Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good description of present Arab confusion

Occidental Israeli given this helpful summary of the present intra-Arab problems and the links with Turkey and Iran:

Hezballah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s statements over the past week have been rather telling of where Hezballah, and Iran’s, true interests lie. The threats leveled at Israel by Iran and its satellite organization, day in and day out, no real action their part is expected anytime soon.

While Iran is not part of the Arab world, it is an increasingly powerful regional player. A newspaper has been shut down in Iran for publishing an article the authorities said was sympathetic to Israel,” Ahemdinajad has made his required condemnation of Israel, calling the operation a “holocaust,” and Nasrallah is not stopping his speeches anytime soon, portraying Israeli actions as criminal ad nauseam. There are a number of reasons they will probably not attack anytime soon (and a few they still might), in addition to the danger of starting another war, including drawing unwanted international attention (Iran), and domestic politics (Hezballah). The point is, that despite all of the words proffered by Ahmedinjad and Nasrallah, their true colors are now showing - the “Palestinian cause” is only an excuse for policies undertaken for reasons unrelated to Hamas, Fatah, et al.

Another non-Arab, Muslim, state is Turkey. Anti-Israel demonstrations have been taking place in the capital, Ankara, however, on the issue of Israel, the government of Turkey typically takes a different approach from the largely conservative, religious, populace. In fact, the Turkey-Israel relationship is typically a strong one, and seen as an important one to Israel, as a window into the Muslim world. PM Erdogan, however, has been pretty silent, and has been participating in talks with the Saudis, and other Arab states, in an attempt to forge another “ceasefire.”

Back to Israel’s neighbors, Syria has been getting closer to Iran over the past few years, which is not seen in a very positive light by the other regional heavyweights - Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Syrian officials have been discussing the Gazan situation with Iran. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and to some extent, Jordan, are seen as pro-Western not because of any moral reasons, but because of the financial benefits reaped by the Arab states. Syria, on the other hand, has cast its lot with the openly anti-West. Islamic Jihad is all but officially based in Syria, and senior Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al has been operating openly in Syria for some time now. Representatives of all three, plus Iran, met recently in Syria to discuss and coordinate the events in Gaza. Furthermore, Syria is sticking to the ‘massacre’ accusation: “Syria described the offensive as a “massacre” and allowed protests in front of the Egyptian embassy in Damascus.”

Israel’s other neighbor, Jordan, arguably more pro-Western than any other Muslim state, has taken a relatively Western-like position, making no real constructive statements, just condemning violence in general, and saying the “world’s ’silence’ on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is unacceptable, the palace said.”

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