The New Middle East
It seems as if the dictator of Syria is within weeks of being found in a gutter or a hole, and then, taken out and shot and his body dragged through the streets. I don’t feel sorry for the man, I don’t. There’s a ritual to these things already. Though, Mubarak in Egypt escaped it, the new guy, Morsi, might not. Qaddafi was taken out this way, and I believe Tunisia’s was just a tad better treated. Saddam Hussein was found and shot more legally. Dictators in this region tend to be taken out and shot. It’s not new, and this is not the last round. But, there’s lots of things going on, and supposedly it’s all very important to us here in America, and to Israel, and Europe, Asia, well, just everyone – and we should do something to do, um, something. So, what is happening and what are we going to do about it?
We’re not going to do anything about it. The forces arrayed in disarray against Assad of Syria are going to take the man out, there’s no doubt about that. They haven’t diminished in power, and seem to have increased – but they don’t like each other. That is, force A doesn’t like force B, but both dislike force C more, so get together. Yah, until C is gone, then A and B will fight it out. It’s like a run off election, in a violent way. I heard of fighting on the outskirts of Damascus. It grows bigger by the hour. The missiles are sure to find the presidential palace soon.
Who is in control of Aleppo, Hama and Sidon and other cities is hard to say, the shooting goes on. Maybe it depends on the neighborhood and the day. One thing for sure, Assad has fewer and fewer people on his side. The closer he gets to the end, the more massive the defections will become. Even Russia apparently has told him to give it up. France has offered asylum. Why a dictator wouldn’t take his money and just run to a villa, but instead wait for the gutter and the bullets is beyond me. Maybe the captain thinks he has to go down with his ship. Anyway, expect the news “Assad found in sewer hole, dragged out and shot, body displayed.” We’ll be horrified! As if we’ve never seen this before. Hell, Assad’s father did it to the guy before him, oh well.
What will replace the current morass is more morass – only it’ll be new. We won’t really know who it is for a while. In Egypt supposedly they have a new president for life already, but I think this guy is short term. The military is rumbling, the people in the streets are not quiet, and the music is still playing; it’s not time to sit in the chair yet. So, expect a new president for life shortly in Egypt. Though, in a criminal act, our President Obama is apparently going to sell tanks and jets to the government there, as if they remotely need them. Who are they going to attack? Or attack them? Egypt has 70 million people – everyone around them is less than 10 million. I mean, Egypt wins, however you look at it – except against Israel, who’s technology far surpasses even the latest that Egypt has.
Who’s in control of Libya is anyone’s guess. It is said that You Tube videos may well be controlling the mobs … Benghazi, the scandal hovers, lingers, undercuts everything. Obama, Rice, Hilary, now Kerry, they are all hemming and hawing about what happened and still people have inquiring minds. They’re trying to brush it under the rug, but well, dead ambassadors are hard to hide. Why we had an ambassador there is another question. If we do need to send in someone to monitor things, a political appointee is probably not a good idea. Even a career diplomat is way under the learning curve for what is happening in Libya. Anyone who pretends they know, beyond “beats us,” is pretty well full of it.
Same thing in Tunisia – I heard that the recently declared president for life might well be soon out of office too. There’s riots, violence, military generals with extra gasoline for their tanks. These are not quiet times in Tunisia. Though, if Greece and Italy keep collapsing economically, maybe those people will move to Tunis and resurrect Carthage and make it the beach resort a la Cancun that it could be. Ah, well, for power and religion and control and a good dash of state control of everything – the guys with guns will fight it out. I would think the man in the souk, the banker, the man with a small hotel, know well what to do – put out “Open for Business” sign in Italian and German. But alas, because capitalism is bad, and these other things must be sorted out the place is not safe to walk around in.
Yemen is a wreck – different tribes, groups, militias, warlords, even families, are in control of this or that sector and city and town and mountain pass. The sultan of Oman thinks he’s in control of his place, but he’s sort of delusional too. The borders with Yemen and Saudi Arabia are just lines in blowing sand.
The tiny Oil and Banking sheikdoms – Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, all sort of survive off the US military, and the traditions of the region that tiny sheikdoms are good for business – after all, no one can trust the bigger country’s banks, that’s for sure. But, they are all repressive to their woman, and their “minorities” which often approach 50% or more of the population. That is Shiites and Sunnis are not happy with who is in charge, whoever it is. And, they are so dependent on the world economy that Dubai, one of the UAE, is essentially bankrupt, with a very tall unsteady shoddy skyscraper.
Iraq is still sorting out their 1300 years of history since Mohammed showed up. It’s still 3 people’s with 2 religions and 2 languages, and not happy with any of it. They survive because we patrol the place – as soon as we’re gone, all bets are off. Whether the new dictator will be a fine man or more nasty is hard to say. We’ll have to wait and see. He will tell us what we wish to hear, and we shall believe him. We probably think we have some idea that his Al-Ibn or that Ibn-Al is going to be the right man for us, ah, but in the wings, somewhere, there’s a colonel or a quiet general, Wasabi or someone, he’ll surface, shoot everyone, and proclaim the election victory. Who knows, right?
There’s no point in reading a whole lot about this place, unless one is really really interested. Not because it’s not important – all that oil the US doesn’t import, but goes to Europe, China and Japan, that we defend and are accused of stealing – it is. Not because we don’t care about the man in the souk, the lady trying to hang her laundry to dry on the roof without worrying about stray bullets, the man who owns an apartment building just pounded into rubble against the rebels – we should care about these people. But, there’s nothing we can do to help them.
There’s not going to be any democracy, and civil rights, nor politics as we know it. These places are so rigid in their traditions that all we can do is sit back and wait until someone in power lasts at least a year. No real point in our diplomats trying to talk to the one in power now – he’s a goner. In fact, it could be said that if he talks too much to us, the quicker he will go.
Iran is a basket case with nuclear ambitions of some kind. They deny nefarious motives as they threaten to make Jerusalem a bowl of fire. Well, so much for Persian respect for the city, eh? Still, the economy is tanking, the money is inflated, the students are restless, the Kurds want out, the Baluchis look across the border to …. the who? Yes, the Baluchi people want to join the Baluchi of Pakistan in a new Baluchistan. Oh, they’re just getting started, give ’em a few years, still – they are looking for swords to rattle.
The Palestinians and Gazans don’t know what they want except to get rid of Israel, and the King of Jordan wants Israel because he keeps his throne – and it is good to be the king. The world thinks the P & G folks are this trod upon people, but forget that it’s their own boots they use on themselves, and the Jordanians and the Egyptians – and anyone in Lebanon, which aren’t really Lebanonese anymore since they’re so divided that it’s almost city states with a few dozen square miles around it – throw sand in their eyes – as everyone blames Israel for not letting them shop at the mall in Tel Aviv. Yes, well, who wants to invite a suicide bomber to the mall?
There’s no point in reading a lot about it because it’s so fluid that what is reported today beyond “bombs fall in Damascus” is old news by tomorrow. That this neighborhood or that or this city or that is shot up is terrible, yes, but, even our smartest scholars and diplomats and politicians are utterly truly clueless about the dynamics of these places – and these places are said to change hands daily – between the Brothers and the Rebels, Insurgents, Sects, Parties, Militias, Warlords and infidels and heretics for that matter, it’s hard to say who’s in charge of any particular street on any given day. They fight against the center, they fight amongst themselves. That’s why we shouldn’t be at all much involved. Watch the place, sure, but to actually put ambassadors in these places is rather silly. To what point? That’s the crime, really, that’s the wrongheaded thinking of our politicians. That’s why they should be held to account. Simply risking American lives to get nothing done is just well, pointless.
It’s not our government’s fault that these places are crazy – it’s our government’s fault to think that we’re going to solve or help or create or build anything. The only thing we’ll do is engender more disgust by them towards us – they’ve made it clear – and wind up supporting the dictator who wins – for, no matter if we are involved or not, there will be a dictator, of that there is no doubt. I suppose my biggest complaint is that my government doesn’t seem to think this is so, and instead they warble about democracy and elections and caucuses and parties – and I’m thinking, you folks are out of your minds. Get real – the murderous dictator in waiting is not going to run for office.
Still, someone is going to get crushed. I often think it best that the countries be split, but, no, we’re to preserve what the British and the French, the Italians and Woodrow Wilson himself created at the end of WW I because, well, because that’s the way it is today. It’s a tautology, but hey. Far better towards peace is to put the Sunni with the like, the Shia with themselves, and all the Kurds in one big -stan – and then, at least the ethnic rivalry inside the countries will be gone. Draw the borders were the people are, not were some Oxford fop and Sorbonne elite decided to put it 100 years ago.
And Israel? Well, they are rich, at peace and have gay pride parades, which is a sure sign of civilized society. And ready to kick some new dictator butt. So, at best, we can hope that the new dictators work their magic in their own countries and not try to start a war with Israel. But, we’re not going to help things by coddling this or that potential new president for life, that’s for sure.
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