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Sunni Arab states back Israel in war against Hamas

By Missing Peace

The Media Line published an article titled: Gaza conflict redraws Mideast alliances.  

Here’s a quote from the article that was also published by Ynet:

”What do Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait all have in common? They see the Islamist Hamas movement as the biggest danger to stability in the region, and have allied themselves, as least tacitly, with Israel.

While the public in many Arab countries is angry about the loss of life and growing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, their governments are demonstrating that their revulsion of Hamas is stronger than their dislike of Israel”.

“The conflict is pitting Qatar, Turkey and Iran against Egypt and Saudi Arabia,” Dr. Theodore Karasik, the director of Research and Consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis (INEGMA) in the United Arab Emirates told The Media Line. “Qatar’s policy is to try to negotiate solutions to regional conflicts – not only in Gaza, but in Sudan and Somalia as well.”

However, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries including Kuwait and Bahrain have reacted angrily to Qatar’s support for Hamas. Karasik says the divisions within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are making it impossible to focus on another threat that could come from an Iranian nuclear program.

It is true that during the current war between Hamas and Israel  these new allainces were visible for the first time. Here is for example a quote from a report by Thomas Rose about the stunning reaction of Saudi king Abdullah on the war:

In a stunning five minute statement read on state television late Friday, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, leader of Israel’s oldest and most implacable foe, called the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza a “collective massacre” caused by Hamas

It is just the latest signal in a tectonic shift in Middle East geopolitics that has been largely overlooked by Western media seemingly still committed to building upon its decades-old narrative that Israel remains the united enemy of the Arab world.

In the 75 year history of conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East, no state has been more consistently intransigent against the very notion of a sovereign Jewish presence in the region than the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, founded by Abdullah’s grandfather, Ibn Saud, in 1923.

Just weeks ago, before Hamas’ current war against Israel, it would have unthinkable to suggest that a Saudi King would even hint that any entity other than Israel bore any responsibilities for actions perceived as harmful to Palestinians. 

However the new alliances between Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Israel did not start with the war between Hamas and Israel. In fact they are a result of the major conflict between the Shia bloc (Iran, Qatar, Iraq (al-Maliki government), Syria (Assad government), Hezbollah and a Sunni bloc led by Egypt (al-Sisi government) and Saudi Arabia.

This Sunni bloc is also threatened by Sunni extremist organizations such as Al Qaida, Islamic State (formerly ISIS) and Hamas.

Hamas lost many allies in the Sunni bloc due to mistakes during the upheavals in the Arab world. As a result it started looking for new sponsors and allies. This explains the renewed ties with Iran/Hezbollah and the cooperation with Erdogan in Turkey. Hamas also saw the rise of ISIS and al Qaida in Syria,Iraq and Egypt and decided to join the battle against the Sunni bloc by those Jihadi organizations. Hamas however, is not seen by the Sunni bloc as the biggest threat, the rise of ISIS is much more dangerous for the stability in the region.

In the current war  Hamas has demonstrated in many ways that it now fights like Hezbollah and ISIS. (Tunnels, long range rockets, execution of opponents, use of cease fires to stage new deadly terror attacks).

The alliance between the Sunni bloc and Israel is purely based on common interests and does not mean that we are gonna see the end of the Arab Israeli conflict any time soon. As a senior Israeli official told Media Line:

“Most of these countries  will die before they acknowledge they have any common interest with Israel. They will cooperate with Israel on the ground and in projects that are important to them, but most of the time we’ll hear official statements that are harsh and anything but friendly.”