By Geoffrey Paul
January 16, 2011
I have no doubt that Israeli military and political think tanks are hard at work trying to assess the outcome of events in Tunisia on such vulnerable neighbours as Jordan and Egypt and, within the same zone of influence, Libya and Algeria. There is no question at all that changes of regime in either Jordan or Egypt - unlikely immediately given the strength of their internal security forces - would have a major impact on Israel (and no less the Arabs of the West Bank and Gaza). There are some fanciful soothsayers in Israel who see the monarchy in Jordan being overthrown by the country’s Palestinian majority who will then create their Palestinian state which will absorb their brothers and sisters in the West Bank and Gaza and leave Israel within its present borders. That is to presume the Jordanian Palestinians are more sympathetic to Fatah than Hamas. There is absolutely no justification for this. None at all. And, in Egypt, if the Mubarak dynasty is to be brought to an end, by whatever means, it is likely to be followed by - if not a regime dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood - a strongly Islamist coalition. The two signed peace agreements Israel has - with Jordan and with Egypt - will be worthless given the overthrow of the existing regimes and a whole new ballgame will be signalled in the Middle East. Tunisia was the first domino. Who will predict the last?