Israel, Arab World Finding Common Ground Over Iran

(Wall Street Journal) Elliott Abrams - Who will stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program, the Arabs wonder; they place no faith in endless negotiations between earnest Western diplomats and the clever Persians. Israel is the enemy of their enemy, Iran. Now, the usual description of Arab-Israeli relations as "hostile" or "belligerent" is giving way to a more complex picture. Israel is as unpopular in the Arab street as it has been in past decades (which is to say, widely hated), but for Arab rulers focused on the Iranian threat, the Israeli toughness the Arabs have complained about for over a half century is now their own most likely shield against Iran. The Egyptian regime feels no love for the Israelis, but there is significant security cooperation between the two countries; Egypt's rulers see the Shia in Iran, not the Jewish state, as the more dangerous threat to Arab power in the region. Fears are far greater in the Gulf. Given Iran's proximity - and the existence of a Shia majority in Bahrain and a significant Shia population in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern province - it is not difficult to think of Iranian pressure, money and even guns leading to riots and violent uprisings. The Gulf regimes want Iran stopped. They are not sure the need to do that is understood as well in Washington as it is in Jerusalem. There will be denunciations and UN resolutions, petitions and boycotts, but there is a clear coincidence of interests between the Arab states and Israel today in the face of the Iranian threat. Given the 60 years of war and cold peace between Israel and the Arabs, this is one of the signal achievements of the regime in Tehran - and could prove to be its undoing. The writer is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

2010-08-09 09:19:24

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive