web analytics
September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Rubin Reports: The New Middle East – Arab Versus Non-Arab Muslims, Sunni Versus Shia

Muslim Leaders Meet

Muslim Leaders Meet
Photo Credit: Mohammed Al-Ostaz/Flash 90

The new Middle East strategic battle is heating up and this is only the start. It has nothing to do with Israel and everything to do with two more serious lines of battle: Arabs versus Persians and Sunni versus Shia Muslims.

The Arab-Israeli or Israel-Palestinian is increasingly unimportant, despite the hatred of increasingly powerful Islamist forces for Israel. The real struggle is over who will control each Muslim majority country and who is going to lead the Middle East. Both issues have almost nothing to do with Israel. At the same time, Israel has virtually no role to play in these struggles, except to ensure that Hamas doesn’t take over the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority.

The Sunni Arab position was stated very clearly by Amr Moussa, a veteran Arab nationalist and candidate for Egypt’s presidency: “[The] Arab Middle East will not be run by Iran or Turkey.” Note that he didn’t even mention Israel, in sharp contrast to how the issue would have been defined in previous decades: as a Zionist threat to rule the entire region.

Iran is Persian-ruled (though only about half the population is ethnic Persian) and Shia Muslim. Turkey is ruled by ethnic Turks even though it is predominantly Sunni Muslim.

What we are seeing again, for the first time in three decades—since President Anwar al-Sadat put the priority on a domestic focus, peace with Israel, and alliance with the United States–is an Egyptian bid to lead the Arabic-speaking world and even the whole region. On this point, Egyptian leftists, nationalists, and Islamists are united. And in the first round, the battle over control of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, Egypt won and Iran lost.

Note that this has nothing to do with the current military rulers of Egypt who will be out of power before the end of June. This is a long-term struggle led by the civilian, primarily Islamist, politicians. And it is a program over which the Islamists can unite the country behind them in a wave of patriotic, Arab, and Sunni zeal. Building on this agenda, often used demagogically, also requires Cairo to distance itself from the United States.

Here’s another point to keep in mind. The head of the Egyptian parliament’s foreign affairs committee is now Essam al-Arian, one of the most outspokenly radical Muslim Brotherhood leaders. He’s outspokenly in favor of destroying Israel and U.S. interests in the region. This is one more of an endless amount of evidence about the Brotherhood’s extremism and the coming collision with Washington.

At the same time, al-Arian is strongly anti-Iran, predicting the overthrow of the Tehran regime in an internal revolution. When a Muslim Brotherhood says such a thing that isn’t an example of political analysis but of advocacy.

In another example of Brotherhood, and Egyptian, hostility to the Iran-led bloc, Egypt has pulled Hamas into its orbit. The Brotherhood supports its Syrian brothers in their revolution against the pro-Iran regime in Damascus. It also backs the Bahrain government against Shia oppositionists there and is also hostile to Hizballah in Lebanon.

And so despite the fact that Iran has now offered Egypt financial aid, which that country needs, the Egyptians are ignoring the proposal. They do not want to be beholden to Tehran any more than they would be to the United States.

It has not yet been widely recognized that the last year has been a disaster for Iran’s strategy of gaining regional leadership. Outside of Syria, Bahrain, and Iraq—where Tehran is backing forces which aren’t doing so well at present—only in Lebanon does Iran still have real influence. Its potential appeal is now limited to the largely minority Shia Muslims.

Two years ago, an Iranian nuclear bomb would have sparked a wave of pro-Iran reaction throughout the Middle East, now it will have little effect on (Sunni, Arab) public opinion. Similarly, two years ago threats to wipe Israel off the map made Iran more popular while hostility toward Israel did the same for Turkey. Now such ranting does nothing to promote those two countries’ regional influence.

For Turkey, too, the “Arab Spring” puts the end to that Islamist regime’s regional ambitions. Nobody needs the Turks as regional leaders. Indeed, efforts to claim such a role have created intense resentment in both Egypt and Iran.

In contrast, the Muslim Brotherhood has expanded its influence to a remarkable extent. Aside from probably ruling Egypt, the Brotherhood can now claim the Gaza Strip, Tunisia, and Libya as being within its sphere of influence. And it is also the patron of the Brotherhood branches in Syria and Jordan.

Another result of this process is the orphaning of the Palestinian Authority (PA), which has no foreign patron whatsoever. Iran, Egypt, and Syria back Hamas. The PA’s patron should be wealthy Gulf states, notably Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Yet it has never won back their support after the rupture caused when PA leader Yasir Arafat backed Iraq’s takeover of Kuwait in 1990-1991.

A weakened PA has no maneuvering room except to protect its militant credentials by refusing to negotiate or compromise with Israel while talking in a radical manner. The Israel-Palestinian peace process has in fact been dead since 2000 but only know is most of the world acknowledging the obituary.

This is the new Middle East, quite different from the region as understood for the last sixty years. The battle for predominance among the three strong Arab nationalist regimes—Egypt, Iraq, and Syria—has now given way between Sunni and Shia blocs. Increasingly, Arab assessments of threats from Egypt in the west to the Persian Gulf on the eastern end barely mention Israel at all.

 

Originally published at http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/2012/03/new-middle-east-arab-versus-non-arab.html

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Rubin Reports: The New Middle East – Arab Versus Non-Arab Muslims, Sunni Versus Shia”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A Jew, a soldier and a Druze watch - very carefully - the Syrian side of the Golan Heights.
IDF Stands By as Al Qaeda Offensive Threatens Golan Farmers
Latest Indepth Stories
Gas Pump

If simple fuel choice were implemented, the power of petroleum and those who sell it would cease.

ISIS on the Temple Mount

Value of IS: It enables people to see the place to which all other Islamist fascism is headed.

Eller-091214-Word

“When Frank does something he does it well and you don’t have to worry about dotting the i’s or crossing the t’s.”

President Obama: “ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents”

he time of the Uman pilgrimage is upon us, and we dare not ignore the opportunity to highlight the danger.

Healing requires that the victim be validated for being harmed and the guilty assume responsibility.

During the war, not once was Hashem’s name mentioned to the nation by Israel’s PM or gov’t officials

How many illegal Arab structures are there in the city? Why are they not being destroyed?

We did not win the war in Gaza because we are still captive to the concept of the 2 state solution.

Trapped in a false notion of power, America will lose the battle in the same way Israel now loses.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

His many articles on education showed great insight into the problems facing Jewish teachers in a changing student environment.

We cannot forget Secretary Kerry’s obsessive and relentless focus on the Middle East peace process.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/rubin-reports-the-new-middle-east-arab-versus-non-arab-muslims-sunni-versus-shia/2012/03/02/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: