22 January '11
The Tunisian turmoil – and its potential ripple effects - reaffirm the critical significance of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges to the national security and survival of the Jewish State.
The Tunisian turmoil is a reminder of the nature of Israel's neighborhood, the Middle East - the role model of domestic and global terrorism, volatility, instability, unpredictable violence, intra-Arab treachery, tenuous compliance with commitments, short-lived intra-Arab agreements, shifting alliances internally and externally, uncertainty, oppressive totalitarianism and divisiveness. Israel's high security threshold, and extremely slim margin of error, are determined by such regional phenomena.
The more violent and the less predictable the region, the higher the security requirements. Moreover, the prime test of a Middle East peace accord is not its conclusion, but its capability to withstand the worst-case Middle East scenarios, such as an abrupt violation by a concerted unpredictable attack. For example, would the slim 9-15 miles waistline of pre-1967 Israel be able to fend off a 1973 Yom Kippur-like offensive?!
The Tunisian turmoil constitutes a prelude to potentially stormy 2011-12, fueled by a series of aging Arab rulers on their way out, a retreating US, increasingly assertive Russia, China and North Korea, bolder Muslim terrorist organizations and explosive disenchantment among oppressed Arab/Muslim masses.
Thus, the approaching departure of the aging/ailing President Mubarak could produce a pro-US regime, but it could also yield a radical Islamic takeover, followed by volcanic eruptions in the Middle East at-large, in the eastern Mediterranean, Horn of Africa, the Red Sea, Sudan, North Africa, devastating Western interests, providing a tailwind to terrorism and radical regimes and consuming the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.
The scheduled US retreat from Iraq, its expected evacuation of Afghanistan and the switch of US policy from confrontation to engagement with rogue regimes, are perceived by US rivals and enemies as an extension of the US retreats from Iran (1979), Lebanon (1983) and Somali (1993), adrenalyzing radical and subversive veins. The retreat from Iraq could trigger a lava-effect, threatening the survival of pro-Western regimes in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and the UAE, but benefitting Iran, Syria and regional terrorism.
Turkey's about-face from a Western-oriented policy to Islam-driven policy has transformed the former leader of the Muslim World from a stability-generating ally to an unrest-perpetrating opponent of Western democracies. It has undermined regional stability, advancing Russian, Iranian and overall Islamic ambitions at the expense of vital US interests.
Middle East turbulence could force the Hashemite regime in Jordan to abandon its pro-Western policy and its peace treaty with Israel. For instance, regional constrains forced King Hussein to collaborate with Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Regional pressures led Jordan's King Abdullah and King Hussein to join the wars on Israel in 1948/9 and in 1967 and 1973 respectively. During 1968-1970, King Hussein provided its arch-enemy, the PLO, with logistical and operational bases for anti-Israel terrorism. How would Israel's border with Jordan be impacted by a radicalized Iraq and/or Egypt?! How would it be affected by the toppling of Jordan's Hashemite regime?!
Mideast precedents – and sober assessments of Middle East reality - behoove the Jewish State to base its policy on realistic Mideast scenarios and not on lethal wishful thinking. The Mideast requires (especially) Israel to maintain a high security threshold, which secures its most vulnerable eastern border: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which constitute the "Golan Heights" of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, the most effective tank obstacle in the region (3,000ft steep slope dominating the Jordan Valley in the east), a dream platform for invading the 9-15 miles sliver along the Mediterranean Sea (2,000ft moderate slope over-towering 80% of Israel's population and infrastructures in the west).
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