The Moderate Axis - an Opportunity for Israel?

The establishment of a strategic security-intelligence axis among the moderate Arab states for containing the Iranian threat may provide an opportunity for Israel to improve its status as a regional actor.

The 'moderate' Arab states, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have established a strategic security-intelligence axis for containing the Iranian threat. A meeting last week in Amman between these States was also attended by Fatah representatives Abu Mazen and Mohammed Dahlan.

Moreover, it was recently reported that in light of Iran's nuclear project, there is an increased interest among the Gulf States for acquiring arms and for strengthening their security ties with the US.

The Reut Institute contends that on the one hand, Iranian attempts to establish regional hegemony are encouraging Arab states to create a 'Moderate Axis' against the threat.

The Moderate Axis' agenda is based on three main issues:

  • Creating a balance of power against the growing Iranian hegemony and potential Shiite Crescent;
  • Fighting against global jihad which threatens the stability of the moderate Arab regimes.
  • Attempting to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which is considered to be a source of regional instability. Both Iran and the Moderate Axis are attempting to influence the course of the conflict in their own ways.

On the other hand, in parallel to the consolidation of the Moderate Axis, the Gulf States led by Saudi Arabia are also maintaining ties with Iran. One example of this was a recent visit by Ali Larijani, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, to these States as well as to Jordan and Lebanon. These visits ended with joint declarations.

In any case, the consolidation of the Moderate Axis in the Middle East constitutes an opportunity for Israel to increase its cooperation with the Moderate Arab States and to improve its status as a regional actor.

Sources

Hassan Fattah, New York Times, 2/23/07; full article.

Ben Caspit, Ma'ariv (in Hebrew), 2/26/07.

Memri, 1/28/07; full article.

Islamic Republic News Agency, 2/14/07; full article.

Zvi Barel, Ha'aretz, 2/23/07; full article.