Electoral demagogy and geopolitical incompetence

Over the last few weeks, members of the Israeli left and many commentators or “experts” that associate with it within the context of the current Israeli campaign in Israel accused Netanyahu of having led Israel to a situation of international isolation. These criticisms have focused on two areas: the relationships between Israel and the United States and with the Arab world in particular regarding the fight against Iran’s expansion.

However, these criticisms are unfounded. Regarding Israel – US ties, Netanyahu’s recent visit to Washington and the speech that he held before Congress offer a total denial of a so-called destruction of relations between Israel and the United States. The Israeli Prime Minister was listened to by a bipartisan Congress for more than 90% of its members and received more standing ovations than President Obama himself received during his speech for the State of the Union address. Economic and industrial relations between the two countries are extremely strong and all the polls show the popularity of Israel in the United States where Israel has been enjoying a largely favorable image for the past many years.

In fact, as Aaron David Miller recently wrote on Politico, the relationship between Israel and the United States is “too big to fall”. It must be said that these relations are both deep and complex, and that they settled beyond the crises that can sometimes arise between their leaders (remember the threat of “reassessment” vis-à-vis Israel by President Ford against face Rabin in 1975). These relationships also result from deep strategic interests (political, military, industrial, technological, intelligence) as well as values that define a common destiny beyond their common democratic perception.

Actually, the real problem is not Netanyahu but Obama, as recently recalled accurately by Mark Levin in an interview with Israel Hayom. In reality, it is Obama who has jeopardized all alliances of the United States with their traditional allies. The American commentator Charles Krauthammer had called it the slap policy. Throughout his presidency, Obama has hired a conciliatory attitude and withdrawal (appeasement) face the rival or enemy powers of US allies (Russia, China, Iran, Turkey, Hamas, Palestinian Authority, … ) and that, since his very first year in the White House. For example, in Asia, Japan and South Korea are deeply concerned about Obama’s policies, both vis-à-vis China, which can now safely expand its territorial influence at the expenses of the other Asian countries, including the Japan and North Korea, proliferating nuclear power. The United States has lost all credibility in Eastern Europe (Poland, Baltic States, Ukraine, …). In the Middle East, we can also mention all traditional Arab allies of the USA (Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, …). Instead, under Obama the US moved closer to Qatar who finances terrorism throughout the Middle East.

This brings us to the second part of the criticism directed against Netanyahu in the past weeks: Israeli PM would not be able to build a coalition with the countries in the region to fight effectively against the Iranian threat, citing his lack of credibility on the Palestinian issue.

The problem with this criticism is that this coalition already exists. It appeared dramatically during the war last summer between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Egypt General al Sissi attended firmness Israel both against Hamas and attempts by the Obama – Kerry duet to impose Hamas friendly cease-fire conditions on Israel. An other illustration was when Israel made clear last July that he will support Jordan in the face of ISIS and reports in the press stressed the collaboration between the two states at least in sharing information.

But a much larger reconfiguration has taken place in recent years in connection with Obama’s Middle East policy that directly threatens Sunni Arab regimes in its desire to be closer to Tehran. Thus, several Arab countries have moved closer to Israel, like Egypt and Jordan, against Iran as well as against Hamas and ISIS, involving even discreet relationships and an increasingly clear connivance with some Arab states of the Arabian Peninsula, including of course Saudi Arabia.

In reality, beyond the usual electoral attacks that occur inevitably in any electoral campaign, it is the inability to read the international policy of Obama and his administration and in particular in the Middle East that characterizes those who launched these criticisms against Binyamin Netanyahu. This policy of Obama’s administration has consisted of an unprecedented rapprochement with the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East (from the support for Mohamed Morsi, to indirect support for Hamas during the operation Tsuk Eitan: push for Qatari cease-fire proposal, partial and unofficial embargo on arms to Israel during the war) and a policy of reconciliation with Iran, even at the cost of increasing concessions on the nuclear issue and recognition, and even the development of Iranian hegemony over the region (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, …). This policy has made numerous collateral damage, and has turned into disasters: Libya (where the security situation is out of control and Islamist are proliferating), the collapse of the borders of Syria and Iraq, fall of Yemen, Mubarak’s Egypt’s, …

The inability to read the Middle Eastern map and understand Obama’s strategy that characterizes politicians (mainly left and center) and Israeli “experts” clearly constitutes a threat to the position and interests of Israel and many Arab countries that are fighting with Israel against the many dangers they face, be it Islamism or Iran. By simply lacking basic competence in reading the evolution of the Obama’s strategy in the Middle-East, they bring a major blow to the regional coalition that was born these last few years between Israel and Arab Sunni states against Iran, Islamism and terrorism.

About the Author
Emmanuel Dubois was born in Belgium. He graduated Philosophy and Information and Communication. He writes analysis and articles about Middle East issues and was published by the European Strategic Intelligence & Security Center (ESISC) in Brussels as an ESISC research associate and by Swiss, Belgian, French and Israeli media.