Sept. 16, 2011
from the Makor Rishon newspaper
It is a mistake to attribute Erdogan's behavior to uncontrollable
emotions; it is erroneous to think that he has gone temporarily
insane and that soon he will return to the solid ground of reality.
Erdogan's actions are the product of cold, strategic calculation.
Not only are they very logical, but we can almost say that Israel
has left him almost no choice but to follow the course that he has
From the beginning of the Israeli media swoon over the glorious
"Arab spring" in Egypt, we explained that what we are really
witnessing is the disintegration of the modern Arab nation-states
that were forced on the Arab tribes after World War I. These
nation-states were actually an arbitrary division of the Arab nation
into pseudo-states that, besides building huge armies relative to
their size - did nothing else to justify their status as states.
The strategic Middle East is now in a process of "restart." The
question is, who will be the dominant factor in this expanse? A
vacuum is impossible - certainly in the Middle East. Will we see a
return to the old days of colonialism? The West's troubled economy
and culture mean that the imperialism of the past is not an option.
And so, Erdogan sits in his presidential suite with a huge state and
the second largest army in NATO, armed with the finest of modern
weapons and weapons instructors from the US and - thanks to our
shortsightedness - from Israel, as well. He sits and he thinks.
"Hmmm. They didn't want to accept me into the European Union; I am
big and strong, but the Europeans won't look at me twice. On the
other hand, the Middle East is looking for a leader. There are only
three states in the Middle East that can fit the bill: Iran, Turkey
and Israel. After years of mutual tourism and military cooperation
with the Israelis, I know that what is important to them is the good
life. They do not see themselves as a regional power. Even though
they are the strongest state in the Middle-East, they have removed
themselves from the game.
That leaves Iran. Ahmadinijad is certainly interested in becoming
the regional sultan. He is already doing everything that he can to
achieve that status. If I do not hurry up and make my moves before
he does, he will find the right moment to make his appearance with
his atomic weapons, will sweep the entire Islamic world after him -
and I will find myself part of his Pax Irana.
On the other hand, I still have a great advantage over that cursed
Shiite: The doors of the world are open to me. I am a legitimate
player and I can beat on Israel with no fear. My belligerence
against Israel is really a zero sum game for me. I control the
height of the flames. This is the way to pull Egypt and its huge
army (and its American weapons, thanks to Uncle Sam and Menachem
Begin) into my influence. Together, our military might will convince
Iran that it is better to join us than to fight us. Even Stalin
understood this principle and went ahead with the Molotov-Ribbentrop
Pact. If he signed, Ahmadinijad will also sign. Syria, Lebanon and
Jordan will then fall into my net like ripe fruit. The oil emirates
will acquiesce and in just a short time, I will be the new sultan of
the Middle East: the Salah -a -Din who humiliates and drives out the
Zionist Crusaders. Oh yes, and of course controls the gas and oil
futures. The entire Western world will fall at my feet. We'll see
them not accept me into NATO, then.
What about Israel? Well, what I like about Israel is that you can
never lose with them. In all their wars, they never really won. In
other words, they never really went the entire distance and toppled
the regime of the country that attacked them. Ahmadinijad announces
that he is going to destroy them and prepares to do just that,
provoking them from their border fence with Lebanon - and they don't
even lift a finger. The Egyptians burn their embassy - and the
Israelis thank them for leaving the security guards alive. I
humiliate their tourists to Turkey - and their prime minister
promises that our relations will improve. I can safely gather the
entire Arab world around me - on Israel's back - completely secure
that I will always control the level of belligerence and that Israel
will never exact a price from me. Other than running to cry to
Obama, of course. They do not see themselves as a regional power.
All that I have to do is to smile at them sometime - and they will
Really, the Israelis leave me with no choice. Either I will rule the
Middle East or the Iranians will (also at Israel's expense) and I do
not want to be ruled by the Iranians."
Those are Erdogan's thoughts. And now for some of mine:
Why can't Israel see itself as a regional power? Why can't it take
advantage of its military and technological edge and encourage
countries like Turkey to join it?
The answer is in our consciousness. Israelis feel like visitors in
their own home. A guest does not complain about the neighbors. He
lets the owner of the house deal with the problem. A direct line
leads from the fact that in Israel, it is perfectly acceptable to
drive a Jew out of his house while it is unthinkable to do the same
to an Arab and from there to Israel's foreign policy, which
encourages the world to relate to Israel in exactly the same way.
Our "just passing through" mentality has begun to fulfill itself by
the forces that surround us. The time that we have left to once
again connect to our roots in this Land - is running out.
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