Israel’s preference is for dictators as they can keep a lid on threats to state

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony for Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

Shadi Hamid

© Washington Post

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The Middle East has a way of confounding American leaders and undermining legacies. Just eight days before Hamas’s October 7 assault on Israel, national security adviser Jake Sullivan noted with satisfaction that “the Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades”.

Two weeks before the fall of Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak in the early days of the Arab Spring, secretary of state Hillary Clinton declared: “Our assessment is that the Egyptian government is stable.”