UPDATE: No terrorist events reported in the last 24 hours.
As we all know, the Middle East is a volatile region more sensitive to political changes than other areas. Consider the effect of three recent developments on Israel:
1. The United States’ withdrawal from Iraq.
However one chooses to look at it, the American intervention in Iraq was a boon to Iran. The Americans got rid of Iran’s archenemy Saddam Hussein, the war provided cover for the building of the Iranian nuclear program, and the conflict served as a training tool for the Revolutionary Guards who supplied Shiite militias in the Iraq with Iranian mines and Iranian IEDs that killed thousands of American soldiers (it is estimated that over half of the nearly 5000 American combat deaths were as a result of IEDs).
Already, even before the last American troops left Iraq several days ago, Iran began dictating events in Iraq. Apparently the Iraqi decision to not even allow a token contingent of American soldiers to remain was the result of Iranian pressure.
What is the effect on Israel? As an emboldened Iran expands its sphere of influence, expect Israel to bear the brunt of even greater Iranian aggression.
2. The suddenly declining health of Turkish Prime Minister Taycip Erdogan.
One of Israel’s most ardent enemies, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has reportedly been diagnosed with rectosigmoid cancer and underwent abdominal surgery on November 26. He was back at work on Thursday (December 15) but now has an emergency medivac helicopter close by at all times.
It has also been reported that one of the most concerned about Erdogan’s condition is President Obama who now regards Erdogan as a close personal friend and his closest ally in the Middle East regarding Iran and Syria. Apparently Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party is already in the midst of a power struggle for leadership in the event of Erdogan’s demise.
What is the effect on Israel? A weakened or departed Erdogan cannot be anything but positive for Israel–especially if Erdogan’s Islamic political party begins to deteriorate and we see a reassertion of the Turkish military.
3. The death of Kim Jung Il.
As you may not realize, dear reader, North Korea supplies missiles and weapons to Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas. Kim Jung Il’s death means that the disposition of North Korea’s weapons arsenal is more problematic than ever with the distinct likelihood that Kim Jung Il’s successor (his son or a general in the military hierarchy) will try to prove his worth through military adventures (already a “test missile” was fired by North Korea today).
What is the effect on Israel? Whether North Korea will supply even more weapons to the Middle East is unknown–and depends entirely on who takes over the country.
THIS DAY IN ISRAEL HISTORY
On December 19, 1919 the SS Ruslan arrived in Jaffa with 671 Jewish doctors, artists, and academics on board signaling the beginning of the 3rd Aliyah. The Ruslan has been called Israel’s ‘Mayflower’.