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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Middle East's domination by non-Arabs

Lee Smith looks at the recent attempts in Arab countries to restore former Jewish sites, like the Magen Avraham synagogue in Beirut (pictured) and Maimonides' synagogue in Cairo, and argues that the real power in the Middle East resides in Iran, Israel and possibly Turkey. He argues that the Arab countries recognize this, and that's why they're all waiting for Israel to take out Iran's nuclear capability. And he argues that the Obama administration has failed to recognize it.
Regional power has shifted away from Washington’s familiar Arab partners and toward non-Arab states. The fate of the Middle East no longer depends on the desires of Cairo and Riyadh. The choices that shape the lives of Arabs are now made in Tehran, Tel Aviv, and perhaps a newly ascendant Ankara.

An Israeli strike on Iran may or may not be a mirage, but it is the only possible salvation for Arab states too weak to control their own destiny. Though Washington is still the pre-eminent power in the region, its confused and changing priorities appear to have blinded it to the Middle East’s new configuration, and it is unlikely that America’s continuing political and financial crises will make our vision any clearer.

One reason that the White House’s Middle East peace process has, in Obama’s words, “not moved forward,” is that old Clinton hands like Dennis Ross, George Mitchell, and Rahm Emmanuel believed the Egyptians and the Saudis still had great influence. When events proved them wrong, they appeared simply to throw up their hands and blame the stubbornness of the locals. But something much more profound has changed.

When we wake up to that change we will find that one distinguishing characteristic of the shift in regional power to Iran, Turkey, and Israel is that all three countries are less dependent on the United States than they were five or ten years ago. Iran has troubles at home but is also a rising nuclear power that has been freed from the threat of an American military strike. Turkey was jilted by the European Union and no longer looks to America and the West. Israel has little interest in continuing to spend political capital to help Barack Obama.

The days when Prince Bandar, the longtime Saudi ambassador to Washington, smoked cigars on the Truman balcony have begun to look good when compared to an era in which the significant regional powers are neither Arab nor American, and do not feel the same urgency about returning Washington’s calls. What such a region will look like is anyone’s guess. It may not be very pleasant to live in. But it will surely be interesting to watch.
It's an interesting theory and there is certainly some truth to it. But the 'peace process' isn't failing because of Saudi and Egyptian weakness - it's failing because of 'Palestinian' intransigence and because the Arabs are on the one hand tired of supporting the 'Palestinians,' but on the other hand don't want to give up their favorite distraction.

Read the whole thing.


At 2:48 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Arabs have found themselves encircled by a non Arab periphery. Ironically enough, it also means a so-called two state solution is going nowhere in our generation.

At 2:59 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Carl.
Just like you i see in the future Turkey taking a bigger role in the Midle East and i fear it will be on the side of Iran, God spare us from this.
Once they had realised that the European union is not jumping to let them in,they started to grow closer to Iran and it won't be a good thing for any of us.
It might be interesting but Israel will end up with one more enemy out to destruct them.

At 5:32 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

"The choices that shape the lives of Arabs are now made in Tehran, Tel Aviv, and perhaps a newly ascendant Ankara."

Guess which one is not a national capital. Guess why its name was used and not that of the actual capital.


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