Both Sides in the Region Now See ‘Big War’ as Possible

The Jewish radicals have waited decades to reach office. They have the numbers now, and are loath to let this window of opportunity slip their hands.

Events in the Middle East have been moving fast — a ‘decade of change’ has been compressed into barely a few months: A world-shaping Entente has been sealed between Putin and Xi Jinping; China has mediated an accord between Iran and Saudi Arabia. President Raisi will meet King Salman after Eid; serious ceasefire talks have begun in Yemen. China, and Russia, have persuaded Turkey and Saudi to rehabilitate President Assad; the Syrian FM has visited Riyadh. Saudi Arabia has shifted towards China; OPEC+ has shrunk crude supplies. And everywhere from the Global South to the Middle East, the US dollar as a trading currency is being dropped in favour of national currencies.

A new paradigm is consolidating.

At the geo-political plane, the humpty-dumpty of western hegemony in the Region has fallen from the wall and lies shattered on the ground. All the ‘king’s (neo-con) men’ will not put humpty together again.

And, at another higher plane, an axis of voices across the region (on Al-Quds day) spoke compellingly, and with one united voice, that the Israeli ‘egg’ had better be careful, lest it fall and break, too.

The Israeli security establishment — albeit in coded terms — sees the prospect in a matching dark vein. Moshe Yaalon, a former defence minister, recently said that the ‘radicals’ within the Israeli government want a ‘big war’; and when “Israel” wants a war, it usually gets one; and that war will come on the back of the Palestinian issue, Yaalon suggested. ‘Coincidentally’, Israeli military Intelligence says the same:  chances of ‘real war’ this coming year will spike.

Put simply, events in “Israel” are no longer in any one person’s ‘control’. The ‘newly’ empowered forces of Settler Zionist zealotry and of the religious Right to enact ‘Israel’ on the ‘Land of Israel’ are not about to ‘vanish’ the scene. They are pursuing no rational Enlightenment geo-political project, but the ‘Will of Yahweh’. And that constitutes an altogether different dynamic.

The Jewish radicals have waited decades to reach office. They have the numbers now, and are loath to let this window of opportunity slip their hands.

The US is putting enormous pressure on PM, Netanyahu, to abandon the Judicial ‘Reform’, which however constitutes the key-stone undergirding the whole ‘Land of Israel’ edifice: A project that is predicated upon ‘re-taking’ all of the West Bank from Palestinian ‘hands’. An enterprise that has the potential to shake the region to its very core — and to trigger war.

It is an enterprise into which, the Israeli Right suspects, and the Supreme Court very well could insert a ‘wrench’. And they would be right.

President Biden however, needs a Middle East ‘conflict’ on top of the war in Ukraine, at this juncture, like a ‘hole in the head’. Former PM Sharon was prescient some two decades ago in foreseeing that US power in the Region would wane and that the US ultimately would prove powerless to block “Israel” from ‘seizing’ the biblical Land of “Israel”. That insight probably has become actualised in this precise ‘moment’.

It is possible of course that Netanyahu will try to back down. The PM often has preferred caution. But realistically, can he retreat?

He is hostage to his coalition partners – should he wish to avoid jail – from which only his present government line-up can shield him. Absent that protection, court proceedings inevitably will result.   There is no sign of other coalition partners willing to partner with Netanyahu — almost at any price.

It is not difficult to understand the origins to the radical Mizrahi intransigence over the Supreme Court. Those favouring a Jewish state, rather than a (secular) balanced ‘democratic’ state, have the numbers. They had them in the 2019 election cycle. The Haredim, the national-religious, and Mizrahim should have had enough votes to secure 61 Knesset seats (a majority).

But over the course of four election campaigns, the ‘Right’ failed to materialise their majority — as the Palestinian Arabs Knesset members entered the coalition-forming game to block the Right (which includes the Mizrahim) from capitalising on their numerical superiority.

Minister Smotrich wrote at the time in a Facebook post that were this situation to persist, the Right would forever remain a minority.

It is the desire for ensuring the majority achieves power that lies behind the agenda to neuter the Supreme Court and expel Arab parties from the Knesset. Then — and only then — can the Ashkenazi secular-liberal Establishment be overcome (in this perspective), and a Jewish State on the biblical Land of “Israel” be instantiated.

If that State also happens to be ‘democratic’, that’s okay — but any democratic attribute would be entirely subsidiary to its ‘Jewishness’.


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