Israel: The New Backbone of Sunni Resistance

[Commentary] Michael J. Totten - When Israel retaliated against Hizbullah in July 2006, something strange and new and unexpected took place. Arab governments blamed Hizbullah for sparking the conflict and didn't complain about Israeli behavior until later. During the more recent war in Gaza we saw something similar. Most Arab governments blamed Hamas for starting the latest round, and Egypt worked openly with the Israelis to achieve a new ceasefire arrangement that left their mutual enemy in Gaza weakened. It's bizarre to think of Israel as the backbone of a Sunni Arab alliance against Iran and its proxies. "Egypt is cooperating to a great extent with Israel," says Asher Susser from Tel Aviv University, "as are Abbas and the Jordanians. There were more anti-Israel demonstrations in Dublin than there were in Ramallah." Most Arab governments, aside from Syria's and possibly Qatar's, are far more worried about Iranian regional dominance than they are about Israel. They know perfectly well that Israel is not going to undermine or overthrow them, while radical Iranian-sponsored Islamists just might. Bombastic anti-Zionist rhetoric to the contrary, they know Israel isn't really a threat. There is little or no affection for Israel in Arab capitals, and there probably won't be for a long time. Most just don't see the point in getting in Israel's way of striking the likes of Hamas and Hizbullah. Israelis should enjoy their tacit support while it lasts.

2009-02-06 06:00:00

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