his efforts to convince the White House of the wisdom of his opposite position.
Netanyahu’s unusual English-language prime time presentation on Israeli television last week of the intelligence collected by Israel about Iran’s previous efforts to build a nuclear weapon was almost certainly aimed at Trump, either in an effort to convince him to exit the deal, or to provide cover for him to do so.
But while Netanyahu is as certain as ever in his opposition to the JCPOA, convinced that it is paving Iran’s eventual path to a bomb while providing oxygen to the Tehran regime for its continued survival, he may be ignoring an overlooked aspect of the Iran deal’s dynamics — and the way in which it has, until now, prevented a full-on Israeli-Iranian war in Syria.