Iran may target U.S. embassy opening in Jerusalem

Iran or a number Islamic terrorist groups may react violently on Tuesday, when the U.S. officially opens its new embassy in Jerusalem. While the embassy’s opening coincides with Israel’s 70th anniversary, it also falls on a day when Hamas will lead thousands of Palestinians in an aggressive march on the Israeli border.

The operative concern here is that Jerusalem has a defining ideological importance for every Islamic extremist entity that targets Israel. This includes the Iranian hardliners aligned with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Lebanese Hezbollah. As home to the Al-Aqsa mosque (the third holiest mosque in Islam) these entities see Jerusalem as a physical and theological sacrament that must be liberated from Israel.

Evidencing as much, the IRGC’s external action Quds force is actually named after Jerusalem: “Al-Quds” is the Arabic name for Jerusalem. Jerusalem also takes a prominent role in Iranian revolutionary iconography and an image of Al-Aqsa sits center in the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad logos. Thus, for these groups, the U.S. embassy’s opening in Jerusalem is both a grave affront to and a reinforcement of their ideology. That put the embassy at high risk of attack.

Now while the Israeli Shin Bet security service will work closely with U.S. Diplomatic Security Service and the Secret Service to secure the opening, no threat can be fully eliminated. This is also complicated by the fact that Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are also traveling to the embassy opening. Their presence will be an inducement to attack for the IRGC in particular, which is keen to flex its muscles in the face of President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

How would such an attack be carried out? Possibly by terrorists on the ground, possibly by Iranian missiles capable of hitting Jerusalem (although the IRGC knows employing those missiles would lead to an overwhelming Israeli response and perhaps a US response as well).

So, what can the U.S. do to mitigate the risks here?

Not much beyond working with the Israelis to secure the opening as best as possible. But Trump should make it clear that any attack on the embassy will result in a direct U.S. military response. Although they are ideologically committed jihadists, the IRGC and Hamas can be deterred by the threat of devastating U.S. retaliation to their antics.

Still, next week will be a stressful one for U.S. security officials.

Source » washingtonexaminer

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