Sunday, February 03, 2013

For Many Muslim Countries in The Middle East, Israel Just Isn't Their Number One Concern

In a world where the new Secretary of State believes that he is an expert on the Middle East and that peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is central to peace and stability in the region, Jonathan Kay writes: Welcome to the new Arab world — where no one really cares much about Israel:
When Israel declared independence in 1948, every single one of its Arab neighbours sent in their armies to destroy the Jewish state. The war convulsed the region, as did the many wars that followed. To this day, the received wisdom among bien-penants is that Israel’s very existence is the main destabilizing factor in the Levant.

And so, 65 years later, how bizarre is it to survey the results of the Arab Spring? Once again, every single one of Israel’s immediate neighbours is locked in a potentially cataclysmic struggle — but this time, the Arab chaos is all internal. For the populations of Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria, it as if the Israeli menace were merely an engrossing, terrifying epic film that suddenly has come to an abrupt finale. The house lights have come on, and the viewers’ minds are returning to the real-life internal problems that have been festering in their autocratic societies for generations.
For example:
  • Syria is in a state of full-fledged civil war, largely waged by Sunnis who are seeking to dethrone Bashar Assad’s Alawite-led dictatorship.

  • Next door in Lebanon, there have been spillover skirmishes, and the country’s leaders are doing everything they can not to get sucked into the Syrian vortex -- and it is likely that the Lebanese-Syrian border and not the border with Israel that may very well be the next flash point, thanks to Hezbollah aiding the Assad regime.

  • Egypt is not in a state of civil war. But its military leader is warning of a “collapse of the state,” amidst continued deadly clashes with protesters in several cities.

  • Meanwhile, Jordan has been destabilized by waves of refugees from Iraq, and now Syria.
Read the whole thing.

Kay notes that these are all countries that in years past have openly dedicated themselves to Israel's destruction. This is not to say that the Muslim world has rid itself of its antisemitism.

But it does mean that Israel to a large degree has become something of a sideshow in comparison to the concerns in many of these countries.

Maybe someone can point that out to John Kerry.

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