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The new situation in the middle East and Israel
Material posted: Publication date: 12-07-2011

In late may, Israeli defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a statement, which immediately attracted the attention of experts involved in middle East issues. Barak said that every year, in addition to military spending on the part of Israel, in the next five years must also at least $20 billion, "and with the upcoming generation of the country was protected."

1. Change the security environment around Israel

This statement by Ehud Barak was said against Israel in the ongoing discussions about the impact of Arab revolutions on the security of the Jewish state. This question is in the last few weeks remained in the spotlight of Jewish experts engaged in the region and the security of Israel. And unlike many American and European estimates, Israel is not encouraged by the "Arab spring"2.

If you summarize, the dominant idea is the following: in the last three and a half decades the Jewish state has refrained from large-scale military aggression and had the opportunity to evolve, as existing in three adjoining countries – Egypt, Syria and Jordan – were interested or indirectly contributed to the preservation of favorable to Israel's political and military status quo3.

And now the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt, in Syria, increasing unrest against the government of al-Assad, gradually develops into an armed uprising, and forced steps of reigning in Jordan dynasty Hashemite towards the opposition4 actually change the situation. The Islamists, being the last few decades, the main opposition force of the incumbent, today received the opportunity to lead over the broad masses of the people and to influence political decisions.

From the point of view of security of the Jewish state, and all of the above strategijski important, because in these countries as a result of the increasing influence of Islamists threatened the status quo, formed on the basis of the camp David agreement.

In this regard, for example, in Israel highlight a change in policy of Egypt in the Palestinian issue, which occurred soon after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak. At a meeting held on April 27 in Cairo joint press conference, representatives of Fatah and Hamas said about "laying aside" their differences and forming unity government "with the intention eight months to hold nationwide elections." It is clear that this step of mutually hostile groups took place with the support of Egypt. The next day, 28 April, Minister of foreign Affairs of Egypt Nabil elaraby in the broadcasting company "al-Jazeera" called "unworthy" by the regime of Mubarak policy towards the Gaza Strip. A month after the statement, Elaraby, 28 may Egypt opened leading into the Gaza Strip checkpoint "Rafah", which was closed in 2007. after coming to power in Gaza of the Hamas movement. Finally, in early June for the first time in the history of the Egyptian authorities allowed the delegation to the Egyptian organization "Muslim brotherhood" went to Gaza and met with the leadership of Hamas.

In one of the existing analytical studies in tel Aviv Institute for national security studies (The Institute for National Security Studies–INSS) concludes that: even if in the foreseeable future in Egypt or other contiguous to Israel Arab countries the Islamist forces come to power, ruling regimes of these countries in their domestic and foreign policy in the near future will be forced to go towards the Islamists, given their growing influence in political and social relations.

But let us return to the statement by Ehud Barak. Apparently, these words of Israeli defence Minister indicate that on the background of the regional developments, the political and military elite of the Jewish state has already come to certain conclusions, and the statement was intended to demonstrate this. If so, the statement must also indicate that up to possible changes of the middle East, in addition to military preparations, Israel will take the foreign policy initiative.


2. The issue of relations with partner States

The new situation in the middle East is also reflected in another aspect of importance for the security of Israel, the relations of the partner States.

In this regard, in the first place are formed the new realities in relations with Turkey. Of course, the reason emerged in Israeli-Turkish relations contradictions is not due to the "Arab spring" and is primarily associated with the objectives of Ankara to take an influential role in the Islamic world, but the Arab revolution creates a new opportunity for Turkish policy and Ankara, apparently, decided to take advantage of this.

In early June, not without the help of Western intelligence agencies and the National intelligence service of Turkey (Tur. Milli Istihbarat Teskilati – MIT) in Antalya held a meeting of the opposition in Turkey, the ruling regime of al-Assad forces, whose aim was the creation of a unified opposition structure by the example of Libya. On 6 June, when anti-government protests in conditionslong city g's al-Shughour on the border with Turkey North of Syria escalated into armed rebellion, Syrian sources even wrote about the militants of Turkish origin, who fights against the loyal Bashar al-Assad's military connections. The seriousness of the situation in this city, says that Damascus has succeeded in suppressing the rebellion only during the week, moving to the North of an elite unit of the army. However, it is noteworthy that after this June 13 at the Turkish Embassy in Damascus was attacked by a crowd of almost two-thousand Pro-government demonstrators: without the approval of authorities such incident in Syria is unlikely to be happened.

Whatever it was, the involvement of Turkey in Syrian Affairs clearly shows Ankara's interest to act together with the new forces rising in the Arab world (maybe also in the entire Islamic world), to support them and thus influence them. From the Israeli point of view, this policy of Turkey has heightened the contradictions tel Aviv to Ankara, because, as already noted, Israel believes that the prevailing part of these new forces is of Islamist orientation. Although such opinions do not sound still open, however, in the analytical articles published in Israeli media, we can already see hints that if current trends in Turkish regional policy in the near future Ankara will be one of the main opponents of Israel, besides having good relations with many Western powers5.

No less remarkable development taking place in the relations of Israel–USA. On may 19, the U.S. state Department in his famous speech on the middle East developments the United States President Barack Obama, speaking about the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, said that Israel should return to borders of 1967, i.e., to convey to Palestinians a significant portion of the occupied territories of the West Bank of the Jordan river, and Syria's Golan heights. On June 11 the Israeli newspaper "Haaretz" wrote that the new head of the Department of NSS of the USA on the Middle East and North Africa Steve Simon during the meeting with representatives of the Jewish Diaspora in Washington said that Israel has one month of time: either he will "offer" to Obama, or in September, the UN General Assembly recognized Palestine as a sovereign state.

Of course, Washington imposes this requirement in tel Aviv is not for the first time, but this time about the gravity of Americans is confirmed by the reaction of the Israeli side and the US Jewish lobby6. But most importantly, according to Israeli observers, not that. Prominent in the middle East U.S. policy changes, they explain the "Arab spring", in which Washington sought to strengthen its position in the Islamic world, promoting the process of Israeli-Palestinian truce. In this case, they are concerned about the following: in the aftermath of the Arab revolutions the middle East is entering a period of fundamental change, and who knows what will be the relations Israel-United States in the face of new realities.

1 for Example, according to the Stockholm international peace research Institute (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute – SIPRI), in 2010. the military budget of Israel totaled $13 billion, and that the Jewish state has occupied 18-e a place in the world.

2 the Term "Arab spring" in March of this year was introduced by President Barack Obama, referring to the Arab revolution.

3 As you know, in September of 1978. located near Washington camp David Israel and Egypt brokered by the United States signed an agreement on the basis of which in March 1979. in Washington between the two countries signed a peace Treaty. In 1994. the example of Egypt followed by Jordan, and in October of this year was signed the Israeli-Jordanian peace agreement. As for Syria, the last time this country fought Israel about 40 years ago, in 1973. In 2007 and 2008. brokered by Turkey, the two countries even conducted secret talks in the hope to achieve peace, but the attempt failed.

4 including in Jordan continuing protests of the opposition, particular attention was drawn to a mass rally held June 3 in the capital Amman after Friday prayers, the participants of which demanded two things: to manufacture in the country political and economic reforms and to cancel signed in 1994. with Israel peace agreement. And on June 12 on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of his coronation on king Abdullah of Jordan has promised that a future government will be formed after parliamentary elections.

5 it is Noteworthy that on may 14 on the occasion of another anniversary of independence of Israel hosted by the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, the event was not attended by any members of the ruling party "Justice and development", nor the top of the Turkish armed forces.

6 the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the issue went to the United States, met with the President and Vice-President of the United States, made, as it is known, before both houses of Congress, saying that Israel will not return to the borders of 1967, since they cannot defend that would jeopardize the existence of the Jewish state, and on his return stated that Israel will not be able to suspend the recognition of Palestine at the UN in September, on the other hand, according to the head of the campaign headquarters of Barack Obama Jim Mesini, a number of very wealthy Americans of Jewish descent, supporters of the Democratic party of the USA said that because of the new Obama middle East policy they cease funding of the campaign headquarters.


Artashes Ter-Harutyunyan


Tags: crisis , Africa

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