Grambaba/Wikimedia; Photo illustration by John Lyman

World News


The Yalta Connection

In early April, after six months of war between Israel and Hamas and other Iranian-backed militias, Israel was looking more isolated than ever. However, that seemed to change after Iran launched hundreds of missiles and drones in an unprecedented attack on Israel on April 13th. While the Iron Dome and Arrow defensive systems worked effectively, these Israeli defensive systems would have been overwhelmed had it not been for the critical support and coordination of American, British, Jordanian, and Saudi air forces helping to defend Israel.

With the U.S., UK, Israel, and moderate Arab nations more aligned than ever, this coalition should come together and use its collective diplomatic strength to craft a strategy to defeat Hamas and other Iranian-backed militias and deliver a significant blow against Iran. Iran has been the puppet master of the war in Israel since October 7th, funding and sponsoring Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Houthis as they attack Israel frequently. It is not only in Israel’s interest that these Iranian-backed proxies are defeated but in the interest of the rest of the coalition’s Arab states that this happens as well.

In addition to coordinating militarily against Iran and its proxies, another way the Israelis and their partners can deal a strategic blow to Iran is by shifting the narrative away from Iran being the sole “defender of Palestine.” To do this, Israel should provide deliverables for the Palestinians that can satisfy Jordanian, Saudi, and Emirati demands for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, like a verbal agreement to work towards a two-state outcome, and outline a post-war vision for the region.

To hash out this future, this alliance could look to the Yalta Conference of 1945, where the Americans, British, and Soviets gathered to discuss the post-war reorganization of Europe. A Middle East Yalta, where Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, and other partners negotiate and develop a coherent vision of the region’s future, could be successful if each country takes the threat of an assertive Iran seriously. While a conference of this sort would have seemed unlikely just a few weeks ago, the convergence of interests allows Israel and its partners to come together and strategize. Saudi and Jordanian citizens have also seen the threat Iran poses to regional stability that affects their livelihoods. Therefore, they may be more willing to see their leaders work together with Israel to sideline Iran if it comes along with improving the predicament of the Palestinians.

Though Yalta is not a perfect analogy, its spirit of cooperation in post-war reconstruction can guide Israel and its partners as they plan for the future. Since its revolution, the Iranian regime has declared war on Israel and attempted to dominate the Islamic world. This coalition should work together to navigate Iranian aggression and formulate a path toward peace in the Middle East.

A new Middle East has dawned, one that has slowly crept into view for the last five years. This new alliance should use this historic opportunity, with Iran internationally sidelined, to strategize on finishing the war in Gaza, assist Israel in defeating Hezbollah, defeat the Houthis together, and work towards Palestinian self-rule. The sooner these countries align, the better it is for the region’s prospects.