Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Mysterious Middle East

By Alan Caruba

I don’t think anyone knows what’s going to happen in the Middle East and that includes the people who live there as well as those who have ruled them despotically for decades, if not centuries.

The bad news about the Middle East is that all this rioting, insurrection, et cetera, has very little to do with “freedom” and everything to do with its peoples wanting Sharia law and mullah control. In that area of the world that is what Islam preaches and what Muslims want. When you have to pray five times a day, there's not a lot of time left over for an objective understanding of the world.

Muammar al-Gadhafi is doing what one would expect him to do. He’s trying to stay alive and to keep his hold on the oil riches of Libya. To accomplish this, he will kill as many Libyans as necessary. We tend to forget that despots in Syria and Iraq, the late masseurs Hafez al Assad and Saddam Hussein, slaughtered thousands of their own people to gain and retain power. One can only guess at the death toll in Iran.

Egypt gave the impression of being a not too horrible place to live, so long as you lived in America or somewhere else. The military essentially owned Egypt and everyone else there resents it. What do we want in Egypt? Stability. Therefore we want the military to stay in power since most of its officers were trained by U.S. military and we give them over a billion a year not to attack Israel. Again. And get whipped. Again.

Only at this point there is no stability in Egypt and typically everyone at the bargaining table wants a piece of whatever wealth there is to be had. The Muslim Brotherhood wants a return to the seventh century as soon as possible.

The real action will be in Saudi Arabia where the wealth really exists and has been carefully tended by the “royal” family of Saud. They have worked closely with America because, oddly enough, we are the only major power they trust. We need their oil. If it takes every carrier, destroyer and cruiser we have in that part of the world, plus a lot of Marines, Army, and Air Force, you can bet we will ensure they stay in power and in the oil business.

The other Gulf States are strategic U.S. assets. We park our Navy in Bahrain. We do a lot of business in Abu Dubai. We want the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait to keep pumping oil and sending it to us. They want to avoid being taken over by Iran.

Nobody, but nobody knows how Iran will end up. A lot depends on whether a whole generation of young Iranians can stage a successful revolution, drag the ayatollahs into the streets, and hang them from telephone poles. So long as the nut jobs remain in power they will get nuclear weapons and force everyone to bomb the crap out of them.

Not mentioned at this point is Pakistan, a failed state beset by the Taliban with whom it has tried to maintain good relations despite the threat they present. Pakistan remains insanely afraid India will sneak in one night and reclaim their territory. It has nuclear weapons that the U.S. and all other nations want to ensure do not become the property of either al Qaeda or Iran. Islam is killing Pakistan.

There are three wild cards at this point, Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen. The first two have large Palestinian populations. Lebanon is now controlled by Iran and Syria via Hezbollah. Jordan’s fallback position is the Bedouin tribes that support its king, but there is increased clamoring in the streets because that’s what Palestinians do.Yemen like other Arab states is in turmoil and only military analysts pay it much attention. Then there is Somalia, pretty much "Apache country" because no one who goes there comes back alive.

Lastly, there’s Afghanistan, a nation that has been unsuccessfully invaded by great powers who never learn one of the first lessons of history, never invade Afghanistan.

If you harbor the illusion that the White House, Department of State or the Pentagon has the slightest idea what is happening in the Middle East or what will happen in the Middle East, you are mistaken. And they are currently led by the most pro-Islam President in the history of the nation.

No one knows. Everyone wishes they did.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


TexasFred said...

I know it will NEVER happen under Obama, but a few high yield nukes would settle a lot of this *angry raghead* thing... Just sayin'...

Alan Caruba said...

@TexasFred: With me as President and you as my Vice President, we could sort this thing out in a hurry! :-)

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

I'm sure there is a market for low quality glass made from Arabic sand somewhere.

Alan Caruba said...

@Dave: True, just apply enough heat to sand and you get glass.

Ronbo said...

The Big Picture is that the 21st century has had a head on collusion with the 7th century in the Middle East, and the forces of reaction - the Islamists - are feeling the heat from the small Westernized middle class that wants the norms of democracy.

I think at the end of a very long day that may involve the Third World War, the advocates of Western Civilization will separate the Mosque from State and create viable republics.

Japan once cured of the worst aspects of Shintoism and the worship of the Emperor became a pretty civil and wealthy place. The same thing can happen in the Middle East.

I hope without WW III.

Buzzg said...

Japan as an analogy for progress vis a vis the Middle East is fairly weak as rampant illiteracy in the Middle East and the effects of Muslim/Sharia dogma will cripple any attempts to democratize Egypt much less the entire region. I have little faith that any attmepts to usher in U.S. style liberty/freedom will succeed. I'm not against trying, but the odds are enormous.
I'm still of the belief that WWIII will begin there with Israel having to use nuclear weapons to defend itself.
Let us pray, brethren.

TexasFred said...

Alan, can I take a *pass* on the VP slot? I'd prefer to be head of the CIA or DoD... I want to break things personally!! :)

Hands on, so to speak..

Alan Caruba said...

@TexasFred: Okeey-Dooky!

Unknown said...

God knows!

Anonymous said...

The drawback to the nukes is that they would obviate the very reason we care at all about what happens there. Unless their oil industry were operated on a daily basis by good old Raymond Radioactive...

LarryOldtimer said...

The US has no need of that middle east oil. We have about 1.3 trillion barrels of oil and oil equivalent, natural gas and coal, in known and extractable deposits.

As for the myth that CO2 is bad, allow me to do the calcs for you.

Let's be generous and say that there are 400 parts per million of CO2. That would mean that there were 40 molecules of CO2 among 100,000 molecules of mostly nitrogen and oxygen.

Let's be generous again, and say that 5% of the CO2 is due to human activity. 2 molecules per 100,000 molecules would be due to human activity.

In about 1950, in Iowa,a bumper crop of corn, using modern farming methods, was 90 bushels yield per acre. In today's time, because of the increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere since 1950, a common yield is 140 bushels of corn per acre.