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The Middle East in a nutshell

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  • The Middle East in a nutshell

    I'm almost embarassed (OK, I am embarassed) to admit that I am only vaguely aware of the reasons behind the continuing warfare in the Middle East between various countries and factions, as well as the intense hatred some groups have for the US. Can anyone coherently and succintly explain?
    Man plans. God laughs.
  • Original Poster

    I'm almost embarassed (OK, I am embarassed) to admit that I am only vaguely aware of the reasons behind the continuing warfare in the Middle East between various countries and factions, as well as the intense hatred some groups have for the US. Can anyone coherently and succintly explain?
    Man plans. God laughs.


    • #3
      I'll give a brief (and hopefully not grossly innacurate) overview of the highest level...

      First and foremost. Osama Bin Laden is not a Palestinian. He is an exiled Saudi who is a psychopathic madman. It is not to anyone's credit that he might support their cause (Iraq, Palestine, Syria, whatever). But I truly believe he ONLY supports those causes because he is a madman. He doesn't really give a rat's ass for anyone other than himself.

      The Palestine Mandate, which includes all of present day Isreal (disregarding the previous several thousand years of discord, war, annihilation and just overall evilness in the name of One's Religion) was more or less under the control of the British Empire prior to WWII, and primarily populated by the Palestinians. For many years there had been political movements to restore the Jewish people to their homeland, and most were more or less summarily ignored by the world in general, Britain and America in particular.

      Following WWII, the movement gained support and approval from Britain, America and Europe for the obvious reasons ("we turned our backs big time, and we'd like to begin to say how sorry we are..."). Jewish citizens were permitted to move into Israel and claim undeeded land.

      As I understand it, the nomadic arabs did not exactly maintain the same level of record keeping of land as the Europeans, so Palestinians were displaced. And so began a long simmering conflict, which has it's roots in the West trying to right a wrong. Sad, really...

      Add to it the one big change - Oil. Oil in the arab states. Conflict with a pocketbook is a whole different story...

      Add to this the Cold War, where it became very fashionable for middle east countries to align themselves with either the US or the USSR, and it became even more entrenched.
      Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


      • #4
        In addition because the Palestinians were displaced from their own homes they in turn had a good reason to be angry !Until the nomadic groups formed governments that were well organized and had funding through the oil production they weren't much of a threat but now it is a different story.The fundamentalist Muslims are a whole different type of creature from the average Muslim .It i s bin laden's mission to punish all those who aid Isreal .After the first WTC bombing about 8 yrs ago and the subsequent trials where his cohorts were convicted he made threats to" Get The US PIGS "It was yesterday that the terrorists convicted of the first WTC bombing were to be sentenced . AFGHANISTAN harbors Bin Laden allows him to hide behind their borders .None of the other ARAB gulf countries can comfortably turn their backs on Bin Laden for fear of retributon .The entire middle east "ISSUE " is very comlex To say well just go in and get him is way too simplistic.If we demand that Afghanistan hand him over and they don't what are we supposed to do? Send in troops ?declare war on AFGHANISTAN? Any students of European History remember what started WW1.The frustration our leaders must feel is tangible to me .If there is a way to get him surreptitiously I am sure it will be done .


        • #5
          as I understand it.
          When Israel was founded-the Palestinians that currently lived there were not driven out by the Israeli�s.
          They were encouraged to flee by the governments of the surrounding countries and the Mullahs.
          Their villages were used as hostage staging grounds against Israel.
          The Arab world vowed to drive the Jews into the sea.
          The governments of Jordan, Syria, et al did not invite the Palestinians refugees into their countries or offer them land.
          Instead they used the refugee camps as breeding grounds for hate.


          • #6
            that this thread will disentegrate into a partisan discussion.

            Nevertheless, my reading of history causes me to add that before the British began to incite discord around the time of WWII, Jews who moved into Palestine were welcomed by the Palestinians. Jews did buy land from whomever the British documentation said owned the land. Much mutual benefit resulted from the importing of new technology. Many British were anti-Semetic (the army, for example, didn't even want Jews fighting on their side during WWII) and they fomented discord (Semite against Semite) in order to keep control of the region.

            During the massive relocations that occurred around the time of the creation of Israel, Arabs were encouraged to leave Israel in preparation for a triumphant return march as an army, to throw the Jews into the sea. Jews were forced out of Syria and other Arab lands, where they had lived for generations, and no compensation was given for their loss of property. Jordan was supposed to have been the Palestinian sector, but this was not accomplished.

            Now, there is a large number of people who do not have education or a means to better themselves, and whose leaders maintain their power base in the international community by encouraging uprising. Otherwise, who would really care about Arafat and bin Laden? Add to that, a religion that, WHEN PERVERTED lead people to believe that the most certain way to heaven is by acts that terrorize, you get this kind of tragedy. Please, I am NOT attacking the teaching of Islam, just those who pervert it for their own benefit.

            I will not say that Israel is always innocent. But, the type of terror we've just experienced is what they live with every day, on a smaller, but more constant scale.

            I pray for a solution, but I do not see one.

            [This message was edited by Wicky on Sep. 12, 2001 at 04:45 PM.]


            • #7
              There is an essay by PJ O'Rourke (who is a reporter/commentator/humorist for Rolling Stone with somewhat conservative leanings) called
              "Our 2,000 Year Old Middle East Policy Problem" outlining the problems the Romans had in controlling the same region way back when. Pretty much a whole bunch of Christians, Jews and Muslims trying to kill each other and the Romans.

              It was either funny, or depressing, depending on how you looked at it.
              Proud Member: Bull-snap Haters Clique, Michigan Clique, and Appaloosa Clique!


              • #8
                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by brilyntrip:
                If we demand that Afghanistan hand him over and they don't what are we supposed to do? Send in troops ?declare war on AFGHANISTAN? Any students of European History remember what started WW1.The frustration our leaders must feel is tangible to me .If there is a way to get him surreptitiously I am sure it will be done .<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                Interestingly enough, I just read today that the Afghanistan (Taliban) ambassador to Pakistan said the they'd consider extraditing Osama bin Laden if they were provided proof of his involvement. I can't say I buy it...I think they are fearing US retaliation for harboring Bin Laden, despite claiming retaliation from the US would increase further hatred for the US as well as provoke more suicide attacks.

                I agree this is a toughie for our government; the Taliban are frantics, and they certain do not bend easily to international pressure and sanctions...the bin Laden issue aside, the destruction of the ancient buddhas earlier this year for example, not to mention their treatment of women.
                "fighting stupidity; one step at a time" -- a wise COTHer


                • #9
                  Living as I do in the Middle East, I want to say that there isn't a nutshell in the world big enough for all the local nuts. And as an Egyptian friend of mine says, "Moses was here, and he couldn't fix it, Jesus was here, and he couldn't fix it, Muhammed was here, and he couldn't fx it, now you think YOU'RE gonna fix it?" But the sad truth is that the Israel-Palestine tragedy is just one of the many blood feuds going on here, and actually not even the bloodiest (check out Iran-Iraq sometime!). And if the attack on the US was in fact Islamic fringe terror, the Islamic fringe hatred of America (the Great Satan) is not just based on the support of Israel (the Little Satan), but on a hatred of the whole Western, modernized, feminist, technologically advanced culture that dominates the world and seduces Muslim youth. Let's face it, there's a LOT more immigration traffic from Muslim countries to the USA than the other way around! Osama bin Laden's (may he rot) original beef with the US was actually the presence of Western troops on Saudi soil during the Gulf War, which was pollution or something. (I get this from Arabic-speaking analysts who get it from Osama bin Laden videos, which are apparently chart-busters in some parts of the world).

                  Go Figure.

                  Under carefully controlled conditions of breeding, training, and care, a horse will do whatever it damn well pleases.


                  • #10
                    Every time I come to this topic I am reminded of something a professor t American University said in class at that time .Now this was like oh over twenty years ago .But it was the first time US experienced the gas lines oil embargo.He said the next area of the world will be the MIDDLE East because of rich oil fields blood feuds between small oil rich countries.I remember thinking to myself at the time ( man why does he think all those little countries over there with no armies will be so important in the grand scheme of things?).No whow smart was he ? How niave(sp?) was I?

                    [This message was edited by brilyntrip on Sep. 13, 2001 at 10:47 AM.]


                    • #11
                      As some people have noted this is a religous based argument and is not limited to Israel/Palestinians. There are many factions of multiple religions in the middle east. So you can't say that it is a case of muslim vs jew or islamic vs christian. Almost ALL of the religious groups there have more conservative and militant factions that believe that they hold they keys to heaven (or their equivalent).

                      When these factions come into power (e.g., khomeni, the Taliban, etc.), they're more fundamental religious views are substituted for law and they use the presence of the US (and other western countries) as the great enemy to rally around. We are painted as evil and heathens.

                      It is really unfortunate to see people use religion this way. If you read the great books of most religions you will see a striking similiarity in the core values. It can also be said that the majority of most religions are not in alignment with the fringe groups.

                      The US has always had a confused policy because we don't understand how people of different religious faiths can fight over religion. We also have a problem with this area because we have used the Muslim/Islamic groups as rallying points and have created the image of the fanatic Muslim as nothing more than a terrorist.

                      If you have people fighting over geography, you can solve the issues. If you have people fighting of economics, you can solve the issues. If you have people fighting over political differences, you can solve the issue. If you have people fighting over racial differences, you can solve the issue. When you have people fighting over religious differences it is just best to step out of the fray or you will end up bloodied from both sides.


                      • #12
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by starlady:
                        And as an Egyptian friend of mine says, "Moses was here, and he couldn't fix it, Jesus was here, and he couldn't fix it, Muhammed was here, and he couldn't fix it, now you think YOU'RE gonna fix it?" --s.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                        starlady - your egyptian friend might possibly be the most insightful person I have heard of...
                        Your crazy is showing. You might want to tuck that back in.


                        • #13
                          One of the very serious consequenses of the disenfranchisement of large groups in the post-Colonial era, which began roughly in the years following WWII, is that generations of these groups have now lived thier entire lives either as refugees, literally growing up in camps (which is the status of the Palestinians, since they were displaced, first by the Zionist movement, ie the return of Jews to their point of historic orgin, and then by the creation of the state of Israel), former pawns of the Cold War powers (this is the status of Iranians, since the USA supported the Shah prior to his fall, and the Iraquis, and of Afghanistan, which contains conflicting factions, each of which had support from opposing super powers), or victims of domestic political instability (with opposite sides, more often than not, fueled by support from opposing super powers) that followed the withdrawal of stable colonial administration (Algeria, Lebanon, the majority of governments in Africa)....In addition, the distribution of wealth and resources among the countries of these regions is unequal- -most of the unrest originates,understandably, from areas where wealth and resources are sparse...Though the Arab world is often considered as a more or less cohesive group of nations, this is not the case, as many conflicting interests divide them: those with oil rely (primarily) on a steady flow of Western (ie American and European) currency to maintain the high standard of living enjoyed by their citizens that has allowed their governments or kingdoms to remain stable, even if they do philosophically sympathize with their less fortunate neighbors. Those with less, strategically located, had brokered their location and numbers to the highest bidder, but with the end of the Cold War, this source of stability has disappeared. The thorny problem of political instability within Israel only complicates matters--recently, the Barak government fell in large part because of what Israeli conservatives felt were too many concessions to the Palestinians, chief among these is the possibility of allowing actual Palestinian self-rule; the installation of Sharon at the head of their government guarenteed that those who favored a hard-line, unyielding approach would determine Israeli policy, dooming the already dim prospects of the peace process in the near term. Politically, the Palestine Liberation Organization has been recognized as the voice of the Palestinians; the military arm of this is the Palistine Liberation Army; the radical and most militant is Hamas. The task of Yassir Arafat, as head of the Palestinians, is nearly impossible: to lead his people to statehood in a location which is controlled by another country. Each time the Arab world or elements thereof have engaged Israel militarillyin support of Palestine, they have actually lost more than they began with because of the superior use of military power by Israel...this is how the state of Israel confirmed its existance in 1948, and how Israel gained control, in the Six-Day War of 1967, of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights, which are of vital strategic importance, as they overlook and therefore guarentee domination over positions from which enemy attacks might originate. Borders have been negotiated and renegotiated and zones of control (such as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank) have changed hands (among Israeli, Palestinian, and UN forces) as the "peace process" has progressed or regressed...The Palestinians and Israel both claim Jerusalem, and both do so on religious as well as political grounds, an item of disagreement that has proved completely unsolveable. The Israeli / Palestinian conflict, the latest incarnation of which has been the "infantadah" waged by ordinary Palestinians against the Israelis serves to fuel the fires of political unrest in countries in the region that are not stable; some leaders seek to offer an alternative to dependence on the "imperial powers" of the West by appealing to the most basic sense of nationalism on the part of their citizens (as in Iraq); others embrace the rise of the Islamic fundamentism, which on religious grounds has determined the West (led by the USA) as unholy and evil, and have declared a "jihad" or holy war; those who join it and sacrifice their lives to martyrdom are assured an afterlife of glory in paradise, an appealing alternative compared to the misery they have known in this life. Of course, very few states are willing to overtly condone the use of terrorism, but the knowledge that states such as Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Cuba are known to provide training and safe harbor to terrorist groups are reasons why these countries have been ostracized and shunned by the West and (overtly) by those whose interests are joined with the West. Terrorism is a sensational and relatively economical tactic (economical compared to the substantial resources necessary to wage traditional warefare) used to make a point or achieve infamy in the name of a cause (usually political; in the use of modern terrorism, sometimes the religious and political are merged)...those who embrace terrorism are made up largely of individuals who have grown up amidst a sense of powerlessness, desperation, complete frustration, and hopelessness, resulting in the belief that they have nothing to lose. If they have accepted the views of the radical fundamentalists, they also believe that glory awaits them if they give up thier lives as martyrs. Those who train and harbor them are cold, calculating, devious, and in many cases extremely intelligent. Often, they operate for hire, and several have achieved a level of infamy that has rendered them legendary, as did Carlos, "the Jackal", Abu Nidal (mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre), and lately, the Saudi exile, Osama bin-Laden. The difficulty with formulating a response to any act of terrorism, let alone one as bold and blatant as this, is that it is difficult to wage war on an enemy who has no face, no country, and no fear. The ability to address the root causes of the dissatisfaction which gives rise to the phenomenon of terrorism is an elusive goal at best, and even if achievable, would likely take as many generations to achieve as it has taken terrorists to develop, study, and perfect their art.
                          Inner Bay Equestrian


                          • #14
                            It is encouraging to see the issue treated with sucb knowledge and rationality...it just goes to show me that the people who've i've come to respect over the past year for their opinions on matters regarding horses are equally well-informed and balanced in their understanding of world history and all the issues swirling around at our feet right now...the younger people reading this board can only benefit from your contributions.


                            • #15
                              It's also important to remember that Osawa bin - Laden is only one person - it is believed that he has thousands of people (not to mention some sort of State support) behind him. Many of the factions within are independ of him - but follow his "teachings."
                              There is also the chilling possibility that Osawa has been used as a so-called "marketing tool" to divert attention and blame away from the true State or mastermind and financial sponsor behind this particular fanatical group.
                              It is all so complicated ...


                              • #16
                                is usually only the "excuse" or surface reason.

                                Money, power, land, and ethnic identity are usually the "real" reasons (for instance, consider the crusades).

                                chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                                • #17
                                  I had the opportunity to travel in the middle east and to stay at a hotel on the Gaza strip before all this happened. A young man who was a muslim and I had several opportunities for talks and his analysis is worth considering.

                                  It takes us back to the real beginning. Sarah who was Abraham's wife could not have children. In the custom of their time she sent in her Ethiopian servant to get pregnant by Abraham. The lady did get pregnant and gave birth to Ishmael who was the first born son of Abraham. When God decided that Sarah should have a child in her old age Sarah wanted to protect the inheritance of her son as being first born so to inhert all of Abraham's properties. She sent the Ishmael and his mother into the desert where they might have died to eliminate the challenge to the estate.

                                  For 4000 years they have been fighting over the estate of Abraham. The Islamic religion was started by Mohammed to prove that God favored Ishmael. Everything for the past 4000 years is just a reaction to this difference of opinion.
                                  You hit me! I'll hit you and an eye for eye philosophy.
                                  http://www.usAHSA.org and http://www.noreinstatement.org


                                  • #18
                                    This thread has some of the best information I've seen yet from people who have been there. Everybody's gotta read this.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I'm still a little tiny bit confused. Are most Israelis Jews and are most Palestinians Muslims?
                                      Man plans. God laughs.


                                      • #20
                                        I am in awe that I - an educated to the hilt executive who has listened to CCN, NPR, read the Times, the Post the local Charlotte Observer, Slate - has not yet read any discussions as good as the ones presented on this forum by so many people. Bravo - I would like to circulate all of these educational testimonials.
                                        I am also reminded that we all should reflect on the Crusades - mass elimination of all non-Catholic - that happened in, the 11th century (I could be wrong...). This is not a new problem, and certainly not a problem that we should limit to the "middle eastern" world against our ? "white" world......
                                        But my grief over the events of the last few days is now increased by current reports of vigilante stoning, beating, burning, harrassing of any person or business here in the US that appears "middle-eastern". WE must show that in fact we are leaders of the free world - capable of directing our anger and retaliation against only those truly responsible and not indulge in the bigotry that leads Bin Laden or whomever to kill innocents in the name of an insane paranoid mania against anything "American".