2014 Midterms: A Call to Unite Israel and Moderate Arab States Against Isis and Beyond By: Terence Rosenthal

As the November 24th Iranian nuclear agreement emerges, those in the newly empowered Republican Senate must reach out to consolidate the growing union between Israel and moderate Arab nations. It is time to consider future value of new alliances unified in the war of defeating ISIS. Although the U.S. may gain important intelligence by arming and tracking movements of moderate rebels in Syria, a partnership consisting of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf State moderates should provide the basis for which trust U.S. trust in the Middle East emerges.

Although countries like Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia originally unified against a nuclear armed Iran, at present, they are finding common ground with regard to ISIS and militant Islam. In the past, no Arab nation wanted to be seen partnering with Israel regarding balance of power in the Middle East. However, moderate Arab nations realize that Israel has the most developed army in the region. Today, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, as well as Egypt are likely to work with Israel because of its access to the Mediterranean, and its ability to guard against ISIS at the northern borders of both Jordan and Saudi Arabia. ISIS has often exclaimed that once they take over Iraq, their next target is the holy city of Mecca.

Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan know how destructive radical Sunni Islamic militant organizations are. Israel endures ongoing war with Hamas. Jordan is wary of threats of insurgency from ISIS, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia struggles with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was recently overthrown, battles anarchy in the Sinai Peninsula, home to Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Al-Baghdadi loyalist, Ansar Al Jerusalem.  In addition to internal threats, U.S. allies like Turkey and Qatar do not help when they actively provide support for Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood, and confront ISIS with ambivalence.

Solidifying a union of Israel and moderate Arab states has numerous benefits with regard to defeating ISIS. First, pro-West, pro-business Arab countries working together will be better able to fortify their northern borders from an ISIS onslaught. Second, they will be better able to detect threats like Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and Al Qaeda, due to better integration of intelligence. Third, they will have a base with which to reach out to moderate secular groups like the Kurds within the ISIS conflict.

Both moderate Arab nations and Israel desire regional stability and future economic development. Currently, pipeline and infrastructure projects reinforcing the future of the alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt are underway. For example, Israel is set embark on natural gas projects with Egypt for $30 billion, and Jordan for $15 billion. Providing a ready supply of fuels will help considerably in alleviating threats of militant Islam in both of these countries.  In recent years, the U.S. has neglected Arab nations in the Middle East after its pivot to Asia. Economic challenges in countries like Jordan and Egypt urgently require answers. In addition, the new Senate must also quickly begin the task of coalescing Israel and moderate Arab nations around common goals like future economic value.

As ISIS seeks to exploit civil war in Syria and Iraq, Hamas and Al Qaeda seek to gin up radicalism and violence in Israel, Egypt, the Sinai, and the Arabian Peninsula. If the U.S. is going to maintain a passive or surgical strategy in the war against ISIS, then more effort on the diplomatic front should be made with regard to the Middle East. This can be done by meeting with leaders in Israel and moderate Arab states in the pursuit of establishing an ideal partnership on the basis of present and future value.

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