I see that Israel pursues policies and attitudes towards the Arab countries and the regional context is very different from what is being published and narrated in the Arab media, in the sense that the Israeli policies are not just conspiracies and machinations, as some people think, nor do they care about what happens inside the Arab countries as weak countries that collapse themselves, therefore, not worthy of attention to their internal affairs.
I see that Israel is pursuing strong, long-term strategies that suffer lack of the true values. In my opinion, Israeli leaders look at the Arab countries as follows:
1. Israel regards the Middle East as a difficult neighborhood of a collapsed nation-state system, creating artificially constructed such as Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and other countries with similar conditions. Those artificial states are involved in political chaos and civil wars which are mostly sectarian wars (in my opinion, Israel supported by other Arab countries are the is the main source of sectarian strife in our region).
2. Israel sees Iran as the greatest threat from a distance, which we can militarly call it “The largest gathering / greatest threat” against Israel, (this does not mean that Iran is governed by angels who do not tamper with the stability of the region, on the contrary, Iran is playing a big role of which increasing the instability of the region). Israel also sees Hezbollah (the Iranian military proxy) as the closest threat, which could be called militarily (the most dangerous threat). This image may contravene the common claims of some analysts that Iran poses no threat to Israel and their enmity is just a fake story. The truth is that the most important security objective of Israel is to be the only nuclear power and the strongest regional power from Mauritania to Iran.
3. Because Syria and Iraq represent the right flank and the heart of the Shiite with the presence of pro-Iranian forces, then the cohesion of Iraq and Syria is a direct and serious threat to Israel and its strategic goals.
4. Israel tries to avoid any kind of diplomatic and military intervension in the internal Arab conflicts in order to avoid risks and to concentrate in its internal problem with the Palestinians, as well as to focus on its huge technological development. though it will act decisively when its interests are threatened as it’s intervention in Syria and perhaps soon in Iraq.
5. Israel enjoys unprecedented strategic cooperation with Egypt and Jordan, it sees that this cooperation contributes to the overall security in the region. However, I think that this triangle strategic cooperation is carefully calculated by the three countries. There are permanent formats on securing the border among them on a side, and concentrating on the Palestinian issue on another side.
6. Israel’s relations with Turkey have recently deteriorated due to Israel’s support for the Kurds, which threatens Turkish national security, but the two countries need each other for important geopolitical considerations.
7. For eight years now, Israel has seen the region in four sectarian camps:
- Iran’s Shiite axis (Iran and the regime of Bashar al-Assad and Hezbollah and their allies).
- Muslim Brotherhood (Brotherhood).
- The global jihadist axis (terrorist organizations such as Daash and others).
- Sunni Arab axis (mainly Gulf States in addition to Egypt and Jordan).
Israel sees itself with the Sunni Arab axis in a single boat facing a common enemy, which is Iran and its allies, and sees the need for the US to join them against Iran.
There is no doubt that the US President Donald Trump is a major supporter of Israel’s policies, which repeatedly opposed the US policies and its strategic goals in the Middle East. Therefor Trump’s exit from power for any reason at this time will cause serious damage to the goals of Israel and some other powers in the region. It is my assessment that, although the Middle East is currently not on the right track, replacing President Trump’s with the 46th US President will increase the instability and lack of control in the region.
Major General (retired). Sayed Ghoneim
Fellow, Nasser Higher Military Academy