U.S.-Israel relations are on a more unstable footing than ever before. Is this because U.S. President Barack Obama distrusted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the beginning, or because the U.S., whether it is administered by Obama or not, now regards the current Israel as a problem in the Middle East? In my judgment, the latter point explains the tension that has been growing between Obama and Netanyahu since 2008. So it can be argued that U.S.-Israel relations have taken a new turn, which also means a change of balance in the Middle East.
At present, House Republicans and House Democrats in the U.S. are engaged in a discussion of paradigm via the topic of Israel - which is reminiscent of their recent dispute over the Federal Reserve's interest policy. From my standpoint, the Fed's Republican members who are pushing Fed Chair Janet Yellen to launch an interest hike and those who invited Netanyahu to address a speech on Iran in Congress share the same purpose. Republicans wanted Netanyahu to touch upon Iran's nuclear weapons and upon the impropriety of an alliance with Iran in his speech. However, the same Republicans also want the Fed to increase interest rates soon in order to switch to a period of strong dollar once again. In an economy that has deficits, a strong currency is only possible with political and military support. The Republican bloc of the U.S. wants to dominate the world again with all kinds of occupations and human rights violations. To this end, they take advantage of Netanyahu and Obama's strained relationship in Congress, and of hawkish Fed members opposed to Yellen. It adds up to the same thing, that Netanyahu delivered a warmongering speech in Congress and that the Fed hikes interest rates in an atmosphere where inflation and employment targets are not achieved and the U.S.'s substantial foreign trade deficit is still there.
For the first time, Netanyahu did not meet Obama as part of his official visit to Washington. Not only that, a group of Jews who objected to the Israeli state protested against Netanyahu in front of the U.S. capitol building. They held placards that said "Netanyahu go home," saying that Jews do not need the despotic Israeli state. Jewish U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein lambasted Netanyahu, who claimed to speak for all Jews in Congress, stating that he does not speak for her.
The dissent was not limited to this example, and Obama severely criticized Netanyahu prior to his planned Congress speech, saying that none of Netanyahu's claims about Iran nuclear talks have come true. During an interview with Reuters, Obama stated the fact that Netanyahu criticizing ongoing nuclear talks with Iran without informing the White House would disrupt relations, but it would not cause permanent damage.
Saying that Netanyahu has been wrong before with his objection to an interim deal with Iran in 2013, Obama added, "Netanyahu made all sorts of claims. This was going to be a terrible deal. This was going to result in Iran getting $50 billion worth of relief. Iran would not abide by the agreement. None of that has come true. It has turned out that in fact, during this period we have seen Iran not advance its program. In many ways, it's rolled back elements of its program."
U.S.-Israeli relations have suffered tense and turbulent times in the past as well, but this is the first time that ties have been broken to such an extent.
Only now can Obama adopt a firm discourse against Israel. This is reminiscent of former Prime Minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's outburst when he said "one minute," to the-then Israeli President Shimon Peres during a verbal clash at the Davos World Economic Forum in 2009.
If Obama had acted as courageously as Erdoğan when he first came to power, he would leave office and make history as a president who handled many problems, including the Palestinian question in the Middle East. The signals of a new period are coming from the Middle East, even before Israel's withdrawal starts. On the other hand, the reconciliation process of the Kurdish question in Turkey has entered a new and permanent phase, and Erdoğan's recent visit to Saudi Arabia will have major political and economic implications.
Israel has acknowledged that if the Netanyahu administration goes, it cannot continue on like this with Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the "old" Middle East, even if the U.S.'s neo-con support continues. Keeping all this in mind, it is apparent that King Salman's accession to the Saudi throne is not only a formal change for Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, but it also means an overall shift in the balance of power in the region, the end of clandestine cooperation between Israel and Egypt, and a step toward peace and stability in the Middle East. This will also clarify all the uncertainty in the region, something which is desired by Russia, and will bring the whole game into view. I would like to reiterate that if only Obama had said "one minute" to Israel in 2009 as Erdoğan did, we would not have witnessed so much bloodshed.