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Middle East: is the die cast? « Previous | |Next »
May 23, 2003

This article by Amin Saikal highlights the widening divide between the West and the Islamic world. Australia may be a world away but it is involved.

This paragraph in Saikal's text confirms my previous post on division within the Middle East.

"A disturbing trend is emerging, pointing to the radicalisation of moderate Islamists. If this trend continues, the very people with whom the West needs to interact to rebuild bridges of understanding and trust with the Muslim world will become very short in supply."

For moderate read Saudi Arabia. It cannot be seen to be siding with Israel and the US against the rest of the Arab world. That is an untenable postion for Saudi Arabia. The House of al-Saud would be overthrown by radical Islamists. Hence a regional conflict is something Saudi Arabia would be desperate to avoid. The only way to avoid grass roots Islamic uprisings and ensure the stability of their regimes is to adopt a strong position against the US and Israel.

And this paragraph points to the regional context the Saudi's keep pointing to:

"The Bush Administration's emphasis on "power reality" and therefore application of overwhelming military power has missed the point that neither bin Laden nor Saddam had functioned in an ideological and historical vacuum."

The power reality is the US carving out an troublespot.

But the prospects of regional war still remain post Saddam. Hence all the recent sabre rattling against Syria and Iran by the US.

The radical Islamists are also pushing for regime change: the overthrow of moderate Arab governments (eg., Jordan). Their instrument? Regional escalation of hostilities through the building the Palestinian Intifadah into a regional war.

The die looks to have been cast. Its been a situation of ongoing war for many a long year. Taking out Saddam Hussein was meant to defuse the situationof increasing tension. He was the one stirring the pot on behalf of Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and always threatening to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Arafat is the next to go.

However, the Middle East has its own rhythms and those are ones of war. The spark remains the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinaan Authority, but it is the inherent instabilities of the Arab regimes that will ensure the duration and intensity of the regional conflict.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 12:13 PM | | Comments (3)
Comments

Comments

Bound to happen, sooner or later. With the Amnerican presence now formly entrenched in the M/E for the rest of whatever, a regional conflict will likely occure sooner....than later

Yes, military escalation is happening all the time. Negotiation has little chance. Everyone seems to be willing the others to step up the conflict.

I have no idea what is happening in the ME. I only hear what America and Britain are deciding about Arabia and the Arabians.

Anybody would think that the Western press don't think the Arabs are very important.