Netanyahu appears in the Middle East as the big winner of the coronavirus crisis, in which the Iranian regime is playing its future.
Vote in the Israeli legislative elections of March 2, in Haifa, by people under quarantine (Mahmoud Ilean, AP)
The coronavirus pandemic exacerbates the already chronic instability in the Middle East. The region may seem at this stage much less affected than Europe, but caution remains essential in view of the lack of transparency of the various dictatorships. The relentlessness of Egypt, then of Iraq, against Western correspondents, accused of questioning official statistics, is very ominous. The Assad regime waited until April 3 to isolate the Iranian enclave of Sayyida Zeinab, in the outskirts of Damascus, when it had been posing risks of contamination for weeks. The worst could be to come in Syria, especially in the refugee camps, and in the Gaza Strip, due to the collapse of local health facilities. However, it is already possible to distinguish certain winners from losers in the pandemic.
NETANYAHOU AGAIN AND ALWAYS
The Prime Minister of Israel is entering his twelfth consecutive year in office after having led the government in the past for three years. He played the threat of the coronavirus to call for ” national unity “, obviously around him, when he did not have a majority in the Knesset elected last month. The physical impossibility of bringing together the deputies confined allowed him various maneuvers of delay, exhausting the little combativeness of his challenger Benny Gantz, however charged with constituting the cabinet. As in the April and September 2019 elections, it was less Netanyahu who won the election than Gantz who lost it. Unable to embody a genuine alternative to the head of government, Gantz will settle for a prestigious ministry and leave the opposition in ruins. Netanyahu, comforted in his crisis management, even decided to confine the ultra-Orthodox stronghold of Bnei Brak, which has become a hotbed of contamination, by the security forces.
On a different note, the Lebanese regime, hotly contested since last October for its confessionalism and corruption, is relieved that the coronavirus has finally emptied the streets. The police dismantled, on March 27, the last protesters’ camp in the heart of Beirut. Hezbollah, a State within the State and pillar of the regime, has been widely criticized for the link established between the start of the pandemic and the stays of its supporters in Iran. It has since taken up the initiative by putting its powerful organization at the service of disinfection, containment and treatment, including outside its traditional Shiite strongholds.
Last winner, at this all relative stage, of the health crisis: Daesh. Part of the Western coalition mobilized against him in Iraq has indeed withdrawn due to the risk of contamination. A jihadist mutiny, possibly followed by escapes, also broke out on March 29 in a prison run by the Kurdish militia in Syria. The terrorist organization has finally publicly recommended to its members not to risk contamination by going to Europe …
THE IRANIAN PRESSURE REGIME
With an official death toll of 3,452 as of April 4, Iran is by far the most affected country in the region. The reality is undoubtedly even more tragic, because of the obsession with the secrecy of the Islamic Republic and its conviction of a divine immunity on the Shiite pilgrimages. Containment has not yet been decreed, as three million Iranians are currently returning from the Persian New Year holidays. Movement within the various provinces remains authorized and the holy city of Qom, epicenter of the pandemic, is still not under quarantine. This wavering at the top of the state is the result of tensions between “Hard” fanatics and “Moderate” realistic, tensions that have already led to the cancellation of a French medical assistance mission. Never has the regime seemed so isolated from a suffering population. His attempt to relaunch confrontation with the United States in Iraq has come to an end, and his new campaign for the lifting of American sanctions no longer allows him to dodge his very heavy responsibility.
Just like the Iranian people, the arab people of the Middle East appear once again victims, faced with the pandemic, of the arbitrariness and the blunder of their leaders. In Lebanon, as we have seen, as in Iraq, the coronavirus made it possible to at least temporarily silence the dispute. The hundred million Egyptians must bear the state lies of the Sissi regime, which, after having designated the only tourists as carrying the virus, had to acknowledge the deaths of two generals. The UN’s call for a ceasefire in Syria, Yemen and Libya in the name of the fight against the pandemic was also not heeded.
This appeal could at other times have been relayed or even supported by the United States. Donald trump obviously didn’t even think about it. He who boasted only two months ago of settling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by ” the deal of the century “ no longer even provides after-sales service. As for his son-in-law Jared Kushner, a great craftsman of the said agreement, he is now responsible for a ” entrepreneurial approach Of the health crisis in his country. He had already put forward a “approche » of this type to promote peace in the Middle East…