War & Peace: Forty Years Later
As a community, we are commemorating this year the most formative event in the lives of so many of us, the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in 1979.
However, this event was not the sole tumultuous historical upheaval, which took place in the Middle East in 1979. The second upheaval was the signing of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty on the White House lawn, this week, forty years ago.
The Israeli and Egyptian heads of state displayed extraordinary statesmanship and courage, and put their own egos aside, in order to facilitate a historic agreement. Before 1979, Iran was Israel’s greatest strategic ally in the region, and Egypt was Israel’s most belligerent arch-nemesis. Astonishingly, all this was reversed in 1979. Egypt became a moderating force in the Arab world, and Iran became the emblem of fanaticism and radicalism.
The late Shimon Peres used to say, that all experts are experts about “what was,” and not about what “will be.” Nobody predicted the rapid demise and disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1990-1991, and similarly perhaps, no expert will necessarily predict in advance a regime change in Iran. But when that day comes, it will be a death blow to the forces of extremism in the region, and open the door to a novel era of geo-political stability in the Middle East, the home from whence we came to our current and new home, here in these Unites States.