If someone had said even a few weeks ago that in a year or two Syria would be without its chemical weapons and Iran would be without a nuclear weapons program, you would have said ‘no way, that is not even close to possible.’ And yet here we are, looking at a potential scenario in the Middle East that might be described in exactly that way. With the Syrians (so far) cooperating in the early stages of a program to eliminate their chemical weapons, and the new Iranian administration exploring with the West a way to retain nuclear power for energy but not for destructive purposes, it is looking like a kinder, gentler, less dangerous Middle East is a possibility.
Israel couldn’t have imagined a more ideal situation. Yes, there is a long way to go, and a lot still needs to happen. But if things continue to move in these positive directions, a ‘new’ Middle East would emerge, and that would be a Middle East where Israel was very comfortable. Her greatest existential threat would be taken off the table (a nuclear armed Iran), and there would no longer be a single country in Israel’s neighborhood harboring weapons of mass destruction. The dynamics that created this unforeseen situation will be analyzed by policy experts and historians for many a long year. What will happen in the end we may not know for some time. But wouldn’t it be wonderful to spend our time trying to figure out not IF peace in the Middle East is possible, but instead HOW it actually came about? That, as they say, would be a good problem. Maybe even a great one.