‘Arab Spring plunges Middle East back into 1950s for Israel’

The rapid change in the Arab world is turning Middle East into a region where peace is not possible. Israel is confused and has no strategy for the shift, which pushes its neighborhood half a century back in time, says Israeli politics professor.

­What is worse, there is not much Israel can do to affect what is happening in its hostile environment, Professor Uzi Rabi, Director of the Moshe Dayan Centre for Middle-Eastern studies at Tel Aviv University, told RT.

“Israel cannot influence nor do something with that ever-changing region now on top of the Arab Spring. I think that Israel is confused. Israel just has to come up with a kind of strategy or at least a set of tactics on how to deal with this new situation. Basically it has become a much more difficult Middle East for Israel because Egypt and Turkey – one-time friendly and staunch supporters of Israel and the West in the region – are not there anymore,” he said.

The confusion is evident in Israeli government’s attitude towards Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad may not be as good a friend of Israel as former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak was. Nevertheless, Israel enjoyed years of a pretty-much silent Golan Heights on border with Syria. Now the country is in turmoil, with the government likely to fall in a matter of a year, expects Professor Rabi.

“This is a state that could easily become what we call a failed state, which means a state that cannot control all of its territory, and more often than not you have some flanks or regions that are becoming no-man’s lands. We had had it in Libya already after the toppling of Gaddafi,”
he said.

“Al-Qaeda and other radical groups are capitalizing on that kind of a situation. And wherever you have a weak central state – and this is exactly the kind of a by-product of the toppling of a dictator – we are going to have a bunch of power centers,” the researcher added.

The lack of stability in the region pushes it backwards in terms of security and diplomacy, from the Israeli point of view Rabi said.

“Israel will find the Middle East as a kind of an area where you can’t think of a comprehensive peace as was the case before, but you just try for having what I would call interim or partial agreements. I think that we are getting back to 1949 or 1950s, when nobody talked about peace,”
he explained.