When the enemy of your enemy is about to get you, it’s time to ally with the lesser of your enemies. Jordan is a peace partner, teetering on the edge, with Daniel Pipes predicting its demise. Egypt is a peace partner that needs Israel to control the mess on the Sinai borders, with HAMAS and other extremists filtering into Egypt and causing chaos there. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are terrified of the Iranians, Lebanon is getting sucked into the mess because of Hezbollah, Turkey is barely coping, and Syria, once the cradle of civilization, looks like it’s becoming the cradle for the next World War.
With Syria in turmoil, everyone in the neighborhood is being sucked into the morass that is going to dramatically change everything we have ever expected or known in the Middle East, and those changes are putting Israel at risk. Not so much because it is the so-called “thorn of the west in the side of the east,” but because the wars that are raging around it are setting back the clock on Middle Eastern history, as well as their borders—and Israel is caught in the middle. No matter whose side you try to take in the Syrian war, the extremists who want Israel gone control both sides…the formerly mostly secular government of Syria siding with the Shia in Iran, and Hezbollah—while paying for arms from Russia and China. The rebels against the regime are funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other Gulf States, who are desperately afraid of Iran, yet continue to support HAMAS, the Muslim Brotherhood and jihadists of every Sunni stripe. Everyone is killing everyone while Israel and the West worry about when the region will implode completely, catching Israel in the crossfire.
We could be watching the collapse of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1918, which imposed arbitrary borders in the region, ignoring tribal boundries, religious inclinations and ethnic rivalries—rivalries we read about but don’t absorb or understand. Every time a marketplace is blown up in some obscure town, it is because an Islamic group is unhappy with another Islamic group, and everyone must die.
Old formulas, the ones we were weaned on, may no longer work—because when those borders go bye-bye, Israel will have to cope with much more than absorbing 4 million Palestinians. If Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey are any indication, the terrorists and extremists who would then be citizens of Israel will become a serious problem, not just for the Israelis, but for the whole world and every Jew in it. If anyone can figure out how to resolve this situation without creating a nuclear inferno in the Middle East, please let us know ASAP.