A web of alliances

As the Islamic State marches on, Israel and Iran could find themselves on the same side of at least one Middle Eastern front.

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September 2, 2014 18:15
UN Disengagement Observer Force

UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) troops move through Israel’s Golan Heights before crossing into Syria, August 31.. (photo credit: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER)

 
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 On August 26, 12 hours before a cease-fire to end the 50-day long Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza came into effect, a no less significant event took place 964 kilometers away from Tel Aviv. This event, like the Gaza war, signifies the rapidly changing new reality in the Middle East – a reality that is replete with severe dangers for Israel but also opens windows of opportunity for a radically different regional lineup.

In Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region, an autonomous entity of the dysfunctional Iraqi state, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with the Kurdish President Masoud Barzani. In a joint press conference, the two revealed that Iran had agreed to supply weapons and ammunition to the Kurdish army, which is battling the extremist Islamic State (IS). The Kurds are fighting alongside the Iraqi army with the backing of the US Air Force.

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