Op-Ed: The New Face of the Middle East

The Middle East of 2016 is a completely new region than that of the past. It is a region filled with instability and secret dialogue between countries. The change provides countries the opportunity to make new friends, and Israel has taken advantage of this.

The change gives Israel the chance to build a future where they don’t have to stand alone against their traditional enemies. Their most formidable enemy is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran, the bully of the Middle East, has created a plethora of enemies in the last few decades. The most famous of its Muslim enemies is Saudi Arabia. The beginning of Iran’s belligerent attitude towards Israel, Saudi Arabia, and many more countries began after the Shah was overthrown and Ayatollah Khomeini became the country’s ruler. However, until a few years ago, Iran had never proposed any rapid and fatal threats to either country. That has changed.

The country has acquired ballistic missiles, and began developing nuclear capabilities. Although the question of whether Iran has nuclear warheads, or is secretly developing them even though they just signed the Iran Deal, is hotly debated, one thing is for sure: Saudi Arabia and Israel have started to engage in dialogue in order to deal with this very real threat together. The most renown action that the two countries have collaborated on was the deal allowing Israel to use Saudi Arabia’s airspace if it were to attack Iran.

Since then, the two countries’ alliance has further developed. It has become the type of cooperation that has never been seen before in the region. Recently, Saudi Arabia acquired two small Islands from Egypt which are geographically close to Israel. The collaboration was seen through the fact that before the Saudis acquired these islands, they gave Israel assurance that shipments passing by the islands would not be interrupted. Similar collaboration has also been seen with Israel and Jordan. For example, a few months ago Israel lent Jordan a couple of military helicopters in order to combat ISIS.

Evidently, a new Middle East is fermenting. This new Middle East gives the hope that maybe, just maybe the Middle East will be stable once again. Until that day, more strategic dialogue must occur until the countries realize they have much more in common than they would have thought.

By: G. Apoj

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