Saturday, February 26, 2011

Nir Rosen on Arab revolution, Israel & Iran

Nir Rosen

February 25, 2011

What this means for Israel and Iran

So all this revolution business is not good for Iran for two reasons. The obvious one is that Iran may also be caught up in the wave of popular revolutions sweeping the region.

Regardless of what happens inside Iran, it seems quite likely that Iran will lose much of its influence if Egypt regains any of its natural role in the Arab world. Iran had influence in part because nobody else was carrying the flag of Palestine or anti imperialism but if Egypt returns to an Arab nationalist foreign policy and is no longer collaborating with Israel or under the American or Saudi sway then Iran is a big loser. This will also somewhat reduce Hizballah’s regional popularity, they are limited by being a religious Shiite movement (even if everybody loves Seyid Hassan’s speeches and loves the resistance for defeating Israel). The rise of a more independent Turkish foreign policy was already chipping away at Iranian influence (because in the end Iran is Shiite and unfortunately that matters, at least Turkey is Sunni even if too is non-Arab), but now Egypt is unshackled from Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States (it seems clear from today that the Egyptian demonstrators will not settle for cosmetic changes) and the demonstrators have made their hostility to Israel very clear in their slogans and in their response to Qaradawi’s sermon, so with Arab nationalism reborn Iranian influence will wain. There will be new political and military elites rising up and they will not necessarily be the ones with long standing ties to the Israelis, the Americans, the Saudis. And if you have a more independent and Arab nationalist Egypt it will limit the Saudi ability to meddle in the region. This is good because Saudi money thwarts progress, democracy, development. A nationalist Egypt (as opposed to one that collaborates with Israel and America) means that other Arab countries will have to follow or at least be less collaborationist. It will mean that Jordan will not necessarily accomodate Israel or the Palestinian Authority as much (the Jordanians and senior Fatah leadership dont trust each other much anyway). So Israel is losing its regional partners. And do not think for a second that the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Libya, and throughout the region are purely economic. They are also deeply political. No new regime that is based on popular will is going to be friendly to Israel. Everybody hates Israel. Just look at whats been happening to Turkey since it became more of a genuine democracy. And listen to what Egyptian demonstrators were chanting about Israel (hint- they want to liberate Palestine).

Of course the Israeli elites dont know this. There is nobody in Israel who understands whats happening. When it comes to studying the contemporary Arab world, Israelis do so only through a security prism, not genuine curiosity or a desire to understand Arab countries and Arab culture as they are, only as they affect Israeli security. Those who study the Arab world in Israeli universities, the media and the military are the same people. They served in Israeli military intelligence in Lebanon, the West Bank or Gaza, they study Arabic in Israeli universities with professors who could never actually conduct field work in the Arab world so they only see shadows and reflections of the Arab world, and they dont view Arabs as people, only as enemies who want to kill them so they need to be controlled, and then they move on to the media as so called experts on Arab affairs, and they get their expertise by watching various Arab news networks or talking to sources in Israeli intelligence, its an echo chamber of security obsessed people.

And now Israeli combat units and the Israeli military in general are gradually falling into the hands of Jewish Taliban. There was a time when it was the secular elites from the kibutz who dominated the combat units and senior levels of the military, but as Israel has changed from a socialist apartheid state to an extreme capitalist apartheid state the only people left willing to fight and die for Zionism will soon be extreme religious Jews. And Israeli society is getting more and more open in its racism against its native Palestinian population (Israeli Jews like to call them Israeli Arabs and pretend that they are not Palestinian too). So now you have an Israeli Jewish society that is increasingly extreme and overt in its hostility to the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Even the Druze of Israel, who were the most collaborationist, are gradually realizing that they will never be Jewish. So its great when they’re in the military and everybody’s a brother but once they try to rent an apartment in a Jewish area and they’re treated like a dirty Arab by Jews who are worried that their daughters will be contaminated by them then even the Druze must realize that they have no place in ZIonism.

It is Israel itself that is hastening its demise. Israeli society is going in one inevitable direction. They will try to expel (transfer is their preferred nomenclature) the Palestinian citizens of Israel. Its integral to the logic of Zionism. You have a state created by ethnic cleansing and maintained by ethnic cleansing (so that they can call themselves a Jewish democracy- cant have too many non-Jews). But now in historic Palestine you have about fifty percent Jews ruling the other fifty percent of non Jews who have different categories (citizens, occupied) but are all inferior in their status and basically without any guaranteed rights. But the non Jews are increasing. What do you do? You have to get rid of some of them. But what will the international community do? You cant just put the Arabs on trains and take them out, can you? Well the international community (which means powerful Western countries) didnt do anything when you flattened half of Lebanon and targeted civilians. They didnt do anything when you flattened half of Gaza and targeted civilians. They didnt do anything when you attacked unarmed and peaceful aid workers trying to help the people of Gaza and you executed them, so they wont do anything when you try to expel your non Jewish citizens except complain that it is unhelpful and not nice. And Israelis know they have to do it soon. They’re losing their friendly dictators one by one. They’re even losing the support of liberal Americans (slowly), including Jews, thanks to Netanyahu and Lieberman. And soon there will be too many non Jews in Israel for them to pretend they are a Jewish democracy. And this is happening when Palestinian citizens of Israel are increasingly angry and awakened. They are not their parents, they want equality, they feel connected to the rest of the Arab world, they love the speeches of Seyid Hassan Nasrallah, they are united with their brothers via al Jazeera. Make no mistake, the third intifada is coming and it will start in northern Palestine (inside what is now called Israel), it may start in Um al Fahm, or Baqa al Gharbiya, some other town, but its coming, sooner than ever thanks to the revolutionary people’s uprisings sweeping the old Middle East and it is Israel that will soon feel the birth pang’s of the new Middle East.

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