No Hope for the Middle East (2/9/13)

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Kapil’s Khichadi
Follow me on Twitter: @kdudakia

The so called Arab Spring has all but turned into a raging fire that is burning the very soul of people who might have hoped for peace and reconciliation in their life time.

What the world has failed to understand is that the fundamentals for peace and reconciliation do not exist in the Middle East for any initiative to stand a remote chance of success. As long as you have extreme ideology and tribal warfare – peace will never get a chance to flourish.

It seems you have only two viable options for the time being, maintain or put in leadership that is dictatorial, or accept the extreme version of Islamists in charge. Neither is acceptable and democracy as a notion has yet to be understood by the masses for it to ever work.

The imperial masters made the mess when first they tried to control the area with might and power. Later when they agreed arbitrary lines of separation to create the countries that make up the Middle East, and then when in the 40’s they created the State of Israel without a buy in from the Arabs. The combination of enslavement, extreme ideology and the west’s support for Israel has created a psyche and a mindset of hatred and revenge. Killing is increasingly becoming the norm, and death is accepted as a casualty of being an Arab or a Jew. When children grow up knowing nothing but death and hatred, what can you expect for their future?

Recent history has shown that even when one might feel the west has gone in for the right reasons, what transpires can be totally opposite to the best made plans. In Iraq, Bush and Blair destroyed the veracity of their crusade when they attacked under the pretence of weapons of mass destruction. In the end the weapons of master destruction were not man-made items, it was man himself. The crusade left hundreds of thousands dead with many more injured. Families torn apart with children growing up seeing western troops as their enemy. Can you remember the day of triumph when Saddam’s statue was pulled down live on TV? That was an iconic image, though this changed ever so quickly with the very same people demanding the west to get out of their country. The lesson of Iraq is simple, are you sure that the people you wish to free really appreciate what it is that you are doing for them? Or will you create more enemies even though your intention might be to help?

Likewise, Afghanistan will be singing to the tune of the Taliban and their likes very soon. Egypt is burning, Libya lost in its own mire; not to mention Iran, Palestine and Lebanon. All the deaths, the destruction and the resources expended – for what?

The list of such countries is endless but let us now look at Syria. In the past 2 years Assad was given full reign to shoot, bomb and kill more than 120 thousand of his own people. Whilst this mass execution was taking place the west, apart from its normal rhetoric, held back and did nothing. Now with only a few thousand deaths due to the use of chemical weapons suddenly everyone has woken up and wants to do something. However what is it that the west wants to do? Basically bomb a few targets to teach Assad a lesson. In fact their objective is not to destroy even one ounce of the deadly chemicals. They will not land with foot soldiers given the humiliations of Iraq and Afghanistan. So what is the end game? And what are the strategic objectives? Is it to remove Assad, but for what? To be replaced by the extremist Islamic elements in the country? Is that what you call saving the people and the nation?

David Cameron no doubt wanted to do something good and tangible for the people of Syria. However was it necessary to bring Parliament out of hibernation to vote on an amendment that was going to fail? It failed because Tory MPs voted it down. Ed Miliband found himself in an easy position of only having to put in a small spanner to derail the whole motion. He won the day, but maybe his is a victory that will be short lived.

There is universal acceptance that the haste with which David Cameron moved was in fact his downfall. That it has damaged his credibility and standing in both his party and with the public. However I am not sure this is all as bad as it might seem at first. It could be that Ed Miliband has done David Cameron a favour with the House of Commons defeat. Think about it, the possibility of things going wrong with any intervention in Syria are very high. If that does happen then the immediate wrath will not be so savage given the UK is not taking any part. So maybe the advice to David Cameron should be, don’t bring the matter to the vote again until you have Ed Miliband 100% on your side. Then at least you both share whatever spoils of war one has left post an intervention.

So what of the Middle East? Until they separate religion from the state, and begin a positive proactive educational process for the masses, I fear killings will remain the only currency of choice.


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