A SLOW but noticeable declining trend in Islamist activity around the world, the strengths and vulnerabilities of an assertive Iran, and a different take on the Israel–Palestine conflict were addressed during a speaking tour of Sydney and Melbourne by Middle East Forum founder and president Dr Daniel Pipes, as a guest of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).
At an AIJAC/Zionist Council of NSW talk at Sydney’s Central Synagogue last week called “Winners and Losers in a Fractured Middle East”, Pipes described Iran as “the great threat to the Middle East and the world”.
“It is the state that’s pushing, that’s dominant in four Arab capitals, and it has the nuclear deal which has brought it a lot of money.
“But I think the Iranian government is living on borrowed time … it is a state that’s hollow, that will collapse at some point because it has such opposition to it internally.
“Increasingly, the mosques [in Iran] are empty … expectations of the Iranian populace that their standard of living would go up have not happened, causing dissent.”
Pipes said the existential threat posed by Iran has caused Saudi Arabia “to have a more benign relationship with Israel”, a move he’s welcomed along with the implementation by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of “a revolution in the social, economic, religious and foreign affairs spheres”.
“This is good news, and I now find myself an advocate for the Saudis – a role I’d never thought I’d have in my line of work.”
Pipes recently came up with an idea called the “Israel Victory Project” which he claims has gained support from 42 politicians in the US and 26 members of the Knesset.
“Twenty-five years since the Oslo Accords, it is safe to say that Palestinian rejection of Israel is as strong as it was back then, and is growing.
“So there must be a fundamental transformation in the Palestinian body-politic before negotiations can take place,” Pipes claimed, “which means the Palestinians need to be defeated.”
When pressed on what he meant, Pipes said “I didn’t use the term military defeat – this is about how to approach the conflict.”
Pipes said US President Donald Trump has “surprisingly adopted consistently conservative policies” regarding the Middle East, “but because he has no political philosophy and he is transactional, he can change. I don’t trust him at all.”