The Pax Americana Is Dead in the Middle East

(Tablet) Eyal Zisser - The fact that the civil war in Syria continues to rage is clear evidence of the impotence of the international community, which has shown even less capacity in the matter of punishing those responsible for the crimes committed during the fighting. Outside intervention came from Moscow, which put Russia on the path to becoming the region's new policeman. This situation makes manifest the end of American hegemony in the region that endured for nearly a quarter of a century. The political vacuum that developed served as an invitation to regional godfathers like Iran, Turkey, and Russia to enter the field. The major Arab countries remaining intact are Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Because these states now have very little confidence in Washington's readiness to assist and protect them in times of crisis, they have become more inclined to resort to force. For example, Saudi Arabia has used force directly in Yemen, and indirectly in Syria as well, mainly because it no longer trusts its American backer. Under the circumstances, one can expect the use of force to become commonplace and one can expect greater use of non-conventional weapons. The effort to acquire nuclear weapons, or at least nuclear capability, will also continue to expand from Iran to other players in the region. Waves of refugees, which will only increase, are knocking on Europe's gates, while radical Islamic ideology is seeping deeply into Muslim communities all over the world, especially in Europe, and even in the U.S. The U.S. is destined to discover what Israel discovered in Lebanon and Gaza: that it is possible to disengage from the Middle East, but the Middle East will not disengage from you. The writer is the Vice Rector of Tel Aviv University.

2016-03-25 00:00:00

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