I have been paying attention to what happens in the Middle East for 50 years, like many people my age. The problems and the players gradually change but there’s always a mess. Today’s hot issues:
- the Syrian civil war
- attacks and riots at US embassies
- relations with Iran
- guerilla warfare/terrorism/covert operations
- extrajudicial killings
Why can’t people just get along? Well, there’s Europeans meddling in the Middle East during and between and after the two World Wars. What was that about? Imperialism. Paternalism. Whatever happened to democracy and self-determination? It disappeared when oil was discovered in the Gulf. It disappeared when yet another European war engulfed the region. Denying nomadic people and aboriginal people continued existence seems to be a character flaw in Europeans.
In the process, the British offered zionists a return to their ancient territory… which seemed like an invasion to Arabs and muslims. Now animosities a thousand years old are brought up to date with aircraft, machine-guns, armor and bombs. The world cannot afford this. The oil is not worth such complications. It’s not right effectively to proclaim people in the Middle East are just pests to be managed or eliminated.
No one seems to have the answer. Today, Canada, my government, refused to listen to Ahmadinajad address the UN General Assembly. If people won’t even listen to each other there is not much hope of reconciliation and a peaceful future. All the while calling him an extremist, USA and Canada are funding covert operations in Syria, Iran’s ally, and USA is giving $billions annually to Israel, which advocates a pre-emptive strike against Iran, and Egypt trying to buy peace. Afghanistan was invaded to go after Al Qaida but then was occupied for no good reason. Iraq was invaded and occupied for no good reason. Quit burning oil and peace will happen. There will not be much left to fight about.
Israel is not about to disappear but having a Jewish state while not allowing a Palestinian state is not on either. It’s about time people listened to what others are saying. There will be hotheads and extremists on every side of every issue but we don’t have to let them set the agenda. The world needs to get over its guilt and require Israel to behave like a nation among nations instead of God’s chosen people on the Promised Land. Iran and the Arab states need to accept that peace is normal and good and have free elections and political choice. The world should stop funding these people so they will be forced to get along with each other. War is just not a sustainable business model.
If we don’t want our children’s children to have to deal with the mess our fathers made, we have to change how we deal with the Middle East. It’s long past time people treat the Middle East the same way they treat every other nation on the planet, with respect and the expectation that good people there will do the right thing.