“The Arab–Israeli normalization is a strictly inter-elite process which doesn’t reflect the sentiment of average Arabs in the region. It’s being advanced for strategic purposes related to the desire of “Israel” and some of the Arab countries to more publicly coordinate attempts to contain Iran,” a member of the expert council for the Institute of Strategic Studies and Predictions at the People’s Friendship University of Russia, Andrew Korybko tells the Tehran Times.
Korybko, who is author of “Hybrid Wars: The Indirect Adaptive Approach to Regime Change”, argues that the Arab–Israeli normalization is “a betrayal of the Palestinians’ political cause in exchange for attempting to buy them off with promised economic investments through the so-called “Deal of the Century”. The Arab Monarchies are leading the charge and encouraging their regional proxies to follow suit, holding out the carrot of “Israeli” investments in their own economies to incentivize them to do so.”
He also adds that the end result of the normalization is that “the Palestinians will continue to suffer because their legitimate right to self-determination isn’t being respected.”
The text of the interview with Korybko is as follows:
Q: How do assess the ongoing regional developments in West Asia?
A: The situation remains complicated, as has been the norm for decades already, but some of the strategic dynamics are changing. The US’ large-scale withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 reduced its military presence in the central part of the region, though this was soon followed up by smaller deployments to that country and Syria on the pretext of fighting against ISIS. Russia has also emerged as a key military and diplomatic player as a result of its anti-terrorist intervention in Syria and leading role in the Arab Republic’s peace process.
Moscow is using its involvement there as a springboard for advancing its regional “balancing” strategy between all of West Asia’s key stakeholders, which also importantly includes “Israel” as well even though few ever discuss this. In parallel, China has become a major economic player through the expansion of its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), especially in Iran following the 25-year strategic partnership deal that was recently clinched.
Altogether, these developments suggest that the region is still in flux and will likely remain so for some time. It’s still an arena of competition between Great Powers, including those within the region such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, as well as other important players such as “Israel” and the UAE. The main challenge is in trying to find possible convergences between everyone in order to reduce the risk of kinetic conflict and thus improve the locals’ living standards, but that seems unlikely since some of their interests are contradictory. For instance, the US is dead-set against BRI’s expansion into West Asia and is totally opposed to Iran retaining its regional influence, the latter of which is a concern that it shares with “Israel” and Saudi Arabia. There’s also the ongoing War on Yemen that few talk about, which is a major factor of regional destabilization. Looking forward, it’s difficult to predict what the future might bring due to these complicated dynamics.
Q: What is your thought on the Arab-Israeli normalization?
A: The Arab–Israeli normalization is a strictly inter-elite process which doesn’t reflect the sentiment of average Arabs in the region. It’s being advanced for strategic purposes related to the desire of “Israel” and some of the Arab countries to more publicly coordinate attempts to “contain” Iran. This scheme also includes an economic component since “Israel” has plenty of money to invest in the region and has some pretty competitive businesses in many spheres too. This dovetails with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiative of transitioning to a post-oil economy through more real-sector economic investments.
The implications of this process are obvious, and it’s that the strategic situation is changing at least on the international level. The growing number of Arab countries that join this process testifies to their elites’ lack of interest in the Palestinian cause that used to unite them. Instead of being the driving force behind Arab unity, it’s now being grossly exploited as the driving force for unity between the Arab and Zionist elite. The end result is that the Palestinians will continue to suffer because their legitimate right to self-determination isn’t being respected. The occupation likely won’t end anytime soon, and their situation will thus worsen.
Q: Do you think that normalization seeks to undermine the thought of resistance and the idea of free Palestine?
A: That’s precisely what’s happening since some Arab elites care less about their ethnic compatriots’ legitimate rights to self-determination and more about their strategic interests vis-a-vis Iran and economic benefits connected to “Israeli” investments in their countries. That said, this normalization process is also provoking a lot of anger among some average Arabs, who instead of forgetting about resistance and the cause of a free Palestine, are more motivated than ever to support them. However, it’ll remain to be seen how successful they are outside of the Resistance Axis states since there’s heavy pressure being put upon them by “Israel” and its new Arab allies to cease their activities and submit to the so-called “new normal”.
It’s a betrayal of the Palestinians’ political cause in exchange for attempting to buy them off with promised economic investments through the so-called “Deal of the Century”. The Arab Monarchies are leading the charge and encouraging their regional proxies to follow suit, holding out the carrot of “Israeli” investments in their own economies to incentivize them to do so. Given the lack of independence displayed by many Arab nations as well as their less-than-ideal economic situations to put it mildly, it can’t be discounted that some of their leaders might be considering this offer since it appears attractive to them from their elite perspective. That doesn’t, however, mean that their people will support it though since many still proudly stand in solidarity with the Palestinians’ self-determination cause.
Q: In your thought, what will be Biden’s foreign policy toward this dispute?
A: Biden’s foreign policy is formulated by Obama-era and -influenced officials who are intent on replicating as much of that prior one as possible. If history is any indication, then while the US will remain close to “Israel” like it was during Obama’s two terms, it might also publicly disagree with it on some key issues, notably the need to hold negotiations about Iran’s nuclear energy program and possibly cut some kind of new deal if the political will is present by both sides to do so and the terms are mutually acceptable. Observers can therefore expect the Biden Administration to somewhat diverge from its predecessor’s strident support of “Israeli” interests in all respects. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as the onset of any sort of rift, but rather the possible beginning of an ironic “normalization” of US-” Israeli” relations whereby the latter is no longer treated as special as it used to be even if it still remains the most privileged of America’s foreign partners.
Q: The Western mainstream media introduce the Axis of Resistance as a kind of expansion of the Shiite influence over the region. What is your take on this policy?
A: The Axis of Resistance is a non-sectarian cross-religious movement that includes Shiites, Sunnis, Christians, Atheists, and others all across the world even though it’s mostly concentrated in West Asia. Focusing only on the Shiite component is meant to discredit the Resistance and imply that it’s really just an Iranian proxy network. It’s still important to be aware of how the Mainstream Media misportrays the Resistance in order to more effectively counter its information warfare narratives, which is why these slanderous claims shouldn’t be ignored but confronted head-on by proud non-Shiite members of this network. They might even consider the wisdom of publicly pledging loyalty to its ideals, if it’s safe for them to do so in their home countries, that is. In any case, the West’s infowar against the Resistance could be flipped around to generate more interest in it if they creatively use these attacks as the opportunity to raise more awareness about the truth of this network among those who’ve just only heard about it because of the false attacks against it.