Look, everybody knows Albert Einstein was a very smart guy, and what he said, that “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity,” is undoubtedly true. Except almost every real crisis is different, unique unto itself, and the opportunities on offer can differ greatly in value and attainability.
Take for example, the four crises President Joe Biden will face in the Middle East. The quartet were presented to the President-elect with a week of his election by our guest today, Emile Nakhleh, the Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico, and they are all real and all offer opportunities, but also dangerous pitfalls..
Emile Nakhleh is a former Senior Intelligence Officer, specializing in the politics of the Islamic world at the CIA. Furthermore, his work is well known to the former veep, the President-elect, because one of Emile’s most interesting credits is that he contributed to President Obama’s famous 2009 speech in Cairo re-setting American priorities in the region.
Here are his four categories of Mideast/Islamic world jeopardy for Joe Biden: Failing states. Terrorism. Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli-Palestinian-Arab relations.
And Emile, I want to talk about them in reverse order … in what I would call the classic game show structure of increasing degree of difficulty. It really says something about the changes in America’s Mideast priorities and imperatives that the crisis in Israeli-Palestinian-Arab relations is likely to be the least of Joe Biden’s Mideast worries.
Why? For the same reason Israeli peace with the UAE and Bahrain and Sudan for that matter is a bit of a “nothingburger” …because there is no imminent threat of war among those states or between Israel and the Palestinians. Still, what’s not to like about better relations and more mutual money-making among those Muslim states and Israel? Two things – almost all the financial benefits go to elites, not ordinary people, and for the Palestinians and their supports, it is a major betrayal.
Which can as crises will, spread the ill-effects … to Bahrain? Which is the homeport of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet.
Emile Nakhleh is a retired CIA Senior Intelligence Service Officer and founding director of the CIA’s Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program Office. Nakhleh is currently a Research Professor and Director of the Global and National Security Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico.