US should change its pilot in the Middle East

October 04, 2011, Tuesday/ 15:19:00/ MEHMET ŞAHİN

When the United States (U.S.) had a good opportunity to decrease the anti-USism in the Middle East upon the Arab Spring, it came across Israeli obstacle again, as it always has been.

Within a decade embodying between the years 2001 and 2011, the anti-USism hit the ceiling in the Middle East because of the intervention to Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq, and the unlimited support to Israel. Upon the U.S. support to the civil commotion in the Arab Middle East, which is defined as the Arab Spring, the Western World the U.S. in particular had had a crucial opportunity to decrease the anti-USism/anti-Westernism in the region. Apparently, the aforesaid opportunity seems to be wasted in a short span of time because of not being able to control Israel. Although the U.S./West declared their support for the civil commotions, the unquestioned support for Israel on Palestinian/Israeli issue leaves the fresh hopes in the Middle East at a dead end.

A new process began upon the application of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the United Nations for full membership for a Palestinian state on September 23rd, 2011. Just as the Quartet (the U.S., EU, Russia, UN), which is called “Middle East Quartet” acting as the “four horseman of apocalypse” the U.S. in particular despite the fact that none of them is Middle East country, strived for preventing the new initiative of the Palestinians and restarting the peace negotiations; it was found out that the Israeli government gave approval for the construction of new 1100 housing units on east Jerusalem territories belonging to Palestinians. Upon this action of the Israeli government, the efforts of the Middle East Quartet striving for the start of peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine became meaningless. If the purpose is to get a result from the peace talks on Israel-Palestine, the pressure should not be unilateral. If the U.S. can cut its assistance for the Palestinian Administration in order to draw the Palestinians to the peace table, [1] the U.S. should also be able to show to the Israeli government that their initiatives to build new housing units, which would make peace difficult, have a cost.

Although the Israeli authorities and the supporters of Israel [2] state that the most important ally of the U.S. in the Middle East in military, political, and strategic fields is Israeli; when a cost-benefit analysis is carried out on the relations between Israel and the U.S., it will explicitly be seen that Israel has given incredible damages to the U.S. Because of Israel's violator acts, the U.S. even became to have problems with its allies in the Middle East. As a matter of fact, in the Middle East, where the problems are increasing with each passing day; at a time, when the U.S. was really in need of allies in order to protect its vital benefits, its relations even with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which are the best two allies in the region, could be negatively affected because of Israel's acts. Although the U.S. does not want, both Turkey and Saudi Arabia explicitly declared that they support Palestine's initiative for full membership to the United Nations. In fact, the authorities of Saudi Arabia did not hesitate stating that their relations with the U.S. will have a fraction, in case the U.S. vetoes the Palestinian State.[3]

When the cost the U.S. paid for Israel in political, economic, military fields is put forth, it will be understood that the approach, which has been asserted for years claiming that in the Middle East the interests of the U.S. correspond to the interests of Israel, is a big lie.

As it stands, neither the domestic policy nor the foreign policy of the U.S., nor the new Middle East could carry Israel anymore. Unless the false routine in relations between the U.S. and Israel is not broken, or in other words, unless the relation between the aforesaid two countries is not based on a rational ground, it seems impossible that peace in the Middle East works.

When we consider the situation/future of Afghanistan and Iraq, the nuclear programme of Iran, and the process the Arab Middle East has been going through; it is seen that the Middle East has been going through a political turmoil, whose future is not almost precisely certain. In this case, an obligation comes out for the U.S. to develop its relations with countries, which would provide constructive contributions to the problems of the region-and in this case, Turkey comes to forefront. And Israel acts as a heavy construction equipment coming the U.S.' way, who wants to rapidly advance on the Middle East highway. As from today, as it stands, Israel has nothing left to give in the Middle East, except from making war to the U.S.

If the U.S. wants to proceed in the problematic/heavy sea of the Middle East, it has to change its costly pilot it has believed and stood by so far.


[1]“AB, Filistin’e 200 milyon dolar yardımı askıya aldı”,

[2] Michael Singh, “Obama and Israel: Hot or Cold?”,

[3] “Bir devleti veto et, bir müttefiki kaybet”,

»» Assoc. Prof. Mehmet ŞAHİN, ORSAM Middle East Advisor, Gazi University, Department of International Relations