Arab Leaders Support Israel, Even If They Don’t Want to Say So in Public

After visiting several Middle Eastern countries and speaking to a variety of government officials and other prominent persons, Robert Satloff comes to a conclusion very much like that offered in Mosaic by the Israeli-American analyst Evelyn Gordon on October 12: “The Whole Middle East Is Counting on Israel to Destroy Hamas.”

In private, Arab states are rooting for Israel to destroy Hamas—one senior Arab official even said, “Israel is fighting for us in Gaza, and if it wins, it will succeed in defeating an Iranian proxy for the first time in 40 years.” But Arab states are focused on their own security and their own interests and are either unwilling or unable to play much of a role in shaping the outcome in Gaza or helping to fill the vacuum that will be left by the Hamas defeat they all privately say they want.

By and large, Arab states would like to roll the clock back to October 6, except on one point: they all face domestic political urgency because of mass sympathy for the Palestinians and Al Jazeera-fueled outrage against the Israelis, which has caused them to channel energy into producing some tangible progress on the goal of Palestinian statehood, energy that wasn’t there on October 7. It’s not readily apparent that this emerges from the people of Gaza, who surely have other things on their mind; it is a requirement of postwar diplomacy that is only connected to the war by the upsurge in popular affinity for the plight of the Palestinians.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Gaza War 2023, Israel-Arab relations, Middle East


Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security