On the edge of darkness

What is going on today in the Middle East and the world is no less than part of a strategic change that is threatening the balance of power in the international arena.

Smoke billows from the town of Makhmur during clashes between Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga troops and Islamic State (IS) militants. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Smoke billows from the town of Makhmur during clashes between Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga troops and Islamic State (IS) militants.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
In recent weeks, we have been very busy with Operation Protective Edge. This operation emerged after a long period of engaging in economic problems and political corruption, which followed endless discussions regarding the collapse of the health system, the deterioration of the education system, and all of that after being preoccupied with Operation Cast Lead, that came right after the social protests.
Maybe it’s time to rise above the tunnels and alleys in the built-up areas of the Gaza Strip. Maybe we should stop engaging in the demagoguery of winning and losing locally. We should raise our heads above the abundance of commentaries that are heard non-stop on the news. Maybe we should change the frequency we are on in order to see the broader picture.
Today it has become apparent to everyone that there is no point to getting carried away with the political demagoguery of the party leaders and the continuing discussions on the right and left wings.
This is clearly irrelevant in light of the recent developments in the local and global arena. At times like this we should look outside our own troubles and problems with the economy, employment, government corruption and mismanagement of the last war in Gaza in particular, and the management of the country in general.
What is going on today in the Middle East and the world is no less than part of a strategic change that is threatening the balance of power in the international arena. Right now, Israel is a secondary player in this process. This is the story of the radical Islamic and murderous terror organization taking over the entire Middle East, by way of confrontation with the weak, apathetic Western world, which ignores the threat that is on the threshold.
This process taking place around us includes several subprocesses:
• The first takes place in the north of Iraq and Syria, where the murderous organization the Islamic State is taking over a huge area on its way to building an extremist Muslim state with defined territorial boundaries.
Using violence and murder to advance the occupation of the rest of Iraq and Syria, while signaling its next target – Jordan. There its forces have already begun to act as they encounter limited resistance from the Jordanian Army, which is led by an inexperienced king who is isolated in the Arab world. This is part of an effort to take over the entire Middle East, to establish the first Islamic caliphate in centuries.
• The second has been going on for a very long time in Lebanon, where Hezbollah has already completed taking over the country and making it the world’s largest missile base. That, as well as a leading drug exporter.
• The third takes place in Gaza where Hamas continues to establish himself as a terrorist organization and manages to stand up to the allegedly most powerful state in the region, while dictating the moves, the intensity, the scope, the schedule and the daily agenda in general.
• The fourth takes place in Turkey, which under the leadership of Recep Erdogan has becomes more and more extreme on its way to turning into the world’s largest Muslim empire, desiring to lead the entire Muslim world in its struggle against the Western world. This process of increasing radicalization strengthens connections to Muslim terrorist organizations and a growing incitement against Israel in particular and the Western world in general.
• The fifth seems to occur out of sight, in Russia, where Vladimir Putin gains strength in his position as head of an empire that is leading the Eastern world’s fight against America. In this struggle Russia stands by the Arab side, while conquering neighboring countries without any interference.
On the other side, another dramatic issue takes place, in the Western world that is composed of two main factors: First, the United States under the increasingly weak and indecisive leadership of Barack Obama and the lack of basic understanding that Secretary of State John Kerry has for events in the Middle East that is being slowly occupied by radical Muslim terrorists; and second, the indifferent European Union, which is allowing radical Islam to prosper in their countries without interference.
In the middle of this commotion is the State of Israel. The threat is approaching Israel and is even already here. There still is no strategy being developed to deal, internally and externally, with the enemy. The government continues to take pride in the strategic success of eliminating 34 terror tunnels in the operation that claimed the lives of 64 of our best men, 64 IDF soldiers. Meanwhile, Hamas continues securely in power, continues to fire rockets into Israel, continues to decide what to do, how to do it, when to do it and when to stop.
These intersection of these two opposing processes is destructive.
On the one side, they are carried out by radical Islamic terrorist organizations, led by Qatar and Turkey, some of which continue to expand their control of vast areas, and which are motivated by radical religious movements and act decisively, terrorizing all countries in the region.
On the other side, the Western world has weak, indecisive governments that lack vision and understanding of reality, and are only trying to stay in power, at the expense of their citizens. This is the situation in Israel, in Europe and it is exactly what is happening in the United States. We are all to blame. We cannot convey to the Americans and the Europeans the seriousness of the situation, and the need to create a strong, united front. We find it difficult to convey the message that what is hurting us right now is exactly what hit Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and what may soon hit Europe. We are losing this battle and we need to wake up, quickly.
The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
Translated from Hebrew by Maya Pelleg.