Israel's isolation growing, says scholar

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 10:30 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 14 (IANS) Israel's isolation is growing in the Middle East and it may be time to think of "difficult actions" vis-a-vis Iran, an Israeli scholar said Thursday.

Speaking on regional powers in the region, scholar Efraim Inbar said the power differential between Israel and its neighbours was increasing.

"There is a perceived decline of the US in the region but it still exists," the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), which held a seminar, quoted him as saying.

The new agenda, according to Inbar, was Iran "and it may be time for Israel to consider difficult actions".

The scholar admitted that Israel's isolation was growing and "there may be several strategic surprises to be experienced".

He said the US could not be relied upon as a long-term reliable ally.

He was speaking on the second day of the 15th Asian Security Conference organised at the IDSA complex here.

Speakers said the Arab Spring was the result of lack of modernisation in the Middle East and that these countries needed to embrace it to move into the 21st century.

The Mediterranean had become "an Islamic Lake" and Israel was keenly monitoring the developments, said Inbar.

Mohammad Hassan Khani of Iran said though there was turmoil and uncertainty in the Middle East, it would pave way to a more stabilized and integrated region in the longer run.

The region would be less dependent on foreign powers and there would be an increase in the role of soft powers, he added.

Khani predicted that Islamists would gain and rise as a substantial ruling force in the region.

He said there was a need for recognizing, acknowledging and respecting the Islamic nature of the societies in the region.

Serhat Guvenc of Turkey said though his country had transformed from a 'security state' to a 'trading state' since the 1990s, it was now trying to create a balance.

Adel Soliman of Egypt said cooperation between the Gulf Cooperation Council, the European Union and the US was vital for taking forward the Middle East peace process.

The stability of Iraq wad equally important, he added.

The three-day conference has participants from most Middle East countries as well as the US, Britain and Australia.

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