Iran the only state which can beat Israel in the Middle East in war
The founding fathers of Gulf States held jaundiced views towards Israel and had lived through the excruciating series of events that marked the creation of the State of Israel. However, climate of hostility started to mitigate and began to erode with the generational shift in the leadership. GCC-Israeli ties expanded and took more palpable forms of cooperation in late 90s. The core of Israeli policy in the Middle East since the 1940s has been a focus on constituting strategic partnerships with neighboring states to offset the adversaries. Israel depended on security cooperation with its neighbors for decades to cope with non-state actors; especially Iranian sponsored proxies, including Hamas and Hezbollah .
Ever since the October war of 1973, Israel has established itself as the most powerful conventional military in the middle East. The following decades displayed it consistently. Be it the strike on the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak or the strike on the Syrian nuclear reactor in Deir ez Zor in 2007. Eventually, Arab states resigned from attempting to annihilate the Zionist state and began to understand its stature in the world order. The Arab states were consistently humiliated against the Israelis, be they the Syrians in the Lebanese civil war or Saddam’s Iraq. Then one nation challenged Israel; Iran. Having defeated Israel in the Lebanese conflict by means of proxy networks, Iran now has the strongest network of proxies across the middle East.
Israel__ knowing that, while the most robust in the Middle East, it cannot fight a pitched battle of attrition against an unconventional force__has expanded its military footprint in the region. The strikes on Syrian military infrastructure, which amounted to 200 attacks in 2020, and the pummeling of Hamas in Gaza, send a direct message to Iran. Some analysts even state that Maj General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated at the behest of Israelis. The recent diplomatic offensives of the pro-Israel lobby and Israel itself, in the GCC, help us envisage a region where, in case of an American pull out from the region, Israel could step in to fill the US role. But this will come at a cost, the Israelis know well that Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and an emboldened Syria, will have it in its crosshairs. The GCC monarchies, apart from Saudi Arabia, will not sustain a prolonged conflict with Iran. Hence the Israeli military is maneuvering itself for a conflict, they hope to conduct as far away from their shores as possible.
Middle East’s transfiguration of the past decade has enervated many of Israel`s potential adversaries. Israel’s recent security concern , the conflagration with Iran, has opened the door to new cooperation with important Arab countries. Few recent developments manifest that Israel is trying to extend its leverage in the middle East. Israel’s recently signed treaties with UAE , Bahrain and Sudan, with the foremost role of USA , change the dynamics of regional politics and intrigues of global state actors . Unsuspiciously, cordial relations of Gulf states and Israel will be extremely beneficial to counter Iranian bloc in the middle East and for USA to counter Russian sway in Syria and the entire region.Extandible footprints of Israel would reshape the future discourse of middle East through transnational trends ;shifts in regional geopolitics; and transformable world powers’ interaction . Unorthodox military technologies to counter the adversaries stand out colossally indispensable in thinking about the future of the region. Collectively, all of these trends could lead to a meaningful threat to middle Eastern security and well-being.
As future of middle East rests on uncertain foundations, Arabs’ inclination towards Israel and emerging Israel-Gulf ties aiming at countering the Iranian-Turkish bloc pose new threats to tranquility of the middle East. Besides this, changes in the outlooks of substantial regional countries, and the trajectory of great power dynamics in the region, especially those involving United States, Russia and China,too, sabotage the future discourse of the middle East .
With the Israeli`s maneuver to establish their authority in the region and Iran wanting to establish credible deterrence,the stage is set for a confrontation,. Will the Iranian establishment be willing to actually confront the “Zionist entity” or is it just a bluff? Is the Israeli defense establishment willing to take on Iran? As Iran will not be a walkover. The Iranians are experts at unconventional warfare and their military doctrine has been designed for this after the experience of the Iran-Iraq war. The Israeli military, or any other first rate military for that matter, is not designed to fight such a war. The experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan show that. The war is coming, the question is, will the Iranians succeed in generating unrest and instability on the borders of Israel, without risking a direct confrontation? And how far would the Israelis be willing to allow this? The Israelis know that they cannot sustain a conflict like the US’s campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The GCC have a mutual interest with Israel in abating the revolutionary fervor of Iranian rhetoric and would funnel significant funds to bankroll Israel’s operations in the region. This could include inciting sectarian fault lines to prevent destabilization of their own authorities. We can expect an increase in sectarian strife across the Islamic world ,as Saudi Arabia drifts more towards Israel and antagonizes Iran. States’ understanding and their respective tolerance to such brinkmanship will determine the immediate and long term future of the Middle East. The situation is akin to the pre -WW1 setting of European politics. A decisive and short, but intense war, may actually be better than the long, drawn out cold war, that has ravaged the middle East.
By: M. ALI HUSSAIN DOGAR M. ALI RAZA
The writers are the alumni of Aitchison College and are currently the law students.