The Marginalization of the Arab-Israeli Conflict in the Arab World

[Atlantic Monthly] Jeffrey Goldberg - Last December, Vali Nasr, the Iran expert and now special assistant to Ambassador Holbrooke, talked about the rise of Iran, and the marginalization of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nasr argued that most Arab states have a deeper interest in containing Iran than they do in containing Israel. "Once upon a time we used to think - and some people still do - that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the key to solving all the problems of the region: terrorism, al-Qaeda, Iran, and Iraq," he said. "I think the Persian Gulf is the key to solving the Arab-Israeli issue. All the powers that matter - Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even...Dubai, Abu Dhabi, etc. - are all in the gulf. And all the conflicts that matter to us - Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran - are in the gulf and then to the east." The remarkable thing about this moment in the Middle East is that Arab leaders speak about Iran more critically than even Israeli prime minister Netanyahu does. "Even if we forget that Iran is trying to obtain a nuclear capability, all gulf and Arab countries are extremely unhappy with the Iranian involvement in our region," a senior official of the United Arab Emirates recently told me. "We see this today in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen. We just saw the Moroccans breaking diplomatic ties with Iran because of that. We've been seeing that in one way or the other in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, in Sudan."

2009-07-02 06:00:00

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