Muslim Nations are Hedging Their Bets

The Trump administration was exceptionally successful in generating normalization between Israel and Muslim nations due to the Trump policy of intending to devolve much of America’s superpower duties in Islamdom to Israel. This idea is immensely popular among governments of Islamdom for two reasons. 1) The Mossad is extremely trusted as a partner in the struggle against Islamism, Jihadism and terrorism. 2) America is no longer trusted due to every new president in the 21st century devising a brand new foreign policy. Israel in contrast has as most nations continuity in it foreign policy irrespective of which political parties that are in power. Due to the immense trust in the Mossad are most nations of Islamdom now comfortable with the idea of Israel as the sole great power in Islamdom and particularly so since almost no one wants Iran in that role. 

After the resignation of Donald Trump in January 2021, the US policy of transfer of American superpower duties in Islamdom to Israel was ended although eventually US promotion of normalization was resumed. The US government under Joe Biden refuses to provide incentives to nations that normalize as in contrast did the administration of Donald Trump but this is not the only reason why further nations have not normalized relations with Israel since the inauguration of Joe Biden. The main reason is that governments of Islamdom are hedging their bets and waiting to see the outcome of US Iran diplomacy. Just as Donald Trump’s maximum pressure policy was immensely appreciated among governments of Islamdom is there intense suspicion towards the Iran policies of Joe Biden. 

There are multiple reasons why the Biden administration is not trusted by governments of Islamdom. 1) There are suspicions as to what concessions the Biden administration is ready to make to Iran on the nuclear and other issues. 2) There is distrust as to the existence of Plan B, i.e. the military options. 3) There is fear that the US intends to abandon Israel and align with Iran. 4) There is fear that Iran rather than Israel may end up as the sole great power of Islamdom. 5) There are suspicions due to the Biden administration discontinuing the Trump administration policy of intending to hand over superpower duties in Islamdom to Israel. 6) There are suspicions due to the Biden administration implausibly denying its apparent intention to disengage from Islamdom. 

For these reasons are nations of Islamdom keeping their options open and refrain from normalization with Israel. The reality is that the Biden administration is well-intentioned and the suspicions are unfounded, yet national survival is at stake as nations of Islamdom fear being abandoned to Iranian imperialism. The fact is that the Biden administration is creating this confusion inadvertently and is thus unintentionally harming its own interests as well as those of Israel and its other allies in Islamdom. Once the diplomatic track with Iran is declared dead and it is clear that Plan B is very serious indeed will the process of nations of Islamdom normalizing with Israel very likely once more resume.

The problem for those nations is that an Israel that is not backed up by the United States is not sufficient as a great power ally. There must be assurances that if worst comes to worst, then America is ready to intervene militarily in the region to protect the respective sovereignty of its allies. Israel is a small but powerful nation, yet cannot substitute the United States in every way although it is capable of doing so in most respects. Israel’s role in Washington devolving most of its superpower duties in Islamdom to Jerusalem, is to act as America’s proxy and many nations of Islamdom are extremely interested in aligning with such a powerful proxy.

What options do nations of Islamdom have considering that Russia and China are aligned with Iran? The options of aligning with Russia or China still do exist and then there is of course the option of aligning with Iran in effectively becoming vassals of Tehran. These are not attractive options. There is a sense of desperation in the region as the US has less and less interests left in Islamdom, including no longer being dependent on imported oil. Nations of Islamdom of course hope that the Biden administration will return to the former Trump policy of devolving powers to Israel; but once there is regime change in Iran, there will be an entirely different calculus. On the one hand will Israel no longer be needed as an ally against Iran but on the other hand will Israel become even more powerful and indispensable and Israel will for reasons of national interests (economic, intelligence, military, strategic, security and technological) become even more attractive as a great power ally. The need for a US role will lessen even further but there will even so be a role for the US in worst case scenarios such as Chinese or Russian attempted invasions of Islamdom and American security guarantees will be an essential, indeed indispensable part of the new post-Islamist security architecture in Islamdom. 

It is not possible for the US to completely disengage from Islamdom as a US role will be needed under worst case scenarios and if the US is not ready to provide security guarantees as part of Muslim nations committing to normalization with Israel then there is a serious crisis indeed.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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