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Strange Bedfellows
Israel’s Diplomatic Push in the Middle East

More evidence of a trend we have long been writing about in the Middle East, via the Financial Times:

Amid mounting concerns among Sunni Muslim nations about Iran’s influence, particularly in conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, Israel is discreetly consulting on security with Arab powers, including those with whom it has no formal relations.

“The Sunni Arab states increasingly see the Middle East through the same prism as Israel,” Dore Gold, Israel’s acting foreign minister, told the Financial Times.

Israel is also offering European states its expertise in fighting terrorism following a string of Isis attacks in Europe, while normalising relations with some predominantly Muslim countries in Africa.

Americans somewhat narcissistically tend to think that our ‘auspices’ are necessary for diplomatic progress in the Middle East. But both Israel and its neighbors are quite capable of undertaking dramatic actions on their own. These days, with Israel, the Sunni Arab countries and Turkey all looking at the U.S. with various degrees of distrust, we should expect more of this kind of action in the region.

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  • Fat_Man

    Obama’s going to claim that this was his plan all along.

  • kingschitz

    As Mead knows, the backstory on the Begin-Sadat negotiations of the 1970s was entirely an Israeli-Egyptian affair. Carter stepped in relatively late to keep a U.S. dog involved–and to pay for it all.

    Despite BDS’ imaginary gains in the West, in the region, Israel’s prospects have never looked better. The “return” of The Sunni-Shia chachacha has finally decentered the dispute with the Pallys which now exists in its proper scope: a backwater tribal dispute over some land that has, in the modern age, no particular geopolitical importance.

    • Ellen

      Precisely so, and the Palestinians are finally beginning to wake up from their 70-year experience of fatal narcissism. If Donald Trump loses the election, he will have the same experience. No one wants to pay attention, let alone obsessive attention, to a terminal loser.

      I read now in the Israeli press that more and more Palestinians in East Jerusalem are selling their property to Israeli settlement groups (for inflated prices, of course). This is even with the death threats from the PA for any Arabs who sell property to Jews. What this tells us, along with the large scale emigration of Arabs with education and ambition out of the West Bank, is that the Palestinians themselves have finally realized that their cause is a losing one. The Arab regimes no longer care about them, hardly anyone in America except the demented left wing fringe cares about them, and the European anti-Semites are consumed by their own internal problems. Even Hillary Clinton if she is president, won’t waste any time on the peace process, given the lack of any serious peace partner on the Palestinian side.

      This conflict is now entering its end game, which will take another 30 years of demographic change. Bit by bit, the West Bank will become part of Israel with a Jewish majority, just like the territory within the Green Line.

      One point of disagreement. The Land of Israel will always have geopolitical importance. Even for secularists. For goodness sake, why have people been fighting over it for thousands of years. Yes, it is a tribal dispute, but the world is tribal, and the Western elites need to grasp that essential fact, otherwise they will perish. The significance of Israel is a historical certainty, while the significance of the European, Russian, or American elite, is a historical episode.

      • kingschitz

        Ellen: Thank you for this comment. My conjecture about Israel’s geopolitical importance was based on the Levant’s historical role as the land bridge connecting Anatolia with Arabia and Saharan Africa. This has been understood since ancient times, and (in my opinion) has changed because of technology–today, force can projected without having to occupy this area. Israel’s importance an historical and emotional nexus of religion, history and culture is not affected by its diminished importance from a military point of view. Of course, as the following thought experiment suggests, that might change: if Erdogan where to reconstitute the former Ottoman Empire, the land bridge would resume its logistical importance for communications between Ankara and points south.

        Those of a certain age recall growing up with a belief that the “key” to ME peace was reconciling Arabia and Israel; after the 1979 Accords, it then became reconciling Israel and the Palestinians. Looking back, I’m almost embarrassed at how naive such a view (which I had accepted) was; that it revealed how little many Americans knew about ME present realities or its regional and religious history.

        But that history has now returned in full force. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be nice, but so would my winning next week’s Powerball. Neither is likely to happen, and the world won’t suffer overmuch for either loss.

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