An unforeseen trickle-down effect of Britain’s decision to leave the EU last week is evident in the reaction of Arab governments, which have begun shying away from their reliance on the US or Europe to lead the war on ISIS, debkafile’s sources report. They are coming to see the US-led coalition as weakened and predict that Britain will draw down or remove its forces from the anti-jihadist arenas in the near future. Officials in several Arab capitals are now discussing the possibility of ending their boycott of Syrian President Bashar Assad and cooperating militarily with his regime against the terrorists – an option which just a few days ago would have been unthinkable.
In general, there are signs of satisfaction in Muslim Middle Eastern countries over what is seen as the weakening of NATO. and even more of Washington’s position in Brussels. Tehran, Riyadh, Amman, and Damascus are giving vent to these sentiments in the first political consensus the Arab and Muslim world has seen since the outbreak of the Arab Spring uprisings in December 2010.
Statements like “we have new and historic opportunities” and “the American star has been wiped off the EU flag” are just the tip of the iceberg – despite the return of a limited number of US forces to fight ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya over the past few months, to partly fill the void created by President Barack Obama’s Mid East policies.
The pleasure they are taking in Europe’s undoing is surprising considering the political and financial efforts as well as the military assistance that the EU invested over the past few years in the Arab world, such as the Persian Gulf states, in the Iranian nuclear issue and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
For years, the Obama administration and European leaders have held up Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, as the great white hope for a democratic and liberal Iran and a new page in its relations with the West.
Yet Hamid Abutalebi, deputy chief of staff of the presidential office for political affairs, Sunday welcomed the opportunity presented Tehran to exploit, after “the EU had lost the trust of Europeans” and “economic troubles in southern Europe, terror attacks, and refugee arrivals are signs of the collapse of the EU.”
The deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, said, “The only way now for the European Union to survive is to state openly its independence from the White House.”
debkafile’s intelligence sources report that an unexpected and dramatic result of Britain’s decision to leave the EU last week is that officials in several Arab capitals are discussing the possibility of ending their boycott of Syrian President Assad and cooperating militarily with his regime, now seen as a steady rock, against the terrorist organization, an option that just a few days ago would have been unthinkable.
In other words, they would be accepting Assad’s claim since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011 that his war against the uprising against his regime was in fact a war against radical Islamic terror.
If the officials in Arab capitals transform their words into deeds, we would be on the verge of yet another political and military earthquake in the Middle East.