Q&A: Israel, Iran and the Middle East uprisings

All the players in the Middle East are jockeying for position in the new order, even before that order is established. Iran is flexing its military muscle, Israel has lost its strongest ally in the Arab world, global oil prices are soaring, Libya is imploding, the United States may lose a strategic naval base, the remaining monarchs are looking over their shoulders and big oil is pulling in huge profits.

To help sort it all out, I spoke with Ross Brann, professor of Judeo-Islamic studies at Cornell University. In addition to having studied in both Israel and Egypt, Prof. Brann is also the former chair of Cornell’s Department of Near Eastern Studies. The discussion was particularly focused on the strategic relationship between countries.

Let’s start with Israel. What’s the reaction to the Egyptian uprising there?

Prof. Brann: The current Israeli government is the most conservative government that Israel has had in its history. As such, its legitimacy is founded on its ongoing capacity to frame the most important issues facing the country as issues of security, whether they actually are or not. In the short run, the removal of the strong ally in Mubarak on Israel’s southern border means the government has a lot to work with in t… >>>

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