Variations on the Theme of The Arab War Against Israel
The "Arab Spring" is just another phase of the Arab war against Israel, against which Israel will have to defend itself.
Amid the Arab upheaval of past 18 months, a question has crept among the speeches, demonstrations, riots, elections, battles and massacres – Is Israel better off, or worse off, for the revolution among its neighbors?
Certainly Wael Ghonim of Google, and the positive nature of the short-lived "Arab Spring" raised people's hopes. The West convinced itself that education and modern social media had created an Arab body politic ready for democratic governance. Very quickly, however, what we got was:
- "Moderate" Islamists -- looking less moderate every day -- ruling Tunisia;
- A split in the Egyptian Parliament between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists (with "Google people" barely noticeable in the constellation);
- A horrific war in Syria where Saudi Arabia and Qatar are arming an increasingly Islamist-looking opposition (which is what you get when they are armed by a Wahabi regime);
- Sectarian fighting in an increasingly fragile Lebanon;
- Turkey looking increasingly stridently Islamist;
- Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations on a regular basis in Jordan;
- Governmental gridlock in Iraq with an increase in violence;
- Factional fighting in Yemen, with an overlay of al Qaeda activity and American drone strikes;
- Factional fighting in Libya and the spread of Gaddafi's arsenal across North Africa;
- A simmering rebellion in Bahrain; and, of course,
- Iran, which is both the same as and different from, the other threats.
The last time Israel was surrounded by this much hostility was June 1967 – with the hostility directed toward Israel.
As we commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Six Day War (on the English calendar) it is hard to remember now that Israel then faced annihilation. The forces arrayed against it were staggering: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, and Morocco.
Israel, with 240,000 soldiers, 800 tanks and 300 aircraft, was facing 550,000 Arab soldiers with 2500 tanks and 950 planes.
Israel has been threatened since birth by Arab politics in all its forms. Sometimes they send their armies to do battle. Sometimes they use terrorism. Sometimes rockets. Sometimes BDS. Sometimes what threatens Israel is the instability or potential fallout from internecine Arab warfare – as in 1970 when Palestinians threatened King Hussein; and 1991, when Saddam used rockets against Israel during a war in which Israel was not involved.
Yes, concerns in the Gulf about Iran have given rise to a certain level of cooperation between Gulf States and Israel. And yes, Jordan and Egypt signed peace treaties with Israel. But even then, the Arab states have unswervingly refused to create conditions in which Israel could live as a normal neighbor. Mubarak "kept the peace treaty," but allowed rampant anti-Semitism to fester, and ensured that his people would never see peace with Israel as beneficial to Egypt. Egyptians, however, understood that their dictator was kept in place by American military assistance related to keeping the peace with Israel – making Israel and the U.S. perversely responsible for the dreadful dictatorship under which the Egyptian people suffered.
Regime changes in the Arab world are not moving from bad to good, or good to bad. From Israel's point of view, they are merely variations on the theme of Arab unwillingness to accept the State of Israel as a legitimate, permanent state in the region. Unless and until that changes, the "Arab Spring" is just another phase of the Arab war against Israel, against which Israel will have to defend itself.
Shoshana Bryen is Senior Director of The Jewish Policy Center. She was previously Senior Director for Security Policy at JINSA and author of JINSA Reports from 1995-2011.
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.
Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood.
Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.
by Peter Martino
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned in 2008 that Kosovo's independence "would be the beginning of the end for Europe."
Crimea's recent secession from Ukraine was justified with a reference to "the Kosovo precedent," which Putin pointed out, "our Western partners created with their own hands."
by Soeren Kern
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"Holy War is the only solution for humanity." — Abdu, Portuguese jihadist.
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by Alan M. Dershowitz
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It was only after Hamas's coup in June 2007, and the heavy rocket attacks that followed, that Israel imposed more extensive sanctions on Gaza. Palestinian rocket attacks against Israeli civilians were not a response to Gaza's increasing isolation, but the cause.
The sanctions imposed on Gaza -- not only by Israel, but the world -- were the direct result of Hamas's refusal to meet the international community's basic, reasonable demands: stop terror, recognize Israel, and respect previous agreements. Hamas and its fellow terrorist organizations deny the right to live in peace.
The Goldstone Report not only falsified the past; it had a negative influence by encouraging Hamas to repeat its own double war crimes: firing rockets at Israeli civilians from behind Palestinian human shields -- and killing and kidnapping Israeli civilians and soldiers through its terrorist tunnels.
by Burak Bekdil
Last June, Turkey's own Frankenstein, who went by the name of ISIS, attacked the Turkish consulate compound in Mosul, and took 49 Turks, including the consul general, hostage.
The hostages are still in captivity. So is Turkey.
For each [Islamic] sect, the other is "not even Muslim."