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Consequences of a Nuclear Middle East - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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What good would it do Hamas if it evoked the anger of the Egyptian public and became responsible for the calliopes of the Palestinian cause?

Governmental and oppositional forces in Britain confirm that the Palestinian- Palestinian conflict is lethal to the Palestinian cause.

Hamas’s mistakes continue to multiply and threats issued by the movement’s leadership to Arab states are backfiring upon the residents of Gaza. Khaled Meshaal believes that he is capable of issuing orders to annul international agreements and eliminate borders between states.

However, what bears testimony that there will be nothing left for the world to count on for peace in the Middle East are the events that took place at the Rafah crossing and the suicide operation that was carried out in the city of Dimona soon after. It was the first attack by Palestinian militants in over a year; Israel stated that the perpetrators had entered its lands after going from Gaza into Sinai the same way they did when they carried out last year’s operation in Eilat.

A Hamas spokesman congratulated the Arab and Islamic nations for the execution of the operation that was carried out at a time when there was considerable communication among many Arab states and Israel with the intention of resolving the Palestinian cause. A recently established active Arab group that has a significant influence upon the decision-making process has deemed the Palestinian cause to be a smaller part of a larger picture that includes the potential of a nuclear Iran.

Although Iran does not actually posses nuclear arsenal at this point in time; it still poses a threat to the Middle East. The aforementioned group sees that if Iran were to become nuclear enabled it wouldn’t change the face of the Middle East alone but would impact the whole world which has already started to sense the fundamental change taking place in the region.

Within this wider picture, according to the Arab group, tension between Arab governments and the radical irresponsible public opinion, especially the elite, will continue to be the cause behind the Middle East’s instability in the foreseeable future, in addition to making it susceptible to political upheaval and explosions.

A meeting with a Western political advisor who is well-informed on the strategy of progressive thought that is appropriate for developing the situation in the Middle East, including Israel said, “Most governments in the region are aware of the grave repercussions that stem from irresponsibility. However, the real problem lies in the fact that these governments cannot undertake what they deem necessary to achieve their objectives.”

Citing a practical example, he said, “What is currently taking place in Gaza poses a serious threat to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime,” and added: “What is happening in Gaza is that the very same group that threatens Egypt and the Middle East; meaning radical Islamism, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), is directly linked with Iran, operates via Iran and could later become like Hezbollah in Lebanon – an instrument in the hands of Iran. This poses a grave danger to the region and to Mubarak’s regime in particular.”

Moreover, the group believes that Mubarak’s regime is capable of intercepting the flow of fighters who have been trained in Iran from coming back into Gaza, since they represent a greater danger than explosives as such, and also equally believes that Egypt is capable of controlling and stopping arms smuggling. However, it questions: “Does Egypt have a presence on one side of the border or on both sides? If it is present on both sides then it can curb the flow of illegal arms trade.”

If Egypt has any influence upon Hamas, since it controls Hamas’s lifeline, then it could put an end to arms smuggling in order to regain its clout. There are several extending tunnels; their effectiveness is indicated in accordance with the prices of weapons in Gaza. Thus, when the cost of arms rises it means that the tunnels are obstructed, and conversely when the prices drop it indicates that the tunnels are buzzing with activity.

The same Western political advisor expressed his fear that “the region is on very thin ice under which is a blazing pressurized chaos that will erupt soon,” he said.

In response to the statement that American President George W. Bush had pledged to strive towards the establishment of an independent Palestinian state before the end of his presidential term, the source said, “There is no solution for the Palestinian issue. The reason is because the Palestinian society refuses to take responsibility for anything. This is where the problem lies and that is why it has no solution.”

He added, “If you want me to tell you what the status quo will be 30 years from now, I would confidently tell you: [the state of] Israel will exist (from Israel’s point of view) and on its border will be a neighbor that believes in irresponsible violence whilst disregarding everything else.”

He confirmed that some Israeli parties are calling for a unilateral withdrawal from Palestinian territories, and for dividing Jerusalem and added, “these parties are attempting to convince the Israeli government and people to withdraw, not because it will offer a solution or bring about peace, since that will not happen, but because they can no longer bear to be tied to the Palestinians.”

The source also disclosed that following communication with several state capitals, he came to the realization that Israel must opt for a unilateral withdrawal – but that it would not mean resolution. When Israel withdrew from Gaza it was not for peaceful purposes but rather to empower the Israeli society, since it is the primary factor that allows Israelis to live in a hostile environment [united by cause] that will continue to be so not because Arab governments seek animosity but because these governments are incapable of dealing with the public opinion in their countries.”

“The 1948 war was not an Arab-Israeli war; it was a war between Israel and Jordan on one hand, and the Palestinians and Egyptians on the other. The war was part of a strategic understanding between [Israeli Prime Minister] David Ben-Gurion and Jordanian King Abdullah through which they wanted to share west Palestine. This was the case and there is evidence to prove that, however King Abdullah was unable to convince the Jordanian people – there was no considerable Palestinian presence in Jordan at the time – to sign a peace treaty with Israel after the 1948 war despite the fact that he had discussed the issue with Ben-Gurion. Jordanian prime minister at the time, Tawfik Abu al Huda, assured the king that the elite would not be able to face the reaction of the radical Arabs.”

The source concluded, “The Palestinian problem does not have a solution, it will always be a permanent condition.”

But what about Iran?

The political advisor believes that if the United States does not take military action against Iran then Israel might be compelled to do so instead, “because a nuclear Iran would be a catastrophe for the whole world since it is the first time in 60 years that one of the parties is thinking of changing the course of the world, and believes that it is possible through a nuclear weapon. This is how the Iranian regime thinks.”

According to the group, which is observing the Iranian issue closely, the problem in Iran lies with the regime since if it became nuclear enabled or if it was believed to possess nuclear arsenal, then the immediate consequences will be that Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey will obtain nuclear weapons as well. Then Libya and Syria will start their own nuclear programs and the Middle East will become a nuclear zone.

However; before this happens, radical groups, believing that Iran will provide them with a nuclear umbrella for protection, will start provoking Israel and will also start striking moderate Arab states and the United States with conventional weapons. In this scenario, the Middle East will endure a fierce war as a result of the assumption that Iran possesses a nuclear weapon that could protect the radicals and their actions.

The source added, “Let us consider the international impact on this issue: If Arab states obtained nuclear weapons, then other countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela will seek to obtain them and this is not a feasible option.”

“The fact that Russia supplies Iran with uranium is not technically dangerous and reflects the Russian political attitude, however the real danger it does present is that it hinders the Security Council from attaining the required international legitimacy to impose severe penalties on Iran [by veto] since the only alternative to military intervention is a siege,” he said

In response to what the Arab and Islamic worlds’ reaction would be if Iran was struck, he said, “The question is what would the United States and Israel do after Iran strikes back. It is important that they do not withdraw.”

And what if Hezbollah launched its missiles against Israel? He said, “The impact upon Israel will be almost zero as this plan has already been exposed. If this happens, Syria will be struck – even if Hezbollah acted without its consent. This will not matter.”

In response to the statement that Israel is not disturbed by the Syrian regime, he said, “This is because it is the best neighboring regime it has. Israel does not want another Iraq on its borders or Muslim Brotherhood [presence]. The Syrian regime fears Israel and this is convenient for all parties. There will be no negotiations with it about the Golan Heights and the regime will remain unchanged – and this is what the US wants and what Israel doesn’t object to, but also what Iran exploits.”