Analysis of the events that occurred over the last few years in the Middle East, shows that the most powerful, central and influential component of these events is not a verbal one – not speeches, promises, documents and agreements. What counts are actions on the ground and the accompanying threats of violence.
There is no dearth of examples that prove this rule:
Egypt is the most obvious. In June 2012, Mohamed Morsi was elected to the presidency, in the first ever democratic elections held in Egypt. A little over a year later, in July 2013, Defense Minister Abd el Fatah al-Sisi arose and deposed Morsi. The world erupted, Obama reached the boiling point, and the USA froze its military aid to Egypt. Everyone demanded that Sisi put Morsi back in office, but he refused. Then Sisi held democratic elections and won. This week – twenty months after Morsi was deposed – Obama finally realized that his dream of bringing about Muslim Brotherhood hegemony over the entire Middle East has to be put on hold. He phoned Sisi and told him that the US will renew military aid to Egypt. Sisi’s stubbornness paid off in a big way, and the Egyptian general succeeded in forcing his agenda on the President of the United States.
Israel must draw a clear and sharp conclusion: stop talking and start doing what should be done. It must put an end to the Palestinian Authority.
Another example is Assad, the mass-murdering despot who has killed tens of thousands of Syrian citizens over the past four years while the world observed the carnage and did nothing. When he crossed the most red of lines and used chemical weapons against his own people, the lines seemed to turn pink, then white and then became transparent before our very eyes.
The world condemns, the UN Security Council adopts meaningless decisions, but Assad’s continued bestial behavior is the only reason he still rules part of Syria. His actions speak louder than all the words uttered by the world and its leaders.
Hezbollah is a terrorist organization armed with tens of thousands of missiles, found guilty of the murder of Lebanon’s previous prime minister, Rafik al Hariri. The UN Security Council forbade the organization’s rearming after the Second Lebanon War, but these words did not stop it from rearming. Moreover, Europe has been cooperating with the “civilian arm” of this terrorist entity that also took over Lebanon. In other words, what the world says doesn’t matter, but what Hezbollah achieves, does. Does the fact that Hezbollah’s militants murder Syrian citizens bother anyone enough to do something? It seems the world realizes that words will not change this reality.
Iran has been moving towards acquiring nuclear weapons for years, a game changer for regional and world politics. The entire world is talking about it, speeches are made, documents are written, papers are published, agreements are signed – but all the billions of words spilled worldwide on the subject have not brought Iran to stop its nuclear plans for one minute. Only the West’s 2003 invasion of Iraq resulted in Iran’s stopping the development of its nuclear project for a while. Iran went back to nuclear activity in 2006 when it realized that no one planned to invade its territory, despite all the evidence of Iranian involvement in the Iraqi uprising, and despite the incontrovertible fact that Iran – indirectly, but intentionally – caused the deaths of thousands of American and other soldiers in Iraq up to 2010. What affects Iranian behavior is not what is said about the country, but what is done – or not done – against the Iranian regime.
Economic sanctions can influence Iranian policy on nuclear power, because sanctions are a practical, and therefore effective, step, but someone in the White House and the US State Department has decided that it is better to substitute words for actions. In the Middle East, words are meaningless. The Iranians are ready to offer pleasant words, smiles and agreements, but their actions are the exact opposite of what they promise – and it is actions that count.
Iran is bound by the decision of the UN Security Council that forbids it from exporting weapons, but do these written words keep the Ayatollahs from exporting arms to Syria? to Hezbollah in Lebanon? to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza? to the Shiite militias in Iraq? to the Kurds in northern Iraq? to Assad’s regime in Syria? to the Houthis in Yemen? The words are on paper, but Iran’s actions are the reality.
Iran has been arming itself for years, it has been funding and training the Shiite Houthis in Yemen, whose battle for control of Yemen began with attacks on Sa’dah in northern Yemen back in 2004. The Houthis gained in strength until they took over the capital city of Sa’ana several months ago and turned Yemen into a bloodbath. All the talk in Yemen about national unity as well as all the talk about dividing the country into autonomous sectors were of no avail, as the Houthis continued their relentless advance.
Houthi actions are more significant than any decision and any document. This is what pushed Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Sunni states to prepare for a real war, not a war of words, against the Houthis, whom they rightly see as the Yemenite tentacle of the Iranian octopus.
Yemen is also a stage on which al Qaeda, the organization that the entire world is against, plays a role, growing, advancing and gaining control over more and more territory. It has reached the point where its offshoot, Islamic State, established as an al Qaeda branch in Iraq in 2004, has wrested control over a third of Syria, a third of Iraq – and has the whole world living in fear of its Jihadist knives and the possibility of its revolution being exported to Europe, America, Australia and who-knows-where else. Jihadist actions have much more effect than the condemnations voiced against them, much more than the decisions, articles and caricatures aimed at them.
In Gaza, the Palestinian Authority is officially in charge – on paper – but the real control is in the hands of the Islamic terrorist organization, Hamas. How many words have been spilled about this insane situation? How may agreements have been signed by both sides? Nothing can affect the reality in which Hamas rules by force in Gaza, effectively telling the PA to go to hell. Even Israel has not succeeded in changing the facts on the ground there.
Israel, too, is in possession of many promises on crucial issues from various American presidents. These include stopping the Iranian nuclear project, support for Israel’s suggestion to retain settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, and for its opposition to the recognition of a Palestinian state in the Security Council. All these were simply words. What is happening to the assurances and all the words Israel has received? Iran continues it nuclear project – and will be doing so after signing any agreement – and America is establishing a Palestinian State in Judea and Samaria even though no one in Washington can be sure or can promise that it won’t turn into a Hamas state.
Israel must draw a clear and sharp conclusion: stop talking and start doing what should be done. It must put an end to the Palestinian Authority before it turns into another Hamas state and establish eight Emirates on its ruins: the one in Gaza has been in existence for eight years,but another seven must be established in Arab cities in Judea and Samaria – in Jenin, Shechem, Tulkarem, Kalkilya, Ramallah, Jericho, Arab areas of Hevron – ruled by local hamoulot (powerful, extended families), while Israel remains a force in the countryside with all its Jewish “settlements” intact.
Israel has to learn from Sisi, the man who succeeded in forcing the correct course of action on America, Europe and all those who opposed him. Only actions have an effect on reality in the Middle East, and for everyone who has a short memory: Israel, too, was established when the Jewish People got sick and tired of words and began to act.
In our neighborhood, we don’t talk. We act. Those who talk usually don’t do anything and have no desire to do anything, hoping that their words will cover up for their lack of action. Israel’s new government must work together on a practical plan, not one that is all verbiage and “agreements” – and start acting to put facts on the ground. In the long run, the world accepts Middle East reality, even unpleasant reality, because that is how this region operates.
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from the Hebrew by Rochel Sylvetsky