Not the United States but Israel clearly sees the difference between the line Turkey/Qatar of the Muslim Brotherhood (support of Hamas) and the Gulf States as the Sunni alliance to fight western proxy wars in the greater Middle East.

Of course we all recall just 13 years ago, Israel’s PM Ariel Sharon urged president George Bush to fight a proxy war in Iraq for Israel’s interest. Bush/Cheney complied and got nothing in return from Sharon/Olmert to support a Palestinian State by 2006. PM Sharon was incapacitated by brain trauma and faulty medical treatment. The removal of settlements from  Gaza was the first step to end also the occupation of the West Bank except for the large settlements along the Green Line.    

Russia, not US, could be miffed by Ya’alon comments

At the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference last month, Netanyahu pointedly avoided answering a question – put to him twice – about whether Russia’s engagement in Syria was good or bad for Israel. Rather than answering directly, he replied diplomatically, “I can’t tell you what will be the outcome of Russian involvement in Syria. It’s too early to say.”

And then along comes Ya’alon and gives an answer.

“Unfortunately, in the current situation, Russia is playing a more significant role than the United States,” he said.

“We don’t like the fact that King Abdullah of Jordan is going to Moscow, the Egyptians are going to Moscow, the Saudis are going to Moscow.

 « click for more info
Sisi, Putin call for anti-terror Mideast coalition - August 26, 2015 (Photo: AP

It should have been very different. And we believe the United States can’t sit on the fence. If you sit on the fence, the vacuum is filled, and Syria is an example, whether by Iran or the Shi’a axis supported now by Russia or by Daesh, by ISIS… That’s why we claim that the United States should play a more active role in our region and there is an opportunity.”

Ya’alon came under criticism for implying, during a speech in Washington to an audience that included US officials, that the US policy in Syria was less than perfect and created a vacuum.

That is something most people know, and do not need Ya’alon to spell out.

But when he said that from an Israeli point of view this development was “unfortunate,” he revealed something that, even if senior Israeli policy makers were thinking privately, they were taking pains not to state in public.

And they were not openly articulating this sentiment for good reason: What does Israel gain right now by publicly calling down the Russians?  

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon urges U.S. leadership on ISIS and warns of a resurgent Iran | Saban Forum |

In a discussion with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius at the 12th annual Saban Forum, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon urged the Obama administration to play a more active role in coordinating Sunni opposition to the Islamic State. He also warned of the dangers posed by a resurgent Iran, enriched and empowered by the July 2015 comprehensive nuclear accord.

Ya’alon’s appeal for U.S. leadership was expressed repeatedly and in compelling terms. “We believe that the United States can’t sit on the fence,” Ya’alon said. “If you sit on the fence, the vacuum is filled–in Syria, as an example, whether by Iran or the `Shia axis’ supported now by Russia or by Da’esh, by ISIS…That’s why we claim that the United States should play a more active role in our region.” He added: “and there is an opportunity…we have the Sunni Arab camp, the most significant camp in the region, looking for leadership.”

Ya’alon also described a second regional alignment oriented around the Muslim Brotherhood, led by Turkey and Qatar. And he devoted much of the substance of his remarks to what he characterized as the Sunni camp, emphasizing the converging interests between Israel and a number of Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco.

Ya’alon commented that ISIS “is not just a group of terrorists. This is an idea, how to have a Sunni caliphate as soon as possible…Instant caliphate–quite a modern way of thinking about having everything now.” He contended: “we have to fight Da’esh everywhere, especially in the Islamic State, in Syria, in Iraq. But we have to look around especially in the Islamic world, trying to find the hearts and minds. It’s easy to say. It’s so difficult to do it.”

The defense minister said that expanding the role of American or Western ground forces in the anti-ISIS campaign “should be the last resort. It is better off to empower, to support, to finance, to arm local troops to fight for their cause…we know many elements who are ready to fight for their lives–not for Western interests, for their interests. They should have been supported from the very beginning. But it is not a lost cause. There is still a chance.”

“In order to avoid what is called here `boots on the ground,’ Western boots on the ground…and you can’t defeat Da’esh without boots on the ground, let’s empower the local boots on the ground, namely the Sunnis, also the Kurds. There might be other elements in Syria that are looking for something different, and they don’t want neither Iran, with Bashar Al Assad’s regime, nor Da’esh. This is the opportunity and this camp should be orchestrated and led in order to make it [operate] in a better way.”  

Brookings Institution’s 2015 Saban Forum Keynote Address

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you all very, very much. Thank you, Bruce, for a very generous introduction. And thank you, ladies and gentlemen; I apologize that we are starting a few moments late. I’m delighted to be here, distinguished members of Congress. Steny and Nita I know are here, and Jolie Ruben, my former colleague and longtime friend, and I think Bogie Ya’alon is out there somewhere. And Bogie, good to see you, my friend. And also Bougie Herzog is somewhere here. And oh my gosh, yes, madam, thank you for leading Wilson and all you’ve been doing. Appreciate it very, very much, Jane. Thank you.

I’m really pleased that I could come here to be with you before I head back to Paris, where on Monday we sort of get into the ministerial period of the climate change negotiation. Let me just begin by thanking my very good friend, Martin Indyk. As we all know, Martin has invested literally decades of his extraordinary career in exploring ways and turning over every stone to try to help Israelis and Palestinians to find the path to lasting peace. And I know when you say those words in today’s context, a lot of people recoil and say, “Well, how can you even be talking about those words in the middle of all of this?”

But it is the cause of Martin’s life and it remains the fundamental quest of all administrations, Republican and Democrat alike. And I am enormously grateful for the wisdom and insight that Martin brought to our efforts, our collective efforts.

I also want to pay tribute to somebody that we all wish could have been with us today. Sandy Berger was a friend to me and I’m sure to many of you. He was someone who loved every single aspect of the give and take of politics and foreign policy. He had a truly profound understanding of American interests, and he worked literally all the time and always wanted our country to do both what was smart and what was right. He will be missed. I talked to Susan yesterday. They had services. And it is clear that the legacy of Sandy’s service will truly long endure, and certainly with all of his friends.

And finally let me just thank my friends Haim and Cheryl. Thank you for your tremendous gift to all of us of this effort. It’s nice for me to be able to congratulate them in person, frankly, for the incredible work that they do to strengthen the relationship between the United States and Israel.

And this forum reflects their deep commitment and it really has become the premier venue for the U.S.-Israeli dialogue. It’s also a great place to generate new ideas about U.S. policy towards the Middle East. And that’s why I came here two years ago, it’s why I came here last year, and it’s why I’m here today. I consider this a very important opportunity to have a critical conversation.

[Read on ….]

0 0 votes
Article Rating