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No Longer United Against Israel: The New Arab World


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The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies

By Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar

October 20, 2020

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,781, October 20, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The Arab states are no longer a single bloc opposing Israel but are divided into two coalitions. One is on Iran’s side; the other is against it. Israel, which in the past was perceived as the problem, has become part of the solution.

For many years it has been commonly accepted that there is an “Arab world.” That world had a unifying institution in the Arab League, a leadership body in the Arab Summit, and a more or less unitary agenda centered around the desire to see Israel disappear and a Palestinian state take its place.

That last element now belongs to the past. For several years now, the so-called “Arab world” has ceased to be what it once was. What exists today are two hostile coalitions that are fighting one another with great tenacity and no sensitivity to the casualties being suffered on either side.

One of these coalitions contains Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Qatar, and Gaza, and it is supported from the outside by Turkey, Russia, and China. Against it stands an opposing coalition made up of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan, and Israel, supported from the outside by the US. The remaining Arab states lie somewhere between the coalitions.

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