Skip to main content

Netanyahu’s strategic failures on Iran, Trump

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had gambled on US President Donald Trump to spearhead the struggle against the "Iranian threat," in what now emerges to be a colossal strategic failure.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 27, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RC1FCD450420
Read in 

The giant Likud party billboards featuring Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu smiling at US President Donald Trump under the caption, “Netanyahu, a Different League,” still tower over major Israeli intersections. Who knows, the Likud may need them again soon, judging by the state of the negotiations on forming a new coalition government. Another election round may soon be on the agenda. However, with every passing day, Netanyahu’s investment in the US president is going sour. The question marks surrounding Trump’s foreign policy, and mostly (the absence of) his Middle East policy, are morphing into warning signs. His abandonment of the Kurds in northern Syria is the latest in a series of US measures indicating that Netanyahu’s stalwart US pillar increasingly resembles a weather vane buffeted by a hurricane.

This isn’t spin, it’s not a whim,” Netanyahu promised in his Oct. 3 speech at the swearing-in ceremony of the 22nd Knesset, embarking on a terrifying description of the “Iranian threat." Iran, he warned, was attacking international shipping lanes and the Arabian Peninsula. “It is also directly attacking US aircraft and now the Saudi oil fields, and in the clearest words possible, this is what their generals said, as recently as two days ago: 'Israel will disappear.'”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.