Richard Nixon is thought to have said, “We are all Keynesians now”. At the end of the Cold War Francis Fukuyama implied, ‘We are all Americans now’. Today, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu more or less said, “We are all Wahhabists now”.
From 1948 until at least the 1980s, some would say, much more recently than that, Israel considered its greatest adversaries to be Arab nationalist countries. Indeed, Israel fought countries including, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. As recently as 1973, even the anti-Arab nationalist monarchy Saudi Arabia found some of its men on the losing side of a war with Israel.
Now though, Israel considers its number one enemy to be the same country considered to be the number one enemy of Wahhabist regimes and weakened, de-clawed, Arab states that no longer are engaged in confrontation with Israel.
That country is Iran, a country with whom Israel has never fought a war.
Iran is therefore the number one ‘bad guy in town’. Israel and Saudi Arabia have always privately agreed about their mutual hatred of Revolutionary Iran, but now this unspoken unity is being voiced. It was voiced by Donald Trump while standing next to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Netanyahu agreed that the tide is turning in this direction. It is no longer Arab versus Israel. It is extremist Arab regimes along with weak Arab regimes, Israel and the United States, against Iran and by extrapolation, the last Arab state that has preserved its dignity and independence, Syria.
In many ways, if Iran didn’t exist, someone in Washington, Riyadh or Tel Aviv would have to invent it. What better way to unite extremist Shi’a hating Sunnis with Israel’s secular Jewish leadership and America’s broadly secular Protestant leadership.
Wahhabism has had it’s Martin Luther moment, it has had its reformation. People can all sit in the Wahhabi tent even if one is Jewish, Christian or atheist. A Jewish woman like Ivanaka Trump can even sit in the tent with her long, blond hair flowing. The social segregation has gone but the militancy remains stronger than ever.
It is aimed at a country where Muslims, Christians and Jews live in peace and have done so for millennia. Iran became a state in 678 BC. They have something of a wider perspective than the United States which formed in 1776, let alone Saudi Arabia which formed in 1932 or Israel which formed in 1948.
Having successfully won its multiple wars with Arab states, before America came in to finish the proverbial job, Israel is ready to move on to Iran. The Arabs for their part have done much to destroy their own political unity. Syria is an isolated exception of course. No other Arab country is.
Yet Iran is now a uniting factor. Hatred of Iran has not created any peace between Israelis and the forgotten Palestinians, but that was never the point. It has made it so that the same Israelis and Saudis which have both ignored Palestine for decades, can unite in a common cause.
‘We are all Wahhabists now’ is the new western-Gulfi-Israeli creed and Shi’a Muslims both inside and out of Iran ought to call themselves ‘Spartacus’.