Middle East falling apart and - shocka - it has nothing to do with the absence of a 'Palestinian state'
Former JPost editor Douglas Davis writes that the Middle East is about to come apart in a paroxysm of violence and hatred, and - surprise, surprise, surprise - it has absolutely nothing to do with the absence of a 'Palestinian state
Read the whole thing
Europe’s political and media classes are missing the point. Lazy,
ignorant or both, they persist in reading from a clapped-out,
30-year-old script – if it was accurate even then – when they declaim on
Middle East affairs. As if the "occupation", the "settlements", the
"tunnel", the "wall" and other “crisis issues” are the cause of the all
world’s ills; as if the birth of Palestine holds the key to tranquillity
and peace, perhaps even utopia.
Solve the Palestinian problem and you solve the problems of the world.
Or at least the region. Wrong then, wrong now, according to a senior
Arab political source. “Make no mistake,” he told me earnestly over
dinner last week, “We are on the brink of a catastrophe. And it has
nothing whatever to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
“The Palestinians have never been among the top-10 priorities of any
Arab government. Arab leaders don’t give a damn about the Palestinians.
They have simply used the Palestinian issue to divert attention from
their own failures – to cover up their ineptitude, inadequacies and
corruption. Their oppressive security measures were never meant to
combat ‘Zionist aggression’ but to suppress the anger of their own
people. It’s been an exercise in cynicism, pure and simple. And even
Western governments swallowed it.”
Now, he says, the Arab world – and the wider Islamic world – is facing
reality. It is a reality that has nothing to do with the Arab Spring,
democracy, freedom and liberty. Nor does it have anything to do with
rage-fuelled violence supposedly incited by the Palestinian-Israeli
conflict, conspiracy theories about Western imperialism, Jewish
influence-peddling, crusader aggression, insulting cartoons or YouTube
videos (though such pretexts are often used to justify pre-ordained
spasms of violence).
“It’s true that there are sanctions against insulting the Prophet,”
notes Bernard Haykel, a professor of Middle East studies at Princeton
University, “but this is really about political or symbolic opportunists
who use religious symbols to advance their own power or prestige
against other groups.”
The reality is not a contest over symbols and power. The Arab world,
which has been in decline relative to the West for 300 years, is at
bursting point (the 57 Islamic states account for some 20 per cent of
the world’s population but account for less than 7 per cent of its
Today, the Middle East is standing on the edge of an internecine
eruption that is likely to sweep away the existing order and radically
alter the regional order, with far-reaching strategic implications for
The region is splitting apart and ready to explode out of its largely
artificial boundaries along two major fault lines, ethnic and religious.
, because he's got it right. And what's worse is that if Obama is reelected, the United States - which is the only power that might be able to do something about it - will have it wrong at just the wrong time.
Labels: Arab spring, Islam, oil, Palestinian state, Persian Gulf, Shiites v. Sunnis