Since President Trump announced that the US would recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, political pundits of both parties have claimed to understand the rationale behind Trump making the announcement. They are all wrong.
To paraphrase James Carville’s famous line from the 1992 presidential election, “It’s Iran, stupid.” Plain and simple: Trump is making the Golan move to protect American interests in the Middle East and prevent Iran from completing a land bridge to the Mediterranean Sea.
Iran has deployed several thousand Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops Syria to help the despot Bashar Hafez al-Assad maintain power over his fractured country, demolished by eight years of civil war. For further support, Iran brought in Hezbollah allies, and to put the icing on the cake, thousands of Shiite fighters, paid by Tehran and following its orders.
But don’t think that Iran is trying to help its buddy Assad out of the goodness of their collective hearts. Iran’s presence in Syria helps the rogue regime fulfill its number-one geopolitical objective: to become the controlling power in the Middle East.
To aid in this objective, Iran wants to create a “land bridge” to the Mediterranean. Control of territory leading to the sea will allow Iran to safely move people and supplies between the Mediterranean and Tehran whenever they want. The smooth movement of people and supplies allows the Shiite Iran to advance its goal of replacing and or controlling the governments of Sunni Egypt, Jordan, and mostly Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s holiest sites.
It’s pretty certain that the US consulted with and explained the President’s rationale to the countries threatened by Iran above before making his announcement. And while you might hear the leaders of those countries complain about the move for a week or two, announcing their refusal to recognize Israel’s ownership, the complaints are made for public consumption. They are not indicative of real policy. These leaders understand the dangers of a powerful Iran.
If those Sunni-dominated countries become dominated by Shiite Iranian mullahs, it will severely damage United States interests in the Middle East. Those interests include ensuring that the war against extremist terrorism isn’t fought on American shores (Iran is a leading financier of Islamist terror), safeguarding sales of oil to the West, and of course protecting America’s staunchest ally in the region, Israel.
Before the Six Day War, Syrian artillery rained down on Israeli farms and villages in the Galilee, and its military was poised to use the high ground to attack Israel. By taking over the most strategically important areas of the Golan in June 1967, Israel protected the Galilee area, and the IDF acquired an optimal line of defense to hold back any Syrian ground attack.
With Iranian forces having free reign in Syria, Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights is more critical for its basic security than ever before, a fact that Trump thankfully understands.
Ironically, Trump made the announcement during the Jewish holiday of Purim, when Jews across the world celebrate the defeat of the ancient Persians’ plan to destroy the Jewish people. Persia still exists today: it changed its name to Iran in 1935. In other words, Trump helped to foil another Persian plot on Purim.
When the President made his announcement, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Jerusalem to meet with Netanyahu. Between meetings he sat down with an interview with Chris Mitchell, a reporter for the Christian Broadcasting Network.
“Could it be that President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from the Iranian menace?” asked Mitchell.
“As a Christian, I certainly believe that’s possible,” Pompeo responded.
As a Jew, I believe it is possible also. One of the reasons we wear masks on Purim is to recognize the fact that many of the characters in the Book of Esther hid their true selves.
But the most significant “hidden character” in the Purim story is G-d. Jews recognize that it was G-d who helped us emerge safely in the battle against extermination by Haman, even though there were no open miracles like splitting the Reed Sea or stopping the sun. I cannot argue against someone who says that G-d opened Trump’s eyes to the need to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Trump’s Golan decision was important for protecting the United States from Iran. Having the Golan Heights controlled by a staunch ally like Israel provides a check on the Iranian land bridge and their movement of supplies, weapons, and people with the intent of damaging America and her interests in the region.