Middle East: Everyone Against Everyone, and Everyone Against Israel


On a tip from wits0.

Middle East players are all vying for influence, which is achieved by showing off who can pick a fight with Israel best (not actually start a fight mind you, as they all know how that turns out). Their rivalries are thinly covered by mutually shared hatred of the Jews.

Excerpted from Weekly Standard – The Return of the Ottomans:

The Ottomans were hated here and throughout the Arabic-speaking Middle East, not only by the regional minorities (Christians, Jews, Shia, etc.) but also by their Sunni Arab coreligionists. All felt the heavy yoke of the Sublime Porte.

In the last few weeks, however, half a millennium’s worth of history has been conveniently forgotten, perhaps even forgiven, as Turkey has emerged as a regional power and the guarantor of Arab interests—against Israel, to be sure, but more importantly against Iran.

It’s not yet clear whether Ankara really means to restore the Arabs to their pride of place by handing over a Hamas scrubbed of Iranian influence, or, as is more likely, the Turks simply want to use the Palestinian cause to enhance its own regional credentials, as Tehran has been doing for the last three decades. But the Turkish gambit has induced a lot of willful self-delusion in the Arab states—and amnesia.

Long before Arab nationalism identified Israel and the United States (and before that the European powers) as the enemy, it was the Ottomans who were called to account for everything that was wrong in the Arabic-speaking regions. The Ottomans certainly encouraged Middle East sectarianism: playing up confessional differences, empowering some sects while weakening others, and balancing minorities against each other. Arab nationalism was inspired by Turkish nationalism, but it was a doctrine that asserted Arab independence from the Ottomans. There were no longer Sunni, Shia, Druze, Alawi, etc., only Arabs, unified as one against the outsiders, the colonizers.

The Arab states that had been most directly oppressed by the Sublime Porte—and so those most divided along sectarian lines—were determined to illuminate the evils of Ottoman occupation.

Erdogan’s invitation to Hezbollah’s secretary general to visit Ankara certainly reinforces the fear that what we’re watching is the formation of a united resistance front, with Turkey signing on to the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah-Hamas alliance. But this may well turn out, eventually anyway, to be a revival of the historic rivalry between the Turks and the Persians.

Syria is about the only player whose actions can be gamed with any accuracy. The country right now considers itself Hamas’s interlocutor, which is precisely the role that Erdogan auditioned for with the cruise of the Mavi Marmara. Should Europe, or at some point the United States, accept Turkish mediation, it will knock Syria down a peg, which will then feel obligated to assert itself. Perhaps the best way to understand Syria’s recent shipment of Scuds to Hezbollah is as a reminder to everyone that attention must be paid to Damascus as well as Tehran, that when it comes to Hezbollah, Assad also has a vote in war or peace with Israel. Turkish-Iranian competition will entail accelerated Syrian activity on two of Israel’s borders.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, Iran’s neighbors across the water, see the recent events in starker terms. Ankara’s shot across Tehran’s bow is a good thing, period.

Turkey is Sunni, Iran is Shia, and despite the Ottoman Empire’s long history of oppressing their imperial subjects, the Arabs prefer anything to the prospect of Persian hegemony. If it means casting their lot with the progeny of those who enslaved them for centuries—well there is great comfort in custom.

If in a sense the Middle East is returning to its historical divisions—an Ottoman (Turkish) and Safavid (Iranian) rivalry where Israel stands in for the Western powers—especially with Washington’s diminishing profile in the region—it is worth lamenting how the Arabs wasted their moment of independence. What started with the birth of the Arab state system moved quickly to wars between those states and within them, and then the empty rhetoric of Nasser, despotism, mass murder, and a unifying hatred of Israel, all culminating in the suicidal obscurantism of groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, whom the Arab masses, characteristically, regard as heroes.

17 Responses to “Middle East: Everyone Against Everyone, and Everyone Against Israel”

  1. Robert Says:

    Ahhhh……the “Holy Land”…..Uh hahahahahahahaaa!

  2. oneworldmaybenot Says:

    Look. Another nitwit & he’s a christian or claims to be

    http://iamamalaysian.wordpress.com/2010/07/06/illegal-seige-of-gaza-please-give-your-support-to-help-end-this-humanitarian-crisis/

  3. kahkahkahkah Says:

    True

  4. quesera Says:

    Shimon Peres had an unkind but justified response to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pandering to the Turks this past week

    Shimon Peres said England was “deeply pro-Arab … and anti-Israeli”, adding: “They always worked against us.”

    He added: “There is in England a saying that an anti-Semite is someone who hates the Jews more than is necessary.”

    “There are several million Muslim voters, and for many members of parliament, that’s the difference between getting elected and not getting elected,” he said.

    “And in England there has always been something deeply pro-Arab, of course, not among all Englishmen, and anti-Israeli, in the establishment.

    “They abstained in the [pro-Zionist] 1947 UN partition resolution … They maintained an arms embargo against us in the 1950s … They always worked against us. They think the Arabs are the underdogs.”

  5. quesera Says:

    Unsurprisingly, Peres has upset a lot of ‘senior’ British MP’s. He has also apparently upset some British ‘Jewish leaders’ who are too busy watching their collective backs to notice what is going on under their noses.

    But following his comments, James Clappison, the Conservative MP for Hertsmere and vice-chairman of Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “Mr Peres has got this wrong.

    “There are pro- and anti-Israel views in all European countries. Things are certainly no worse, as far as Israel is concerned, in this country than other European countries.”

    The MP added that he could “understand the frustration” that people in Israel felt with “certain elements of the British broadcast media” which present an unbalanced view of Israel.

    He said: “I can understand Mr Peres’ concerns, but I don’t recognise what he is saying about England.”

  6. quesera Says:

    Mr Peres found support, however, from other pro-Israeli groups. Jacob Vince, the director of Christian Friends of Israel, said there was anti-semitism in the UK although many people had a positive view of Israel but were unwilling to express it publicly.

    Mr Vince said it was “difficult to see how many MPs would not be influenced by the number of Muslim voters in their constituencies”.

    The Government was not treating Arabs as the underdogs but rather was trying to appease them, he said. “The question is how well they understand those with whom they are seeking conciliation.”

    Peres is far from the only one in Israel who sees Britain as anti-Semitic.

    Yet in Israel, Mr Peres is far from alone in holding such views, which have gained a wider following, particularly on the Right, since the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over accusations that Mossad sent agents using British passports to assassinate a Hamas commander in Dubai.

    Of course, the Telegraph might have mentioned that the Brits had no objections when a group of Russian spies was caught in the US using British passports…. That’s precisely the sort of double standard that makes many of us believe that Britain is anti-Semitic.

  7. quesera Says:

    Yes, the Brits have a long history of anti-Semitism and a long history of favoring the Arabs over Israel. It’s curious that they suddenly object to having it pointed out.

  8. quesera Says:

    The Center for Security Policy’s Senior Middle East Fellow Caroline Glick recently spoke on the subject of Iran at Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Synagogue in Baltimore, MD. She offered a very sober assessment of the Obama administration’s policy of appeasement toward the Mullahs– and what happens next.

  9. quesera Says:

  10. ari Says:

    What makes contemporary anti-Semitism unique is its purveyors’ great efforts to hide its very existence. Their motivation is clear. Outside the openly genocidal anti-Semitic Muslim world, most anti-Semites are self-described liberals who claim to oppose bigotry. For these people, pretending away their prejudice is the key to their continued claim to enlightenment.

    And so the likes of Oliver Stone publish clarifications.

    And Cole invents history. And the Europeans blame Jews and Israel and Zionism when Jews inside and outside Israel are assaulted and killed.

    And I am sorry I wrote this.

    Because an audience that demands an explanation of why evil is evil is an audience that has already sided with evil.

  11. ari Says:

    Y’hi zichrom baruch (may their memory be blessed).

  12. ari Says:

    I’ve said many times that ‘Israeli Arabs’ are happy in Israel and despite their identification as ‘Palestinians,’ most of them have no desire to live in a ‘Palestinian state.’ Here’s Professor Mordechai Keidar, an Arabic speaker, explaining why the ‘Israeli Arabs’ are so much better off here than they would be in the Arab world.

  13. ahoy Says:

    Yemen’s last Jews are leaving the country
    http://www.economist.com/node/16847296?story_id=16847296&fsrc=scn/tw/te/rss/pe

    And a generation from now, no one will remember that they were ever refugees. Unlike certain other ‘refugees’ who continue to perpetuate that status four generations later…..

  14. ahoy Says:

    “Unlike certain other ‘refugees’ who continue to perpetuate that status four generations later…..”

    The terrorists also asked for help in getting the necessary permits for family members to visit them. They asked for financial help, since one of the terms of their deportation was that they were not allowed to work.
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/Flash.aspx/192678

  15. Scott Thong Says:

    Thanks for the continuous tips. Keep them coming!

  16. bumblebee Says:

    With the Washington talks to open this week, this poll ought to convince most people of what President Obumbler chooses to ignore: The ‘Palestinian people’ are not ready to make ANY sacrifices for ‘peace’
    Palestinians 13.7% oppose violence, 75% reject demilitarized state

    http://www.imra.org.il/story.php3?id=49185

  17. bumblebee Says:

    New book reveals full story behind bombing of Syrian reactor by Israel
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3944303,00.html

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