What’s Really Wrong with the Middle East

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The current uprising in Syria is a perfect example of the Sunni-Shiite divide and the Iranian-Saudi rivalry, as well as Turkish (Sunni)-Iranian (Shiite) rivalry over Islamic championship. Iran is allied with the Syrian Alawi-led regime of Bashar Assad, and the Alawis are an off-shoot of Shiite-Islam. The Alawis are despised by the Sunni majority which is supported by the overwhelmingly Sunni Arab League and Saudi Arabia, as well as non-Arab Sunni Turkey.

In Lebanon the Saudis have supported the government led by Sunni Saad Hariri, while Iran supported the Shiite Hezbollah.  In the Arab Gulf states and most recently in Bahrain, the Iranian regime incited the majority Shiites to rise up against the Sunni ruler.  Sunni Saudi Arabia intervened on behalf of the Sunni rulers.  The Iranians have also incited the majority Shiites in the Hasa province of Saudi Arabia.

For centuries, the Ottoman Turkish Empire and the Persian Empire clashed in battles over territory and faith.  Today, the two modern nations seek to export their respective model of a Muslim state to Central Asia.  And, whereas in the recent past Turkey presented itself as a model of a secular Islamic republic, under Erdogan it is portraying itself as a Sunni Islamic Republic.  Iran touts itself as a genuine Islamic Republic.

A nuclear Iran would change the balance of power in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the Sunni-ruled Gulf sheikdoms, as well as Israel, view a nuclear Iran as an existential threat.

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran may be bitter rivals but they share in common the desire to implement Sharia law globally, and both these rivals support the restoration of the Caliphate. In more contemporary and immediate terms they both express hatred towards the Jewish state and the West.  And, both regimes have contempt for the secular Arab regimes (Iran makes Syria the exception).

To the extent that the Palestinians have any value in the Muslim world, it is that they are on the front-lines of a war against the infidel and despised Jews. Used as pawns in this war, they have otherwise been shunned and discriminated against throughout the Arab world.  So, for example, in Egypt, Syria, or Lebanon, Palestinians are regarded as aliens and therefore do not have the right to vote. In Jordan (where the Palestinians form the majority population) and in Israel (Arab-Israelis) alone have Palestinians become free citizens, able to vote and participate in national life.

It is high time the Western media reflect these realities in their coverage of events in the Middle East. The media has largely ignored the intense religious rivalry in the region, and the historical antipathies between Arab and non-Arab minorities.  Likewise the media has overlooked the Kurdish and Baluch quest for national self-determination. The media have minimized the intolerance of the Islamists in Egypt towards the Christian Copts, and they have failed to emphasize the religious motivation of the Arab-Palestinian in rejecting Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State.

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  • jacob

    this is incredibly true and i'm very glad that someone is coming out and actually saying it! the news corporations only care about sensationalizing everything and making israel the root cause of everything. they miss the real point too often.

  • UCSPanther

    The closest the Arab world had to a unified front to Israel was the UAR alliance led by Gamal Nasser in the time leading up to the Six Day War, and that fell apart right. All attempts to reforge such an alliance have failed, mostly due to infighting IE Moammar Gaddafi's hostile relations to Anwar Sadat and their subsequent dispute over Egypt not including Libya in the Yom Kippur war-After the fact.

    Iran may pretend to have a unified front against Israel, but truth is, they are a long ways from having the same type of alliance Nasser was able to forge…

  • SiDevilIam

    My dear Joseph,

    I am Sid Harth.

    To some extent, I agree with you. Religious intolerance, as elegantly described by you, is a two edged sword. Arabs and Israelis are guilty equally. British left this perennial issue for the posterity to resolve. British diplomacy and hegemony over their many clients, including India, was to divide and conquer.

    As to the ancient feuds over the so called, Holy Land, Christians did pretty good job in establishing warmongering as the only mean to achieve land grabbing, Jerusalem, to be specific..

    If Christianity can maintain such anachronistic policy, all these two thousand years, why not Muslims of Sunni or Shia variety?

    Finally, it is their internal (religious, political, geographical) problem. Why America, a secular, democratic country, wants to bloody their regal nose in matters beyond their control?

    Let Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, Mullah dominated Shias of Iran and Iraq, bunch of Jewish fanatics from Israel and their far flung diaspora in the world determine what is good for their souls, Oops, bodies and souls?

    Americans have failed to solve this very problem, a local fist fight kind. I shall tell you why. Americans have arms, not head, that's why.

    …and I am Sid Harth@sidileaks.net

    • StephenD

      I don't know anyone here that cares who you are Sid. You lost it as soon as you attempted moral equivalency between the "Palestinians" and Israelis. You ought to crawl back under your rock and forget this web site. Nobody is going to buy your drivel except the few that also believe America has a “regal” nose, you dolt.

      • Uzoozy

        Normal dominionist person.
        Patestinians should get an homeland, the rest population go to where you came from(porkenstein)

    • PhillipGaley

      Our Dear As Yet ininformed "SiDevilIam":

      Warmongering and war in general—as a way of land grabbing—goes back in time, farther than there was an America, or any Christians, or an Israel, or a Persian Empire, or an India, or an Egypt; it has been very much in the way of life for mankind; and there are some sound reasons thereat: Always in production, there are great lots of bad people—mainly, men—who should be killed.

      But perhaps more importantly, as "The earth is The Lord's, and the fulness thereof.", G0D has an interest in maintaining use of it for purposes of Hid design and intent.

      And by way of illustration, this whole rodeo—the earth, and all which is in it or upon it—was not set up so that, men could sit around, spending the time of their lives in such activities as playing card games and conjecturing about how many virgins there might be in an after-life somewhere.

      No. But because there are great things imitative of G0D, which mankind are to be about, so that, those who are least imitative of G0D, give themselves to base lifestyles, begin killing each other and so forth, so, those who are more imitative of G0D, well, the fear and dread of them falls upon the people of lower estate, and they beat up on them and take the land which had been their's, from them. And while there be many possible such scenarios to be adverted to, for simple expression and economy, may but one or two examples, suffice:

      G0D empowered and used the Mohammedans to wipe out the inferior groups such as those who embraced polytheism, and though not inferior to, but even as centuries before, the Babylonians were empowered and allowed to act as a scourge against Israel—the reasons being fully laid out in the Old Testament laments.

      And for whatever bad might be spoken against "warmongering as the [chosen] means to achieve land grabbing", it's like stirring the ingredients in making cookies—although it is requisite of considerable physical exertion, it gets done what has to be done, and by as efficient a means as may be possible to achievement of the desired end—subjugation of bad people, and grabbing their land, . . . and to all of this, true warriors say: "Let's go!", . . .

      In a word, saddled with the backward evil in the anchor which Islam is, the world or mankind simply cannot move forward in grace.

      Furthermore, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that, for the Western nations' tardiness and general failure to use the power of war for beating up on the bad people, and taking resources from them, we will be appropriately and sadly judged, . . .

      • SiDevilIam

        My dear Phillip,

        I give you three seconds to do me in. If not done, in time, I may send you to a place where the sun don't shine.

        Just kidding. I am honored with your reply, too late and too mushy. Come out swinging, the moment you lay your sleepy eyes on my comment. I ain't got time to wait for misinformed midgets like you.

        I am counting. One thousand one, two thousand two, three thousand three.

        Time's up, Bubba.

        …and I am Sid harth@sidileaks.net

    • jacob

      Genius :
      As to good old USA bleeding its nose, in what concerns ISRAEL, as it seems
      you are painting ALL in the MIDDLE EAST with the same brush and paint, just
      tell me, when has an American soldier ever shed a drop of SWEAT, let alone
      of BLOOD for ISRAEL ????

      Or as certain morons maintain, good old USA liquidated SADDAM HUSSEIN
      for Israel ?????
      Regardless, your Judeophobic skirt is showing and your opinions have the
      worth of wet USED toilet paper

    • Tom W.

      As a Jew, I'm down right insulted that you think the middle east has a problem because of 'Jewish fanatics'! As a Jew, I have a different world view and that is the outside world powers have been arrogant in constantly invading the land which God bestowed upon HIS nation of Israel. Beginning with the Greeks and Romans up to the present day, outsiders have invaded Canaan, instituted laws to restrict Jews rights to live, work and pray on their land. Outsiders have destroyed Jewish landmarks, historical sites and synagogues (both ancient & modern). Outsiders have had the gall to divide the city of Jerusalem into quarters, restricting Jews to once was their ancient capital city which even today, no nation will recognize it as the capital of Israel. And as far as you disparaging the Jewish diaspora, once again this situation of Jews living outside of their homeland is a direct result of multiple foreign invaders trying to conquer territory, removing the law of Moses from its people and renaming this land! No Jews aren't fanatics, it's just people like you who feel their entitled to rearrange the land of Israel as you see fit! We Jews have a earned the right to resent you but that doesn't make us fanatics!!

  • steven l

    The West hate both the Jews and the Muslims, but much more the Muslims than the Jews.
    The West fear the oil/gas Arab lobby and does not give a sh.. about powerless Jews.
    As De Gaul stated: this domineering small people who brought and bring so much to humanity! Jealousy!

  • Kerim

    Recommended reading about the subject :

    Who is the regional leader of the middle east: Iran, Turkey or Al Jazeera Channel?

  • JEM

    . Excellent article, Western leaders and the media are largely secular and have little insight into the spiritual and religious aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict. If they did, a more effective policy toward the region would be possible. It looks like we are doomed to stumble along into the future which is becoming more and more dangerous

  • Emanuel

    Those who do not know the region, this article makes sense even though it is loaded with absurdities such as Saudi Arabia (a monarchy) and Iran share the desire for restoration of the Calipahte. As for the situation in Syria, it has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with Israel's wish to have it destabilized for its steadfastness against the Zionist state.

    • stern

      Oh brilliant! So Syria is seething because of Israel? What an amazing deduction. Assad slaughters his citizens when they protest his brutality, and it's Israel's fault. Please provide us with the thinking that led you to this conclusion. I for one would be most interested in understanding how you arrived at this conclusion.

      • Blaze Pascal

        It's not Israel's fault, it's George W Bush's rault, or it could be the colonialists, or the crusaders…. I forget.

    • DuncanIdaho

      Emanuel, if you don’t much about history I suggest looking up the history of the Alawites and how a small minority is able enforce their dictatorial rule. I am also sure both the Saudis and Iranians would love an Islamic empire as long as they were at it’s head.

  • Ben

    True that the ME conflict has the religious base particularly for the Christian West. Arabs inspired by German nazies and other European anti-semites see the conflict as the western imposed one,though not the most importaint. Israel and Christian Zionists worry Christian fundamentalists who prefer to have the agressive Muslims as rulers there.

    • Blaze Pascal

      holy smokes Ben get some sleep

  • 080

    Why do we concentrate on the Israelis? It makes obscure of losing decades long retreat in the Middle East. We are now hanging by a thread.

  • Blaze Pascal

    Thank Allah for the Sunni-Shiite divide!! It may be the only thing that saves us in the end.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Erase Israel and all of Israeli influence and what is left, Camel dung, flies and
    human debris and evil as in the days of Noah………………………….William

  • Attila The Hun

    This is the most accurate description of ME ever seen in the media. What the The west
    does not understand is, even Israel disappears the problems of the ME will not go away, Somehow the antisemite western left has forgotten the middle ages where Islam slaughter million of Christians.

  • bob mino

    I wonder what the religious situation was in Libya? For a supposed christian nation, the effect of the u.s. help in all of the middle east countrys has led to attacks on Christian churches throughout the area.

  • Guest

    All well and good, great article. Except it shoots itself in the foot and negates its entire premise when the author calls the Arabs "Palestinian Arabs". They are not "Palestinian" anything. There is no such thing as a "Palestinian".

    I am sure the author realises that without this big lie that Palestinians exist (and therefore have a right to the land), none of the "Palestinian-Jewish Conflict" would even be happening. Tell the truth about it, and the core of their house of cards comes tumbling down – no other issues pertaining to the "Palestinian" conflict even exist without any Palestinians, do they.

    Start telling the truth, come from that angle, and there will never be a need for any of the politics surrounding "Palestinians", or wars, or rights, or land being given away, or anything else. The entire issue falls apart.

  • Osama Bin Laden
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