The Middle East is devastating itself – not Obama’s inaction

February 4, 2014 11:03 am

A recent article came out of the Independent titled Obama’s inaction is quietly devastating the Middle East. 

My reaction is to disagree with this statement. Yes, the United States has been responsible; in a way; for some of the destabilizing and the conflict. Its invasion of Iraq has been a disaster after it was found that no “weapons of mass destruction” existed, and immediately after its withdrawal, the little peace that was achieved disappeared once again. Bombings, assassinations and sectarian tensions came back into the fore.

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The United States is also responsible for a favouritism towards Israel when it comes to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Even during times of tension between the United States and Israel, such as the recent attack by Israel’s defence minister, Ya’alon, against Kerry, the money and trade continues to flow since there are vested interests. This has been so for a very long time, and it is this money that Israel gains that allows its military occupation of the West Bank to continue. The balance of power is severely skewed, and so there is much pessimism that surrounds the “peace talks” between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

But on to the dispute:

‘The “Arab Spring” was always going to be a brutal contest between two major camps – secular progressives and religious reactionaries”:

This claim is accurate, but it is not the full story. Even within the religious camp there is infighting. The “moderate” Islamic front has launched an assault on the Al-Qaida ISIL in Aleppo, Syria which was followed by prisoners being freed. But even more than that is the Sunni-Shia conflict. I could look into it and tell you about its history, how the Shias perceive themselves oppressed, and how the Sunnis perceive themselves to be true followers of the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad. But like many religious conflicts, the reality is actually in political interests.

Think of it this way, the interests of Sunnis is represented by Saudi Arabia, and that of Shias is represented by Iran. They are mortal enemies, much like the USA and Soviet Union during the Cold War. They both fund terrorist organizations, from the Nusra Front (Sunni) to Hizbollah (Shia) in proxy wars (Syria). So just like the USA and Soviet Union, they also fund proxy wars against each other, hijacking revolutions, much like Russia in the Vietcong and the USA in Afghanistan when Russia invaded.

The point of all of this is that it is the fault of Arab and Iranian leaders, who are taking advantage of the Sunni Shia divide. It has not become a matter of religious practice only, but a cultural identity. The leaders at the top, especially those of Saudi Arabia, don’t actually care about religion. They care about being a religious authority, by virtue of controlling the holiest sites in Islam (the city of Mecca and the city of Medina). That way, they are able to have a tighter grip on religion and to control people more easily.

Should the USA try to intervene, siding with Sunni, Shia or either, then it will cause a multitude of problems. Who ever the USA supports in the Middle East, they will be hated by all the religious extremists groups simply because of its support for Israel. If the USA is allied with the Iraqi Government today, then it is excuse enough to wage war on the Iraqi government.

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“Now, his administration [Obama] is engaging in controversial nuclear talks with the Islamic Republic [Of Iran].”

It is worth noting what created the Islamic Republic in the first place. Even if the information is freely available, not many know that it was the USA and the UK that overthrow a democratically elected president of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953. All because, he was pursuing a socialist policy of nationalising the country’s oil. Replacing him with a brutal dictator, the Shah, the Iranians grew fed up. There was a blow back effect of an Islamic revolution that was and is extremely anti-West. And can the Iranians be blamed? Ask the Shah’s brutal secret police, the Savak.

The Middle East is destroying itself 

The leaders within the Middle East, whether their ascension was inspired by Western intervention (Iran) or whether they dealt directly with their colonists to be given power (Saudi Arabia), are destroying the Middle East for the sake of power. The West’s history of intervention and colonisation means that it is not so welcome, and any involvement will only cause tension.

No, it is up to the people of the Middle East – every Iranian, Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Palestinian, Iraqi, Emirati, Qatari, Bahraini, Kuwaiti, Yemeni and others I may have missed. The responsibility falls on them to put aside their differences. Because if their differences cannot be exploited, then the dictators at the top will be without power; because truly; that is all that they have.

Just as Europe took centuries of bloody infighting to resolve its problems, so will the Middle East. The road ahead is bloody, and USA inaction will not be adding to it.

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  • damola awoyokun

    Thanks for this. Decades of US intervention didn’t allow the Middle East to dialogue with itself. Naturally a community at war with itself would always unite once there is a common external enemy. With the enemy gone, they would resume the internal enemity. So Obama is right to keep out of the Middle East for the resolution of the current socio-political dialectics to take place. The resolution would give grounds for a stable and socially propsperous Middle East.

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