Hurricane Alley… by J. D. Longstreet

Rethinking the Middle East … by Alan Caruba

Rethinking the Middle East

By Alan Caruba

 

After 9/11 much of my thinking reflected the general view that Al Qaeda had to be found and destroyed. I thought, too, that Saddam Hussein had to be removed as an obstacle to stability in the Middle East given his invasion of Kuwait and general belligerence.

 

Since those days I have had plenty of time to reassess my views of U.S. policies and to educate myself regarding the Middle East. A lot of my thinking had been based on the inescapable fact that the U.S. and the West needs access to Middle Eastern oil.

 

U.S. policy since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been support for Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, providing protection of the sea lanes that transport oil and, in the case of Iraq, protecting the Saudi kingdom against attack. This was the reason for the original U.S. effort to remove Saddam’s Iraq from Kuwait and the subsequent invasion that was based on less than accurate intelligence reports of an Iraqi buildup of weapons of mass destruction.

 

For a long time, there has been a general consensus that a “clash of civilizations” between the West and Islam was inevitable, but it is more of a clash between civilization and nihilism. The global war on terror influenced U.S. actions as the rationale for the second invasion of Iraq was, in part, to introduce democracy to the Middle East.

 

There have been two factors that have complicated U.S. policy toward the Middle East. One was the establishment in 1948 of the state of Israel, a response to the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust that combined with the Zionist movement that began in the late 1800s as a response to the anti-Semitism of Europe and Russia. It received support from the newly-established United Nations, but nations in the Middle East reacted unanimously against the return of Jews to their former, ancient homeland. No surprise here; the Koran demonizes both Jews and Christians.

 

The other factor was the Islamic Revolution that erupted in Iran in 1979, a defeat of the American influence in that nation’s affairs linked in no small measure to its oil. The later defeat of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led many in the Middle East to believe that Islam could defeat Western efforts to control the region. Western hegemony in the region had begun in earnest following World War I and the end of the Ottoman Empire.

 

The weapon of choice of the new Islamic Revolution was terror and, if invaded, a slow, grinding insurgency. This is why Iraq and future theatres of war will take a long time to play out.

 

What most policy makers in the U.S. and the West tend to ignore is the fact that the nations of the Middle East differed considerably in they way they are governed and, most importantly, in the near total lack of cohesion or cooperation among them.

 

In a recent commentary from the Middle East Forum, Michael Rubin noted that, “For more than a millennium, Damascus, Baghdad and Cairo have competed for leadership of the Arab world.” The establishment of Israel “became a useful template around which they could posture and against whom they could act as each sought to outdo its rivals in a claim to Arab leadership.”

 

Following World War II, a number of Middle East nations adopted the worst of Western concepts of governance, namely fascism and socialism. Baathism rose in Syria and Iraq, but only served to increase their rivalry. As Rubin points out, “Unity is not an Arab virtue,” adding that Baghdad, Cairo and Damascus “will never coexist as partners.”

 

This is not unique to the region because anyone paying any attention knows that all nations act in what they perceive as their own best interests. Some that share common historical and cultural views are more prone toward cooperation while others such as Russia measure their success against U.S. and European strength or weakness. In the Middle East, however, its culture prevents any useful, long term cooperation.

 

In an excellent analysis published in the November edition of Energy Tribune, Leon Hadar, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, demolishes many of the “intellectual constructs that reflect the imaginations of their promoters, not necessarily reality,” adding that “reality tends to bite.” The neocons of the outgoing Bush administration and the Republican Party learned this to their regret.

 

“The time has come,” wrote Hadar, “to challenge the grand idea that the Muslim world (or the Middle East, or the Arab world—terms that seem interchangeable in the American media) has a unique and monolithic political and economic culture that makes it resistant to the West’s modernizing effects.”  The analysis can be read in full at

http://www.energytribune.com/articles.cfm?aid=1009

 

If Middle Eastern Arabs decide to become “more like us”, it will be at a time of their own choosing. Iranians, being Persian, share Islam, but have their own agenda in the region, giving rise to Arab fears concerning their apparent intent to achieve hegemony there. If and when Iran gets nuclear weapons and starts throwing its weight around, a lot of Arabs are going to begin to think of America as their best friend in the whole world.

 

It should be obvious, too, that the deep schisms within Islam, Shiite and Sunni, will continue to divide the region between the majority Sunnis and what is widely perceived within Islam as a breakaway sect of Shiites who are a majority only in Iraq and Iran. Hadar correctly points out that the Middle East “is a mosaic of nation-states, ethnic groups, religious sects, and tribal groups, and a mishmash of political ideologies, economic systems, and cultural orientations.”

 

All of which suggests to me that the same policy of “containment” that worked for nearly forty-five years regarding the former Soviet communist regime would be a wiser approach to the Middle East than an endless number of military engagements that even our European allies are reluctant to pursue.

 

After World War II, the U.S. occupied the defeated nations of Germany and Japan for about seven years to ensure they would create their own democratic governments and economic systems. After that, the U.S. extended its military protection to them and everywhere else Soviet ambitions threatened.

 

The result was a stalemate in Korea that yielded a successful South Korean state, and a defeat in Vietnam that continues to influence American policy. We still do not recognize communist Cuba, but we have entered into an economic co-dependence with Red China. Go figure?

 

Just as the declining price of oil and gas brought down a Soviet government dependent on these exports, the Russian Federation will face the same contingency. Meanwhile, a decline in the price of a barrel of oil and the price of natural gas may, if long term, require Middle Eastern nations to review their policies as well.

 

The best thing America can do right now is to open up its own vast reserves of oil and natural gas that remain unexplored and untapped off of 85% of our continental shelf and to do the same in ANWR. We need to stop demonizing coal and we need to build more nuclear plants.

 

These actions would put the U.S. back in a position to improve our economy and protect us against pressures from the Middle East, Russia, and elsewhere. I have serious doubts the Obama administration will do this.

 

Things change. U.S. policies will change. Not every policy, but gradually events, some of which we have set in motion in Iraq as part of the global war on terror, will bring about change if we are smart enough, strong enough, and patient enough to watch and wait.

 

Alan Caruba writes a daily blog at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. Every week, he posts a column on the website of The National Anxiety Center, www.anxietycenter.com.

 

© Alan Caruba, December 2008

 

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His Finger on Armageddon

His Finger on Armageddon

By: J. D. Longstreet

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On the off chance that you have not noticed… there is a religious fanatic in charge of Iran. The even more troubling problem is… he has his finger on the button, which could trigger Armageddon.

I speak, of course, of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran. I should say the “Islamic Republic” of Iran.

I find myself in the group believing Iran will have a deliverable A-Bomb much sooner than our Intelligence community has told us. I think it wise to assume that in a matter of months, Iran will have nuclear weapons. Iran already has the delivery vehicles for those Nukes. Ahmadinejad has told us the target… Israel. In a few, blinding seconds, the state of Israel will cease to exist.

Ahmadinejad apparently believes it is his duty in life to prepare the way for the 12th Imam. To understand how Ahmadinejad’s belief can be fatal for Israel, it is necessary to understand, at least a little, about what he believes. Then it will become clear.

Well, in Christianity we have the return of Christ, often referred to as the “Second Coming of Christ”. In Shi’ite Islam they have the return of the 12th Imam. Ahmadinejad has said, openly, the 12th Imam will return within two years.

As with the Second Coming of Christ the event (Return of the 12th Imam) will be associated with a number of tribulations and lots of turmoil including great death… and great destruction.
In an article over at The Telegraph.Co.Uk titled: “Will the 12th Imam cause war with Iran”? Con Coughlin says the following:


“For those unacquainted with the more obscure tenets of Islamic theology, the 12th Imam is held by devout Shi’ite Muslims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed who went into “occlusion” in the ninth century at the age of five and hasn’t been seen since.


The Hidden Imam, as he is also known by his followers, will only return after a period of cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed – what Christians call the Apocalypse – and then lead the world into an era of universal peace.


Rumours abound of Mr Ahmadinejad’s devotion to the 12th Imam, and last year it was reported that he had persuaded his cabinet to sign a “contract” pledging themselves to work for his return.

Another example of his messianic tendencies surfaced after 108 people were killed in an aircraft crash in Teheran. Mr Ahmadinejad praised the victims, saying: “What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.”


We urge you to read the entire article at:


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2007/09/28/do2804.xml

Why is this suddenly so troubling? Well, frankly, with the Islamic belief in Martyrdom so prevalent, and the associated eternal bliss expected, as a result, the religious nut, in Iran, with his finger on the button, becomes a very real threat.

Besides the above, a time of political chaos will set the stage for the 12th Imam’s, or Madhi’s, return. At least, the Shi’ite Moslems believe that it will.

Remember, Ahmadinejad is the man who stated, publicly, “Israel should be wiped from the map”. This is the man who has made huge donations (in the millions of dollars) to a shrine, which is said to contain the well from which the 12th Imam is to re-emerge into the world.

It is also believed the “Mahdi” will have a deputy, something of a forerunner (remember John the Baptist), who will prepare the world for the “Mahdi’s” return. Suppose someone thought himself to be that deputy and desired to bring about the chaos needed for the Mahdi’s return and… suppose, further, the self-described deputy had nuclear weapons to assist him in his quest for chaos.

Granted, there is a whole lot of supposing going on here, but… what if???

Would it not behoove those expecting to be on the receiving end of those missiles to intercede on the side of sanity and remove Mr. Ahmadinejad’s means of inflicting his end goal of chaos and the return of the Mahdi?

One of the few things we have learned, from watching these Middle Eastern hotheads, is that when they threaten something dire, they, almost, always deliver.

You can bet that if this old, gentile, Southern American boy is considering all this… then the Israelis are WAY ahead of me.

Here is a question to think about: Does anyone believe if the Iranians were to pull off a successful nuclear attack on Israel they would stop there… or would they continue their march of conquest to Europe? Huh?

J. D. Longstreet

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conservative+Iran+Bomb+Israel+US+Armageddon

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