Ya’alon–US influence in the Middle East has ‘eroded significantly’
ed note–doubtless that indeed–as this article indicates–Iran’s influence is making Israel nervous, and it should for several reasons.
1. Iran is not this disjointed, dysfunctional political entity as so many of the other Islamic nations in the region are. For close to 4 decades now, it has resisted every threat, entreaty, and planned subterfuge by the West and remains as dedicated to its revolutionary principles as it was in 1979. Furthermore, the IRI is not content to just sit back on her laurels and enjoy the fruits of her revolution, but indeed are intent upon sharing with with the rest of the region that deserves to be free of Western/Zionist contagion in the same way that a fish deserves to be in water.
2. The one player not mentioned however, and the one who is really making Israel nervous in terms of upstaging the US in terms of influence in the ME is not Iran, Hamas, or any of those other players of limited power, but rather Russia. Having taken on ISIS–a creation of Israel, the US, the UK and the Gulf States head on (rather than pretending to be against ‘Islamic’ extremism while at the same time feeding and nurturing it as is the norm in the West) the Russians have moved into posicion numero uno as far as credibility and world standing goes. At this pace, working alongside Iran, the Russians will launch their own versions of the ‘Arab Spring’ in those countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, KSA and others under the thumb of America/Israeli interests and will see a repeat of what took place in 1979 and then, just as Ya’alon and the others fear, the US will indeed be pushed out of the region for good, leaving the Jewish state gasping for air in a sea of enemies.
And this–just as much as avoiding open conflict with Russia–may very well indeed be the entire reason behind the Trump phenomenon–to reverse the trend that presently exists in the region of waning American influence in favor of Russian.
The influence of the United States as a superpower in the Middle East has eroded significantly, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon told the audience at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
According to Ya’alon, the Middle East has “become a very tough region,” saying there is no doubt that ongoing and chronic instability is the future of the region as “keeping the Middle East in a vacuum for one’s own interests will only have negative consequences.”
Iran, Ya’alon said, is exploiting the current situation.
“They are no longer politically isolated. There are no longer any crippling sanctions and they do not feel there is any threat militarily whatsoever. They’ve succeeded in gaining hegemony, not only in Tehran, but also Baghdad, Damascus, Lebanon and Yemen, challenging Western interests in the region.”
Ya’alon added: “We have clear evidence of them [the Iranians] breaking UN resolutions,” regarding the proliferation of arms and support of terrorism. “The Iranian aspiration,” he said, “is to dominate the region.”
But it’s not only Iran which poses a threat. Following the Arab Spring, many groups have risen to power, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State.
“The objective should be to defeat IS[IS] on the ground, and we can do that, wherever they are found,” Ya’alon said, referring to the several so-called Islamic State “provinces.”
With regard to the Muslim Brotherhood, while they lost their support in Egypt following the fall of Mohamed Morsi, Ya’alon believes they are still supported in the Middle East by Turkey, a member of NATO. Turkey enabled Islamic State by buying their oil and allowing jihadist terrorists to come from across the world – via Turkish airports – and join IS[IS] in Syria and then go back to their countries, “as experienced and trained terrorists.”
“And what about Hamas?” Ya’alon asks. “Their headquarters are in Istanbul.”
All three have influence beyond the Middle East, and threaten the West, he said, adding that “they should be defeated or at least contained.”
But, Ya’alon said: “Elements in the region are not sure which side the US is on, whether it is with the Sunni camp or the radical Shi’ite camp.”
On this matter, Ya’alon told the audience there is a need to change US policy in the Middle East to being more proactive rather than reactive.
For the State of Israel, the policy on defense is to not intervene in conflicts of neighboring countries and maintain redlines, he said, whether it is “against certain elements in Syria trying to violate our sovereignty, or groups in the Gaza Strip, and other Daesh elements which are around us on the border, but which remain deterred by the IDF.”
Israel’s “carrot and stick” policy also provides humanitarian assistance to those in need, Ya’alon said. Whether it be providing medical care to injured Syrians or allowing Palestinians from Gaza to leave the Strip when needed.
But, there are still people who believe that the reason behind the conflict in the Middle East is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as others who believe that the core reason behind the continued tensions is Israel’s unwillingness to accept the pre-1967 borders.
“That’s ridiculous. There is no connection,” Ya’alon stated. “Israel doesn’t and shouldn’t want to rule over the Palestinians.” And while he does not believe that in the current situation there is the ability to come to a final solution, he said: “We must improve the economy and infrastructure and strengthen the security situation as a benefit for the two parties. That would be the right path to living together in dignity.”
That, Ya’alon said is the only “realistic solution” to ending conflict in the region.
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