By Ramin Etesam

Arabs understand inclusion in a US-Israeli confrontation with Iran is a horrible idea: expert

July 22, 2022 - 15:22
“U.S. has no clear solutions for Palestine-Israel issue and the wider region”

​​​​​​​TEHRAN – A British political expert says Arab states, specifically those on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf, “understand that their inclusion in a U.S.-Israeli military confrontation with Iran is a horrible idea.”

Robert Inlakesh also says Saudi Arabia has never supported the Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation.

“Saudi Arabia has never been a friend to the Palestinian resistance, nor any camp of resistance in the region,” Inlakesh tells the Tehran Times.

The British expert also says, “Saudi Arabia, like the UAE, has long maintained secretive ties with Israel and now openly admits that it views a normalization deal as being ‘strategic’ in nature.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you see Biden's trip to Israel and Palestine? Is there any meaningful change in U.S. attitudes and behavior when it comes to Palestine?

A: Joe Biden's trip could have had the potential for advancing U.S. and Israeli interests in the region, instead, his visit amounted to meaningless platitudes and the assertion of outdated Democratic Party policy positions. What has become clear is that the U.S. has no clear solutions, not only when it comes to its Palestine-Israel policy positions but also in the wider region. The difference here is that whilst the Trump administration took an aggressively pro-Israel stance, completely undermining all those in opposition to Tel Aviv's interests, the Biden administration has attempted to pretend as if they can simply go back to the old policy positions traditionally held by the United States; lightly condemning some of the more outrageous Israeli actions, without actually holding them accountable and giving lip-service to reviving a non-existent "peace process". The trip seemed to be more focused on assuring the support of different Israeli political forces, as the Zionist regime prepares itself for another round of elections in a few months, rather than focusing on wider issues.

“In my opinion, opening up their airspace to the Israelis is a form of normalization.”Q: Is there any hope that the Biden administration will advance peace talks between Palestinians and Israel?

A: No. It's not even on the U.S. agenda and doesn't seem to be of interest to the Biden administration. The Oslo Accords are only alive in the rotting minds of the Palestinian Authority (PA) elite - who have no popular support from the Palestinian people - and the US politicians who refuse to accept that Israel is becoming more extreme by the day and has resorted to its rhetoric, on the Palestinians, that it formerly held to during the 1970s and early '80s. The joke of the so-called "Two-State Solution" can be seen clearly through Joe Biden's entertainment of PA President Mahmoud Abbas's, "Arab Peace Initiative" talk, an initiative that died in the late 2000s and the final nails in its coffin came with the recent wave of Arab normalization. In reality, the US official position, of fostering further Arab normalization deals, contradicts its alleged support for a peace settlement based on the 1967 borders. The only way that there could ever be a revival of "peace talks" and a return to the Oslo Accords, is if the Palestinian Authority has political leverage and it only has two means of achieving that leverage; number one is through the backing of the Arab world and number two is through armed struggle. The PA is viewed as something of a joke in the Arab world, it has no power, not even symbolically anymore. The PA also serves as a South Lebanon army-type force that not only refuses to resist Israel but instead serves the sole function of combating Palestinian resistance and aiding the Israeli occupation in being the domestic police force of the West Bank, this is the only reason that the U.S. has not sanctioned it yet, because the PA is in the way of Palestinian liberation and is Israel's only hope in controlling the West Bank.

Q: How do you see the position of Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia, toward Palestine? There are reports that claim Riyadh has established secret ties with Israel but is reluctant to reveal it.

A: Saudi Arabia, like the UAE, has long maintained secretive ties with Israel and now openly admits that it views a normalization deal as being "strategic" in nature. Like Abu Dhabi, Riyadh is attempting to diversify its economy and may be looking at opening up its ties with Israel further in the future, unlike the UAE; Riyadh has many other factors to consider for the longevity of its own leadership if they seek normalization with Israel. In my opinion, opening up their airspace to the Israelis is a form of normalization and their continual "secret" meetings with members of Israel's military, political, and intelligence leaderships suggests that they have already normalized ties; it's just lacking an open economic and symbolic relationship at this point that is left. Saudi Arabia has never been a friend to the Palestinian resistance, nor any camp of resistance in the region and is a reactionary regime that seeks to follow along with whatever policy their ruling elite suggest is best for them. Now, however, the U.S. is not the only foreign power that they have to consider, so it is notable that no such Arab-Israeli air defense alliance has been formed - as many suggested would be an outcome of Biden's visit to the region - instead, opting to stay out of any Israeli-U.S. plot to put them in the firing line for now.

“The only place Israel has superiority is in the air and you cannot win a war purely through F-16s and F-35s.”Q: Do you think Biden can unite the Arab world against Iran?

A: Unlike was the case in the past, the U.S. no longer possesses the power that its rhetoric suggests. Prior to Biden's visit, the Hashemite ruler of Jordan, King Abdullah II, had suggested the idea of an "Arab NATO", yet this was not even discussed with Riyadh, according to official accounts. The Arab Summit did not conclude a GCC air-defense alliance with Israel, something that many saw as the worst-case scenario - from a U.S. point of view - of Biden's visit, in the event that nothing else significant could be achieved. From the get-go, the UAE opted out of any Arab-Israel alliance, voicing its intent to form closer ties with Tehran, what this demonstrates is that the Arab regimes, specifically the GCC countries, understand that their inclusion in a U.S.-Israeli military confrontation with Iran is a horrible idea. The GCC nations are focused on maintaining their wealth, opening themselves up to tourism, and getting caught in the middle of war is counterproductive to their goals, something which the UAE quickly got a grasp of earlier this year when the Yemeni resistance targeted Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

As an interesting side note, the so-called "Jerusalem Declaration'', signed between Washington and Tel Aviv, included "maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge over the region", something which helps with what Israel calls its "deterrence capacity". No such thing exists anymore, the only place Israel has superiority is in the air and you cannot win a war purely through F-16s and F-35s. The air defense systems of the U.S. and Israel are extremely limited in what they can do against the more sophisticated weapons produced by Iran and its allies, this is something that I'm sure the GCC nations have taken note of. When Ansarallah struck Abu Dhabi during Israeli President Isaac Herzog's visit, it sent a clear message, your only option is a dialogue with the camp of resistance and there is no military solution. This is a lesson that the GCC appears to be learning, but the arrogance of the U.S. and Israel is preventing them from accepting reality, their understanding of the region seems to exist in the confines of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Q: Could you give us a comparison between the Biden, Trump, and Obama administrations when it comes to the Palestine-Israel conflict?

A: The Obama administration did not seem to value a so-called peace solution as an important foreign policy goal, the former U.S. administration seemed to have attempted to maintain the status quo and refused to prioritize the issue. During Barack Obama's Presidency, however, an important development was the deterioration of the relationship between former Israeli Premier, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Democratic Party, this occurred during the buildup to the signing of the Iran nuclear deal of 2015. During the Trump years, the neo-Conservative hardline approach was then taken on the Palestine-Israel conflict, it was a militantly pro-Israel administration that followed the Likud Party's every desire and cared little even for the Palestinian Authority, even attempting to destroy it. The Biden administration now pursues an incoherent policy, it pledges support to Israel and is attempting to keep the rapidly declining PA in power; at the same time, however, it chases Arab normalization and simultaneously claims to maintain the policy positions that the Obama administration took, whilst again refusing to undo many of the pro-Israel moves taken by the Trump administration. Whilst it was clear to read the Obama and Trump administrations' positions, Biden's government seems to be all over the place and asleep at the wheel, whilst maintaining all the arrogance of the governments it follows.

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