Middle East Mess

With so many depressing recent developments on the world stage, the average American may be wondering what is happening.  Media puts its own spin on the growing conflicts and the public is likely confused.  For many decades, the U.S. has enjoyed a prosperous life style and many of us in the West have no idea of the extent of human suffering around the world.  But people and the leaders from less prosperous parts of the world understand.  Human suffering can create the opportunity to change the identity of a country, and fundamentally transform a culture by hijacking a religion (ISIS caliphate) or imposing an ideology on the rest of the population as happened to the Soviet Union.

Recent developments in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East are directly connected to the United States. Today, Syria is a proxy war between USA and Saudi Arabia versus Russia, Iran, and Syria.  To understand the war in Syria, one must look to why the war is important to Russia and U.S.

Middle East conflicts are the meeting place of oil, the international financial system and differing approaches to the stabilization of the region.  For example, Syria is perfectly located for oil pipelines from the Middle East to Europe.  It is no secret that oil fuels the economy around the world.   Beyond gasoline, many items are made of oil: diapers, clothing, asphalt, plastic etc.

The U.S. has historically benefited from its alliance with Saudi Arabia.  The U.S. provides security and stability for the Saudis and in return the international oil markets are priced in U.S. dollars.  Dollar diplomacy is a strong weapon.  When Russia defied the West in Ukraine, sanctions were imposed.  Iran is also under U.S. sanctions.

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The U.S. and Russia take opposite approaches to stopping the spread of ISIS and stabilizing the Middle East. ISIS projected its power to the already destabilized Syria that is overrun by the long war between Assad and the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the “moderate rebels” that are backed by the U.S.  ISIS is gaining power throughout the region by recruiting followers from around the world who are economically desperate or who are looking for an identity that defines them.

The Obama administration is backing anti-Assad Free Syrian Army (FSA).  The Washington Post stated in 2012 that part of the FSA is the Jabhat al-Nusra group that is the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda (the same al-Qaeda that attacked America on September 11, 2001). These “moderate rebels” have been trained and armed for many years by the Obama administration.  It is sickening that the U.S. government is spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars to arm al-Qaeda to destroy Bashar al-Assad.

Russia now fights on the other side, alongside Bashar al-Assad’s forces.  The Russians are indiscriminately carpet bombing ISIS and “moderate rebels.”  The “moderate rebels” strike back with U.S. weapons.  Recently, the rebels stated that they are expecting more U.S. weapons.

Civilians suffer from this instability.  During the Assad regime the Syrians were free to practice their religion. The Christians and civilians were safe.

At the same time, the U.S. has diminished its presence around the world.  Despite Obama’s claim that when we pulled out of Iraq that, “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq,” the newly established Iraqi government wasn’t ready to protect regular citizens from the ISIS that has been gaining geopolitical power in Iraq and Syria.  As they rise to power they kill Christians and Yazidis. The victims are used for organ salvaging and women are enslaved as sexual slaves.

Another example is Libya. During the rule of the former dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, the general population was safe.  In 2011, Gaddafi was overthrown by NATO backed rebels. Now, a big part of the territory of Libya is controlled by ISIS. Christians are killed and thousands of Libyan refugees are heading to Europe.

In meantime, the Obama administration is cutting military troops by 40,000 despite the instability and security threats.   At home, many politicians don’t seem to understand that because of its strong military, America has been able to lead on the world stage.

Domestic politics increasingly reflect the view that the strategy of supporting instability in the form of arming rebels in the region is failing.  Donald Trump, Republican candidate for president said, ”Let Russia fight the Islamic State in Syria.”   In one of his interviews on the NBC News with “Meet the Press” he also said, ”The Middle East would be more stable if Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi were still in power.”

Trump warned current attempts to oust Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad would end in the same ‘mess’ that Libya and Iraq are in. ‘It’s going to be the same thing’ he said.

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