There are more countries than just Egypt and Saudi Arabia supporting an Israeli strike. A member of Israel’s parliament from the Likud Party said in March that a “wall-to-wall coalition” of Muslim countries had secretly contacted Israel, some of whom the Israelis do not even have diplomatic relations with, expressing their support for any measure taken to stop Iran.
In January, for the first time, an Israeli minister visited the United Arab Emirates to participate in an energy conference and the UAE teamed up with the Saudis to pressure China into supporting sanctions on Iran. Algeria has accused Iran of supporting terrorists fighting the government, and Morocco cut off ties with Iran in March 2009 because of their promotion of extremist Shiite Islam through non-governmental organizations.
Ethiopia is an opponent of two of Iran’s allies, Sudan and Eritrea, and has accused the latter of supporting Somali terrorists that they have gone to war with. Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has frequently called Hamas a puppet of the Iranians and has blamed them for Israel’s 2009 offensive into Gaza. The other countries in the Arabian Peninsula have had their own problems with Iranian meddling. The Israeli MP’s claim is not far-fetched.
This doesn’t mean that an Israeli strike on Iran doesn’t bring serious risks to the Sunni Arabs, though. Iran has repeatedly stated that Arab countries hosting U.S. military bases will be retaliated against if an attack happens. The Arabs, however, feel they have no other choice but to support Israel, especially considering they will likely be attacked regardless of whether they permit the strikes.
“There’s too much at stake for them,” Klein said. “They are betting an Israeli strike, as dangerous as it is, will be successful.”
The Arab countries also have to be concerned about domestic unrest in the aftermath of an attack. However, a recent poll indicates this will not significantly affect the stability of their governments. They were able to remain in power when the U.S. invaded Iraq, an action more infuriating to their populations because of their shared Arab identity.
A Pew Research Center poll dated June 17, 2010 found that strong majorities of the people in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt view Iran negatively, lack confidence in Ahmadinejad and oppose Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. A majority of those in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon opposing a nuclear-armed Iran actually favor the use of military force if necessary to stop them. The popular backlash resulting from an Israeli strike may not be as much of a threat as is assumed.
Ironically, these Arab countries appear to be actually promoting Israeli military action against Iran while the U.S. is trying to stop it. If Israel ultimately decides to strike Iran, the Arabs will join the Obama Administration in condemning them—but privately, they will be thanking their Jewish adversaries for saving them from having to handle a nuclear Iran, an enemy far more threatening to them than Israel ever was.
This article was sponsored by Stand Up America.
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