THE SHIFTING SCENERY IN THE MIDDLE EAST

 Only change is unchanging.

            And the Mideast just won’t stop. When former Israeli ambassador to the US, Michael Oren left his post in Washington, D.C., he made a few parting observations that are worth noting. He predicted three major influences will continue to contribute to instability across the region. The split and warring between Sunnis and Shi’ites will add to instability. The Islamist-modernist split will remain a factor. Finally, the challenges to the Arab state system remains problematic. He believe these three conditions will be a joint challenge to both America and Israel.

Oren also observed that at a time when American companies are outsourcing jobs to Asia, Israeli corporations are sending jobs to the US. Interesting indeed!

In my last blog I noted that Turkey is now on the move to make a power grab. Surely, they have recognized that even if Assad should survive, Syria is in such bad shape, they will have to lean on someone. On the other hand, the world is pressing Assad to disappear and he may well do so before it’s over. In that case, how about the winners leaning on the Moslem brothers in Turkey? If you are Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, you love that scenario.

A major part of what is also creating change is the shift in American foreign policy. While promoting democracy in the Middle East was once at the top of President Obama’s priority list, that goal has disappeared. When the Muslim Brotherhood hijacked Egypt’s democratic revolution, the dream began to fade. Syria plunged into a civil war and Libya has remained in chaos. At the same time, American citizens have declared they’ve had enough war. When President Obama recently spoken at the United Nations, he did not mention any intention of pressing for democracy or pushing Assad out. It appears that America has backed off of the promise to send arms.

As mentioned in last week’s blog, all the chips are placed on nuclear negotiations with Iran and achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Since the collapse of Iranian negotiations this weekend, both issues remain in the “iffy” category. If either or both fail, the Obama administration will be looking for the back door.

The result is that both Israel and Saudi Arabia wonder if they are being abandoned by America. Already lacking popularity in both countries, the current American administration is not in a good position for leadership in the Middle East. Like it or not,  the only way that Iran is going to buckle on its nuclear program will be the result of believing that Washington still carries the big stick. Sanctions and the threat of military action are the final prod to bring a positive response.

Right now there is a serious doubt about the seriousness of American intentions. Back peddling won’t push the envelope forward.

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Filed under America, Israel, middle east, Saudi Arabia

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