Thursday, June 27, 2013

Israel, the catalyst?

The casualty count in Syria has officially reached 100,000, with well over a million people displaced.  It is almost unbelievable how the former Arab enemies of Israel are in disarray, collapsing one after another.  Iraq is a shadow of its former self, Egypt is in turmoil, Syria is a basket case and Lebanon is being drawn into the Syrian conflict.  Israel remains a stable democracy in the eye of the Arab Storm. 
Only Iran remains a mortal threat to Israel and it's support for Pres. Assad with its proxy Hizbollah from Lebanon, turning the tide against the Sunni insurgency could be a dangerous outcome.  The current turn of US policy by Pres. Obama to supply the insurgents with arms via Jordan will hopefully prevent this outcome.  The IDF is ready and poised to respond if there is an actual attack from Syria on Israel, but this is unlikely.  Pres. Assad will lose significantly if the IDF counter-attacks his forces and the anti-government forces have stated publicly that they have no interest in engaging Israel at this stage.  There is no immediate possibility of a rapprochement in Syria and the planned "peace conference" in Geneva has been abandoned in face of Russian opposition. 
US Secty. Kerry is once again returning to the Middle East to push for Israel-Palestinian negotiations.  But, although there have been reports or rumors of the PA being amenable, Pres. Abbas has publicly rejected this.  He is sticking to his preconditions for talks, that negate the whole point of the process.  Others, especially in the Arab world, continue to refer to the Israel-Palestinian conflict as the fundamental crisis in the Middle East and as Quartet Rep. Tony Blair says, why not try to resolve it.  But, really this is such a patently false belief, all the Arabs countries are in turmoil and this has nothing directly to do with the presence of Israel in their midst. 
One might argue that it is because Israel is so successful, militarily, economically and organizationally, that the Arabs are spurred on to try to better themselves, hence Israel may be an indirect catalyst for the current Arab uprisings.  Yet even this argument is hard to justify in light of the Arab cultural tendency to violence and their endemic backwardness.  It is as if they have historically been throwing themselves against the brick wall that is Israel and have only recently realized that they are incapable of making any dent.  They need to revolutionize their culture, modernize their societies and fundamentally alter their attitudes.  Only then would they really be prepared to make peace with Israel.  But, will that time ever come?


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