Trump appoints the right team to regain the Middle East
The Trump administration is dedicated to undoing the harm done by the Obama administration in the Iran Deal. To succeed, it needs the right team.
Relatively few people have heard of the Center for Security Policy. That’s about to change because it is playing a prominent, if not dominant role, in the Trump transition team in matters relating to Iran, Russia, China and Islam. Gone from the corridors of power is the Brookings Institution, who have a satellite office in Doha, Qatar along with their Vice President and Director for Foreign Policy, Martin Indyk. Soon, President Obama, the golfer, Secretary Kerry, the bicyclist and Secretary Clinton, the failure, will also be gone.
The CSP is a think tank created and led by Frank Gaffney, Jr. He formerly acted as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy during the Reagan Administration, following four years of service as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy. Previously, he was a professional staff member on the Senate Armed Services Committee under the chairmanship of the late Senator John Tower, and a national security legislative aide to the late Senator Henry M. Jackson.
The background of other staff members may be found here. Of particular note are Fred Fleitz and Clare Lopez.
Mr. Fleitz served in U.S. national security positions for 25 years at the CIA, DIA, Department of State and the House Intelligence Committee staff. During the administration of President George W. Bush, Mr. Fleitz was chief of staff to John Bolton, then Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. During his tenure with the House Intelligence Committee, he was the staff expert on the Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs and briefed key National Intelligence Estimates on these issues to committee members.
Ms. Lopez, among other credits, is the author of an acclaimed paper for the Center, The Rise of the Iran Lobby, and co-author/editor of the Center’s Team B II study, Shariah: The Threat to America, as well as The Tiger Team’s The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement. She co-authored Gulen and the Gulenist Movement with CSP’s Vice President for Outreach, Christopher Holton, and See No Shariah: ‘Countering Violent Extremism’ and the Disarming of America’s First Line of Defense with Frank Gaffney.
Finally, Alex VanNess is the Director of the Middle East Peace and Security Policy at the Center for Security Policy. He writes extensively on issues relating to U.S. defense spending, the U.S./Israel strategic relationship, and the existential threats posed by Islamic fundamentalism.
Closely associated with them is the newly appointed National Security Adviser Gen Michael T Flynn. He had been Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency until Pres Obama forced him to resign because of his vocal opposition to the Iran Deal and his belief that the Islamists were stronger than ever. He recently wrote Field of Flight in which he forcefully argues that the Islamist ideology must be defeated in order to defeat the Islamists.
All of them have positions of influence due to their recognition that the Islamist ideology embodied in Sharia and Jihad must be defeated.
During the Bush administration and before, AIPAC was a powerful force in Washington. With the Election of President Obama and the creation of J Street, it began to lose considerable power. It no longer was the sole voice for American Jewry. In addition, the Democratic Party, which was its power base, was moving to the left and away from supporting Israel.
With the election of Donald J Trump, it lost even more influence due to the fact that a big majority of American Jews voted for Clinton and were anti-Trump. In addition, its public policies are to the left of Trump, leaving them in an awkward position. They would have to support settlements and be flexible on the Two-State solution to be of any value to Israel. I don’t see that happening.
On the other hand, the Zionist Organization of America, which had been shunned by Obama, is replacing AIPAC as the leading Jewish voice. Its policies are totally aligned with those of the Trump administration in the making. And, of course, so are the views of the soon to be appointed US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, an Orthodox Jew who supports the settlement enterprise and annexation of all or part of the West Bank. Also, Trump’s son in law, Jared Kushner an orthodox Jew is slated to be one of his key advisers on Israel and he too is supportive of the settlement enterprise.
On Dec 15/16, at an elegant gala in New York City, the Center for Security Policy conferred awards on Rom Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the United States and Mort Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America. Judge Jeanine Pirro, a stalwart supporter of Trump and Israel, introduced them. Video messages from Caroline Glick and David Horowitz were viewed. And many other people who are in the frontlines of fighting Islamists were in attendance.
The first priority for the Trump administration is to neuter the Iran Deal. DEBKA reported that the Trump team is drawing up a deal more to its liking, which will probably remove any possibility of Iran getting a bomb in 10 years and require them to abandon terror and terror groups. To get them to agree, the US has to have leverage. Russia is the key to this. But why should Russia agree? She obviously has to be induced.
It is in the interests of the US and Israel that Russia and Iran not get full control of Syria and Iraq unless an enforceable agreement can be reached akin to a peace agreement. It’s either that or force must be mustered to stop them. As part of that agreement Israel would get to keep the Golan and Syria would agree to create a large buffer where no military activities would be allowed. That buffer would also extend to the land adjacent to Jordan.
In any scenario, the US must fully embrace Israel as a partner. The US has no military presence in the Middle East outside of a few aircraft carriers. Thus, the presence of the Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF) on the front lines greatly strengthens the US’s ability to project power immediately. This will add to her leverage.
It is also in the interests or the US to strengthen Israel by supporting a solution to the Palestinian problem in which Israel gets to annex all of Judea and Samaria (West Bank). The Palestinians would get autonomy only. Plus, the US must get the UN and the EU off Israel’s back. This will normalize Israel and enable her to play a larger regional role to the benefit of the US.
Furthermore, as ISIS is brought to heel in Syria and Iraq, it will foster terror cells all over the world. Gen. Flynn is tasked with not only defeating ISIS but defeating the Islamic ideology that fuels it. Israel, who has the most experience in fighting terrorism and the best intelligence, will be of great help and a willing partner. All the more reason, she must be normalized.
Finally, strengthening cyber security has become a national imperative. Once again Israel is one of the leading experts.
With these challenges in mind, President-Elect Trump has surrounded himself with the right people.
First there is the team at CSP who are dedicated to defeating the radical Islamic ideology who will support Gen Michael T. Flynn in this endeavor. This is of particular importance if the State Department is not cooperative. It will lessen dependence on it.
He has embraced strong Zionists, including ZOA, Friedman and Kushner who can help and direct him in how best to normalize Israel.
Finally he has nominated Rex Tillerson to be his Secretary of State. Who better to find a way to bring Russia on board?