The perceived push by Iran to develop nuclear weapons has caused some strange things to occur in the Middle East that were unthinkable, just a few years ago. While Iran, whose population is mostly Persian, has always been at odds with their Arab neighbors, Iran and the Arabs have nearly always had more in common with each other, than the perceived enemy of both– Israel.
However, the worm has turned, and the Arabs fear a nuclear armed Iran, far more than the Jews of Israel.
1) Writing in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, Abdel-Beri Atwan, the editor, said with recent developments “the Arab regimes, and the gulf ones in particular, will find themselves part of a new alliance against Iran alongside Israel.”
2) The editorial in Al Quds Al Arabi by Mr. Atwan said gulf states were taking measures to try to persuade Russia and China to stop supporting Iran. The article stated Saudi Arabia had offered to purchase billions of dollars of weapons from Russia if it agreed not to sell Iran sophisticated missiles. And it said gulf states might join together to offer China one million visas for its citizens to work in the region.
3) “Israel can start the attack but they can’t sustain it; the United States can start it and sustain it,” said Abdulaziz Sager, a Saudi businessman and former diplomat who is chairman of the Gulf Research Center in the United Arab Emirates. “The region can live with a limited retaliation from Iran better than living with a permanent nuclear deterrent. I favor getting the job done now instead of living the rest of my life with a nuclear hegemony in the region that Iran would like to impose.”
4) Arab capitals have accused Iran of fueling the recent fighting between Shiite rebels and the government in Yemen, and of inciting conflict between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in places like Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Arabs and Jews united? Stranger things have happened, particularly in an area of the world that operates on the belief, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
No mistake can be made, when assuming the entire world has a vested interest in keeping Iran from attaining nuclear weapons; such an assumption seems to be a given when Arabs are considering the possibility Israel could become their ally.
Many Arab nations now seem resigned to the idea Iran will in fact, possess nuclear weapons in the very near future. This resignation leads to the idea a new, “arms race” might occur, as Arab nations seek to become nuclear themselves, or develop ties with countries like the USA, and invite us to place nuclear weapons on their soil.
How it all plays out, and on what kind of timetable, is impossible to predict. However there are definite signs Iran will stand alone, without many allies to support them in their nuclear quest. While Russia and China may continue to rebuff efforts to hold Iran accountable, it is highly unlikely they will offer the kind of support Iran will be looking for around the globe.
I can’t believe the possible scenarios currently unfolding will lead to respect for the Jews in any Arab country, however the very fact many Arabs are now considering Israel as their best hope for stopping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons seems to indicate, at the very least, in the short term, Arabs and Jews could become partners in ways ancient feuds would not have allowed in the past.
I can think of nothing better for the Middle East, than the recognition Israel isn’t an enemy, and could possibly be a friend. If they could find common ground on this issue, perhaps it will spur discussion on a wide variety of issues that seem to plague the Middle East, including the solution to the “Palestinian” problem.
Perhaps I am indulging some wishful thinking, but I think that’s better than endless skepticism about the endless violence in the Middle East, and prospects for peace.
I can only hope the current situation with Iran, and their perceived nuclear ambitions will allow Arabs and Jews to cooperate in new ways, that will lead to peace in the Middle East, and allow Arabs and Jews to finally live in peace.
As for the Persians, let’s hope Israel is ready to assume the role some Arabs now consider vital, and will attack Iran within a matter of weeks. President Obama’s feckless warnings to Iran, offer no real solution, and the Arabs know it, or why else would they be looking to Israel to take care of Iran?
I say it’s about time.