The News of the Middle East on the First of November

– Israel struck target in the Lattakia, Syria area yesterday.  The objective appears to have been the destruction of Russian materiel destined for the Syrian armed forces.  This has been a declared policy of the Israelis who say that they will prevent delivery of anything that can be used against them.  Until recently that seemd to be a plausible explanation for Israeli policy toward Syria but by his own statements it is clear now that Bibi is the main actor in creating the US led coalition of the marginally willing that seeks to destroy the Syrian government in the belief that this will severely wound Iran.  That projected wound to Iran seems to doubtful to me.  The probability that the destruction of the Baath government would result in the creation in Syria of a bastion of Islamist jihadism bordering Israel seems to mean nothing to him.

– In Egypt John Kerry's prattling of democracy and elections has not deterred the generals from destroying all those parts of the MB that they can reach.  They know that the MB are the enemies of their blood.  Mursi's political campaign aimed at destroying the semi-secular society of modern Egypt confirmed them in their belief that co-existence with the MB is not possible.  In the Middle East the lack of any real belief in the ideas of the "loyal opposition" and win-win outcomes makes such results likely in the face of alien tinkering in societies.

-Saudi Arabia is turning away from the United States.  This pseudo-alliance was always unstable.  There were always far too many conflicting values and interests involved.  The necessities of the Cold War held the two countries together for a long time and Saudi money in the right pockets kept the pairing together for far longer than it logically would have lasted.  Who will benefit from Saudi largesse in the future?  Name your candidates. 

– In a similar and similarly predictable situation the disastrous neocon adventure in Iraq is producing yet more death.  We overturned the previous order of society and sponsored a government run by Shia who have only one goal and that is to screw the Sunni Arabs.  The screwees are fighting back.  Now Maliki who also predictably rejected a pact with the US that would have granted us legal immunity for our soldiers is in Washington begging for assistance.  We should wash our hands of the country.  pl

This entry was posted in Current Affairs, Middle East. Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to The News of the Middle East on the First of November

  1. oth says:

    Irrational Likudite ideology made sense to me once I realized they fervently believe they can only gain and maintain power by fashioning even more dire threats to their own state. They seem to not have quite thought that all out.
    And as predicted by many, the end result in Iraq will be a Shia dictator over a Baath/Sunni one.
    Anyone keeping track of Karzai’s real-estate purchases in London or Lake Geneva?

  2. toto says:

    Has anything filtered out about the current status of the supposedly ongoing negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians?

  3. Nothing the US can do in Syria to cover up the fact that involvement of US in Iraq so incompetent that Iran is the big winner of that effort.
    As to SA by 2050 there will be no such entity IMO! And the big loser caused by SA decline will be Israel!

  4. JLCampos says:

    Spengler in Asia Times on line gave a few days ago his view. It consists of a Pax Sinica in the near East buttressed by the excellent relations between China and Israel. A Hong Kong business man already put down 130 million towards the creation of an intellectual link between China and Israel.

  5. jon says:

    If Syria falls, Jordan may have to ally with Iraq, and perhaps Iran. That would be interesting. The US/Saudi relationship may need adjustment, but I think it still serves both countries rather well.

  6. Norbert M. Salamon says:

    They are also building a fence on the Syrian-Turkish border, They are also making up with Iran, due to the fear of the Jihadist influence.

  7. Bandolero says:

    “We overturned the previous order of society and sponsored a government run by Shia who have only one goal and that is to screw the Sunni Arabs. The screwees are fighting back.”
    While there is a grain of truth in the assertation that some Shia forces in Iraq marginalize Sunnis and Maliki didn’t always react clever to the “Arab Spring” protests in Iraq sponsered by the US state departments MEPI program, in toto, I think, that statement is a gross mischaracterization of what’s currently happening in Iraq.
    First, Wahhabi jihadis similar to those bombing Shia places in Iraq are bombing also Shia places in Qetta and Peshawar though Shia nowhere in Pakistan marginalize Sunnis. Second, the current sectarian incitement swapping over Iraq and the region comes mainly from Saudi Arabia and their allies, who apparently do that to destabilize governments allied with Iran. Third, the Saudis and their friends openly support the same type of bomb laying sectarian jihadis in Syria as they operate in Syria’s ally Iraq, so it would be quite logical for the Sauds to destabilize Iraq a bit to open up communication lines from Saudi Arabia through Iraq to their proxies operating in Syria.

  8. turcopolier says:

    “I think, that statement is a gross mischaracterization of what’s currently happening in Iraq.” What are your Iraq credentials? This sounds like political science inspired naivete. To think that Iraqis are yearning to “make nice” with each other across sectarian boundaries is just absurd. Are you sure that you are not really one of “the boys” at WINEP. pl

  9. Medicine Man says:

    Col.: What is your opinion of the coming parting of ways between the US and Saudi Arabia?
    It looks like mostly a good thing to me. I hope there will be less money deployed in Washington to provide cover for the sorts of jihadis who represent a security threat to the country, but I’m not sure how realistic this hope is.

  10. kao_hsien_chih says:

    Who’s to say Israel will still be around by the time KSA bites the dust?

  11. Bandolero says:

    I already said here some time before that I spent some time trying to understand the thinking of Ali Khamenei. The influence of Ali Khamenei and his friends is, I think, a very important factor to understand the situation in Iraq. But as I have also other friends, I also know a bit about current Baath thinking in Iraq, like what Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri appears to think.
    So no, I don’t think Iraqs problems are easy problems. They weren’t before the US was marching in in and they aren’t now. Though regarding ordinary Iraqis, I think, yes, many are still “yearning to “make nice” with each other across sectarian boundaries,” Shia, Sunni and Kurds alike. However, they didn’t decide then and don’t don’t decide now over war, terror and peace. These questions decide the radicals.
    And there is, beside a mostly native sectarian bombing jihadi current like in Pakistan, also a Saudi hand encouraging sectarian violence to see. I think, to see that is easy, it’s almost enough to compare Saudi TV channels with Iraqi and Iranian TV channels.
    I think, to curb the mostly Saudi and Turkish incitement of violence will not end the problem of sectarian violence in Iraq, but it would contribute to curbing it, and to really get rid of the sectarian violence in Iraq may take decades.

  12. VietnamVet says:

    From Lebanon to Pakistan there is a bombing campaign that appears to have no purpose except to ignite a Sunni Shiite Jihad. The Saudis have admitted to supporting Sunni Jihadists in Syria. Israel and/or America have pursued regime change in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Arab Spring revolts brought in new regimes in Tunisia and Egypt.
    The only constant is unrest. Rising food prices, overpopulation and climate change will spread the contagion world wide. Education and jobs are the antidote. But, the ruling ideology is to grab the money while you can. There is no empathy nor concern for the future.
    Stating today in the USA, food stamps are being cut by $36 per month for a family of four which is 16 to 20 meals per month gone.
    America should be ending hunger and quarantining unrest not being their chief enabler.

  13. Bill H says:

    I will put $10 on the table that the US will either give financial aid to Iraq or will begin making attacks in Iraq with drones, or both, in the name of fighting al Queda. Bear in mind that BHO is frantically lobbying Congress to maintain US financial support to Egypt.

  14. turcopolier says:

    I understand from your response that you are an academic. I also deduce that the answer to my question is that you have never been in Iraq. Experience on the ground counts. Have you ever worked in the ME or Maghreb? pl

  15. turcopolier says:

    I think the post WW2 era is dead and gone and that the utility of NATO and any special relationships in Europe is finished for the US. You evidently want to be relieved of any responsibility toward us while still retaining the benefits of our “partnership.” pl

  16. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I share your sentiment, “America should be ending hunger and quarantining unrest not being their chief enabler.” – however unrealistic it is.

  17. Bandolero says:

    “Experience on the ground counts.”
    I doubt that that is always true. If it were so I don’t think the US military would have burned holy Quran books in the trash after ten years of experience on the ground in Afghanistan.
    “You evidently want to be relieved of any responsibility…”
    Nope. Partnership is, I think, a common and good concept between two inpedenpent states.

  18. Charles I says:

    Let’s think about winners and losers, starting with the arms co.s. and your Representatives. That’s a lot of inertia. Will America be able to abide emerging rivals and shifting market shares without some very boneheaded reactions from all those players with so much sunk investment?

  19. Charles I says:

    Failed/weak state hinterlands are both fallow grounds for the required threats but much easier pickings than states still coherent enough to manage their own borders, makes ideal salami,what’s not to like?

  20. Charles I says:

    They are under embargo – until the next announced provocation scuttles them outright or stimulates outrage sufficient to frustrate negotiation and explicitly ascribe blame to the Palestinians.

  21. turcopolier says:

    “I doubt that that is always true.” as usual you don’t know what you are talking about. The US military had virtually no experience of Islamic countries before 9/11. The First Gulf War saw the troops confined to their camps when not fighting and quickly withdrawn from the theater. the sole expertise of the US military in this area resided in a small group of officers who had been specially trained for diplomatic and intelligence duties and they were not in command of anything.

  22. Allen Thomson says:

    > Pax Sinica
    An interesting thought. How do you write it in Chinese characters?

  23. the Unready says:

    The correct way to dispose of unwanted or damaged Korans is burning, by the way, as opposed to putting them in a rubbish bin for example, which would be offensive to Muslims…

  24. Islam made it Gates of Vienna twice! Will there be a next time?

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You might want to look into the life and times of Vasmus – the German intelligence agent – in Southern Iran immediately before and after World War I.
    He had experience on the ground – spoke Persian and had good rapport with the locals.

  26. Alexno says:

    “And there is, beside a mostly native sectarian bombing jihadi current like in Pakistan, also a Saudi hand encouraging sectarian violence to see.”
    I don’t know of any evidence for a “mostly native” jihadi movement in Iraq. I think you are imagining things. Or rather presuming that it must be the case, for some reason like the supposed ‘eternal’ war between Sunni and Shi’a.
    It is not the case. The war in Iraq is pretty much all external. ISIS and its friends. I’ve been looking carefully for a long time, and I have yet to see evidence that it is a local revolt, although such an interpretation would suit some of the present government.

  27. Ulenspiegel says:

    “Islam made it Gates of Vienna twice! Will there be a next time?”
    Every time Islam was a thread for central Europe it came in form of armies of powerful states. At the moment the Arabs are working hard to destroy even the last remnants of these. Turkey is no thread, neither Iran.
    So we can only talk about the part of “Islam” (There is not one Islam, see above) that is already in Austria or Germany. Here the quite sober assessment is that integration of larger groups (Turks) is slow but happening and western culture is more a thread for them than they to us. 🙂
    Smaller groups are either an real asset (Iranians, Bosnians) or the more extremistic ones simply powerless, they have usually no support in local population or larger immigrant groups (Turks).

  28. Thanks Ulanspiegle! ALL! Is there anywhere an accurate accounting of the Islamic resident population of each EU nation and changes in that demographic since 2000?
    And Kerry in a rather formal statement has announced that
    US policy is to defend all our friends in the Middle East!
    What does Kerry mean exactly!

  29. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree with you that is a historical phobia which probably accounts for the extreme prejudice against Islam in Germany.
    It reminds me of an analogous fear of the Oriental races among the Russians – traceable to the Mongol Conquest of Russia but now projected onto the Chinese (even before the collapse of USSR).
    And now, of course, you also have the fear of the “Crusaders” animating very many Muslims – even though that happened more than 800 years ago.

  30. Ulenspiegel says:

    “I agree with you that is a historical phobia which probably accounts for the extreme prejudice against Islam in Germany.”
    This is wrong, please read my post again! It is not about Islam, but about the ability and willigness of immigrants to integrate.
    The Turks were an problem because they were often from rural regions and showed no interest to get education for their kids. Check percentage of Turks and Germany and percentage of Turkish students leaving third tier highschool without graduation.
    Compare this with the fate of most Iranian immigrants, which were usually highly educated, or with the real problems of first generation Italians from Sicily. Correlation is not causation.

  31. Ulenspiegel says:

    The Turkish population is almost constant in Germany and Austria for years.
    Germany has 1.6 million Turks (citizen with Turkish passport only), down from 2.1 million in 1998.
    However, the number of people with Turkish background, the 1.6 million from above + those with German passport is constant ~2.5 million for years now.
    In principle the same situation in Austria. In both countries around 20-25% of the “Turks” are actually Kurds.

  32. Let’s say a philosopher king were to come along in MENA, what could be done given Islam and oil, to improve the lives of the people?
    What is the likely future of Christianity in MENA?

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    OK, thanks.

Comments are closed.