Thursday, December 26, 2013

Some Truths About the Middle East

I know considerably more than most people do about the Middle East, and I know very, very little. As in the case of a lot of complicated subjects, first you have to understand how profoundly ignorant you are before you can even get started. The Middle East is at the core of the Islamic World and is frequently confused with it. But the Islamic World as a whole is even more complicated and self-contradictory, so let's just talk about the Middle East, roughly thought of as the Arabic-speaking parts of North Africa and the Fertile Crescent, plus Iran and Afghanistan. Sometimes Pakistan is included, sometimes it's not.

Some truths about the Middle East then, that even I, with my limited knowledge, can be sure of:

1. The Middle East is not homogeneous. Even if you leave Israel out, it is a mix of ethnicities and religions and ethnic groups and languages, none of which are particularly enamored of any of the others.

2. Within Islam, the Sunni/Shi'a split is profound and meaningful, and any analysis of the place that doesn't include it is absurdly incomplete.

3. Some Muslims are much more tolerant of other religions than other Muslims are.

4. No Middle East governments are trustworthy. They are all liars.

5. Our government is not trustworthy on the subject of the Middle East.

6. All Middle East governments despise the West and the United States. This includes all of our "allies" there.

7. Our government does not care about Christians in the Middle East, or anywhere else, for that matter.

8. There is a tacit alliance between the Saudis and the Israelis, despite all the rhetoric from both countries.

9.  Arabs hate Persians, and vice-versa.

I could add some more, but why not read Taki instead.  He knows a lot more about it all than I do. Last minute addition: more on this at Vulture of Critique.

Same Old Neocons

During these holidays we should take a second and send our best wishes to the neocons, poor dears, who are having a bad time during this holy season because their plans have gone awry—for at least the next six months.

Ten years ago they were sitting pretty. Saddam had fallen, his chemical and nuclear weapons were about to be discovered, and a new, improved Middle East loomed on the horizon. Well, we all know what a con that was—one that not only cost thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi ones, and millions of refugees, but also one that turned Uncle Sam from a rich “have” into a heavily indebted “have-not” looking at a Chinese laundryman friend for a loan.

The neocons got away with it. They kept their jobs and the roles they play in the media as American patriots, and now they want to repeat the exercise. They’ve only changed one letter, from q to n, from Iraq to Iran. And—amazingly—they have gone one better: This time they want Uncle Sam to be on the side of the bad guys and rain bombs on the good ones. Have they gone completely bonkers, or has someone been putting LSD in the DC water supply?

The greatest bribers and influence-peddlers in DC are the Israeli and Saudi lobbies. Overthrowing Assad has been a Saudi/Sunni master plan since donkey’s years, and I’m surprised the wily Israelis have gone along with it—if they have, that is. For the Saudis, the Iranian nuclear program and the Syrian war are parts of a single conflict. (That’s where the Israel/Saudi alliance comes in.) The militant jihadists fighting the secular Assad forces are financed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the money controlled by gangs who call themselves royals and who have stolen their countries’ oil and mineral wealth from their people to finance their hookers and palaces where they can drink their whiskey in peace. Al-Qaeda, that nice group who gave us 9/11, is the main beneficiary. Its aim is to get rid of Christianity in the Holy Land.

Which brings me to the new persecution—that of Christians.

In Baghdad, Sunni terrorists have bombed dozens of Christian churches; an estimated million Christians have fled Iraq. A huge quotient of Syria’s Christian population has fled their villages and towns for Assad-controlled areas. In Egypt, where Copts have lived since Christ’s time, millions have been intimidated or murdered during the brief time the Muslim Brotherhood held sway. They are now treated as third-class citizens and confined to squalid quarters. Priests are regularly murdered and churches are routinely bombed. Saudi Arabia, of course, does not tolerate Christianity or any other religion for that matter, but Saudi interests are given priority in the West because money talks and Saudi money talks louder than most.

So the Christian faith is under attack by the very people who are painted in the West as freedom fighters, financed by the Saudi-Qatari gang that hopes to establish a Sunni zone across Syria and Iraq and bottle up the snake, as the so-called Saudi King called Iran.
(Keep reading HERE.)


  1. As you say, all Muslims are not homogeneous, that also applies to Christians. To my mind this is one of the most profound mistakes we make when dealing outside our borders, thinking that some group which shares our religion, economic outlook or political theories will be on our side.

    Then we're always surprised when that group doesn't go our way. I've seen this from Vietnam onwards and yet we never learn. I think Americans are full of wishful thinking to the exclusion of sense and observation...

    I personally don't care about the cause of Middle East Christianity nor do I view them as some sort of ally. That goes for Muslims and Jews as well. None of those groups are our buddies. They're certainly not mine.

    some guy who's been to the Middle East with his eyes open

    1. Oh, from what I know, I quite agree with you. The point is that the neocons who caterwaul about, say, Iranians picking on Christians go blind when Israelis or our Muslim "allies" in the Middle East pick on them. As this blog has said before, we have zero allies in the Middle East.

  2. I agree with most of your points. #8 is especially important for understanding how the ME works. On #6. "All Middle East governments despise the West and the United States. This includes all of our "allies" there" - well, I'm not sure 'despise' is the right word. Israel seems to regard the US with a degree of amiable contempt, which is close. But for most ME governments I'd suggest the correct description is "hate and fear". They respect US power, they hate the US and its interference, they fear US attack - which can be a military attack (Iraq) or support for opposition forces' "regime change" (Egypt et al). Most ME regimes don't have the self-assurance to look down on the US, which 'despite' really requires; Israel and Iran are partial exceptions. Certainly with the Arabs and Pakistan it's resentment, fear, and hatred.

    1. Quite right. "Despise" was a poor choice of words. I was clumsily using it as a synonym for "hate," which I have a perverse tendency to do.

    2. OK, cool. :) I used to be friends with a renegade Arab princess whose ex-husband was apparently on the board of the Carlyle Group, she gave me a lot of useful internal-aspect on the Arab elites' POV. Eg they think the EU's fawning over the Palestinians is ridiculous, and are happy to ally with Israel for convenience. They are scared of the USA and so put a lot of effort into influencing US policy. Morally, by our standards they are incredibly degenerate, far worse even than is generally known in the West.

    3. On hate - almost everyone in the ME hates the USA. Israel feels contempt, but not hate. The Israeli elite seems to generally loathe the USA less than the US's own dominant New York Jewish elite do, admittedly that's not saying much. >:)
      Turkey's government when it was effectively military-ruled was an exception, they were too busy hating the USSR, but is now more or less in line with the rest. Not hating the USA has been shown to be very bad for your survival prospects, qv the Shah of Iran, and Mubarak to a lesser extent. The less a regime hates the USA, the more likely it is to get culled (usually with US support!) so simple Natural Selection pushes strongly towards hate-and-fear.

  3. Actually I knew all this. Most Americans know all this. what amazes me is the willingness of so many Americans, especially the lamestream media, to suspend disbelief when the neocons tell their lies.