How Big Is The Jewish Quarter?

When Mark Twain arrived in the Holy Land in 1867 he saw a barren land with few inhabitants. His depiction of Land of Israel is as follows:

“The further we went the hotter the sun got, and the more rocky and bare, repulsive and dreary the landscape became…There was hardly a tree or a shrub any where. Even the olive and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country”.

While in Jerusalem he did find connection to the spiritual, he still depicted it as hardly populated. Interestingly, according to the Ottoman census already by the 1860s the population he would have found there would have been majority Jewish. This begs the question, if the Jewish population was in the majority, how big was the Jewish Quarter over 150 years ago if the Jewish population was in the majority?

In the second half of the 19th century Jewish Jerusalem was bursting at the seams. More and more Jews were streaming to Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. So much so, that by the 1880s Jews started venturing outside the walls of Jerusalem for the first time.

The Jewish population lived throughout today’s Old City and beyond. There were Jews in abundance by the Flowers Gate in the North as well as in today’s Christian Quarter. What is known as El Khaladia Street in today’s Muslim Quarter was the main street of the Jewish population.

However, this began to change when the British took over the Holy Land as they employed the quarter system we are all used to today. In the years between 1917 and 1948 a series of Arab pogroms occurred with little resistance from British authorities. This decimated the Jewish population and pushed back to the current Jewish Quarter, which was extinguished in 1948 when the Jordanian were able to take control Jerusalem’s Old City for 19 years.

Upon liberating Jerusalem in 1967, Israel reestablished what is today known as the Jewish Quarter, but kept the erroneous four quarters the British had instituted. Unfortunately this gives a false impression that Jews only lived in that area.

In order for the Jewish people to have an authentic and honest connection to their ancestral homeland, they need a very real historical account of Jerusalem. That includes fact that most of the “Christian and Muslim Quarters” were in fact Jewish not so long ago.

[VIDEO] Ep. 1 It Begins With Jerusalem and Ends With Jerusalem

The following interview is our relaunch and debut show from Jerusalem. My conversation with Daniel Hood touches on a wide range of issues that are all tied into the civilizational decline of the West and return of Jerusalem as the fulcrum of the coming civilizational struggles and competition.

Daniel and I touch on the dismemberment of the America as we know it and the need for Israel to step up and return to its Biblical Roots. Everything we see now is an outgrowth of the coming vaccuum in Western Culture and why no matter who wins this election, America will never be the same. Given this Israel will need to recalibrate itself.

The Temple Begins in Our Minds

“Everyone who has Da’as, it is as if he has built the Beis HaMikdash (Temple).” [Tractate Barachos 33/a]

The building of the Beis HaMikdash begins with Da’as – a deep knowledge of the Creator, drawn from building a connection to our inner Godly consciousness.

The more we bind ourselves to the Divine intellect hidden behind the layers of our reality, the more we ourselves leave the world of the emotions, (which can be manipulated) – and allow ourselves to be a vessel for the Godly wisdom to guide our actions.

This “switch” from a me centered world, to one where the Creator’s wisdom drives our approach to the physical realm is a preparatory requirement that must be in place to build the Beis HaMikdash.

We have allowed doubt to penetrate our hearts and in turn this has cut us off from the Da’as held within each of us. Yet, as we reach the final stages of the Geulah Shleima, there is still hope that we can unlock the Godly intellect and awareness held within.

It is for this reason that both the Tzaddik Emes and the Land of Israel are interrelated.

The elevated consciousness found within the Land injects the Nation with the first formulation and concretization of the Da’as Elyon (Supernal Knowledge/Consciousness), but doubt still bites at us, gnawing at our minds. This is why the Tzaddik Emes, who blazed a path to Geulah ahead of us, readies our weapons of prayer and Godly awareness.

He is whispering through his teachings and advice – all we have to do is listen and begin.

(Based on Likutey Moharan 1; Likutey Moharan Tinyana 71 and 72; Ain Ayeh Brachos Page 157 Paragragh 91; Shemoneh Kevatzim Volume 1)

The Old Yemenite Village is in Our Hands Again

After nearly 80 years of having Arab squatters live within its walls as well as severe vandalism and desecration, the Old Yemenite Synagogue had a rededication ceremony yesterday.  Built in the 1880s by Yemenite Jews who walked to Israel on foot, it quickly became the central focus of the growing Jewish community outside of the Old City walls.

The Yemenite Village was built upon a barren hillside across from the City of David and stood their until consecutive Arab pogroms chased the Jews out. By 1948 the whole neighborhood was taken over by Arabs that had moved from outside of Jerusalem as well as Jordanian forces.  This village was renamed Silwan.

Today, the Yemenite Village is being rebuilt through acquisitions in Silwan facilitated by Ateret Cohanim.  With 21 families and 8o children it appears that the Yemenite Village now hidden within the Arab occupation of the hillside is set to grow. With all the positive events in the neighborhood over the last few years, yesterday’s dedication was by far the most impactful and emotional.

The Yemenite synagogue is a three domed structure.  The Arab squatters encouraged by EU funded organizations held onto 2/3 of the building, with the first domed room having been bought a few years earlier.  The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the squatters had to leave. Now a few years later and some basic renovations, a full renovation is being prepared.

Ministers Zeev Elkin and Miri Regev spoke at the ceremony yesterday and Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas was in attendance.

Watch Daniel Luria of Ateret Cohanim speak about the importance of the Synagogue below.


Danny Moskowitz (Ateret Cohanim photographer Matanya Ofir)

Mike Huckabee (Ateret Cohanim photographer Matanya Ofir)

Yemenite Beit Knesset (Ateret Cohanim photographer Matanya Ofir)

Rav Amar (Ateret Cohanim photographer Matanya Ofir)

Ministers Zeev Elkin and Miri Regev (Ateret Cohanim photographer Matanya Ofir)

BIBI NETANYAHU: “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following words at the US Embassy Dedication in Jerusalem today (14th of May):

“We have no better friends in the world. You stand for Israel and you stand for Jerusalem. Thank you.

Your presence here today is a testament to the importance of this occasion, not only for the Trump administration, but in a very personal way for you. For you, each of you, for the pursuit of peace, and for President Trump himself. Thank you.

Dear friends,

What a glorious day. Remember this moment. This is history. President Trump, by recognizing history, you have made history.

All of us are deeply moved. All of us are deeply grateful.

For me, being here brings back wonderful memories from my childhood. [Hebrew] So, I know some of you didn’t follow every word I said in Hebrew, and I’ll tell you that I spent the first three years of my life in this neighborhood, in Ein Gedi Street in Talpiot, which is not very far away. There were a few charming houses here, many open fields. I remember ambling in these fields with my brother, Yoni. He was six; I was three. He held my hand very tight. We’d walk to this wondrous house of Professor Joseph Klausner, the renowned Jewish historian who was my father’s teacher. I used to peer through the slats of the wooden synagogue where he and the great Israeli writer, Shai Agnon, used to pray on Shabbat. And David, I would approach this place right here, but only so far, because my mother told me, ‘You can’t go any further.’ This was near the border. It was exposed to sniper fire. That was then. This is now, today.

Today, the embassy of the most powerful nation on earth, our greatest ally, the United States of America, today its embassy opened here.

So for me this spot brings back personal memories, but for our people, it evokes profound collective memories of the greatest moments we have known on this City on a Hill.

In Jerusalem, Abraham passed the greatest test of faith and the right to be the father of our nation.

In Jerusalem, King David established our capital three thousand years ago.

In Jerusalem, King Solomon built our Temple, which stood for many centuries.

In Jerusalem, Jewish exiles from Babylon rebuilt the Temple, which stood for many more centuries.

In Jerusalem, the Maccabees rededicated that Temple and restored Jewish sovereignty in this land.

And it was here in Jerusalem some two thousand years later that the soldiers of Israel spoke three immortal words, ‘Har ha’bayit be’yadeinu,’ ‘The Temple Mount is in our hands,’ words that lifted the spirit of the entire nation.

We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.

We are here in Jerusalem, protected by the brave soldiers of the army of Israel, led by our Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, and our brave soldiers, our brave soldiers are protecting the borders of Israel as we speak today. We salute them all, and the members of our security forces, the Shin Bet and the Mossad, whose head is with us today. We salute you all, all of you.

Over a century ago, the Balfour Declaration recognized the right of the Jewish people to a national home in this land. And exactly 70 years ago today, President Truman became the first world leader to recognize the newborn Jewish state. Last December, President Trump became the first world leader to recognize Jerusalem as our capital. And today, the United States of America is opening its embassy right here in Jerusalem.

Thank you. Thank you, President Trump, for having the courage to keep your promises. Thank you, President Trump, and thank you all, for making the alliance between America and Israel stronger than ever. And thank you, a special thank you, to you, Ambassador Friedman. Thank you, David, for everything you do to bring our countries and our peoples closer together. Today, you have a special privilege. You are privileged to become the first American ambassador to serve your country in Jerusalem, and this is a distinct honor that will be yours forever. Nobody can be first again.

My friends, this is a great day for Israel. It’s a great day for America. It’s a great day for our fantastic partnership. But I believe it’s also a great day for peace.

I want to thank Jared, Jason and David for your tireless efforts to advance peace, and for your tireless efforts to advance the truth. The truth and peace are interconnected. A peace that is built on lies will crash on the rocks of Middle Eastern reality. You can only build peace on truth, and the truth is that Jerusalem has been and will always be the capital of the Jewish people, the capital of the Jewish state. Truth, peace and justice – as our Supreme Court Justice here. Hanan Melcer, can attest – truth, peace and justice, this is what we have and this is what we believe in.

The prophet, Zechariah, declared over 2,500 years ago, ‘So said the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth.’

May the opening of this embassy in this city spread the truth far and wide, and may the truth advance a lasting peace between Israel and all our neighbors.

G-d bless the United States of America and G-d bless Jerusalem, the eternal, undivided capital of Israel.

Baruch atah A-donai Elokeinu melekh ha’olam shehecheyanu vekiymanu vehigi’anu lazman hazeh [Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.]”

BIBI NETANYAHU: “Jerusalem above and Jerusalem below, we are bound to this city.”

There are moments where one realizes they are living through momentous times.  The remarks below by Prime Minister Netanyahu at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting expresses this realization in both physical and spiritual terms.

“This week we will be blessed with a truly historical event and this is the decision of the greatest major power in the world, our friend the United States, to move its embassy here. President Trump promised to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – and did so. He promised to move the American embassy – and is doing so. Of course we will all celebrate this day tomorrow, it is truly a celebration. Afterwards two additional embassies – Guatemala and Paraguay – will come here and others are on the way.

It is not for nothing that we are marking Jerusalem Day today at the Bible Lands Museum. Jerusalem is mentioned in the Bible approximately 650 times. The reason is simple: For over 3,000 years it has been the capital of our people, and only of our people. We dreamed of returning to rebuild it, the city that is joined together – this is exactly what we are doing today. We will make a series of decisions to build up and develop Jerusalem, east and west, north and south, in all directions – to both reveal its past and build its future. I know that there will be difficulties along the way; there have been difficulties for the past 70 years. We have met them since 1949 and up to recent years. We will also meet them in the future.

Jerusalem above and Jerusalem below, we are bound to this city. It is part of our soul, part of our experience, on both our material and spiritual sides.

I am certain that all ministers feel as I do regarding the major evets that are currently taking place. We are honoring the words of the prophet [Joel 4:20], ‘But Judah shall be inhabited forever and Jerusalem from generation to generation’.”

PACKER’S CORNER: President Trump Does It Again

He has done it again! Just yesterday, President Trump officially announced that he is withdrawing from the agreement reached between the obama administration, Europe and Iran concerning their nuclear weapons program. The idea of the agreement, more or less, was to pay Iran tons of money so that they wouldn’t try to make a nuclear bomb. All the while they can continue with terrorism and all that stuff, just no nuclear weapon. Also, this is being done on the honor system. Iran’s 2nd favorite system! (Honor killing system is a consistent #1)

Reactions have been swift and predictable:

For withdrawing: America, Israel, Saudi Arabia
Against withdrawing: Iran, Europe
(its kind of like World War 2 all over again)

This all comes at a time when Iran is threatening to retaliate against a bunch of very successful recent Israeli attacks (including last night) against Iranian targets in Syria. Israel has made preparations for the possibility of an Iranian/Hezbollah attack, but mostly life goes on pretty routine. Most folks focused on next week.

What’s next week?

  • Jerusalem Day (51st anniversary of Jewish victory in the Six Day War and return of Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem and other historical/biblical cities, like Hevron, Shiloh, Shechem, Jericho, etc.)
  • Moving of American Embassy to Jerusalem
  • Ramadan (muslim month of fasting and violence)
  • Shavuos (anniversary of the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai)

That’s alot going on, even for here.

And finally, yesterday the soldier, Elor Azarya, was released from jail. This is wonderful news and way, way overdue. His brother is getting married tonight and for sure Elor will be celebrated there as a hero. This will likely continue for the rest of his life. He can thank the thoughtless, immoral Israeli left for his lifetime hero status. He’s a cool guy, but they are the ones who made him a hero.

After next week, expect some excitement in the Knesset, strategic building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem and more clarity as to who is running in the Jerusalem mayor elections.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy the show!

Don’t Believe the Fake News on Trump’s Peace Plan

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel will have to make concessions to the Palestinians after the US relocates its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman told Channel 2 Saturday night.

This of course has sparked wide spread rumors in the Israeli press that Trump plans on revealing his “peace plan” soon after the May 14th embassy move.  Furthermore, there is an unsourced rumor that part of the “peace plan” includes a provision that Israel would have to evacuate four East Jerusalem Arab neighborhoods to be set aside for a Palestinian State. The same rumors indicate that the purported Trump “peace plan” will see the Old City be handed over to international control.

Before we fall into our typical paranoid national PTSD motivated responses, Caroline Glick tweeted the following:

One piece of evidence to support Glick is the fact that the government released a much anticipated report paving the way for Israel to be able to legalize all of the outposts throughout Judea and Samaria.  If there was a chance that the US was bringing a “peace plan” into the public right after the embassy move, the government would never be so brazen to literally end any chance for a “2 State Solution” by legalizing the countless settlements and outposts across Judea and Samaria.

Another, is the claim that Trump has requested Israel vacate four Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem.  One of them is listed as Shuafat. Below is the location of the Shuafat neighborhood.  It lies in the northern part of Jerusalem, but is buttressed by Jewish neighborhoods.  The light rail also runs through it.  No Israeli government would agree to giving this over to a Palestinian State.  So where is this rumor flowing from?  There was a plan to disconnect Shuafat from the Jerusalem municipality, but keeping within Israeli control.  Essentially this would make it its own locality. No one has discussed this being handed over to the PA itself.

Is there a peace plan being formulated?  No doubt.  Given the accolades Trump has received on Korea, he will be emboldened to repeat it.  This does not mean however that the specifics of the plan have been formulated.  Trump’s style is usually to provide contours and let the parties figure it out.  In our case, Israel has no partner, rendering Trump’s plan dead on arrival.

So what is the best solution to the endless rumors streaming in from all places?  The only thing left to do, is to ignore them.

In a New Era of Peace, the US and Israel Can Resolve the Iran Problem

The recent summit between North Korea and South Korea was as much historic as it was surreal. After 65 years in a state of war, both leaders agreed to work together to ‘denuclearize’ the Korean peninsula, potentially heralding a ‘new era of peace’. Fortunately, it looks doubtful that a forecast by Rabbi Nachmani (23 years ago) of an end of days war initiated by North Korea will occur.

We learn from our sages that Moshe Rabbenu (Moses) was the transmitter of G‑d’s word, the Torah, which is known as truth. But, his brother Aaron HaCohen was focused on bringing peace between husband / wife, friends, nations, etc. He would even ‘bend the truth’ if it meant achieving constructive outcomes. We also learn that Avraham Avinu was known for his kindness whereas his son Yitzchak Avinu was known for strength / rigidness in following commandments. These concepts represent the different paths toward conflict resolution. While both paths were tried with the Koreas, we can optimistically assess that peace triumphed over truth and kindness over rigidity for the greater benefit of world civilization.

Conversely, tensions between Israel and Iran have risen to new heights and appear headed toward resolution via a different path. Israel has taken aggressive measures to thwart the Iranian presence in Syria. Over the weekend, Israel bombed a munitions facility in Syria, killing Iranians. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu dramatically asserted earlier today that the Iranian government lied for years about its nuclear program which was not solely intended for peaceful purposes. Interestingly, it is unclear how Israel fared against the much-heralded Russian S-300 air defense system. Either Israel had a side agreement with Russia to hold back its use or Israel has developed a way to neutralize the capabilities of the system.

Iran Background

The Iranian regime can hardly be described as a flourishing democracy. The political dynamics pit a middle class who want less religious restrictions and more economic opportunity against a poorer class who are more religiously inclined. The leadership in Iran holds what amount to mock elections to give the population the illusion of democracy while the mullahs hold the power. Unfortunately, as of today, the divergent economic and religious interests in Iranian society are too wide to allow both sides to team up and overthrow the regime.

Although most people are familiar with the theocratic divide between Sunnis and Shiites, an even more relevant one is between Arabs and Persians. Deeply rooted prejudices exist as many Persians view Arabs as having a lower status in society. Iranians widely believe that their government should not spend money on Hamas or Hezbollah as they have absolutely no interest in the Arab Israeli conflict.

US – Israel Relations

President Trump was elected on a mandate to forge a new foreign policy direction away from building up other nations at the expense of US interests. During his inauguration, he stated the US would ‘seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world’ and ‘not seek to impose our way of life on anyone’. While the US will not initiate any kind of Iranian invasion via military force, it has strongly allied itself with Israel. The threat of annihilation to South Korea from North Korea was not acceptable and can be applied similarly. Israel should not be expected to live in fear of an Iran that intrudes towards its borders and funds terrorist groups. Regrettably, a new US administration has not swayed the mullahs attitude toward Israel or the US. Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani, who is the commander of foreign operations for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, even refused to open a letter from then CIA Director Mike Pompeo saying, ‘I will not take your letter nor read it and I have nothing to say to these people’.

As we approach the move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, we can conclude that President Trump has been a strong supporter of Israel. His latest moves elevating Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Advisor, both very pro-Israel, reinforce this fact. While a deal maker by trade, President Trump does realize that one cannot negotiate with entities that are sworn to its destruction.


In summary, we have a US administration that strongly supports Israel lined up against a fanatical Iranian theocracy that does not act in the best interests of its citizens. While close monitoring of the Iranian power structure is required, there appear to be cracks in the regime. There was an unverified report over the weekend that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei may remove General Soleimani over differences between him and other commanders. Signs of a potential currency crisis have been evident in recent weeks. This would have dire consequences on the Iranian economy as further economic stress would likely cause businesses to ‘pack up and leave again’.

Generally, I do not put much thought in Israel’s security. As we know, it is a complete miracle that Israel exists as a nation. Israel has overcome insurmountable odds in numerous wars over thousands of years. There are long standing rumors that Israeli wars (of the past 70 years) are never taught at West Point. The mullahs in Iran will soon come to that realization. If the mullahs had an ounce of intelligence, they would realize what they are up against and change course. If Israel’s destruction was their true goal, their best move would be make peace with Israel and pray to Allah that the Jews forsake their G-d. Fortunately, that won’t happen any time soon.

Originally Posted in News With Chai.


Understanding Trump’s America First foreign policy.

It’s really not that complicated.

But President Trump’s Syria strikes have reopened the debate over what defines his foreign policy. Is he an interventionist or an isolationist? Foreign policy experts claim that he’s making it up as he goes along.

But they’re not paying attention.

President Trump’s foreign policy has two consistent elements. From threatening Kim Jong-Un on Twitter to moving the embassy to Jerusalem to bombing Syria, he applies pressure and then he disengages.

Here’s how that works.

First, Trump pressures the most intransigent and hostile side in the conflict. Second, he divests the United States from the conflict leaving the relevant parties to find a way to work it out.

North Korea had spent decades using its nuclear program to bully its neighbors and the United States. Previous administrations had given the Communist dictatorship $1.3 billion in aid to keep it from developing its nuclear program. These bribes failed because they incentivized the nuclear program.

Nukes are the only thing keeping North Korea from being just another failed Communist dictatorship.

Instead, Trump called North Korea’s bluff. He ignored all the diplomatic advice and ridiculed its regime. He made it clear that the United States was not afraid of North Korean nukes. The experts shrieked. They warned that Kim Jong-Un wouldn’t take this Twitter abuse and we would be in for a nuclear war.

But the Norks folded.

The Communist regime held high level talks with the United States and South Korea. It’s reportedly planning to announce an official end to the war. That probably won’t amount to much in the long term, but it shifts more of the responsibility for the conflict away from the United States and to the Koreas.

Trump accomplished more with a few tweets than previous administrations had with billions of dollars.

An instinctive negotiator, Trump’s realpolitik genius lay not in ideology, but in grasping the core negotiating strategy of the enemy and then negating it by taking away its reason not to make a deal.

When Trump called North Korea’s bluff, its nuclear weapons program was transformed from an asset that it used to blackmail aid from its potential targets into a liability that could end with its destruction.

Trump did the same thing with Jerusalem.

The PLO had refused to make a deal with Israel because its constant refusals to negotiate allowed it to keep escalating its demands. The more it sabotaged negotiations, the better the offers became.

The PLO’s Palestinian Authority didn’t have nukes, but its weapon of choice was terrorism. And it had played the same game as North Korea for decades. It would begin negotiations, demand payoffs, then sabotage negotiations, threaten violence, and demand an even higher payoff for ending the violence.

The PLO/PA knew that it could get the best possible deal by not making a deal.

Just like North Korea, Trump cut the PLO down to size by negating its negotiating strategy. Instead of the deal getting better and better, Trump showed that it would get worse by taking Jerusalem off the table.

Previous administrations had rewarded the PLO/PA for its refusal to make a deal by sweetening the pot. Instead Trump threatened to take away Jerusalem, the biggest prize in the pot. And then he warned that the PLO would lose even more of its demands if the terrorist group continued to refuse to make a deal.

Unlike Clinton, Bush and Obama, Trump did not overcompensate for the US-Israel relationship by pressuring the Jewish State to make a deal with the PLO so as to seem like an “honest broker”. Instead he leveraged that relationship to move the United States away from the conflict.

Moving the embassy to Jerusalem sends the signal that the US-Israel relationship doesn’t depend on a deal with the PLO. That’s the opposite of the messages that Clinton, Bush and Obama had sent.

Their old failed diplomacy that made the US-Israel relationship dependent on a deal with the PLO had given the terrorists control over our foreign policy. The US and Israel were perversely forced into appeasing the terrorists of the PLO just to be able to maintain a relationship with each other.

Trump kicked the PLO out of the driver’s seat. And the terrorist group is becoming isolated.

Saudi Arabia and its allies are much more focused on Iran than the old proxy war against Israel. And, for the moment, that leaves the PLO with few allies. If it doesn’t make a deal, then the United States will rebuild its relationship with Israel around regional security issues. And the Saudis have signaled that they are willing to do the same thing. Then everyone else exits the conflict except Israel and the PLO.

Trump left it to the South Koreans to decide the conflict with North Korea. Ditto for Israel.

The United States will put forward proposals, but the long game is to get America out these conflicts. And Trump does that by turning the United States from an eager mediator to a bully with a big stick.

He made it clear to Kim Jong-Un that he would have a much easier time negotiating with South Korea than with America. And he’s made it equally clear to the PLO that it’s better off turning to Israel than to its allies in the State Department. The message is, “You don’t want to get the United States involved.”

Previous administrations believed that the United States had an integral role in resolving every conflict. President Trump’s America First policy seeks to limit our involvement in foreign conflicts without robbing us of our influence by making those interventions as decisive and abrasive as possible.

It breaks every rule of contemporary diplomacy. But it has plenty of historical precedents. And it works.

President Trump wants to get out of Syria. But he doesn’t want to hand Iran another win. And he doesn’t want to get the United States bogged down in another disastrous regional conflict.

So, just like in North Korea and Israel, he sent a decisive message of strength.

The strikes were a reminder that unlike his predecessor, he was not afraid of using force. But just as in North Korea and Israel, the show of strength was only a lever for disengaging from the conflict.

Instead, Trump wants to bring in an “Arab force” to stabilize parts of Syria. That would checkmate Iran, split Syria between the Shiites and Sunnis, and ‘Arabize’ the conflict while getting America out of it.

The threat of more strikes would give an Arab force credibility without an actual American commitment.

And the threat of a Sunni Arab force is meant to pressure Assad into making a deal that would limit Iran’s influence over Syria. If Assad wants to restore complete control over Syria, he’ll have to make a deal with the Sunnis inside or outside his country. And that will limit Iran’s influence and power in Syria.

The debates over chemical attacks were never the real issue. Keeping weapons like that out of the hands of terror-linked states like Syria is good policy. But there was a much bigger picture.

Iran took advantage of the Obama era to expand its power and influence. Trump wants to roll back Iranian expansionism while limiting American exposure to the conflict. Once again he’s using a show of strength to mobilize the local players into addressing the problem while keeping his future plans vague.

Assad’s biggest reason for refusing to make a deal was that Iran’s backing made his victory inevitable. Iran and Hezbollah had paid a high price for winning in Syria. But they were unquestionably winning. The only thing that could change that is direct American intervention. And Trump wants Assad to fear it.

Trump is offering Assad the rule of his country. But to get it, he has to dump his biggest partner.

When Trump came into office, the two bad options were arming the Sunni Jihadis or letting Iran’s Shiite Jihadis win. Instead Trump has come up with a third option. Either keep the war going or force a deal.

Either the conflict will drag on, but with minimal American involvement. Or Assad will sell out Iran.

None of these are ideal options. But there are no good options. Not in North Korea, Israel or Syria. The Norks and the PLO aren’t likely to reform. Syria, like Iraq, will stay divided between feuding Islamic sects. None of these problems will go away at the negotiating table. And Trump understands that.

Trump is too much of a dealmaker to believe in the unlimited promise of diplomatic agreements.  He knows that it takes leverage not just to make a deal, but to keep it in place. And he doesn’t believe that the United States can make a deal work when a key player really doesn’t want the deal to happen.

Trump’s Art of the International Deal identifies the roadblocks to previous agreements, breaks them down, puts the local players in the driver’s seat and then makes fixing the problem into their problem.

Obama’s people dubbed his failed diplomacy, “Smart Power”. Call Trump’s diplomacy, “Deal Power.”

Originally Published in FrontPageMag