Friday, April 1, 2011

At The Roman Colosseum

As we agonize about all the various groups and tribes that might or might not emerge from the upheavals throughout the Middle East, we tend to lose sight of the central issue. What we are seeing is basically a food fight among the lions. Our interference in it essentially amounts to ‘the kiss of death’ for whichever side we are seen as favoring. Any fallout will be magnified exponentially should ‘our’ chosen party end up losing.

I’ve noticed that from the very beginning of what started with the so-called ‘Twitter revolution’, there has been virtually no mention of Israel; arguably, a nation that has the most to lose should things turn sour. Israel has remained largely silent while murder is raging all around it. This is because virtually any outcome can only serve to compromise Israel’s security further. Even regime change within its long-time nemesis, Syria, is fraught with danger for Israel which has over time amassed a great deal of data detailing the strength and weakness of the Assad regime. A new hand in Syria would represent the wiping clean of that slate.

The one issue uniting all the disparate factions of the Arab Street is its hatred for Israel. Even as we try to pick winners and do our best to demonstrate our support, the central conflict that puts us at odds with the Ummah is not apt to go away. Our status, even if we should get lucky and pick a winner, will not be enhanced as long as we claim to support Israel (which we don’t). The barb remains: We have supported Israel in the past. That alone condemns us in Arab eyes.

The only way to redeem ourselves (again, as far as Arabs are concerned) is to bomb Israel ourselves, which is not yet politically possible. And although we have done everything just short of that, it has not been enough to convince the ‘Arab Street’. Besides, it will still be advantageous for them to maintain an adversarial relationship with us for purposes of cohesion.

Oil has already been jettisoned as an incentive for good relations between us. Indeed, we have gone to great lengths to show that we are no longer interested. As such, Arab oil will be flowing primarily to the east. This theme has further crystallized in the willingness of Mahmoud Abbas to forego U.S. aid entirely in favor of unifying the factions under his supposed control.

What we are watching unfold in the Middle East will never touch us directly. For us, any outcome is as good as any other. Israel, on the other hand, is not so lucky. Any outcome for them is likely to be dire. The status quo was the best they could ever have hoped for. It’s crunch time for Israel. She will soon have to decide whether or not to stand and fight to defend her modern-day version of the Alamo.

1 comment:

  1. israel is minding its own,keeping a low profile.wise.israel is nuclear armed.
    i actually think that the middle east revolutions are by the rational vs the dictators,i think the israel tensions may drop as the emergent democracies turn to their own retarded development.
    can only hope.