Jan. 5, 2018
Middle East’s Dull Response to U.S. Jerusalem Decision Shouldn’t Be a Surprise – Haisam Hassanein and Wesam Hassanein (The Hill)
Three weeks after President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the pessimistic warnings of widespread protests and violence across the Middle East have proven to be overblown. There were protests in some Arab capitals, but they lacked the numbers and enthusiasm to sustain themselves.
In the past, the Iranian-led axis, Sunni political Islamists, and Arab nationalists and leftists possessed an outstanding ability to mobilize masses into Arab streets to protest for the Palestinian cause. These actors, however, have lost their power and credibility in recent years.
Iranian intervention to support the rule of Syrian dictator Bashar Al Assad resulted in the mass killing of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arabs, tarnishing the image of Iran and its allies throughout the Sunni world.
Moreover, pictures of Syrian children being attacked with chemical weapons by the Assad regime and its Iranian allies have forced many to refer to Iran’s chief militia in the region, Hizbullah, as the “Party of the Devil” instead of the “Party of God.” This is in complete contrast to the 2006 conflict between Israel and Hizbullah when pictures of Hizbullah leader Nasrallah were displayed in Cairo, Amman and other Sunni capitals as a show of support.
The second pillar of the Iranian axis in the region, the Palestinian militant group Hamas, has also been discredited publicly by its open association with the Muslim Brotherhood and its intervention in Egyptian affairs, particularly in Sinai, after 2011.
Haisam Hassanein is Glazer Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Wesam Hassanein is a master’s candidate at American University’s School of International Service.