Who is the real enemy?

The Middle East is not a friendly environment, not just for the State of Israel, but for all the other states of the region, as well. The number of victims of violence in almost all of the surrounding states is growing, a number that is a cause for concern for the new political leaders in states across the Middle East. Aside from the “State of War”, between various states in the region and Israel, and the numerous threats made against Israel from almost every direction, which come to fruition from time to time through various military operations that result in casualties on both sides, the most horrific wars took place among Arab and Muslim countries.

The Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, carried with it the price of over half a million casualties, many of whom suffered at the hands of non-conventional weapons. The ongoing Civil War in Yemen, which has continued for an entire generation,  has resulted in numerous casualties from all the various political factions within Yemen’s suffering population. The revolution that brought about the end of Qadafi’s regime and his public lynching did not result in a new, peaceful reality in Libya. The Iraqi conquest of Kuwait in 1990 carry images that have been etched into the collective awareness of populations across the Middle East. The continuous violence and insurgence between Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq fills the cemeteries every day with yesterdays victims, and awaits the victims of the next day, with no end in sight.

In Lebanon, the painful memories of the Civil War, as well as the murder of Prime Minister Hariri, has yet to be forgotten. In Syria, the fifty four thousand victims of Al-Hama, murdered by Haffetz Al-Assad’s regime and the thousands of victims of the current civil war, illustrates the level of continuing violence. Furthermore, the lack of quiet between Sunnis and Shiites in Bahrain should serve as a warning to the possibility of all-out violence. Despite all of this, the State of Israel is presented as the source of conflict and a danger to regional and world peace.

Apparently, Israel serves as a common denominator of collective hatred, which enables all of the states in the region to reach agreement at least on one issue, thus easing their conflicts through a collective common hatred.

Turkey, which attempted to become the “darling” of the Arab and Muslim world, in the past, befriending both the Qadafi and the Assad regimes, turned on both of these regimes and took a leading role in military operations against both of these states. Today, Turkey requests the support of the West, to provide it with security backing in order to counter the atrocities of the Assad regime.

 Within this reality, there is no sign of a “new Middle East” or “Arab Spring”, as this reality reflects a more of an unending, gloomy winter, which blankets the entire Middle East. Israel is not the state that causes ferment and unrest in the region. The interfaith and intertribal hatred among the various minorities across the Middle East is the true danger to regional and world peace.

 Iran’s nuclear project, is a real danger to the State of Israel. However, its real purpose is to serve as a source of hegemonic power against its neighbors in the Persian Gulf and beyond, as well as a deterrent against a Western attack, as it witnessed against Iraq and Libya.

Thus, Israel, in addition to warning the world of the dangers it faces, must open the eyes of the world to the dangers that others face around the Middle East, at the hands of the largest terror state in the Middle East, which is arming itself with every possible type of weaponry, a nation that mobilized a million suicidal Shahids, armed with plastic keys to heaven, sent by Iran to die in the battlefields against its enemies.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center