msolga, I do not believe there is another country except the US in support of Israel. We still give Israel about $4 billion every year, and most Middle East countries see us as supporters of Israel even when everybody on this planet knows it's not a "democracy." They keep expanding their settlements by taking land away from the Palestinians. How long this can go on is anybody's guess
Israel warily eyes its strategic ally as violence rocks the region
Isabel Kershner, Jerusalem
January 28, 2011
AFTER the Tunisian revolution and the emergence of a Hezbollah-backed government in Lebanon, Israelis are confronting another jolt to the system as mass protests rock Egypt, the partner in Israel's oldest and most important Middle East relationship.
Although the recent upheavals have not been about Israel, they could have a momentous impact on its future.
Yet Israel, often a major player, now finds itself in the less familiar, somewhat unnerving, role of spectator.
''When we say we are following events closely,'' said an Israeli official, who insisted on anonymity because of the delicacy of the diplomatic situation, ''that is the truth. There is not much else we can do.''
Israel has a special stake in Egypt's stability. The two countries share a long border and signed a historic peace treaty in 1979, a cornerstone of the regional balance that has endured for more than 30 years.
Though the peace, Israel's first with an Arab partner, has remained cold - Egyptian civil society still boycotts Israel - the relationship is viewed here as critical.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confers regularly with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak; they met most recently on January 6 in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for what an official described as strategic discussions.
''Egypt is not only our closest friend in the region,'' Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a veteran Israeli politician and former defence minister known for his close ties to senior Egyptian officials, told Army Radio on Wednesday, ''the co-operation between us goes beyond the strategic.''
Israeli officials and analysts said they believed that Mr Mubarak's government was strong enough to withstand the protests, at least as long as it had the backing of the Egyptian army.
But with Mr Mubarak, who came to power in 1981, now an ailing octogenarian, Israelis were in any case looking ahead to a transition of some sort in Egypt, amid a sense of a shifting regional equilibrium.
Israelis speak of two arcs in the region - a northern, Iranian-oriented one including Iran, Syria and now Lebanon; and a more moderate, southern arc spanning North Africa, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Persian Gulf states.
''We see the northern arc growing in strength,'' said Oded Eran, director of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University and a former Israeli ambassador to Jordan, ''and the southern arc in a very volatile period.
''While we should all congratulate the forces calling for more democracy, if this is the case,'' he added, noting that the opposition in Egypt includes Islamic fundamentalists, ''for now, the effect is destabilising.''
Israelis were not yet envisaging a future without the peace treaty with Egypt.
Mr Eran said that almost any government in Egypt would want to maintain the pact, even at a low profile, because so much was hinged on it, including Egypt's relations with, and aid from, the United States.
At least in the short term, Israelis did not see a need for panic.
''If anyone was planning to go on a tourist adventure to Egypt in the near future, including a dreamy cruise on the Nile or a tour of the Cairo pyramids, we can immediately say: Go, don't be afraid,'' wrote Smadar Peri, Arab affairs correspondent for the Yediot Ahronot newspaper. ''There is no reason to change your plans.''
But at the same time, officials here were cautious about making long-term predictions. After Mr Mubarak leaves the stage, one said, ''We have no idea what will happen.''
NEW YORK TIMES
There would be a significant change of "affiliation alignments" in the region, do you agree?
Which might well change the nature of Israeli's support in the region?
Which might lead to a whole new ball game in US foreign policy as it relates to the middle east ... out of necessity. Because the "official" support base would be vanishing ... fast.
Brian Whittaker, a Middle East expert at the Guardian, has provided this snap analysis of Clinton's words:
It looks to me as if Clinton is angling for a negotiated departure by Mubarak, accompanied by an increase in political freedom. I think the US is aiming to structure the solution in a way that would protect its key interests: the peace treaty with Israel, the Suez canal, and co-operation against terrorism.
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
In addition, while there are, obviously, legitimate complaints by oppressed citizenry, the Resistance is largely controlled by a Fundamentalist Islamic opposition that has been in place and operating for many years now. It is not about to let populist, pro-democratic forces lead the way.
That's what I doubt, especially, when you look at the local/regional scenes.
It is a populist resistance, if it's a democratic one, well, that's the question (and it wasn't really democratic one in e.g. the former Yugoslavian countries either).
Ironically, Muslims played a major role in the events. Those pesky Muhammedans seem to always be around when there is trouble.