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When Israel stood alone

The West's failure to tackle the Islamic extremist threat will empower Iran and leave Israel entirely exposed

The only reason Irish and Philippine peacekeeping troops are now safe is because of the Israeli army, according to the Irish newspaper the Independent:

The Sunday Independent has now established from senior sources that Irish soldiers would have been killed or taken hostage by Islamist extremists if it wasn’t for the military intervention of the Israeli army during last week’s battle to save besieged UN soldiers.

The situation on the border is so unpredictable right now that instead of the UN peacekeeping forces providing a buffer between Israel and Syria, it’s Israel who has had to step in to save the peacekeepers. The peacekeepers who got out have left 41 Fijian soldiers behind. They were taken prisoner by the Jihadi group the Al Nusra Front, who say they are going to put them on trial in a Shariah court.

Although Irish politicians are talking about sending another contingent of troops to the area it is by no means certain they will ever arrive. Particularly because the Philippine government is outraged by the orders given by the UN command to both Fijian troops and their own soldiers telling them to surrender to the Al Nusra Front without a fight. It was only orders coming from the Philippine high command that ensured the remainder of the UN force was able to fight their way out.

They were only able to fight their way out due to Israeli help.

Now they are gone. We are still here and we are on our own.

On a tactical level our own incompetence hasn’t helped us. Annexing 1,000 acres of West Bank land last week changed nothing on the ground yet drew the ire of the United States, Great Britain and France at precisely the moment we need these allies the most. In the longer term the blame lies with those same allies. Their short-sighted refusal to involve themselves in the Syrian civil war in a meaningful way from the start ensured that everyone’s worst fears became reality.

There was a secular opposition to Assad once. A mass of people screaming out for help in toppling a dictator. But no one was interested in helping them. Sure there were whispers of some Special Forces units training volunteers in Jordan. But there were many more bitter voices emerging to complain about a lack of aid from the West and very few ears listening to them.

And so years after US congressmen and Senators argued that they didn’t want to provide weapons to the Free Syrian Army in case they fell into the wrong hands they are getting involved anyway. Only to find that there are no hands left to take their weapons.

The Iranians are clapping their hands at the ease with which they have been able to assert their influence in an Iraqi power vacuum consisting of weak Shi’ite leaders and a Sunni army they are more than happy to fight. Over and above this they were the first country to agree to arm the Kurds and even fight alongside them. Al Jazeera reported on August 23rd that hundreds of Iranian soldiers have taken part in a joint operation inside Iraq with Kurdish forces to retake a town held by the Islamic State group.

The Kurds are likely to find that the Iranians will make a fickle ally. Once the threat posed by ISIS has been dealt with they will find themselves stuck with Iranian soldiers positioned throughout their own territory. They will also be beholden to the Iranians for weapons. They have no friends in Turkey, the West may not risk nuclear negotiations with Iran to back up the Kurds.

As their brutality becomes more infamous pundits are flocking to explain who and what ISIS or ISIL or just plain old IS is. Apparently they’re a mixture of old Saddam Hussein officers as well as the core of the old Al Qaeda in Iraq. They have about 7,000 fighters and a lot of shiny new equipment delivered to the fiction that the world calls the Iraqi Army. These weapons were abandoned on the battlefield, for the officers of the old Iraqi Army to assimilate into the ISIS armoury.

The truth is that ISIS are likely to collapse under their own brutality on the one hand and pressure from the coalition their own blood lust raised against them on the other. It will be Iran, in the end, who stands victorious on the battlefield dominating an area of land from Afghanistan in the East to Beirut in the West once ISIS are finished. And when that time comes there will be no UN force to serve as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah who will share in the fruits of victory. Then they will turn their battle hardened guns and rockets on Israel from the North and the North East.

We will face them alone.

About the Author
Marc Goldberg is the author of Beyond the Green Line, a story his service in the IDF fighting through the al Aqsa Intifada