Media overlooks Sunni Arabs' Israel overtures

Dr. Norman Bailey

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are among the region's countries warming to Israel.

I never cease to be amazed at the ability of the media to concentrate on the unimportant and ignore the serious and significant.

Case in point. In recent days three events have taken place in the Arab Middle East that indicate that a rapprochement with Israel is becoming ever-more apparent, to wit: The King of Bahrain (yes, the same one who not long ago appointed a Jewish woman as ambassador to the US) proclaimed publicly that boycotting Israel was stupid and counterproductive and invited Israelis to visit his country.

The Saudi government for the first time publicly denounced Muslim extremism of all kinds and origins without exception. This cannot have gone over well with the Wahhabi clergy, whose doctrine is the epitome of Muslim extremism. One sees the hand of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan in this and many other measures, including letting women attend soccer matches and over the past 24 hours permitting women to drive.

By an order of magnitude most important, the love-fest between Netanyahu and President al-Sisi of Egypt in New York. Not only did the meeting go on for a long time and not only was it open to the press and television but both participants behaved as if they were long-lost best friends, laughing, smiling constantly and shaking hands as if they really meant it.

Of course, the Kurdish referendum may, and probably will, be a game-changer in the Middle East. Either the Kurds achieve their independence despite all odds and threats, or Iran and/or Turkey invade and try to strangle the infant in its cradle (they may find it's not so easy - shades of Israel 1948).

North Korean missiles and Russian war games and continued internecine conflicts in Syria, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere; the weakening of Chancellor Merkel in Germany, the odd hurricane or earthquake here or there - the list goes on and on.

But the warming of the Sunni Arabs towards Israel is the really GOOD news, which should not be ignored amidst the pervasive gloom and doom. Heavens, it's even more important than American football players refusing to honor the national anthem (at least in the US another media obsession due to President Trump's insistent and excessive tweets).

Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

The views he expresses are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of "Globes."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 27, 2017

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2017

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