What Will the Middle East Look Like in Five Years?

Feb. 29 2016

After analyzing the crises that have beset Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, Jacques Neriah ventures some predictions about what will become of the Middle East once the dust settles:

Five years after the outburst of the so-called Arab Spring, the Middle East has changed radically. Not only have nation-states crumbled, transformed, or become failed states, the moderating forces that used to hold the structures together are no longer present. . . . Arab states are questioning U.S. policy and raising questions about [America’s] resolve to lead the military coalition against the Islamic State. Russia found the cracks in the geopolitical wall and easily replaced the United States with its traditional clients. Russia’s success in Syria is but another sign of the weakness of the United States in these dire times.

Five years from now, what Middle East can we expect? It would be foolish to prophesy. But it would not be adventurous to say that we will be confronted with a new map with new entities born or reborn. . . . [S]ooner or later, the traditional forces will destroy [Islamic State]. But this does not mean that the jihadist, Salafist ideology will be eradicated and that jihadist cells will no longer be established. Unless the roots of the problem are dealt with—the financing of [extremist] religious institutions—the jihadist movement will continue . . . receiving funds from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and even Morocco.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Islamic State, Middle East, Politics & Current Affairs, Russia, Salafism, U.S. Foreign policy

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror