A Strategic Environment in the Making

Writing for Stratfor, a provider of global geopolitical analysis, George Friedman penned a wide-ranging, nuanced and admirably detailed study of the current situation in Israel and the wider Middle East. His article is entitled “Israel’s New Strategic Environment”.
His analysis is interesting, but flawed or at best incomplete in certain respects.
One factor George Friedman overlooks is Israel’s emerging energy independence resulting from recent discoveries of fossil fuel reserves. Its vast natural gas (and possibly even oil) finds offshore will help create a financial and strategic buffer that frees it to some extent from any purported “patron’s” (read: US) apron-strings.
Another related aspect is that Israel has developed industrial-scale solar energy technology for overseas markets, most notably Spain and the USA, and is now moving ahead with construction of its own solar farms in the Negev Desert in the south of the country. This too translates into added energy independence. Israel’s accelerated water desalination programme naturally dovetails with these developments since water desalination is a major energy consumer. The availability of water, probably more than anything else including Iran’s genocidal programme, is likely to be the main cause of armed conflict in the region.
A third aspect not taken into consideration is Israel’s decision to build an intermodal sea-rail transport link from Eilat on its Red Sea coast to Ashdod on its Mediterranean coast. This will neatly bypass the troubled Suez Canal. Egypt, which controls the Suez Canal, is heading towards an uncertain future as Islamist fanatics boost their political clout. Sharia plays an increasingly dominant role in Egyptian society and the country’s economy and youth unemployment are spiralling out of control. Global commerce and industry thrive on stability, and an unstable transport route via the Suez Canal will be abandoned when a viable alternative emerges. Israel’s new intermodal transport system has the double benefit of guaranteeing the Jewish state’s independence of freight movement from the Far East, while at the same time generating massive revenues from other countries using this route instead of the volatile Suez.
A fourth factor overlooked in the Stratfor analysis is double-pronged: money and the Arab Spring – incidentally the longest “spring” in meteorological history, one set to last several years since the Arab and wider Muslim worlds seem to be inherently incapable of embracing an infrastructure for democratic power succession. For a year now all – absolutely ALL – news from the Middle East has been notable for an omission that has otherwise characterised the Middle East for the past four decades: there has been virtually no mention of the Palestinians. Events on the ground have amply demonstrated to Arab, Muslim, European and other Western nations including the US that the real problems in the Middle East have absolutely nothing to do with Palestinians. They have everything to do with endemic Arab/Muslim inability to embrace democracy, plurality, religious freedoms, gender equality, education, employment and so on. Thus far, at any rate.
What this means is that state after state, government after government, has over the past 12 months seen that all the money pumped into feeding what is widely recognised as a parasitic Palestinian blackmail scam has accomplished precisely nothing. In the past 5 years alone the Palestinians have received over 700 billion US dollars in what is euphemistically termed as “aid”. That’s diplomatic-speak for handouts, handouts specifically earmarked for the non-establishment of infrastructure/education/improvement/job creation, but specifically earmarked for maintenance of the status quo. At the same time as the Palestinian leadership continues with its official policies of EU- and US-funded human rights abuses – against the Palestinian population.

When the Arab world was set ablaze for reasons which had nothing to do with the Jewish state, the Palestinian agenda simply evaporated. In a climate of current global recession, perhaps even a threatening global economic meltdown, the last thing Europe/the US et al will want to do is to channel even more of their already scarce funds to fuel a society whose sole reason for existence is to perpetuate their status as permanent aid recipients without letting up on their constant barrage of negativity in the form of terrorism, fanaticism and racist indoctrination, of the sort that most recently fuelled the terrible events in Toulouse, France. All this while queues of unemployed, dispossessed homeowners, school dropouts and the sick and elderly grow in London, Paris, Washington, Stockholm, Madrid.
In other words, the current global economic situation is something the article does not factor in, and that is a major omission. The Palestinian “problem” is transparently the baby of the West – the Arab nations themselves want nothing to do with it, even refusing to fund its perpetuation. This is a realisation that is gradually dawning on the West, although it is regarded as not politically correct to express in words.
Neither does the article underscore just how dedicated the Israeli government and the Israeli people (minus a vociferous but minority fringe Left) are to the survival of the Jewish state; it fails to take account of the Israeli psyche, the single most important tenet of post-1948 policy: Never Again. If Israel is threatened (and Iran is currently the only major contender) and feels it has to go it alone even if this risks sparking a global military conflagration, she will still go through with it. Because there are no other options for Israel’s survival. What Middle East analysts seldom talk about is that Israel’s current (and ongoing) image was set when she reluctantly (and catastrophically) agreed to stay her hand after Saddam Hussein sent his Scud missiles roaring into Israel’s population centres in the first Gulf War. That inaction created the perception that Israel could be manipulated into docility – by her “allies” no less. PM Netanyahu is never, ever, going to allow a repetition of that mistake. It is that strategic mistake that has shaped the rejectionist Islamist world’s perception of Israel’s position ever since.
It is therefore a mistake that will not be repeated. Not by the Likud’s Netanyahu, nor by any possible successor from Labour or Kadima. Yet it is a reality that most analysts do not even recognise, let alone factor in when they review the Middle East.
This autumn will reveal whether Israel becomes embroiled alone in a regional war, or whether the wider world will finally abandon its policy of hypocrisy and acknowledge the true threat to world peace: Iran and its Islamist allies Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas and their thrust for a Middle East ethnically cleansed of all Jews. Thwarting this genocidal Islamist push may escalate into world war. Such a development largely depends on how desperate US President Obama is to get re-elected.