November 22nd, 2012
10:50 AM ET

Israel dominates the new Middle East

By Fareed Zakaria

As missiles and rockets exploded in Israel and Gaza, television news was dominated by the tragic violence, and we were warned that the battle between Israel and the Palestinians might spread because we are in a new and much more dangerous Middle East. Islamists are in power, democracies will listen to their people. In fact, as the relatively quick cease-fire between the parties shows, there is a very low likelihood of a broader regional conflict. It’s true that we’re in a new Middle East, but it’s one in which Israel has become the region’s superpower.

In a thorough 2010 study, “The Arab-Israeli Military Balance,” Anthony Cordesman and Aram Nerguizian document how over the past decade Israel has outstripped its neighbors in every dimension of warfare. The authors attribute this to Israel’s “combination of national expenditures, massive external funding, national industrial capacity and effective strategy and force planning.” Israel’s military expenditures in 2009 were about $10 billion, which is three times Egypt’s military spending and larger than the combined defense expenditures of all its neighbors — Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. (This advantage is helped by the fact that Israel receives $3 billion in military assistance from Washington.)

For the full column, click here.

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soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. deniz boro

    This is not new news for the people of the region. Israel (the Little or Big brother of the USA) always had the means to manipulate the Middle Eastern policies. The ruthless action of a group of Israeli politicians who were backed up by a group of elderly people who still suffer from the sense of insecurity left from the PTSD of the World War II led to this deadend.
    On the other side, the Muslims eventually rebelled against the injustice and discrimination done to the people of their religion. Hence Oct 11; Hence the Arab Spring and Hence the bloodshed.
    So is the world any better now? Who won in these last 10 or so years- except for the weapon dealers?
    Is the problem solved?
    Is the Middle East a better place to live for bothe the Jewish and the Muslim people?
    All this behavior and strange relationship of a group of mentally insecure people only served the radical groups who are always there to create problem and the vultures who are always there to benefit from it.
    If anyone thinks that there is any geopolitical change in the Middle East within the last 70 or so years, I must blatantly say that he/she is incurably ignorant.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • j. von hettlingen

      Israel might dominate as the superpower of the Middle East, militarily and politically. The US will be as strongly as ever on Israel's side, but demographics will be on the side of the Palestinians. They have a higher birth-rate than Jews. Israel is reported to pursue the policy of preserving a Jewish state and democratic character. So no one can be sure how this region will develop in a few decades time.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        Israel might be able to protect its citizens physically against air raids and attacks, but it can't provide them serenity and a sense of untroubledness. In the last few days many Israelis have suffered from shock and fear.

        November 22, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
      • deniz boro

        Look at it historically starting from the Old Testiment. If that is a written history as some religious people believe in. It finally says that the Israelit are a cursed nation in the final pages of Exodus. Trying to beat up other people of the nation will not change the Old Tastement. Let's not try to be so polite to decipher the Old Tastement kindly.

        November 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
      • deniz boro

        If a secret book composed in about 5-4 BC is still going to rule the current world affairs, we might as well.

        November 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  2. hello777

    if it's 1 nation that needs a good military it's Israel since it's surrounded by enemies.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      Conceived or actual/physical?

      November 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
    • Juancho

      Israel is the Enemy. They are stomping Palestinians Rights, they steal their water and any survival possiblity. They and nazis are alike.

      November 23, 2012 at 5:20 am | Reply
  3. deniz boro

    How come people comment on the number of Turkish soldiers when women in Turkey is not yet needed for mandatory military duty. Just imagine a nation where all women and men have to serve some period in the army unlike the other nations in the region. Just imagine what this implies!!.
    Is this what is generally called a warrior nation as it was all through the written history?
    Do we have a place for a nation who basis its principles on a warfood while the GLOBAL COMMUNITY spends so much effort to reach a harmonized state?

    November 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  4. deniz boro

    Israel's unpredictable gunpower is just a short-term and temporary standstill for a concrete resolution which had been denied for too many years now. Though it might have been a confortoble resort in the past, it is no longer so. It has by far expired its use by date.
    People do talk and allocate broadcasting time to this cancer in the global politics of our day, With no actual solutions.
    When will the new generation of Israel have a saying and be free to learn the about realities of the World. No one else has a problem with Jews living in their country. We grow up together. We are friends.
    Why is it only a problem in the Gazza and not anywhere else accross the world?

    November 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  5. Riza

    Why Iran isn't even mentioned? their threats aren't existential threats either? They now have officially the capability of making nuclear weapons.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  6. Muin

    Netyanhu always treat president obama like a second class citizen in U.S soil. So I thought Netyanhu is the leader of the world and U.S gets money from Israel.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:52 am | Reply
  7. deniz boro

    I wish to express a more humble view and my sincere apologies on the comments I have made on this general issue.
    My views have been paused because of a program I watched on a Turkish TV on the recent history of the Israel/ Philistine issue. And the real tale of the parties that took part in it.
    I have never been interested in the recent history and tended to evaluate societies from outdated records and from what I saw in the current times. And those records were all lived and experienced before I was mature enough to understand them. I am ashamed to say that I made one mistake of being carried out by emotions which is naturally shaped by the society I live in.
    It is not easy to stay neutral while so many channels attest to a victim and an offender. And you listen to a daily feed of it consciously or unconsciously.
    I fell to the same old game. I always tended to think that the Israel party was acting impossibly. Missing the fact that they lived with this issue for more years than my age and that they do have a rather sound intelligence system.
    However, I still believe this problem is not caused by the people of Israel and Philistine but by the people who nominate to govern them.
    Finally, I am really sorry I was carried out by the emotions of my general society, disregarding the historical facts of the recent past.
    My change of perspective is only because of the facts I have just heard and do need time to digest, however, it was a valuable lesson for me (for at least my self-respect) not to be carried on by mare emotions carefully cultivated.

    November 24, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
    • deniz boro

      I still believe that song is superb. It says non of us is pure: ""

      August 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  8. deniz boro

    As I sometimes do I would like to refer to a song...But this time a song by a Turkish lady; Sezen Aksu. The song goes"Eller Günahkar/ Bizler günahkar/ Bir çağ yangını bu/ Bütün dünya günahkar" Meaning:
    The others are in sin/ we are in sin/ this is the fire of the century/ the whole world is in sin"

    November 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply

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