As the Obama Administration continues to show weakness in the Middle East, the region slips into a state of instability. The recent American flight from Iraq, with the clear knowledge that this miserable state will be facing a maelstrom of ethnic violence, merely weakened the Administration further while boosting the axis comprising Iran,
Despite the show in Washington, the Israeli-Palestinian track
faces a complete impasse and there is no real way of reaching a breakthrough. This time we actually have Israeli desire to progress, as result of Israel’s
desire to get rid of the Palestinian problem that weighs it down, yet Abbas
and his people do not have a mandate to make any decisions.
The more Iran’s nuclear program
advances, the more scared Tehran becomes about being attacked, and this is the reason for the daily missile displays, almost like Nasrallah’s
show of speeches – in both cases this is the result of weakness rather than strength. Oddly, they fail to understand that these shows merely serve to undermine their image.
Iran greatly concerns the Persian Gulf states, which continue to ignore Israel even though it’s, potentially, their most important ally. Old hatreds stand in the way of vital interests.
There are other reasons for the growing instability in the region. The international court already knows who murdered late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri (senior Hezbollah men) and Nasrallah is under pressure to dismiss this grave charge. Few in the Middle East buy the “evidence” he presented against Israel. Meanwhile, he resorts to harsh declarations against Israel and the US, while drawing PM Saad al-Hariri to do the same (thereby revealing himself as a man lacking spine.)
Turkey – a state which in the past stabilized the area yet now sweeps it, and itself, to radical directions – also adds spices to the brew of regional instability. Erdogan’s reforms against the army and the court threaten to further deteriorate this country; there is no wonder that Turkish Jews are already packing their bags, and some of them have moved here already.
Two more destabilizing elements are Hamas, which is trapped in the Gaza Strip while seeking an outlet from the diplomatic chokehold it faces, and Syrian President Bashar Assad
who continues to make radical statement against Israel.
Nevertheless, none of the sides has an interest in seeing a war. Iran knows that its army is weak and obsolete and would not be able to contend with the US, Western countries, and Israel. Hezbollah and Hamas already sustained IDF blows in recent years and they will not forget them so quickly. Meanwhile, Assad understands that his minority regime may not survive a war with Israel.
The Palestinian too will not be rushing to repeat their intifada experience, which ruined them, their economy, and their chances of getting a state. As always, intifadas are launched against Israel, yet end up harming the Palestinians themselves.
Had we seen an effective, powerful US Administration in the region, as was the case with George W. Bush, many of these destabilizing elements would have been curbed. Yet nonetheless, the existential interests of all Arab sides will prevent them from prompting war.
Above all, the IDF’s power is the most important guarantee for Mideastern stability. The current-day IDF, after an immense build-up process and demonstrated achievements, is the region’s most powerful army and its strength serves as a deterrent. This is even more conspicuous in the face of the American weakness in the region.
And so, the world is upside down: Once upon a time, American power provided stability for Israel, yet today Israeli power grants stability to American interests in the Middle East.