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The Best Of Frenemies
by James Dunnigan
January 3, 2014

Israel is angry at the United States for making an interim peace deal with Iran that does nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program and rewards the Iranians for showing up to talks. The U.S. disagrees with this assessment and moves forward towards a more comprehensive deal with Iran. Because of that both Saudi Arabia and Israel are now openly denouncing the American negotiations with Iran. Both Israel and the Arabs see Iran very dangerous and accuse the Americans of being naïve in their treatment of Iran. To people living nearby Iran is not some new terrorist threat but an ancient problem. The neighbors see Iran as aggressive, dangerous and deceptive, as it has been for thousands of years. They point out that Iran was seen as a regional threat even before the Islamic clerics overthrew the monarchy in 1979. It should also be noted that Iran never really adjusted to democracy and has been run by ambitious and militant tyrants for thousands of year and especially in the last century.

Another long term result of the stubborn Iranian dictatorship is closer cooperation between Israel (which both Iran and most Arab nations officially want destroyed) and the Arab Gulf states. Over the last 60 years Israel has always sought to improve relations with Arab states and has made slow, but steady progress. Now, with Arabs in general (and especially in Arabia) terrified of Iran, the pro-Israel attitudes are growing as is unofficial and discreet cooperation between Israel and  the Arab Gulf states on matters of mutual interest (like restraining Iran). The United States has always encouraged these relationships and recently reaffirmed its commitment to the security of Israel and the Arab Gulf states. But the Arabs and Israelis want more than words from America. Meanwhile the Arabs and Israelis have become the best of frenemies (friendly enemies).

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