The disintegration of the Middle East - Failing Arab states, the Shia-Sunni clash and the implications for Israel
A Debate with Dan Schueftan, Director, The National Security Studies Center, The University of Haifa
Monday, February 17, 2014, 7.00 p.m.
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Senatssaal, Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin
Event in German language
The Arab Middle East is falling apart. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and others no longer even have the semblance of nation states (they never really were, in any meaningful sense of the term). Even Egypt, the only major Arab state that always stood out as a solid exception to this rule, is in deep trouble - much better than it would have been under the Muslim Brotherhood, but still hardly sustainable economically and with its regional leadership suspended. Saudi Arabia cannot fill the void. With the bloodier-than-ever Sunni-Shiite rivalry spreading like a brushfire, Iran establishing itself as the major regional power against the background of an incompetent and weak American Administration, the Middle East is even more violent, unstable and unpredictable than it has always been.
For Israel all this is mostly bad news, since it makes its essentially hostile regional environment even more volatile and dangerous, attracting radicals from all over and breading violent desperados. Its international environment is equally unhospitable: most international organizations (notably the UN) are obsessively condemning the Jewish State and the European Union is increasingly unfriendly.
Nevertheless - Israel is well equipped to meet these challenges. Not only is it far from being desperate, it seems to be stronger than ever before. Regionally the new turmoil makes a major war less likely, weakens Israel’s enemies and adversaries and opens up new opportunities of pursuing common interests with Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Gulf States. Internationally the partnership with the American people is stronger than ever, regardless of the policies of the Administration. Domestically, regardless of media misrepresentation, the economy is good, the political center is dominant, optimism is high and “Middle East Peace” is rightly perceived as a desirable fantasy rather than a desperately needed precondition for a rewarding life.
Dr. Dan Schueftan is the Director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa. For the last three decades, he has been a consultant to the Israeli and other governments. He regularly appears in international media. In his influential books, he among others called for the unilateral Israeli disengagement from Gaza.
An event of the MFFB in cooperation with the Deutsch-Israelische Gesellschaft Berlin und Potsdam.