The Arab Spring's anti-Israel flavor

Tuesday, July 05, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

When Arab masses began to rise up against dictatorial regimes and demand democratic reforms, Western leaders hailed the movement as one that would result in a more liberal, open and conflict-free Middle East.

Many Western officials, especially those in Washington, insisted that the so-called "Arab Spring" would improve the prospects of peaceful relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

But as Islamist groups have effectively hijacked most of the regional revolutions, those prospects have diminished considerably.

In the nation where it all started, Tunisia, the newly established High Commission for Political Reforms and Democratic Transition decided last Friday that peace with Israel will in fact be forbidden.

An official government document cited by the AFP news agency stated that the new Tunisia is democratic, that its language is Arabic, its religion is Islam and that it rejects "any form of normalization with the Zionist state."

The situation is likely to be similar in Egypt, though with more devastating effects, since that country already has a peace agreement with Israel.

Egyptians are scheduled to go to the polls in September in the country's first parliamentary election since the ouster of former dictator Hosni Mubarak.

But the only organized and broadly-supported political force in Egypt at present is the Muslim Brotherhood. And with so little time before the election, there is no chance for any other group to rise up and win a majority of seats in the parliament.

That means the Muslim Brotherood is almost guaranteed to control the Egyptian parliament, whether through an outright majority or via smaller allied political groups. And that will not bode well for the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

All in all, the Arab Spring is turning out to be a rather chilly season for Israel. It appears those "experts" in Washington and Europe don't know as much as they would like to think.

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