While nearly all political leaders and major media outlets prefer to pretend otherwise, the reality of the Middle East is actually fairly easy to understand. Two knowledgeable writers sum it up. The clarity of Caroline Glick is truly cathartic. She writes:
Both the popularity of Islamist parties and their behavior after being popularly elected have confounded Western reasoning -- particularly in the US. Quite simply, successive administrations in Washington have been unable to provide an accurate explanation of what drives the population of these countries, and increasingly of the Islamic world in general to support Islamist parties and movements. ...
There is an alternative explanation for the behavior of the peoples of the Islamic world that actually can explain events, and has successfully forecast them. It has even engendered policy recommendations that might have mitigated both the popularity of the Islamist parties and deterred these parties, once elected, from taking provocative steps against Western states and interests. Unfortunately, every time this explanation is raised, western policy-makers head for the hills.
The explanation is nothing more than an observation. It observes that the populations of Islamic countries and societies support Islamist parties like the AKP and Hizbullah and Hamas, because they support what they stand for. The explanation notes that ten and hundreds of thousands of Palestinian, Lebanese, Iranians, Turks, Egyptian and others voluntarily congregate in public venues and swoon when Islamist leaders tell them that Islam will defeat the West and promise the death of America and the death of Israel.
This interview with former IDF chief Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon is as sobering as Glick's article. In it he uses the term Islamic jihadists five times, something no other member of a western government would dare to. He states:
The widespread conception is that the way to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is by Israeli withdrawals. I believe that this whole idea is wrong at its core. Firstly, if you solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict it will not stop or even soften the Islamic jihadists .
The Islamic revolution did not erupt because of us. Al-Qaeda was not created because of us and even Hizbullah did not rise up because of us. The Muslim Brotherhood was also established without connection to us. It was established in 1928 when there wasn't a State of Israel. It was not even a response to Zionism.
It will be interesting to see how Yaalon's demand for Iran talk deadlines will eventually be resolved since the White House has already rejected it. Ya'alon says:
I have no doubt that the Iranians will use any dialogue to stall for time if there will not be a clear time frame and clear benchmarks. Like telling them that they have two months to stop the enrichment or telling them that the dialog is from now until a specific month and that we demand that you stop enrichment and beef up international supervision in the interim.
But Ya'alon does not believe that this policy will lead to a clash with the American administration.
I don't recall a single case in the past few decades of my adult life of the Americans ever forcing us to do something significant that was against our clear security interest.
They did not push us to Oslo, to the disengagement from Gaza or to negotiations with [Syrian President Bashir] Assad.
As to who is going to carry the mission against Iranian nuclear sites, Ya'alon says:
I don't want to talk about our capabilities and I think that we should not lead the pack on the Iranian issue, since it is not just a threat to us. We need to hope that the job will be done by someone else and at the same time, as the Talmudic sage Hillel said: "If I am not for myself, who will be".
Moshe Ya'alon is a rarity these days. He is fully aware of the danger the Islamic jihadists represent for the West, and he is a member of a government which is in power, a combination that does not seem to exist at the moment anywhere else. In fact, the government of Israel is the exception. Both Netanyahu and Lieberman have in their respective interviews shown that they too have no illusions.
Historians in the future will be analyzing what set of events have pushed this country of seven and a half million inhabitants to the point when in fighting for its very existence it will be defending the whole civilization of the West. A role it did not seek, but one it has no choice but to fulfill.