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Israel Must Send a Message to Its Enemies as China Enters the Middle East


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Middle East Forum

Nave Dromi
The Jerusalem Post
March 16, 2023

The Middle East has long been known for its constantly shifting geopolitical sands. Throughout modern history, many of the major leaders of the region have looked to see which side is gaining the upper hand globally and have acted accordingly.

It is what journalist and author Lee Smith called the Strong Horse principle. Smith describes the region's rulers as acting in their self-interests and using any available means to retain their hold on power, which usually means siding with the strong horse in the international arena.


The principle seems to be alive and well. The recent decision to reestablish Iranian-Saudi ties was brokered by China, which says more about the broker than those who signed the agreement.

Little will change the deep sense of mistrust between the leaders of the Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim worlds. The conflicts that divide them in Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere will remain for now; the enmity will not easily disappear.

What has happened is that the Saudis have sent out feelers in many directions to see who can deliver. Ever since the Biden administration moved away from its predecessor's closeness to the Saudis, Mohammed bin Salman has been seeking alternatives.


Israel must send a clear message to its enemies -- politically, diplomatically, economically, and if necessary, militarily -- and force them to disavow any hope of ultimate victory. It must crush their will to continue fighting.

Especially at this time, this hope must be disabused as the sands start to shift in the region once more and not in a way favorable to Israel.

Nave Dromi is director of the Middle East Forum's office in Israel and head of the Israel Victory Project.

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