The U.S. has to reshape its foreign policy viewpoint to meet
future challenges. It is currently hard for any power to work as the world’s
police. Yet, in a global economy, isolationism is not a choice. The U.S. should
create interdependent corporations with allies and other states that are
diplomatically 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 significant
allies of the US in that region, Saudi Arabia and Israel, are secret allies. On
the paper, they hate each other. They don’t have diplomatic affairs. Israeli
citizens are barred from entering Saudi Arabia. But scuff the surface and an unlike
picture emerges. The two countries have long arrived at a modus vivendi. Links
between 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 and
economically by uniting. All three are petrified of an Islamic populist
movement sweeping through the Middle East and South Asia. Meetings have been
taking place among both Saudi Arabia and Israel that pertain to missile defense
and military strategy with regard to Iran and Syria. Saudi Arabia has stretched
its 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 would
accomplish many goals. All are open to undertake business with the West, and
will cooperate with the same set of geo-political rules. They are doubtful of
other countries that back or support Iran. Most significant, though, is that
Israel, Saudi’s, and Indians admire each other in terms of resources and
challenges. They are ideal candidates for economic interdependence.
All three countries face the challenge of maintaining a
reasonable ties, and handling conflict with neighbors who are political foes at
the very least. They control key ports, managing the regional flow of goods and
services. 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 regional
political scenario but recent changes have pushed Riyadh and Tel Aviv closer to
each other, setting the stage for the Middle East’s oddest bedfellows. These
secret ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, coalition based to counter the
“common threat” of Iran, as chapter of a new regional paradigm, experts
The Israeli ambassadors and diplomats have spoken about the
ties with India being “held under the rug.” More frankly, in private, Israeli bureaucrats
and commentators have said that India has used Israel like a “mistress”—glad to
involve intimately in private, but cautious to admit the relationship in
public. When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led administration took office in
May 2014 with Modi at its office, there was a certainty that the coalition with
Israel would be a priority and more visible. Relations under the BJP government
from 1998 and 2004 had been more noticeable. When in opposition, BJP leadership
had visited Israel, and also been sympathetic of that country in election
manifestos and speeches.
The inclusion of
Israel as a possible partner reflects a break from the bitty order in the
Middle East, where since the early 2000s the US has sought to create a
hegemonic system to control West-friendly states, brought about by either
elections or confession. Saudi Arabia, capitalizing on its sacred standing in
the Arab world, broke through the lines to establish its own order, one that comprised
seeking ties with Israel on the foundation of land for peace. In tandem, it functioned
on the protection of its Sunni identity and coalitions to counterbalance Shia
There are potential blockades that must be overcome. As the
Saudi’s have assisted Pakistan, so too have they supported Hamas, in their
endorsement of Palestine. Saudi viewpoint for regime change in Syria is
different than that of Israel. Although both countries disdain Hezbollah, Saudi
Arabia has revealed support for elements of Al Qaida working to overthrow
Assad. Early on, according to popular rumor, the Saudi’s financed in the
Pakistani nuclear program. India has preserved a working economic and
diplomatic association with Iran.
Current crises have an inclination of making unions that
would have not been thought of a decade ago. Three major changes have taken
place in the past few years. The Arab Spring, the Syrian Civil War, and the
Chinese militarization of the Indian Ocean. Each of these happenings have triggered
major Middle East and South Asian powers to reconsider alliances and take note
of the shift in presence of prominent super powers in their region.
The main losers in this cruel chess game being played out in
the Middle East are the Palestinians. Their sovereign and self-governing state
is now a faraway dream. The Saudi’s and its Arab associates have delayed the
problem. Israel couldn’t be happier than ever. When its PM Benjamin Netanyahu
hosts PM Modi, Palestine will be off the board. Extremism from ISIS and the
lethal Taliban resurgence in Pak-Afg will dominate talks. Israel is now one of
India’s key weapons providers. And as Netanyahu has doubtless reminded Modi, it
is the only effective democracy in the Middle East.
The U.S. is preparing to take most of its resources out of
the 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. Whatever
the plan is, it doesn’t seem to work well. China is becoming a larger military
force 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 nonviolent
future, they have to make partnerships based on shared political and economic
goals. For Israel, Saudi Arabia, and India, this is becoming a reality that
will present terrible consequences if not addressed by the U.S.