Alliances of Convenience Alongside Alliances of Conviction
Former Saudi Chief of Intelligence Turki bin-Faysal (left) and ex-Mossad Chief Amos Yadlin (Right), June 2014. Photo: al-Alam

Ken Stein
January 29, 2015

Alliances of convenience alongside alliances of conviction: when do the first become the second? Who is telling the story that we read?

Since the ‘Arab Spring’ began unfolding in early 2011, both Arab states and rigid alliances have come unglued. Libya, Syria, and Yemen are reeling. Expected anti-Israeli sentiment shared by a multitude of Arab regimes has morphed into alliances of convenience when the common enemy is terrorism, a terrorist group or Iran. One example does not make for conclusions that predict that we shall never go back to yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt find themselves in the same pro-active trench with Israel in opposing Iranian nuclear aspirations. Jordan, Egypt and Israel, already linked by treaties remain vigorously aligned against terrorism on their respective borders. Israel built their wall/fence ten years ago. Now Saudi Arabia is building a wall in its north to prevent ISIS infiltration. Egypt is building a trench/fence around southern Gaza.

For ripping Lebanon asunder and helping Assad in Syria, barely muted feelings against Hezbollah have exploded into bountiful levels of anger. A most recent example: Israel’s “alleged” attack on Hezbollah adherents and on an Iranian general this past week has caused public approval this week for Israel from two prominent Arab writers in Al-Sharq al-Awsat.

These writer’s cogent finger-pointing adds another chapter to the Arab media’s own ‘Arab Spring’ which was deeply engaged in self-criticism of Arab societies well before 9.11.

When will the western media that reports about the Middle East report what Arab opinion-makers are writing and not what their own personal feelings tell them is happening? Here are two examples

Abdurrahman al-Rasheed’s “Opinion: How did we end up cheering for Israel?”

Tariq alhomyaed “Opinion Nasrallah’s Next Move”

Photo: al-Alam