In the lead up to the Iraq war, neoconservatives were fond of suggesting that “the road to Jerusalem runs through Baghdad.” The idea, peddled by neoconservatives associated with the Project for The New American Century (PNAC), was that regime change in Iraq would transform the power dynamics in the Middle East in such a way that, among various other wonderful benefits, Israel would feel more secure:
“The road to Jerusalem,” the mantra went, led through Baghdad. Neoconservatives and other hawks within the Bush administration expected that the United States would win respect in the Arab world through a massive show of force, and that Israel would be more comfortable making peace with the Palestinians once Saddam was gone.
As Leon Hadar wrote in September, the notion “proved to be an illusion“:
Instead of strengthening the pro-American bloc in the Middle East, weakening the power of radical political Islam, and accelerating the peace process, the Bush administration’s policies helped tilt the regional balance of power toward Iran and its satellites, empowering anti-American and anti-Israeli forces in Lebanon and Palestine and generating mistrust and violence in the Holy Land.
Now the message emanating from Israel and some of its supporters in the United States is that the road to Jerusalem leads through Iran.
Right on time, here’s Jamie Fly of the Foreign Policy Initiative (which is essentially a rebranded PNAC) showing that neocon illusions never die, they just get repackaged for new wars:
There is indeed a linkage between all of these regional problems, but the Obama administration has the sequence reversed. Regime change in Iran, not continued pressure on Israel and the Palestinians, represents the best chance this administration has to remake the Middle East.
Iran does pose a serious problem for the U.S. — but I’m more inclined to go with General David Petraeus on this one, that better behavior by our client Israel and progress on the Israeli-Palestinian peace front would bolster U.S. credibility in region and help us more effectively confront Iran, among other challenges.
As for the various colorful ponies that Fly assures us will result from regime change this time, I would refer him to the Sage of Crawford: