As US/EU views change, is Israel shifting?: Does it still “prefer the Sunni chaos”?
A huge part of the reason why so many think tankers in DC and the US pose Iran, Hezbollah and Syria as the main threat coming out of the Middle East – and I have been at conferences where Al-Qaeda figures are literally portrayed as freedom fighters – is because they do indeed represent a clearer and more present danger to the state of Israel. The problem is that it has become clearer that this “Shiite Axis” represents far far less of a threat to the US and Europe than the radical Sunni actors. As this great article explains, the Israeli holdout view may – may – just be changing as well as radical Sunnis encircle it – although one Israeli official still has the mind boggling view that: “Israel prefers the Sunni chaos.”
Should the Israeli view change, I think we can expect most of the DC crowd – who told us after 9/11 and during the Syria war and even now that the “Shiite Axis” is the worst problem in the world – to change their tune. We will see. From al-monitor:
“…The official [Israeli] position sides with the Sunnis, at least for now. Israel has been maintaining clandestine and intelligence collaborations with the pragmatic Sunni states, headed by Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, Egypt and Jordan. It has no reason to give up on them. After all, Israel also regards Iran’s domination of the region and the growing strength of the Tehran-Beirut axis as a significant existential threat.
“A few weeks ago, I spoke with a high-ranking Israeli defense official who explained in great detail why Israel prefers this particular alignment. He also provided a lengthy account of the strategic dangers posed by the Shiite axis. He saw renewed Russian involvement in the region as a very serious problem, noting that it could indicate the beginning of a Shiite victory, resulting in its domination of the strategic space. According to that same source, Israel prefers the Sunni chaos.”
“…When all of this is taken into consideration, the Shiite axis, based in Iran and including Damascus and Beirut, has for quite a while now not represented the problem, but the solution. Israel is well aware that the Europeans and Americans have long reached this conclusion. The nuclear deal with Iran confirmed that it is a major power. According to political sources in Israel, the deal effectively gave Iran a “license to kill.” Recent events create a situation in which this license actually offers a glimmer of hope to the free world. As of now, at least, the only ground forces fighting IS are made up of the Shiite axis: Iran, Hezbollah and what is left of the Syrian army, in collaboration with the Kurds.