Euroviews. An Arab-Israel axis against the Islamic Republic of Iran is now a reality

The arsenal fired at Israel by the regime in Tehran in the early hours of Sunday morning was blunted not just by Israeli technology but also by an alliance of Western powers — the US, the UK, and France — working alongside friendly Arab nations. 

The full details of how these Arab states aided in protecting Israel, undoubtedly saving Israeli lives from IRI missiles and drones, may not be known for a while. Regardless, this moment marks a historic shift.

Whether you credit Yitzhak Rabin and Bill Clinton for the peace agreement with Jordan in 1994, or Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump for the more recent Abraham Accords, the result is the same: the blustering Islamic regime in Iran has been humiliated by a regional coalition. 

Benny Gantz, the “babysitter” in the war cabinet, also deserves credit for having pushed the Middle East Air Defence alliance, which has now proved the concept’s validity.

On the other hand, others interpret the attack in stark difference: they argue that the Islamic Republic is not deterred by the defensive excellence of the US-Arab-Israeli partnership, but is evidently encouraged like never before. 

It’s noteworthy that no country has directly attacked Israel for 33 years, since Saddam Hussein’s Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War. Therefore, a swift and strong military response should be considered.

War is temporary, politics reigns eternal

Whatever happens next, it is important to remember that war alone is a short-term endeavour, even in cases of prolonged wars, while politics is an ongoing experiment. 

You experiment with various policies and ideas, observe the outcomes, and then decide whether to continue down that path or to reverse course and try something different. 

In critical moments like these, where the stakes are high, we gain a rare moment of clarity about who stands where with whom. Many Arab countries have made their positions clear.

A man walks past a mural depicting the US President Joe Biden as a superhero defending Israel on a street in Tel Aviv, April 2024

The joint experiment between the Jewish state and its regional Arab allies is proving to be a net positive, despite the “politicking” from some Arab leaders over the last six months. 

Listening to their pronouncements, one would have thought they were attending a lecture by professors of Kantian morality and Feuerbachian humanism. I’m not sure who they were trying to convince with their haze of humanist rhetoric, but no rational person took them seriously. 

Nevertheless, the cooperation against the Iranian attack proves that the trend in the region is still toward an Arab-US-Israeli alliance against the Islamic Republic in Iran and its proxies.

The birth of the ‘Axis of Renaissance’

It is true that none of this cooperation depicts the dream of peace promised by the Oslo process, and the threats to Israel may have actually increased since then because the Arab enemy of yesterday was far less dangerous than the Islamist extremist enemy of today. 

None of this means that the radicals fighting Israel are any less determined or ruthless in their pursuits to end Jewish sovereignty, nor does it mean that the Palestinians have effectively ended their century-long war against Zionism.

The Ayatollah and his camp have handed Israel and these Arab states the opportunity of a lifetime to change the course of the region after six months of brutal war and the worst attack in Israel’s history.

An Israeli soldier walks near the Israeli-Gaza border, April 2024

What it does mean is that Israel has broken the pan-Arab front against it and has convinced enough Arab countries that a strong Israel is not a threat but an essential condition for their survival. 

The axis of struggle is no longer between Israel and the Arabs; instead, it is between an Arab-Israeli coalition, which I call the Axis of Renaissance, and the Ayatollah’s Islamic Revolution and its terror proxies, who shamelessly call themselves the Axis of Resistance.

A whimper and a bang

The unprecedented attack by the Islamic Republic is an inflexion point for Israel and its allies, offering the possibility of becoming a regional game-changer in Israel’s favour — but only if PM Netanyahu makes the right moves. 

With Netanyahu resembling a character from a Shakespearean tragedy, and his far-right governing coalition clueless yet dangerously in power, there is every chance that Israel could squander this opportunity. 

Failing to follow up on any military response, should there be one, with concrete diplomatic elements and political plans after the support Israel just received from its neighbours, will waste a historic chance to mount a much more effective front against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

In critical moments like these, where the stakes are high, we gain a rare moment of clarity about who stands where with whom. Many Arab countries have made their positions clear. 

The Ayatollah and his camp have handed Israel and these Arab states the opportunity of a lifetime to change the course of the region after six months of brutal war and the worst attack in Israel’s history. 

The entire region just witnessed the whimper of the Tehran regime and the bang of Israel and its allies. 

It is time to capitalise on this opportunity for real political gains. 

Normalisation with Saudi Arabia would be a devastating blow to the Islamic Republic and the defeat of one of Hamas’ 7 October objectives.

Samuel J. Hyde is a fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute in Jerusalem.

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