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Israel's role in a new balance of power?

Reader comment on item: Arabs Disavow Hizbullah

Submitted by David S. (United States), Jul 26, 2006 at 20:53

Could there be a sort of "balance of power" forming in the Middle East that finally describes a role for Israel in the region that everyone has to acknowledge? If the Arab (Sunni dominated) states are concerned about the rising power of Iran and the Shiites, Israel becomes an unspoken ally. And if at another time Iran and the Shiites feel marginalized and threatened by Arab extremists and dictatorial, pan-Arab movements (e.g., Saddam, Nasser, bin Laden), they might also turn to Israel as an unspoken ally.

Israel definitely has to deal with the immediate military challenge presented by Hezbollah and Iran. But the country's leadership must also take a long view, since there's no way it can utterly defeat Hezbollah (Iran and Syria will reload) or Hamas and the Palestinian extremists, for that matter. Maybe it's time for Israel to be less obsessed with a formal recognition of its right to exist, and instead step up to its potential regional role as a power broker among the Shia, Sunni and Kurds....that is, a country that certainly has its own agenda but also understands more intimately than the global powers just what it takes to keep peace among these parties.

Given the history of the region even long, long before 1948 (back to the Crusades and before), Israel will always face existential threats--forvever. Seems like what the country needs to do is seize the opportunity to play such an essential role that it becomes in no party's interests to see Israel "wiped off the map."


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