Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) warned that the West is ignoring the greatest threat to global security in its fight against ISIS, trading away long-term strategic security for short-term tactical gains.
In an opinion piece published by The Wall Street Journal on Monday, Bennett argued that while ISIS had captured the West’s attention, the Tehran regime has been quietly expanding its influence across the region, working to establish radical Shi’ite hegemony over large portions of the Middle East.
“Since its 1979 revolution, Iran has sought to become a dominant world power capable of instilling Islamic rule on as many people as possible. The Iranian regime finances and supports armed militias in other countries and is the world’s top exporter of terror.”
While ISIS atrocities have sparked outrage, Bennett claims Iran represents a far deadlier long-term threat, one which could extend far beyond the Middle East.
“An essential part of Tehran’s grand strategy is to control a land corridor from Iran to the Mediterranean Sea. Under the cover of Syria’s bloody civil war, Hezbollah is helping to build such a highway. This endangers the entire Western world.”
“Controlling this corridor would directly connect Iran with its proxies in Syria and Lebanon, allowing it to transfer advanced weapons cheaply and quickly. The highway would let Iran build its military presence on the Mediterranean, bringing much of Europe into the range of its air force, navy and midrange missiles. Iran could even build arms factories outside its borders.”
As this “Iranian empire” grows in strength, America and her allies remain focused on combating terrorism, enabling Iran to expand almost unchallenged, Bennett contends.
“There are many possible courses of action against Iran. Yet the free world—led by the U.S.—has yet to take the first and most important step: declaring that it cannot abide an Iranian empire from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea.”