Monday, April 27, 2015

The "Linkage" Falsehood and the Riyadh-Cairo Axis

Michael L.

{Originally published at the Elder of Ziyon.}

cairo egyptThe primary political fault-line in the Muslim Middle East today is the Iran coalition versus what Jonathan Spyer, writing in the Middle East Forum, calls the Riyadh-Cairo axis.

Spyer argues that the United States left a power vacuum in the region that is being filled by Shia Iran and thereby threatening the Sunni Arab states.  This is not an original idea, but I am beginning to suspect that it is an exceedingly important one.

The absence of United States leadership is forcing an emergency alliance among the main Sunni states for the purpose of countering the Iranian coalition advancement, where it can.

Where it can, maybe, is Yemen and it is in Yemen that we are seeing Saudi push-back against the Iranian Houthi proxies.

Spyer writes:
Iran appears to be rebuilding its links to Hamas and, therefore, to the Islamist half of the Palestinian national movement. But the Ramallah Palestinian Authority is backed by Egypt, Jordan, the Gulf Arabs and the West.
It is this latter coalition that Spyer refers to as the "Riyadh-Cairo axis."

So, consider this:

We are in a situation where the EU, the US, and the UN demand of Israel that it ethnically-cleanse Jews from Judea - or, at least, force them to stop building housing for themselves and their children - allegedly in order to facilitate a negotiated conclusion of hostilities with the local Arabs.

They have also insisted upon "linkage," which is the idea that stability throughout the region depends on the willingness of the Jews in Israel to make peace with the Palestinian-Arabs... but not the other way around.  According to this notion, the other conflicts are related - ideologically or otherwise - to the Arab-Israel conflict and until that conflict is resolved these other related conflicts will fester in violent ways all around the world.

For example, Secretary of State John Kerry, at a reception in honor of Eid al-Adha, had this to say:
As I went around and met with people in the course of our discussions about the ISIL [also referred to as ISIS or the Islamic State] coalition, the truth is we — there wasn’t a leader I met within the region who didn’t raise with me spontaneously the need to try to get peace between Israel and the Palestinians, because it was a cause of recruitment and of street anger and agitation that they felt – and I see a lot of heads nodding – they had to respond to,” Kerry said. “And people need to understand the connection of that. And it has something to do with humiliation and denial and absence of dignity, and Eid celebrates the opposite of all of that.
Needless to say, when Jewish Israelis are thought to send Jihadis into spasms of psychotic, genocidal violence elsewhere in the world - for daring to defend themselves - it is emphatically not in the strategic interests of the Western nations, who prefer their Arabs calm and their Jews quiet.

What this suggests is that unless Israel does what it is told by the EU and the US, they can blame Israel not just for failing to bring peace to themselves and their own children, but for stubbornly refusing to help bring peace to the rest of the Middle East.  Furthermore, given that Islamists in Europe have taken increasingly to the harassment and killing of Jewish people and non-Muslims, we are finding Israeli Jews sometimes blamed for the murderous behavior of Jihadis in Europe.

However, if what Spyer says is true - and it is - what we are also witnessing, among the Palestinian-Arabs, is not merely a split between a vicious Islamist dictatorship in Hamas contending with a vicious semi-secular dictatorship in the Palestinian Authority.

It is also a brutal contest between Iran's proxy in Gaza and the Riyadh-Cairo proxy in Judea and Samaria.

As above, so below.

The larger contest wrecking the Middle East is reflected in the smaller contest wrecking the Palestinian-Arab polity... and, needless to say, they all blame it on the Jews.

Saudi Arabia is fighting the Houthis in Yemen who are aligned with Iran.  The Yemen conflict is, therefore, a proxy fight between segments of the Saudi coalition and the Iranian coalition on land largely belonging to neither.

The Islamic State, a Sunni faction not aligned with the Riyadh-Cairo axis, is fighting Shia militias in Iraq that are directed by Iran.  In Iraq we are seeing what looks to be Iran's bid to take over as much of the country as possible, which is why they are fighting the Islamic State for control.

What this means is that things are considerably more complex than we may have realized when we thought of the split among Palestinian-Arabs as being just that, a split among Palestinian-Arabs.

More and more it is looking like that split is a reflection of the larger dominant divisions throughout the Muslim Middle East and if that is the case the likelihood for reconciliation between the factions is considerably less than we may have realized.

Of course, from an Israeli perspective, they cannot make peace with a unity government that contains Hamas, nor can they make peace with a divided Palestinian-Arab polity if the other half is still seeking to murder Jews.

And what all of this means is that the notion of "linkage" is upside-down and backwards.

Peace throughout the region will not come from a resolution of the conflict between the Jewish-Israelis and the Palestinian-Arabs.  So long as the Muslim world is ripping itself to pieces along religious and sectarian lines, Israel will be used as a scapegoat by all sides, including the western-left.

It is only when Muslims make peace with themselves that they will ever allow peace with the Jews.


  1. If I were horribly cynical.....which of course I'm not, I'd say Obama knows he's offering a deal no one can accept in order to foment precisely the violence and anarchy that are occuring BECAUSE it can lead inevitably to something like Iranian hegemony or at least a semi permanent state of war on the ground between the Sunni states and Iran. Bush may have had some form of personal relationships with the House of Saud AS the government and economy of Saudi Arabia but Obama does not. He only has an affinity for the concept of a theocratic fundamentalist Islamic MOVEMENT and the Saudi establishment isn't viewed by Obama as a movement albeit their efforts to create movements here are always appreciated.

    What if Obama's long game is anarchy? Revolutionaries tend to use that and Obama certainly sees himself as a revolutionary.

    1. Obama sees himself as a reformer, Trudy.

      Ultimately, he's a creature of the Civil Rights Movement.

      What he wants is justice for poor people and people of color, both at home and abroad.

      That, I have little doubt, is how he would likely have framed his general political orientation throughout most of his life.

      One of the differences between us, I think, is that you doubt his intentions.

      I merely doubt his intelligence.

    2. Mike,

      Ultimately, he's a creature of the Civil Rights Movement .

      He has very little in common with the Civil Rights Movement as it was under the stewardship of Dr King.
      The later leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, and the academic theories that influenced them, turned what Martin Luther King had believed in on its head.
      Obama is far more influenced by those later thinkers.
      No longer believing in reform from within, they have advocated and agitated for fundamental transformation. They believe in division. And have helped to create more of it. Unfortunately, they have helped to promote the idea that America's problems with its racial past can never be overcome. And they have promoted the need for some kind of revenge. And, the need for African- Americans to think of themselves as permanent victims. This has been enormously damaging to millions of people's lives. And there seems no reason to believe that will change. Obama has repeatedly encouraged this type of thinking; with damaging and unhealthy results. For
      black Americans, and for the whole of American society.

      The whole notion of "justice" is vastly undermined and distorted by these changes in direction.

      "justice" in itself is a worthy goal. However, how you define it, defines your goals.

      Because of that, it is reasonable to doubt ( in some respects) his intentions.

    3. His intentions towards Israel are not in doubt. "Justice" demands it to be destroyed.


    4. Remember Hanlon's razor:

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

      And, of course, it's not that the guy is stupid, it's just that he's not nearly so intelligent as they insisted that he is.

      K, Obama does have far more in common with the later thinkers that owe something to MLK.

      There is no doubt about that. But despite the differences, there is a lineage and MLK and Obama are part of the same lineage.

      This, I think, is exceedingly important:

      they have helped to promote the idea that America's problems with its racial past can never be overcome.

      And Europe's, as well.

      This is, to my mind, a huge problem and thank you for raising it.

      The fact of the matter is that the West - leaving the Jihadis aside - is the least bigoted or "racist" part of the world today.

      Certainly the US is among the least racist countries in the world... yet we are told that we are among the worst.

      And that Israel is the worst.

      What continues to trouble me, however, is the almost absolute unwillingness of the Jewish Left to really face up to the fact that they support (or supported) an anti-Jewish / anti-Israel president of the United States.

      I was disappointed that Haber could not make that leap.

    5. Mike,
      May I come back to you on those points tomorrow? Not possible now due to the late hour here in England.
      It's an interesting conversation, and thread.

    6. Obama's "civil rights" lineage is nothing like MLK's or most black Americans. Obama has no family connection through his parents or those that raised him to slavery or Jim Crow.

    7. Are you saying he went identity slumming to find the connection? I'm sure he's experienced some feelings of racial discrimination in his life, but then again he is not the typical African American in terms of heritage and legacy. He's not the son of slaves. He might be said to be somewhat of a carpet bagger.
      Interesting that no one has done the usual psychological workup on him that Republicans presidents and certain leaders of a now defunct German Reich usually receive which shows them to be flawed in some fundamental way (or stupid). I couldn't help but notice, and I'm not even a Republican.
      I think they are afraid to.

  2. I don't believe that. I believe he's a glint eyed fanatic through and through. The US has quite nearly run out of psychopaths to kiss up to. Who's left? North Korea? ISIS? We're talking to or talking about talking to Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, the Houthis.

    Where in a sane world is the bottom of that barrel? Cannibals? Ok we're not putting an embassy in Cannibalistan. Good. Yaay American values, we found a red line.

    1. One can desire justice for "people of color", and hate Jews at the same time.

    2. It's nothing at all to do with justice. That's something they tell the cheap seats so that they're boil out in the streams and set cop cars on fire. Call me sanguine or jaded but first world problems even when Baltimore riots over a young man killed by the cops, is still a first world problem. Meanwhile while you read that sentence, 10 black people in Burundi probably killed 10 other black people in Burundi and to them it runs deeper than any racial construct any race hustler in America can imagine.

    3. Trudy,
      You use the word "cannibal" as if there is something wrong with cannibalism. Are you a racist? :-D

  3. re: Linkage
    The peoples of that region have been hating and fighting each other for ever and day. The one and only thing that unites them and mollifies their hate for each other is hatred of Jews. We'll create a peace agreement which will take away the only thing that unites them and then they'll all suddenly start getting along.