A New Strategic Landscape in the Middle East

(Tablet) Dan Schueftan - Arab-Israeli relations are a source of good news these days. The conflict between the Jewish state and its radical enemies, Palestinians and others, is far from over, and the threat of the Iranian revolutionary regime may be greater than ever. However, a new strategic alignment promises a better chance for regional states to isolate and stand up to the radicals who continue to threaten the existing order. The old structure of the Arab-Israel conflict that defined the Middle East for generations is now being replaced by a strengthening Arab-Israeli coalition against Iran and its radical Arab proxies. The erosion and ultimately the abolition of aggressive regional solidarity targeting the Jewish state has been the supreme objective of Israel's regional strategy since its inception. Breaking up regional solidarity is an indispensable precondition to any progress toward peace. Arab states would consider accepting Israel only following a painful recognition of the failure of the attempt to erase it at an acceptable cost. The profound change in the strategic landscape of the Middle East in the recent decade may be characterized by four pillars: the magnitude of the Iranian regional threat, the inability of Arab states to stand up to that threat by themselves, the questionable steadfastness of American support, and the proven capacity and dependability of Israel. Unlike most European and American officials, Arabs fully realize the magnitude of the Iranian determination to hegemonize the Middle East at their expense and the effectiveness of Iranian brutality and sophistication in the pursuit of that objective. Watching the impact of the Iranian takeovers in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and its subversion in their own countries, they know they are in desperate need of external assistance to survive. The most vulnerable Arab states turned to the only power that fully appreciates the magnitude of the Iranian threat and is capable and determined to provide a forceful response. Israel has been engaged for more than half a decade in a wide-scale preventive war in Syria and western Iraq to thwart the Iranian takeover where it threatens Israel most acutely. The historic all-Arab coalition against Israel has been replaced by a de facto Arab-Israeli coalition against the radical forces that threaten them both. The writer is Director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa.

2022-11-28 00:00:00

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