Despite the unceasing attacks, Israelis have maintained their normal lives—thereby helping their leaders make more considered decisions.
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Explaining the chaotic situation in the Middle East, Eran Lerman divides the various states and militias into four main camps, all vying for power and influence: Iran and its allies; the Muslim Brotherhood and its backers (Turkey, Qatar, Hamas, and parts of Libya); the global jihadists, comprising a resurgent al-Qaeda and an Islamic State possibly in decline; and the “forces of stability,” including Saudi Arabia and most of the Gulf states, Egypt, the Kurds, and others. Lerman evaluates how this struggle came about, what it portends, and what it means for the Jewish state, which finds itself aligned with the last group:
Efforts to reduce the intensity of fighting on several fronts of the “game of camps” may alleviate some of the suffering, but the ideological divides are too deep to be bridged. In the case of Islamic State, decisive action is needed to . . . degrade it to the point that the game will be reduced to a three-way contest. In the case of the Muslim Brotherhood, unless it gains unexpected political victories or uses [affiliated Muslim] communities in the West to shift the balance of power, it would seem likely that it too is destined to decline (but remain a strategic irritant).
As recent events indicate, the crucial factor for the future of the region will thus continue to be the power struggle—both geopolitical and ideological (and in some aspects, confessional) in nature—between the forces of stability, which seek a place in the existing global order, and the Iranian challenge, which is driven by an ideological urge (dressed up in religious garb) to overthrow it.
Specifically, Iran’s object is to undermine the post-1945 dispensation, which includes the right of self-determination for the Jewish people. The wish to undo [the creation of] Israel—inexplicable in terms of Iranian raison d’état, but central to the [1979 Islamic] revolution’s raison d’être—will thus remain central to Tehran’s purposes, and those of its “camp,” as long as the present regime stays in power. Israel’s position is therefore of growing importance in this struggle, and will increasingly influence its standing in the region. Ultimately it will still be the input of the international community and, above all, the next American administration that will determine the long-range outcome in the game of camps.