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Middle East Conundrum

We hear proposals repeated from many interests on how to solve the Middle Eastern problems. These problems are so complex that many of us have forgotten the interrelationships that exist. I intend to try to present in this Article, a synopsis of these relationships so that we can begin to talk with more awareness of the interplays. The major nations and people we will be talking about are Iran, Iraq, Kurds, Turkey, Isis, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Hezbollah, Lebanon, The Palestinians, Hamas, and Saudi Arabia. There are at least two major questions we need to address: Why did President Obama not go into Syria, drive Assad out and set up the Opposition to govern? Secondly, why doesn't the U.S.A. send ground troops into Iraq and drive Isis out of Iraq and also Syria? And perhaps thirdly, why do we keep handling Iran so delicately? Let us look at Syria first. What would we have had to deal with had we physically intervened in Syria? There were several opposition groups to the Assad regime, and it now appears that Isis was the strongest and best positioned to have been the beneficiaries of our actions. But is this really true when we consider that Iran is a strong supporter of Assad, and along with its surrogate Hezbollah, a major force in Lebanon? Would this not have made the problem more difficult to solve? We have learned a lot as matters have unfolded. When Syria seemed to have been the West’s major concern we were never told anything about Isis, or its leadership. We now learn that Isis controls major oil fields and territory in Syria, and has conquered major cities and territory in Iraq. Isis is able to finance its operations mainly through the sale of crude oil, taxes imposed on the captive peoples, and ransom. We would love to see the Iraqi government handle Isis and run them out of Iraq, but the Iraqi forces seem ill-equipped and under-trained and unwilling to rise to the task. Iraqi troops and government are Shia Muslims, and Isis is Sunni, which draws much support to Isis from Sunni Iraqis who feel that they are not getting a square deal from the Shiite government in Baghdad. Iran, an astute opportunist, sees a great opportunity for its advancement in the region, and steps in to help its friends, who are now the governors of Iraq. We must not forget that during Saddam’s presidency many of the present governmental leaders in Iraq were in exile in Iran, and were supported by the Iranian authorities. The USA knows that ground troops are needed in Iraq, but cannot put any in. At the same time it cannot welcome openly Iran Forces, and so it finds itself being a fighting partner with Iran in the war with Isis. Allied with this effort is the need for the USA to support the Curds, since the Curds have been waging a brave battle with Isis. To make matters more complicated, the Curds have problems with Turkey, and the US efforts to get our NATO partner Turkey to allow it Air Base usage for attacks on Isis in Syria have been compromised and delayed for a long time. Any relationship with Iran causes immense problems for the Democrats not only at home in the USA, but also in Saudi Arabia and in Israel. The Saudi’s are mainly Sunni, and the Iranians are mainly Shiite, and neither of them is in love with Israel or vice versa. Iran’s support of Hamas further complicates the Israeli-Palestinian problems, and in the meantime, over four million refugees have poured out of Syria into Iraq, Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. In the meantime we play for time, but there is no referee to blow the whistle. We know how to end the game, and indeed we would have ended it in the nineteenth century or the early twentieth century. We would have to go in with overwhelming forces, and take control of the entire troublesome regions. The challenge is that we will have to run them for the foreseeable future. There would be no immediate exit strategy. IDW.





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