In the first 25 years after Israel’s founding in 1948, it was repeatedly attacked by the large armies of its Arab neighbours. Each time, Israel prevailed on the battlefield, only to have its victories rolled back by Western powers who feared losing access to Arab oilfields.
The fear was and is legitimate: Arab nations have often threatened to use their “oil weapon” against countries that support Israel and twice made good their threat through crippling OPEC oil embargoes.
But that fear, which shackles Israel to this day, may soon end. The old energy order in the Middle East is crumbling, with Iran and Syria having left the Western fold and others, including Saudi Arabia, the largest of them all, in danger of doing so. Simultaneously, a new energy order is emerging to give the West some spine. In this new order, Israel is a major player.