The War for the Future of the Middle East

The endless wars with Israel are not really about the Jewish State. Nor are the wars about the Arabs living in the territories that Israel lost in 1948 to Jordan and Egypt and recaptured from them in 1967. The rest of the Muslim world cares no more about the “Palestinians” than Hitler cared about the Sudeten Germans or Japan really believed in the rights of Chinese and Koreans.

Israel is a sideline in an ongoing regional struggle by fractured populations, divided by ethnicity and religion, by language and natural resources, to unite into a single commonality. It is a natural target because its population consists of a people who are members of a different religious and ethnic group than the dominant religious and ethnic groups of the region.

Unlike the Persians and Turks, the Jews are not Muslims, not even Shiites, and unlike the Christian Arabs, the Jews are not even of the same ethnicity as the regional majority. Jews are neither Muslims nor Arabs and that makes them unique and alien in a region where every country is dominated by either an Arab or Muslim identity. Or both.

The Post-Colonial contest in the Middle East has been over how to unite the fractured ethnic minorities and the religious splits together into a single region.

Uniting behind something is difficult, but uniting against something is fairly easy. Unable to unite on love, the Middle East unites on hate and hating the most alien and different group with their own country gives everyone in the region a feeling of having something in common.

Israel is however only a sideline in the larger struggles of a region trying to define itself by the supremacy of a single defining identity, rather than a harmony between different identities.

Terrorism against Israel is not a continuous enduring phenomenon. The enemies that Israel faced were defined by the political and religious trends of the region, from an early PLO committed to fighting to incorporate Israel into a Greater Syria to the latter-day Hamas, which is fighting for its own Islamist superstate in the form of the Caliphate.

Rather than an ongoing resistance by an oppressed people, the terrorists have actually been defined by ideological opportunism.

To the Arab Nationalists, it was nationalism that defined a nation and their terrorists constructed a mythical Palestinian identity to indoctrinate generations into becoming eager soldiers in the endless war being promoted by their Arab Nationalist backers in Egypt and Syria. And so Palestinian nationalism was born, not at all troubled by the lack of any actual national history to go with all the flags and bloody poems about dying for a homeland that had never existed and whose population consisted of economic migrants from Syria, Egypt and Jordan.

To the Islamists, nationalism is at best suspect and at worst, idolatrous. Hamas has never been able to disavow Palestinian nationalism, but its leaders waver between invoking the Palestinian nation and tossing it aside for their true goal of a regional Islamist unity.

The Arab Nationalists needed a national history and identity to lay claim to Israel. The Islamists have no need for such trinkets. To the Islamist, Israel is a Muslim possession by right of conquest. Once Muslims capture a place, whether it is Spain or Israel, it becomes Muslim land in perpetuity. There is no need for a national mythology linking a people to a specific place to allow a Muslim to lay claim to a territory that was once ruled by Muslims.

Hamas, like the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood, and other Islamist organizations, is transnational. It isn’t completely divorced from ethnic hierarchies and national identities, but they are secondary to its larger agenda of replacing national identity with Islamic identity.

The Arab Nationalists and their terrorist groups, such as the PLO, were at war with Israel for ethnic reasons. The Islamists are at war with Israel for religious reasons.

Hamas rose as part of a regional trend away from Arab Nationalism and toward Islamism. Egypt, once the great hope of Arab Nationalists, has been overtaken by the Muslim Brotherhood. Iraq and Syria have tumbled away from their old Baath Socialism and are now defined by sectarian Shiite Islamist politics. Even among the region’s non-Arab powers, Iran is a Shiite Islamist stronghold and Turkey has become a Sunni Islamist power. With the fall of Tunisia and Libya, Arab Nationalism is as good as dead. Islamism is the future.

If Syria falls, then Israel will be surrounded by a coalition of Sunni Islamist enemies on all sides. And Hamas is only their catspaw, much as the PLO was for the Arab Nationalists of Syria and Egypt.

Until now Israel has had to cope with a region where it was hated primarily based on race. Now it will have to survive in a region where it is hated based on religion.

The rise of the suicide bomber was one of the early forecasts of the cult of martyrdom. It is also a reminder that Israel serves as the canary in the coal mine for wider developments in the Middle East. Before the Muslim Brotherhood took power by winning an election in Egypt, Hamas took power by winning an election. The Arab Spring came to Israel years earlier than it did to the rest of the region.

In its ancient history, Israel has often found itself in the path of conquering empires whose goals went far beyond the small land and minute number of people that they were confronted with.

Islam aspires to be an empire once again and the Jews are in the way. The war against Israel, whether carried on by the Arab Nationalists or their Islamist successors, was always about the ambitions of men who wanted to build empires, rather than about the narrow strip of land that is of little use to anyone but the small number of people who inhabit it.

Arab Nationalism came up against what should have been an easy target in several wars and lost. Its leaders never entirely recovered from those defeats. Their dreams of uniting the region died when they were unable to defeat a single small country with an army that lacked the training and officers of the Jordanian or Egyptian forces. When the Arab Nationalists reconciled themselves to Israel, they lost the only thing that they had to offer their people besides economic failure.

The Islamists know all this and intend to succeed where the Arab Nationalists failed. As with the Roman Empire, Israel has gone from being a nuisance to a humiliating obstacle to an empire’s bigger plans for the region.

Islamist imperialism has come to revolve around the old problem of destroying Israel. The ideology of Islamism says that only Islamic unity can allow the peoples of the Muslim world to tackle great challenges. To establish the Caliphate and build a regional empire, the Islamists must do what the Arab Nationalists could not do. They must destroy Israel. And if they cannot do that, their reign will end in humiliation and failure.

The Gates of Jerusalem are the new Gates of Vienna.

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  • Mary Sue

    I don't remember hearing much about the PLO in detail (except a few scraps gleaned from various things I'd heard from Walid Shoebat), were they not as into the Sharia as say, Hamas? (either way, still bad).

    • Daphne

      Of course Mary Sue is correct. The Palestinian Authority was indoctrinating children to martyr themselves as suicide bombers from before the year 2000, while at the same time the Mosque Imams were rousing the congregation to hatred, martyrdom, and to kill the Jews, at every Friday morning sermon. For video clips see the Israeli NGO PMW = Palestinian Media Watch, with current and archive material going back through this whole period. The Director of PMW has made world-wide presentations to the US Congress, British Parliament, and numerous other national parliamentary bodies, Universities etc. which indicate his prestige, caliber, and Establishment acceptance .
      Yes, the martyrdom indoctrination and incitement are based on Sharia teachings which echoed and still do so within what is now the Palestinian Authority. Of importance is that until about 4-5 years ago (I'd have to check the date but don't want in the process to inadvertently lose this Comment by the computer closing it out), the Palestinian Authority consisted of the entire West Bank together with Gaza, ruled by Yasser Arafat. It was only when the Israelis decided to leave Gaza that Hamas became more powerful and took over Gaza. So the Sharia influence was operant in the entire area of what is now The Palestinian Authority, and the separate entity of Gaza. The pity is that when the Israelis left Gaza, they left intact a $100,000 agricultural industry of glass houses which were very valuable and had been prized by the Israelis who had lived in Gaza, and built that industry there. As soon as the Israelis left, the Gazan Arabs, deliberately tore the entire greenhouse complex to pieces with loss of this valuable trading and money-making asset. That was the birth of Gaza as we know it today.

      • AdinaK

        Yes, this IS a religious war, and a war for TOTAL hegemony for an eventual Caliphate. They are DEADLY serious and will kill anyone in their way.

        The above is best explained in a mind blowing policy paper. This paper was distributed to relevant 'think tanks', as well as to select Capitol Hill members.

        It is URGENT reading, as our western lives depending on understandings its essence. No kidding.

        'Islam & Blood' –

        SPREAD wide and far!!

        Adina Kutnicki, Israel –

    • Granada 1482

      The PLO has been upstaged in recent decades by Fatah and Hamas, but they have been around since 1965. Today, though, they're little more than an umbrella group for dozens of smaller militias; they're not terribly relevant these days.

  • Islam is the problem

    Economic failure IS the natural outcome of a philosophy based on banditry and slave trade and piracy. To expect this ideology to cure cancer, put men into space or produce a literate, thinking society is fantasy. Islam is the problem and it creates misery and oppression.

  • devdeep

    no doubt islam is the problem

  • Massimo Tagliavini

    As a Roman Catholic I see things from another viewpoint. What is being fought in Israel is a battle for the survival of western culture. Should Israel perish, we europeans (our enemy is an insider), will have no choice but be islamized.

    • curmudgeon

      you totally misunderstand the situation. europe is doomed to islamic oppression because it was populated by lazy spoiled people who thought they could import aliens that hated them and not suffer any consequences. their demise has nothing to do with israel, and everything do with caucasian europeans' cowardice and sloth. i wish these failings were limited to the sheep of europe, but unfortunately, north america and australia are full of equally cowardly, immoral people. imho, the only thing that will save the cowardly west is to see what happens after israel loses its struggle, and having seen the horror of genocide, cowardly westerners might do what they should already have done–send their toxic muslims (thats all of them) home.

      • Massimo Tagliavini

        Excess of bigotry. This is the real problem.
        White supremacy was on an excellent path, with a lot of bright people contributing to the cause. Excess of bigotry killed them, once and for all.
        Moderate jews overcomed brightly South american anti-semitism. Excess of bigotry by the non moderate made people dubious again.
        Moderation built a Jew nation. Chutzpah will bring things back. Be sure.

        • curmudgeon

          you represent yourself as a catholic, yet you pretend to speak for jews. you are ready to accept conversion to islam when israel perishes. some catholic. you also represent yourself as an european. that i believe. i suspect you are a muslim. if not, you are doing your best to seem like one. perhaps you converted to islam in anticipation of israel's fall.

  • Gylippus

    Yes, one can see this struggle by the ummah to come to terms with, and overcome western power, going back to colonial times. The Ottomans, Persians and Egyptians all experimented with western forms – whether western style military culture, economic systems, industry and bureaucracy, parliamentarianism, socialism… Not to mention western social norms. Of course the conservative instinct of the Islamic community rejected all of these as a threat to Islam itself. We in the west had gone through the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution which allowed us to transition from a religious worldview to an empirical one, though not without much bloodshed. Islam, so far, has not been so successful. Behind it all was the (often unconscious) objective of uniting the Islamic world to defy western power.

    • Gylippus

      More than two centuries later, having failed to match us economically, technologically or militarily, the Islamic community, organized as it is around a creed of conquest and forced submission, can only resort to mass, indiscriminate violence. It seems to me the dynamic is similar to the Crusades. Western powers took lands in war from a hostile and aggressive Turkish empire, which was vying for leadership of the Islamic community. Before it could respond effectively, the regional Islamic powers had to experiment, mainly through regional power struggles to finally find a leader, and field a force that could drive out the Christian knights. The Christian Crusader kingdoms became the rallying point for a new wave of Muslim expansion.

      • Gylippus

        Then, as now the question was a) who (which leader / regional power) would emerge as the leader of the new Islamic expansion and b) how effectively would the western powers respond?

        During the Crusades, the various western Crusader monarchs and other military powers (The Templars etc.) fell to squabbling, and without reliable support from the west, were at last unable to match Saladin's prowess. Is history repeating itself? Not quite. In my opinion Obama, his administration and more importantly, the people behind his administration want to see Israel destroyed and want to see a large scale war in the region. These are true warmongers driven in part by a rabid anti-semitism, who see the chaos of war as means to further their kleptocratic and ultimately, totalitarian ambitions. The Muslim Brotherhood is their chosen tool. They are fully aware of the dynamic you describe and seek to channel this historical force for their own purposes. That they are birthing a monster is of little concern to them. They believe they take a long view, but they are really short term thinkers.

  • curmudgeon

    when the dust of the current unpleasantries has settled, the infidel is no more, and the entire world is blissfully united under the religion of peace, and everyone surviving gives proper obeisance to the prophet, peace be upon him, and allah, the merciful, muslim historians will have the duty of putting together the true history of islam's triumph over the infidel. there will be many factors to cite, including noble infidel traitors who have sided with islam in every conflict, but special mention must go to white people of the west, who proclaimed loudly the virtues of the religion of peace while their countries were being invaded by noble jihadis.

  • curmudgeon

    if the muslim historians of the future can tear themselves away from the raping of catured women and children, they will surely write that, while the cowardice and stupidity of christians and others of the west were important factors in their victory, the virulent racism of black infidels who voted for a muslim, the incredible stupidiy of welfare addicted white americans who voted for a muslim, the fanatical inistence of the media on lauding the muslim to people who are generally too stupid to understand that there is a tomorrow, let alone prepare for it, the most incredible group suicide was that of american jews who betrayed their race, their religion, their country, their society, as well as the only jewish country, so they could poke a finger in the eyes of american christians by voting for their mutual enemy, the muslim. allah works in mysterious ways.

  • @USnavy1967

    The only country in that region that shows economic growth, education for its children, modernization of industry, just a whole lot of good has come from Israel. The only thing we get from the muslims is death, death, death. It is the lack of education that keeps the muslim from aspiring anything for its country, the lack of nationality, the lack of caring, Islam is death, muslims are death, the Middle East needs to destroy itself, then maybe out of the ashes a new Arab nation will come. Israel is not the problem in the Middle East, the muslims and Islam are.

  • abdulameer

    We really should avoid using the term "Islamism" as if it is somehow different from Islam, itself. "Islamism" is only the political express of Islam. It is as deeply rooted in the Koran and the Sunnah as bowing towards Mecca.

  • Ghostwriter

    Why do I have a feeling this will get worse before it gets better?

  • HermitLion

    Daniel Greenfield's writing never ceases to amaze and humble me. The clarity of his words helps cut through the smoke and mirrors that fill today's landscape of ideas.

  • riverboatbill

    A Caliphate would not be content to stop at the prime meridian, nor at the equator. The future of freedom cannot be dictated by the followers of the profit of islam.

  • dannyboy88

    So, now that everyone has become experts on Islam, how about a rally to BAN Mosque………Once this is done we move on to address the issue's of Muslims in our mist………

  • okmike

    Muhammad slaughtered at least one tribe of Jews and sold the women and children into slavery, then there is the, "before the Day of Judgment can come every Jew will be killed by Muslims." Then there is the Jewess who tried to poison Muhammad and may have contributed to his death. These things are not new, therefore the idea that it is just a different race problem is ridiculous, it is Jew hate from the first Muslims.