Plus Iran, minus Israel

Many variables are changing in this region. Iraqi people are voting, and the result is not guaranteed for a single candidate. Yet, the winner is accusing Iran of interfering with the formation of an Iraqi government. Lebanese leaders, previously enemies of Syria, are visiting Damascus, the ally of Iran. Israeli press reported that the Jewish state has cancelled military exercises because it does not want to disturb Syria.

The Turkish prime minister, despite all his EU ambitions, declared that Turkey is against imposing more sanctions on Iran, while standing next to Germany's chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama seems to be seriously willing to talk Israel into starting peace talks, against all odds. He might be doing so in order to form a coalition group between Arabs and Israelis against a new common enemy – Iran. Western powers, struggling their way out of a financial crisis are scratching their heads about coming up with the best way to approach the Iranian dilemma. Iran is here, and it can't be overlooked.

Before you jump into conclusions about my 'political orientation,' I want you to know that I am not an Iran 'enthusiast'. I don't completely believe that Iran's nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but at the same time, I will choose a nuclear Iran over a nuclear Israel every day for the rest of my life.

I don't support everything that Iran does, especially the way it treats its citizens, and the level of freedom of speech and media enjoyed in the Islamic Republic. However, I don't see that it is absolutely necessary, what Iran has been doing, to be compatible with my every goal as an Arab. This would be sentimental politics, that is practiced among many Arab leaderships, especially the dying ones.

There's nothing wrong with the fact that Iran is working towards its own best interest, not ours. There's nothing wrong with the fact that Israel is working towards its own best interest, not ours. The two wrong policies adopted with regard to the Middle East are those stances of Arab countries and US. Both need to recalculate their alliances.

Arabs need to re-evaluate their alliance with Israel, in accordance with the new formula of the Middle East, rewritten by the new Iranian giant. The US also needs to re-evaluate its alliance with Israel because the interests of the two countries are clearly contradictory in nature.

This region is changing. Iran is growing more influential every day, and we need to learn to deal with that. We, as Arabs, need to know what it is that we have in common with Iran, and work with the country to achieve it. We also need to know what areas of disagreement we might have with Iran, and be aware of it. Most importantly, we have a common enemy with Iran – Israel.

Israel is on the losing side, and Israeli politicians know that. The Zionist state is literally incapable of practicing its hobby of bombing its neighbors. Netanyahu seems to be aware of that. He knows that this is his last chance. Whatever lands or promises he takes from the Palestinians now is going to be the last, ever. That may be the reason why he is pushing so quickly for the 'Jewification' of Jerusalem.

Israel can only defy the US if it is sure of the support it receives from its Arab allies. Therefore, we need to help Obama by supporting Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions. By supporting Hamas and other Palestinian resistance movements, Obama will have a card to play against Israel: "If you don't stop settlement, I can't stop Arabs.

In that case, even Netanyahu can justify to his people about the stoppage of settlement-building, and start peace talks. To tell you the truth, I don't think peace talks are necessary at this point because our 'guests' will be leaving soon anyway.

© Kuwait Times 2010

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