Monday, March 05, 2007
Why Israel's Best Allies, May Be Its Arab Sunni Enemies
While the Bush Administration has very clearly committed itself to salvaging Iraq at any cost, including negotiating with terrorists and possibly striking a deal with Iran, and the State Department under Condaleeza Rice has returned to the same default mode it was in Pre 9/11 emphasizing negotiations and diplomacy over everything else and sending the message that the United States is unable and unwilling to stop Iran-
-the real hope for stopping Iran may lie elsewhere entirely.
Iran's emerging nuclear capability poses a great threat to Israel, to the United States, to Russia and to its Sunni neighbor states, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf kingdoms.
Russia has chosen to profit by building up Iran's nuclear capability, arrogantly assuming that Iran won't turn its attention to the Muslim republics under Russian influence, including portions of Iran.
The Sunni Arab kingdoms who have seen the start of Iran's influence tear apart Iraq and begin to tear apart Lebanon as well, have no interest in allowing the same thing to happen in their countries. The growth of Shiite influence in the Middle-East creates the conditions for a region wide Muslim civil war, that will make the current fighting in Iraq look like a light sporting event.
Egypt and several Sunni countries have already launched domestic Anti-Shiite propaganda campaigns. Saudi Arabia has conducted backdoor negotiations with Israel and a report in the Daily Telegraph states that Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates have agreed to allow Israeli overflights of their territory. Considering the depth of hatred in Saudi Arabia and the UAE for Israel, this should be startling. That it is happening at all demonstrates the extreme seriousness with which the Sunni states take the situation.
Arab dictators tend to be a lot more bloody minded and ruthless when it comes to making the hard decisions these days, than Western leaders. They know that if the West doesn't stop Iran, the next stage of the war will be in their borders, and it will not be a war anywhere as clean as the wars with Israel were; but a bloody horrific campaign filled with every weapon from suicide bombers to nuclear weapons.
The Bush Administration has lost its appetite for suppressing genocidal middle-eastern madmen, but the liberation of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam may well have helped trigger a regional civil war, that is forcing Arab regimes in an unexpected direction, a quiet alliance with their worst enemy.