Saturday, May 9, 2015

Middle East 001 - Jim ONeill

Clearing Up the Middle East Situation

A light-hearted concise clear explanation of key issues in the Middle East and America’s involvement by Jim ONeill  published in 

Recently my mom complained to me that she is confused by what is happening in the Middle East.  I doubt she is alone in this, and for her benefit and those of you who share her confusion I have decided to clear things up.  With that in mind, what follows is a brief summation of the situation in the Middle East—hopefully it will answer a number of questions you might have.

To begin with, Iranian (Shi’ite Muslim) military forces are in Iraq because they are fighting the ISIS Sunnis, who Saudi Arabia (Sunni Muslim) is not battling because the Saudi’s can’t very well side with Shi’ites against Sunnis—plus the official state brand of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia, Wahhabism, is pretty radical in its own right.  So instead of fighting ISIS the Saudis are fighting the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen (Pronounced “hooties.” Warning: any play on the words “Hooter Hotties” or variations thereof is unequivocally in bad taste).

Yemen is currently embroiled in a bloody civil war despite being held up as an exemplar of successful US foreign policy last summer by Obama—who also pointed with pride to Somalia, whose main claim to fame for some years has been piracy. In fairness to Obama, he may have been referring to Somaliland, Puntland, Jubaland, Galmudug, or some other autonomous region that make up the “country” (I use the term loosely) of Somalia.  Regardless, in the future Obama might want to pick places other than Yemen and Somalia as being representative examples of his administration’s diplomatic expertise.

Meanwhile, Obama is considering moving US troops into Iraq because they are needed there to fight ISIS, and we need to move them there because Obama had moved them out of Iraq after assuring us that they were not needed there anymore. 

Clear so far?

Regarding ISIS itself—despite the fact that they slice people’s heads off, or crucify them, or burn them alive, the US State Department has assured us that ISIS is only being naughty because they lack gainful employment (idle hands are the devil’s workshop you know).  Also, Obama has informed us that ISIS is not Islamic—although apparently ISIS did not get the memo, as they continue to insist upon calling themselves the “Islamic State” (depends on what your definition of IS is I suppose).

Egypt has sentenced over 180 members of the “Muslim Brotherhood” to death.  Egypt’s President el-Sisi considers the “Muslim Brotherhood” to be not just an “existential threat,” but a very “real and present danger.”  Meanwhile the White House carries on playing “footsie” with Muslims who have ties to the “Muslim Brotherhood” and other suspect organizations (perhaps discussing importing “shovel ready jobs” to the Middle East?).

ISIS and the “Muslim Brotherhood” are not the only misunderstood jobless Muslim waifs, no indeed—I mustn’t forget to mention Hezbollah (Shi’ite Muslim) and Hamas (Sunni Muslim) who periodically fire rockets into Israel from the north and south respectively.  Israel, for its part, continues to protect its defenseless citizens against such attacks, much to the chagrin of the Obama Administration—who, for reasons unknown, much prefers dealing with the “Death to America” Muslim theocracy in Iran than with the pro-USA government in Israel. 

Go figure.

That, in a nutshell, is the situation in the Middle East and the USA’s “foreign policy” in the region.  Perhaps in a future article I will clear up what actually transpired during the mythical “Arab Spring.”


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