Intro and AnalysisKata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada is an Iranian proxy Iraqi Shi’a militia that first emerged as a participant in the Syrian civil war, fighting against the rebels as part of the ‘shrine defence’ [Sayyida Zainab] narrative. With the renewal of…
I’m surprised that the following coincidence was not connected to Purim. Once again an Iranian tyrant is threatening countries in the region, and it isn’t just Jews that are worried. In an absolutely remarkable historical event, President Shimon Peres delivered a speech to 29 representatives from Arab and Islamic states via satellite. Do not kid yourself; this would not have happened if the Egyptians, Saudis, and others hadn’t thought that the U.S. had sold out the Sunni Arabs.
“Everybody understood that this was something historic: the president of the Jewish state sitting in his office in Jerusalem with an Israeli flag and the foreign ministers sitting in the Persian Gulf discussing security, the war on terror and peace,” said one of the Arab organizing officials.
There are three themes to Peres’ speech. The threat of Iranian nuclear weapons on all the region’s nations, the dangers of radical Islamism, and the usefulness of making peace with Israel (of course he would talk about peace with Israel, but notice that this is not within the context of the Iranian threat). Another easy thing to miss is that simultaneously, the Israeli government said it would provide further details of how close Iran is to obtaining nuclear weapons. Another point that might be missed is the implication that Israel will share nuclear intelligence with other Arab-Muslim nations.
At a meeting between an Israeli ambassador and a very high-ranking Saudi official, the latter said, “Jerusalem must be liberated and Palestine must be an independent country. Okay, that’s out of the way, now let’s talk about everything else.”
The Arab-Turkish cooperation forum is still stalled. When Erdogan became prime minister, Turkey had good relations with Israel against the Arab states. Yet Erdogan is a Sunni Islamist supporting revolutionary Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Because of this, he switched from relative support for Israel to support for revolutionary Islamists. But note the cost: This month a parliamentary candidate is openly running in a Marxist-Kurdish party. And in fact, the Kurdish Worker’s Party has been strengthened, especially in Syria.
There is, however, something more here, and believe it that the Saudis will listen and hear that the bill has been presented and Turkey expects to pay. At the same time, the Turkish ambassador has been expelled from Egypt, and Gulf Arabs are increasingly worried about continued Turkish support for the Syrian insurgency. In other words, Israel may claim the new Middle East politics better than Iran and even better than the United States. Obviously, Israel and Saudi Arabia are not going to carry out a joint attack on Iran or take any other drastic measures. Yet this may lead to other positive developments. Just don’t forget the old pattern. In a television broadcast, a senior Kuwaiti mullah said:
“Oh servants of Allah, how saddening and very painful it is to see many Muslim youths glued to TV screens at cafes or at home, passionately watching entertainment shows, like the football World Cup, in despicable subjugation to the abominations of the other nations–as if we were not a nation with a brilliant history and a lofty civilization…The Jews were successful in preoccupying the Muslim youth–except those protected by Allah–with the most inane matters, distracting them from important things…” –Shaykh Abd al-Muhsin al-Mutairi
None of this has changed the politics. It is for Arab public consumption. It would be too hazardous for an Arab government to accept Israel’s nationhood.
Finally, note that since Egypt is angry with Hamas–and Egypt and Israel are keeping peace in the Sinai–Hamas has more limited wartime capabilities. And Hizballah–because of its participation in the Syrian civil war–wants to avoid armed conflict with Israel. This situation seems to be the best that can be achieved in the region.
In 1948, there were hopes that the Arab-Israeli conflict would be resolved in the long-run. But it wasn’t. In 1967, there was hope that the magnitude of Israeli victory meant that the Arabs would eventually come to terms (Egypt and Jordan did in a way, although the final word has not been written). In 1982, people believed that the conflict could still be solved, but it wasn’t. And finally, during the negotiations from 1993-2000, there were renewed hopes that the conflict would be resolved. It wasn’t.
Today, the conflict is even further from being resolved, especially with the entry of Iran, Islamism, and the radical government in Turkey. Maybe it is time to conclude the Arab-Israeli conflict will never be resolved.
There have since been at least three more examples following the same pattern. The first is obviously Iran, its nuclear intentions, its trickery, and its desire to dominate the region.
But that’s not all; consider what the U.S. has done to Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. It is probable that Iran is going to give Syria a victory in the civil war. The fact is that Iran, Hizballah, and the Syrian government are on one side, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey have been on the other side. But now, in essence, the U.S. has objectively sided with Iran, and that is one of the reasons that the Saudis are angry. Here is what the Saudi ambassador to England, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf bin Abdulaziz, said:
“Appeasement hasn’t worked in the past, and I don’t think it will work in the 21st century,” he was quoted as saying. “That is why the frustration really is toward the main players within the United Nations Security Council, that’s their responsibility. And they will share also the blame, whatever deal comes out, they are responsible for it.”
The statement from the Saudi ambassador to London also expressed in his Times of London interview an unusually abrasive criticism of the West for what he said was a too-soft approach toward Iran, calling Washington’s “rush” to engage with Tehran “incomprehensible.”
A senior Saudi diplomat issued a rare direct threat to Iran, warning that “all options are available” should the international community fail to rein in Iran’s alleged drive to acquire nuclear weapons.
This statement could easily come out of the mouth of an Israeli politician. It is amusing that with this parallelism to Israel’s viewpoint, the senior diplomat had to deny that he saw something in common with Israel. In other words, Saudi Arabia feels that it has been betrayed by the United States, and will respond to that betrayal.
Then there is Egypt. Let’s review American behavior. Two years ago, the United States basically helped and celebrated a Muslim Brotherhood electoral victory. Every anti-Islamist knows this. When the Egyptian military coup happened a year later, the U.S. opposed it. In other words, if the Muslim Brotherhood had won and crushed freedom by staying in office, it would be have been backed by the United States, but since there was a coup, the election was stolen.
Doesn’t everyone in Egypt know that if the coup had not taken place, the U.S. would have the supported the Muslim Brotherhood government? Don’t the Egyptians know that the United States would be willing to sell Egypt into Islamic fundamentalist slavery? Would anyone believe the United States would protect any of its other allies?
But suddenly, the U.S. turned around and Kerry actually said that the Muslim Brotherhood had “stolen” the revolution. And that is why the Egyptians are turning toward Russia today and do not trust the U.S. Frankly you would think that the Obama administration wants to sabotage U.S. Middle-East policy.
By the way, the Egyptians were so angered by their perception of Turkey cuddling up to Iran and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, that they threw out the Turkish ambassador.
 Catherine Chomiak, “Kerry: Egyptian Revolution ‘Stolen’ by Muslim Brotherhood,” NBC News, November 20, 2013, http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/20/21550530-kerry-egyptian-revolution-stolen-by-muslim-brotherhood