AIPAC, Iran, and the two Abdullahs

MARK THOMAS/Getty Images How do you know when an Arab leader is serious about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians? When he enlists the “Israel Lobby” on his behalf: After making the plea for peace in an address to a joint session of Congress yesterday, King Abdullah met with a handful of Jewish leaders, including ...

603457_070308_abdullah_05.jpg
603457_070308_abdullah_05.jpg

MARK THOMAS/Getty Images

MARK THOMAS/Getty Images

How do you know when an Arab leader is serious about peace between the Israelis and Palestinians? When he enlists the “Israel Lobby” on his behalf:

After making the plea for peace in an address to a joint session of Congress yesterday, King Abdullah met with a handful of Jewish leaders, including representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, to press his case for renewed American engagement in the dormant Arab-Israeli negotiations.

The Jordanian king’s timing is surely no coincidence, as AIPAC’s power-packed annual policy conference begins on Sunday and culminates in a visit to Capitol Hill by AIPAC’s executive committee on Tuesday. Frankly, there’s no way that the king of Jordan, how ever solid a U.S. ally he may be, has more pull than AIPAC’s executive committee. So he needs their help. But AIPAC wants pressure on Hamas, not Abdullah’s preferred strategy of engagement, which is probably not likely to work yet anyway.

In any case, the main topic at AIPAC won’t be Middle East peace, but the threat that Iran poses to Israel. It’s AIPAC’s top agenda item. Here, Jordan and AIPAC’s interests may converge. Abdullah fears Iran’s rising influence, having warned on several occasions of a “Shiite crescent” stretching from Tehran to Beirut (and surrounding his small country). It’s likely his private remarks to members of Congress emphasized his solidarity against the Shiite menace rather than his empathy for the Palestinians.

The Jordanian monarch was recently joined in anti-Iran diplomacy by Saudi King Abdullah (it’s a common name over there), who apparently delivered a stern warning to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on the latter’s recent visit to Riyadh:

King Abdullah apparently convinced Ahmadinejad that a U.S. bombing campaign on Iran would not be limited to the nuclear sites that are dug deep underground. The Iranian was made to understand if Bush opts for an air campaign, Iran would become the target for hundreds of bombing sorties against key installations across the length and breadth of Iran. Not only would Iran be set back several years, but the entire region would most probably explode against all the countries that have sided with the United States.

Apparently, Ahmadinejad flew home “much chastened and worried” by the meeting. He should be.

More from Foreign Policy

A photo collage illustration shows U.S. political figures plotted on a foreign-policy spectrum from most assertive to least. From left: Dick Cheney, Nikki Haley, Joe Biden, George H.W. Bush, Ron Desantis, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Bernie Sanders.
A photo collage illustration shows U.S. political figures plotted on a foreign-policy spectrum from most assertive to least. From left: Dick Cheney, Nikki Haley, Joe Biden, George H.W. Bush, Ron Desantis, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Bernie Sanders.

The Scrambled Spectrum of U.S. Foreign-Policy Thinking

Presidents, officials, and candidates tend to fall into six camps that don’t follow party lines.

A girl touches a photograph of her relative on the Memory Wall of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war in Kyiv.
A girl touches a photograph of her relative on the Memory Wall of Fallen Defenders of Ukraine in the Russian-Ukrainian war in Kyiv.

What Does Victory Look Like in Ukraine?

Ukrainians differ on what would keep their nation safe from Russia.

A man is seen in profile standing several yards away from a prison.
A man is seen in profile standing several yards away from a prison.

The Biden Administration Is Dangerously Downplaying the Global Terrorism Threat

Today, there are more terror groups in existence, in more countries around the world, and with more territory under their control than ever before.

Then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez arrives for a closed-door briefing by intelligence officials at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.
Then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez arrives for a closed-door briefing by intelligence officials at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

Blue Hawk Down

Sen. Bob Menendez’s indictment will shape the future of Congress’s foreign policy.