S. has to reshape its foreign policy viewpoint to meetfuture challenges. It is currently hard for any power to work as the world’spolice.
Yet, in a global economy, isolationism is not a choice. The U.S. shouldcreate interdependent corporations with allies and other states that arediplomatically friendly. One instance of this is the evolving union of Israel,Saudi Arabia, and India.It is the top kept secret in Middle East.
The two most significantallies of the US in that region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are secret allies. Onthe paper, they hate each other. They don’t have diplomatic affairs. Israelicitizens are barred from entering Saudi Arabia.
But scuff the surface and an unlikepicture emerges. The two countries have long arrived at a modus vivendi. Linksbetween Saudi and Israeli diplomats are ever more common.Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India, as well the bordering GCC(Gulf Cooperation council) and Jordan have a lot to gain diplomatically andeconomically by uniting. All three are petrified of an Islamic populistmovement sweeping through the Middle East and South Asia. Meetings have beentaking place among both Saudi Arabia and Israel that pertain to missile defenseand military strategy with regard to Iran and Syria. Saudi Arabia has stretchedits diplomatic hand to India, detaining key terrorists in the Indian Mujahedeen.
Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have economic ties with India.The union of these three countries as well as Jordan, and the GCC wouldaccomplish many goals. All are open to undertake business with the West, andwill cooperate with the same set of geo-political rules. They are doubtful ofother countries that back or support Iran. Most significant, though, is thatIsrael, Saudi’s, and Indians admire each other in terms of resources andchallenges. They are ideal candidates for economic interdependence.
All three countries face the challenge of maintaining areasonable ties, and handling conflict with neighbors who are political foes atthe very least. They control key ports, managing the regional flow of goods andservices. In addition, each struggle with issues related to the same basic need,drinkable water, toward which all three have been generating new technology. Israel and Saudi Arabia may seem doubtful allies in regionalpolitical scenario but recent changes have pushed Riyadh and Tel Aviv closer toeach other, setting the stage for the Middle East’s oddest bedfellows. Thesesecret ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, coalition based to counter the”common threat” of Iran, as chapter of a new regional paradigm, expertssay.
The Israeli ambassadors and diplomats have spoken about theties with India being “held under the rug.” More frankly, in private, Israeli bureaucratsand commentators have said that India has used Israel like a “mistress”—glad toinvolve intimately in private, but cautious to admit the relationship inpublic. When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led administration took office inMay 2014 with Modi at its office, there was a certainty that the coalition withIsrael would be a priority and more visible. Relations under the BJP governmentfrom 1998 and 2004 had been more noticeable. When in opposition, BJP leadershiphad visited Israel, and also been sympathetic of that country in electionmanifestos and speeches. The inclusion ofIsrael as a possible partner reflects a break from the bitty order in theMiddle East, where since the early 2000s the US has sought to create ahegemonic system to control West-friendly states, brought about by eitherelections or confession. Saudi Arabia, capitalizing on its sacred standing inthe Arab world, broke through the lines to establish its own order, one that comprisedseeking ties with Israel on the foundation of land for peace.
In tandem, it functionedon the protection of its Sunni identity and coalitions to counterbalance ShiaIran’s influence.There are potential blockades that must be overcome. As theSaudi’s have assisted Pakistan, so too have they supported Hamas, in theirendorsement of Palestine. Saudi viewpoint for regime change in Syria isdifferent than that of Israel. Although both countries disdain Hezbollah, SaudiArabia has revealed support for elements of Al Qaida working to overthrowAssad. Early on, according to popular rumor, the Saudi’s financed in thePakistani nuclear program. India has preserved a working economic anddiplomatic association with Iran.Current crises have an inclination of making unions thatwould have not been thought of a decade ago.
Three major changes have takenplace in the past few years. The Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and theChinese militarization of the Indian Ocean. Each of these happenings have triggeredmajor Middle East and South Asian powers to reconsider alliances and take noteof the shift in presence of prominent super powers in their region. The main losers in this cruel chess game being played out inthe Middle East are the Palestinians. Their sovereign and self-governing stateis now a faraway dream. The Saudi’s and its Arab associates have delayed theproblem. Israel couldn’t be happier than ever. When its PM Benjamin Netanyahuhosts PM Modi, Palestine will be off the board.
Extremism from ISIS and thelethal Taliban resurgence in Pak-Afg will dominate talks. Israel is now one ofIndia’s key weapons providers. And as Netanyahu has doubtless reminded Modi, itis the only effective democracy in the Middle East.The U.S. is preparing to take most of its resources out ofthe Middle East.
They must have a plan to fill the gap created by scaling back,else conflict will follow, and anti-Westernism in the region will increase. Whateverthe plan is, it doesn’t seem to work well. China is becoming a larger militaryforce and potential threat to US in South Asia in terms of allies and partners.
Regional powers are understanding that in order to safeguard a prosperous and nonviolentfuture, they have to make partnerships based on shared political and economicgoals. For Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India, this is becoming a reality thatwill present terrible consequences if not addressed by the U.S.