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US-Iran cooperation on IS makes Israel uneasy

Although Israel is increasingly uneasy about the possibility of US-Iran cooperation in fighting the Islamic State, Israeli security officials say the emergence of a regional Islamic caliphate would be a strategic disaster.
Members of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) ride armoured personnel carriers (APCs) past Israel soldiers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, before crossing into Syria August 31, 2014. The head of the Fijian army said on Sunday negotiations for the release of 44 soldiers seized by an al Qaeda-linked group on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights were being pursued but he worried there had been no word on where his men are being held. REUTERS/Baz Ratner (CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLIC

Lately, no one in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv has any clue about what to do about regional and global developments. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they both good and bad? A case in point was when Hamas and Fatah suddenly agreed to reconcile and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas established a unity government, which faced harsh criticism from the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. With the encouragement of Netanyahu himself and his Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the unity government became Israel’s “Great Satan.” Then the Operation Protective Edge war erupted in Gaza. When it ended, everyone begged Abbas and his government of technocrats to come and save the day, deploy at the Rafah crossing and give everyone a ladder to get off their high horse.

There are many other such examples, one of which (as reported here previously) is how the insurgents were taking over the Golan Heights. Israel has yet to decide what’s better: Having the Golan Heights under the control of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or see his grip waning in favor of sub-state chaos governed by ephemeral insurgent organizations. While we are still weighing this, reports started appearing about Iranian cooperation with the United States in the war against the Islamic State (IS). It began with accounts noting that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a special fatwa, rendering legitimate the assistance to the United States in its war on the insane Sunni “infidels” from IS. Reports then followed that both countries, which are pitted against each other in a forceful struggle relating to Iran’s nuclear program, were indeed coordinating their positions and collaborating to stop IS. Although these reports were denied, Jerusalem did not completely take those denials at face value. The distrust of Washington runs so deep that no one among Netanyahu’s associates takes the White House or State Department’s official versions seriously. Until not long ago, an Israeli prime minister was able to hold intimate talks with the American president, asking the toughest questions and getting straight answers. No more. The line of communication between Jerusalem and Washington has gone cold and intimacy has gone into the deep freeze.

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