Samson Blinded: A Machiavellian Perspective on the Middle East Conflict

Israel must divide the Arabs

Instead of unwittingly uniting them into a common enemy, Israel should divide the Arabs. The first step would be for Israel to stop using the word Arab in the media and replace it with Palestinian. Israel should treat other Arabs better than Israel treats Palestinians. Current policy is the opposite. Israel gives Palestinians visa-free entry, labor permits, and a common market. Israel should cooperate with distant Muslim nations like Bangladesh and Pakistan who might be lured into collaboration if offered control of the Islamic shrines in Jerusalem. Israel could stir up conflict among Muslims by agreeing to transfer the administration of Islamic shrines in Israel to a representative body of all Islamic countries, including the non-Arab ones. The Israeli move would channel the discussion about Jerusalem away from religion and onto the political plane of Israeli-Muslim relations.

Central Asia’s oil and gas reserves position it as new Saudi Arabia, a gravity center of the Islamic world. Untainted with supporting foreign terrorism, in need of help to counter the Islamic terrorists at home, less xenophobic, these countries are better partners for Israel and the West than Arabs. Rising nationalism need not deter the West: it is a viable alternative to Islamism. Israel has no quarrel with the Turkish and Persian peoples of Central Asia who are in any case less politically active and anti-Israeli than other Muslims. Israel needs to secure the cooperation of rulers, not of entire Islamic nations. The West and Israel have a chance to influence former Soviet Muslim states which are almost entirely secular after years of communist rule and now apt to embrace either Islamic or Western culture. Their governments need the Western political and Israeli military assistance to deal with local, but foreign supported, Islamic terrorists and insurgents. Israel could be either an American or a Russian proxy; the choice is hers. Russia would offer Israel less money but more obsolete arms which Israel could pass to her Islamic clients; America, more political support and cultural attraction to ease the rapprochement with Israel. America recognizes Russian interests in the region, so Israel might want to side with Russia. Israel needs closer relations with Russia and therefore with France anyway,[2] and Central Asia presents a good opportunity for cooperation, with Israel acting as lynchpin. Turkey, with which Israel extensively cooperates in military affairs, also has vested interests in the Central Asian countries and would welcome further Israeli involvement, especially since joint expansion there with Israel would mean United States license for extending Turkish influence—about which Washington is hesitant--checked by Israeli involvement.

Unlike Arab Egypt, Persian Iran cannot dominate Dar al-Islam on its own, though it strive to, and offers Israel an opportunity for balance of power politics in the Middle East conflict. America cannot keep its assistance secret, and France would be too proud of the rapprochement to hide it. Iran will prefer Israel for clandestine aid. Arrogant Persians look down on Arabs, and Iran is more open to the West and Israel than other large Middle East countries, including Egypt. Persians, unlike Arabs, are long post-nomadic, have some work ethic, respect education and property, and thus are poised for economic advance. They were historically friendly to Jews. Iran without fundamentalists, a development possible soon, might be Israel’s best Muslim friend.

[2] Israel’s shift to the United States during Kissinger’s administration alienated France and prompted it to forge closer ties with Islamic states. Israel’s move was unnecessarily direct and offensive to France which had supported Israel for many years. Current good relations with Germany could help Israeli rapprochement with France. Otherwise, EU would further tie up with Palestinians, replacing the Soviet sponsor and inhibiting Israeli retaliation.