It has come out in Russian media that two weeks ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin while Putin was on vacation.
A very senior Israeli intelligence delegation, a week ago, visited Washington. Then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu broke into President Putin’s summer holiday to meet him in Sochi, where, according to a senior Israeli government official (as cited in the Jerusalem Post), Netanyahu threatened to bomb the Presidential Palace in Damascus, and to disrupt and nullify the Astana cease-fire process, should Iran continue to “extend its reach in Syria.”
Russia’s Pravda wrote, “according to eyewitnesses of the open part of the talks, the Israeli prime minister was too emotional and at times even close to panic. He described a picture of the apocalypse to the Russian president that the world may see, if no efforts are taken to contain Iran, which, as Netanyahu believes, is determined to destroy Israel.”
So, what is going on here? Whether or not Pravda’s quote is fully accurate (though the description was confirmed by senior Israeli commentators), what is absolutely clear (from Israeli sources) is that both in Washington and at Sochi, the Israeli officials were heard out, but got nothing. Israel stands alone. Indeed, it is reported that Netanyahu was seeking “guarantees” about the future Iranian role in Syria, rather than “asking for the moon” of an Iranian exit. But how could Washington or Moscow realistically give Israel such guarantees?
Belatedly, Israel has understood that it backed the wrong side in Syria – and it has lost. It is not really in a position to demand anything. It will not get an American enforced buffer zone beyond the Golan armistice line, nor will the Iraqi-Syrian border be closed, or somehow “supervised” on Israel’s behalf.
Of course, the Syrian aspect is important, but to focus only on that, would be to “miss the forest for the trees.” The 2006 war by Israel to destroy Hizbullah (egged on by the U.S., Saudi Arabia – and even a few Lebanese) was a failure. Symbolically, for the first time in the Middle East, a technologically sophisticated, and lavishly armed, Western nation-state simply failed. What made the failure all the more striking (and painful) was that a Western state was not just bested militarily, it had lost also the electronic and human intelligence war, too — both spheres in which the West thought their primacy unassailable.
The Fallout from Failure
Israel’s unexpected failure was deeply feared in the West, and in the Gulf too. A small, armed (revolutionary) movement had stood up to Israel – against overwhelming odds – and prevailed: it had stood its ground. This precedent was widely perceived to be a potential regional “game changer.” The feudal Gulf autocracies sensed in Hizbullah’s achievement the latent danger to their own rule from such armed resistance.
The reaction was immediate. Hizbullah was quarantined — as best the full sanctioning powers of America could manage. And the war in Syria started to be mooted as the “corrective strategy” to the 2006 failure (as early as 2007) — though it was only with the events following 2011 that the “corrective strategy” came to implemented, à outrance.
Against Hizbullah, Israel had thrown its full military force (though Israelis always say, now, that they could have done more). And against Syria, the U.S., Europe, the Gulf States (and Israel in the background) have thrown the kitchen sink: jihadists, al-Qaeda, ISIS (yes), weapons, bribes, sanctions and the most overwhelming information war yet witnessed. Yet Syria – with indisputable help from its allies – seems about to prevail: it has stood its ground, against almost unbelievable odds.
Just to be clear: if 2006 marked a key point of inflection, Syria’s “standing its ground” represents a historic turning of much greater magnitude. It should be understood that Saudi Arabia’s (and Britain’s and America’s) tool of fired-up, radical Sunnism has been routed. And with it, the Gulf States, but particularly Saudi Arabia are damaged. The latter has relied on the force of Wahabbism since the first foundation of the kingdom: but Wahabbism in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq has been roundly defeated and discredited (even for most Sunni Muslims). It may well be defeated in Yemen too. This defeat will change the face of Sunni Islam.
Already, we see the Gulf Cooperation Council, which originally was founded in 1981 by six Gulf tribal leaders for the sole purpose of preserving their hereditary tribal rule in the Peninsula, now warring with each other, in what is likely to be a protracted and bitter internal fight. The “Arab system,” the prolongation of the old Ottoman structures by the complaisant post-World War I victors, Britain and France, seems to be out of its 2013 “remission” (bolstered by the coup in Egypt), and to have resumed its long-term decline.
Netayahu’s “near panic” (if that is indeed what occurred) may well be a reflection of this seismic shift taking place in the region. Israel has long backed the losing side – and now finds itself “alone” and fearing for its near proxies (the Jordanians and the Kurds). The “new” corrective strategy from Tel Aviv, it appears, is to focus on winning Iraq away from Iran, and embedding it into the Israel-U.S.-Saudi alliance.
If so, Israel and Saudi Arabia are probably too late into the game, and are likely underestimating the visceral hatred engendered among so many Iraqis of all segments of society for the murderous actions of ISIS. Not many believe the improbable (Western) narrative that ISIS suddenly emerged armed, and fully financed, as a result of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s alleged “sectarianism”: No, as rule-of-thumb, behind each such well-breached movement – stands a state.
Daniel Levy has written a compelling piece to argue that Israelis generally would not subscribe to what I have written above, but rather: “Netanyahu’s lengthy term in office, multiple electoral successes, and ability to hold together a governing coalition … [is based on] him having a message that resonates with a broader public. It is a sales pitch that Netanyahu … [has] ‘brought the state of Israel to the best situation in its history, a rising global force … the state of Israel is diplomatically flourishing.’ Netanyahu had beaten back what he had called the ‘fake-news claim’ that without a deal with the Palestinians ‘Israel will be isolated, weakened and abandoned’ facing a ‘diplomatic tsunami.’
“Difficult though it is for his political detractors to acknowledge, Netanyahu’s claim resonates with the public because it reflects something that is real, and that has shifted the center of gravity of Israeli politics further and further to the right. It is a claim that, if correct and replicable over time, will leave a legacy that lasts well beyond Netanyahu’s premiership and any indictment he might face.
“Netanyahu’s assertion is that he is not merely buying time in Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians to improve the terms of an eventual and inevitable compromise. Netanyahu is laying claim to something different — the possibility of ultimate victory, the permanent and definitive defeat of the Palestinians, their national and collective goals.
“In over a decade as prime minister, Netanyahu has consistently and unequivocally rejected any plans or practical steps that even begin to address Palestinian aspirations. Netanyahu is all about perpetuating and exacerbating the conflict, not about managing it, let alone resolving it…[The] message is clear: there will be no Palestinian state because the West Bank and East Jerusalem are simply Greater Israel.”
The key point now is that the region has just made a seismic shift into the “not to be” camp. Is there much that America can do about that? Israel very much is alone with only a weakened Saudi Arabia at its side, and there are clear limits to what Saudi Arabia can do.
The U.S. calling on Arab states to engage more with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi seems somehow inadequate. Iran is not looking for war with Israel (as a number of Israeli analysts have acknowledged); but, too, the Syrian President has made clear that his government intends to recover “all Syria” – and all Syria includes the occupied Golan Heights. And this week, Hassan Nasrallah called on the Lebanese government “to devise a plan and take a sovereign decision to liberate the Shebaa Farms and the Kfarshouba Hills” from Israel.
A number Israeli commentators already are saying that the “writing is on the wall” – and that it would be better for Israel to cede territory unilaterally, rather than risk the loss of hundreds of lives of Israeli servicemen in a futile attempt to retain it. That, though, seems hardly congruent with the Israeli Prime Minister’s “not an inch, will we yield” character and recent statements. (source)
This assessment of the situation is directly related to what we have been talking about at Shoebat.com for a long time, which is the collapse of Saudi Arabia and the rise of a new Ottoman Turkey.
Last century, Turkey was called the “sick man of Europe,” describing how the Ottoman Empire was in a veritable “dead man walking” whose death was inevitable at the next major crisis. which came in the form of World War I. Saudi Arabia is today the “sick man of the Middle East,” and likewise is at this point attempting to hold out collapse as long as possible due to rebellion from its own people and the hatred its neighbors have for her. Unlike the Ottoman Empire, Saudi Arabia does not have its own army in any practical sense. Her army has been for the last century the Americans, and this is because Saudi Arabia sells cheap oil to the USA while the USA sells cheap food to the Saudis. The Americans get to live and grow beyond average means, and the Saudis get to feed their people to keep them complaisent.
However, as we have been documenting, Saudi Arabia today is much like France of the 17th century. The ruling class does not care about its people at all, and their extravagant and open flouting of all the tenets of Islam fuels the rage of the commoners, many of whom are very poor and forced to abide by strict tenets of Islamic law or face severe punishments. Saudi Arabia’s historical enemy going back to pre-Islamic times, Iran, is growing in power and has cultivated deep economic and friendly political ties with all of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors in Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Syria, Jordan, and even her other historical nemesis, Turkey. While not a major world power, Iran is a regional power who if not liked, at least has the respect of many of her neighbors and beneficial economic ties with them. The cooperation between Iran and Turkey in light of the situation with Saudi Arabia and the calls for a resurrection of Ottoman civilization as expressed by Erdogan is the sign of an Islamic uprising that historically takes place every few centuries throughout the Muslim world and at this point is overdue for another one. As long as Turkey shows respect to the Shiites, which they have shown they will so far, the Aryo-Ottoman union poses a grave threat to Saudi Arabia.
The situation of the USA in this conflict, while appearing to be negative, is actually not as bad as one would think. It is well known that America is the proverbial “crack whore” who walks the alleys of the Middle East- she will go with anybody so long as she can get her fix of cheap oil. Turkey and Iran surely know this, and in spite of America’s militaristic talk towards Iran, they are not going to attack Iran so long as the Iranians are being backed by Russia and now are allied with another current (albeit tenuous) American ally in Turkey and most importantly, through Turkey’s close historical ally in Germany. This likewise explains the situation with ISIS in Syria and how both the USA and Turkey were supporting ISIS- ultimately, America is going to ally with whoever guarantees her access to oil at a good price, and she does not care who dies or what is destroyed in the process.
Israel is a historical US ally, and as has been pointed out has been very influential in the formation of US policy in the Middle East. They are also allied to Saudi Arabia, and as many have pointed out, the Israelis openly admit they helped to fund ISIS and all of the horrors they committed in Iraq and Syria for the same policy goals as part of the same geopolitical conflict with the Russian and other regional powers.
The problem that Israel now has is that the conflict in Syria is basically at an end. The US backed forces of ISIS are essentially defeated because the goal of destabilizing the Middle East to cause the manufactured “refugee crisis” to lead to the rise of nationalism has been accomplished. Turkey has emerged stronger than ever and closer to her German ally, which as we have documented both are using the manufactured “crisis” to bolster their own political and social positions. Russia has come out as Syria’s ally and is now viewed as a stronger power in the region, and while they are enemies of Turkey they are not going to interfere in Iran’s affairs because they do not want or need a conflict with Iran and Turkey at the same time. The USA, while having spent a considerable amount of money, simply will just reallocate its resources in the region, restructure its alliances, and continue about as it has before.
The real losers here are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Saudi Arabia is in decline and simply at a point of trying to hold off death, while Israel is now more isolated than ever. Unlike the Americans, there is no place for Israel to retreat to. If anything, as the article has mentioned, by he alliances and support of what were immoral and illegal conflicts in the region that have failed to garner the desired results, Israel is now forced into a position of weakness and is trying to seek out a strong power that it can ally with. Iran and Syria are out of the question, due to the Israeli government’s push for war against them, and as the article notes, the Syrians and Iranians are going to extract as many concessions as are legally possible from the Israelis. Any alliance with the Turks will be dangerous because it could reduce Israel to being an Ottoman vassal. Egypt is weak and not an option.
The only other major ally is the Russians, which while Israel has a long relationship with them due to many Jews having come from Russia to Israel, still Israel’s support of US policies and attacks against Russian interests as a part of the geopolitical struggle put the nation into another position of weakness. Netanyahu is not stupid, and he has every reason to be very concerned because not only is Israel surrounded by her neighbors who have never liked her, but through her alliances and decisions she has agitated them to anger and isolated herself from her allies or her allies have abandoned her.
As we have been pointing out, there is a third world war in the making right now based on the alliances of World War II and those which have existed for centuries. The idea of a pan-Eurasianism, based on a Turco-Teutonic alliance between the Aryan nations of Germany and Iran with the Turkic nations of Turkey and Japan, is once again becoming popular as shown through the rise of ethnonationalism and the manufactured “crises” in the West and abroad with the purpose of manipulating popular opinion to support militarization and economic expansionism. The alliances erected after the Second World War to keep “stability” in the world are dissolving, and the conflict that barring a miracle will happen are in reality long-standing wounds just reopened and reinfected once again.
While Israel is an 8-million strong nation with an advanced technological base and nuclear weapons, and a history of fighting and winning against her neighbors, Turkey is 80 million strong with the largest army in the region that is already powerful and only becoming more powerful, and they are currently in possession of and producing nuclear weapons who has become uncomfortably close to her neighbors. Likewise, as the article notes, Israel is viewed in many ways as an “imperialist” nation by her neighbors, and Israel is also viewed as being very “decadent” and immoral such as with her support of the largest LGBT parade in the Middle East and in the world.
This is Israel today. It is very pro-LGBT, and in addition to the fact that the LGBT is a sin worthy of death and that cries out to heaven for vengeance (as the Bible itself notes as one of four of such sins), this will be used as fuel by her Muslim neighbors to drive policy decisions against her.
For exactly four hundred years, from 1517 to 1917, the Ottomans conquered and ruled Jerusalem and the territory of what is today Israel. The British, while often talked about in terms of modern history, only had Jerusalem for a mere 30 years. Israel as a nation is just about to turn 70. The time that Israel has existed as a nation and in combination with its control under the British is scarcely 20% of the history of that region for the past five centuries.
As we have mentioned many times, people have very long memories. As Turkey is attempting to revive its old empire, make no mistake that they see those lands as part of their former territory and are already thinking about taking it back under their rule. Iran is of no threat to them, since the holy sites of Shiite Islam are primarily in Iraq and Iran. Iran would have no problem with Turkey seeking to become, as it was for centuries, the “custodian” of Islamic sacred sites in Israel (such as the Al-Aqsa mosque) and certainly as well as the cities of Medina and Mecca in Saudi Arabia. And America will still be in the region, doing what is always does, looking for its next hit of cheap crude oil.
Given Russia’s long history of conflict with Turkey, it would only make sense for Israel to seek out an ally with the Russians, in order to keep Turkey at bay.
This entire situation is not about Palestinian territories, Hizballah, or even Iran in any long-term sense. This is about the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire.
Pay attention to the news, because the next few years are going to be very interesting, especially for Israel and Saudi Arabia.