The Changing Balance Of Power In The Middle East By Ben Abdul

Iranian Prime Minister, Ebrahim Raisolsadati

The Changing Balance Of Power In The Middle East

By Ben Abdul

Since its creation, there has been a myth of Israel’s military invisibility hovering around the sky of the Middle East.

This is due to first and foremost, America’s military and diplomatic umbrella which has shielded Israel from the chaos of that region. It has also provided Israel with a license to act with sheer impunity and absolute disregard for international law and order as witnessed in its occupation of Palestine and its incessant violation of the territorial integrity of Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and only recently, Iran — in whose territory Israel has engaged in the most audacious of covert operations and subversions — with the justification that it’s in Israel’s core national security interest to prevent Iran from going nuclear.

Fun facts: before Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979, Israel was that Persian nation’s closest ally in the Middle East.

Iran has the oldest Jewish diaspora and is only second to Israel in terms of the largest Jewish population in the Middle East. Most of Iranian nuclear scientists were trained in the US under the Atom for Peace Program of the then US president, Dwight Eisenhower at the ebb of 1953. Iran’s first 5 megawatts nuclear reactor (still operational in Tehran) was gifted to that country by the US. Of the four beneficiaries of the Eisenhower Atom for Peace Program : (India, Israel, Iran & Pakistan), it’s only Iran that does not have a nuclear bomb arsenal.

For decades, Israel and Iran have been engaged in a cold war — impossible peace, improbable war apologies to Raymond Aron. While Israel was busy assassinating Iran’s top nuclear scientists and engaging in cyber warfare against its nuclear infrastructures, Iran on its path was busy building its ballistic missile and drone capabilities and at the same time built a very sophisticated Axis of Resistance (Hezbollah in Lebanon, Shi’te militias in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the West Bank and also the IRGC in Syria) in the Middle East especially around Israel’s borders. The implication of this is that any future war with Israel will be fought in Israel. In 2006, Israel fought Hezbollah in a bloody 34 days war which ended in a stalemate. Since then, Hezbollah has developed its military capabilities.

Today, Hezbollah has in its possessions hundreds of thousands of missiles that could send shockwaves across the whole of Israel in the eventuality of a full blown war. Least I forget, Iran has thousands of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps disguised as the Resistance Mobilization Force (Basij) in Syria. Like Hezbollah, the Basij’s are battle-hardened by virtue of their experience in fighting alongside Assad troops in Syria.

The war in Ukraine has completely changed the balance of power not only in Europe but also, the Middle East. For all intent and purpose, Iran and Russia are now allies. Iran provided Russia the game changing weapons (Shaheed drones and ballistic missiles) which has severely degraded Ukraine’s military and civilian infrastructures. In return, Iran now enjoys Russia’s diplomatic protection at the UNSC and also, Iran is on the verge of acquiring Russia’s helicopters, Su-35 fighter jets and most importantly Russia’s most advanced air defense system — the S400.

These acquisitions will make the Iranian sky a no go area. On the economic front, China on its part has been bolstering the Iranian economy with its massive purchase of Iranian oil.

Israel’s military invisibility has been challenged in a way never before seen by Iranian proxies or direct actions in the last 8 months. First by Hamas — which inflicted the highest war casualty Israel has ever experienced in its history followed by Iran’s barrage of missiles and drones attack on Israel earlier in the week — also the first of its kind.

The myth of Israel’s deterrence capability has been forever destroyed by Iran’s attack on the Jewish State. For decades, Israel has acted in the Middle East with impunity but not again. Washington had to immediately release a statement distancing itself from Israel’s attack on Iran’s consulate in Syria. Iran informed Washington via Switzerland and Oman of the place and date of retaliation and stayed true to its word. Washington swiftly advised Tel Aviv not to respond to Iran’s retaliation, warning Tel Aviv that the US would not be a party to any war with Iran. Israel ignored that warning and retaliated in the most embarrassing of ways and Washington immediately came out to say, Israel was behind the attack. Why are Washington and Middle Eastern countries wary of a war that directly involves Iran?

It will be a disaster for the whole region. Secondly, the US wants Iran to maintain the gentleman agreement of keeping the Houthis in check in the red sea and the Shi’te militias from refraining from striking American soldiers in Iraq.

Like the architect of Israel’s assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientists program, former Mossad Director — Dagan once said, “If Israel were to attack Iran, it would be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.” With the US plans to “pivot to Asia ” Iran would establish a military hegemony in the Middle East and when and if China replace the US as the policeman of the world, Israel may become an endangered state.

Ben Abdul is a Political Scientist with special interest in geopolitics
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