Wherever you look in the Middle East, there is mayhem, some of it bloody and some of it economic or political.
The prevailing atmosphere of the last few days when it comes to the Middle East is of a situation that is spinning out of control in all manner of unconnected spheres.
The Palestinian Authority is rushing ahead to gain recognition of its statehood in the Security Council, the European Parliament, the International Court and many other international institutions, in a step that is a clear and blatant violation of the Oslo Accords that created the Authority itself. Israel has not as yet reacted seriously to these Palestinian steps, and it has now emerged that Minister Livni, who was given the responsibility for negotiations with the Palestinian Authority (PA) is ideologically and politically in the camp of the architects of Oslo.
Someone in Israel fell asleep while on duty guarding the lands that the League of Nations granted the Jewish people as far back as the 1920 San Remo Conference.
As a result of the Palestinian Authority’s efforts, there may yet arise another Arab country in the region of Judea and Samaria, one that without the slightest doubt will turn into a Hamas state. This switch to Hamas can happen through elections, as occurred in 2006 or by a violent takeover like the one in Gaza in June 2007. Public opinion polls of the Arab population of Judea and Samaria show that Hamas is much more popular than Fatah. That is why Israelis, or any others for that matter, who support a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria, are actually calling for another terror state like the one that arose in Gaza. The launching of a major and bloody war between this Hamas entity and the House of Israel would be only a matter of time – and not much of it, either.
ISIS has murdered 150 women in Faluja, Iraq for refusing to submit to the humiliating dictates of the Islamic organization. In Peshawar, Pakistan, 141 pupils and teachers were killed in a school targeted by Taliban murderers. In South Sudan, an inter-tribal war is being waged and thousands have been killed just recently in the young country. Libya has become a bloodbath in an unlimited war between tribal militias, while a Shiite organization which is a front for Iran has taken over half of Yemen including the capital city of Sana’a.
The battle being fought by the Egyptian government against the Jihadists in the Sinai Peninsula continues to exact a price in death from both sides, with the regime extending its buffer zone along its Gaza border to a depth of one kilometer (5/8ths of a mile), destroying hundreds of populated homes in Egypt’s Rafiah. Where are the Human Rights Organizations? Where are Rachel Corrie’s friends? Why do we not hear or see them stopping Egyptian bulldozers with their bodies as they did when Israel did much, much less in the Philadephi Corridor? Why is there no church calling to boycott Caterpillar whose bulldozers are being used to destroy these homes and the tranquil lives of the thousands who lived in them?
Russia’s economic crisis influences the Middle East situation as well: the collapse of the ruble and the questions regarding the Russian economy are placing limits on Russian military aid to the Assad regime. This can be seen in the defeats the regime suffered in northwest Syria over the past few days. Two large army bases in Idlib fell into the hands of Jabhat al Nusra, an ally of Al Qaeda, close to 100 Syrian soldiers and army officers were killed and another 120 taken prisoner. The prisoners may be used in negotiations held to free jihadist prisoners held by the regime so that they can return to the fray and add to the fire blazing in Syria for almost four blood-soaked years.
Islamist fighters are making special efforts in the Idlib region for two main reasons: One is their desire to get to the nearby Allawite region in order to physically annihilate the Allawite minority, considered heretics and idol worshipers by the Islamists, at the same time avenging the massacres Hafez and Bashar Assad perpetrated on the Sunni majority starting with the Hafez Assad reign in 1970, continuing with the Hama massacre of 1982 and ending with the butchery going on there since 2011.
The second reason for Jabhat al Nusra’s major efforts in Idlib is the Islamists’ desire to reach the Mediterranean Sea. Control of the coast will make it possible for them to attack the regime’s strongholds in coastal cities from the sea and attack ships bearing arms and supplies. As a by-product, this will enable them to export their members, militants and Jihad to Europe.
Another factor that adds to the unsettled feeling in the region is Saudi Arabian activity. Not involving arms, not in war, but through the price of oil. The Saudis have expanded oil production recently so as to flood the market and lower prices. The immediate reason for this step is probably Saudi plans to turn the switch in oil production to fracked oil – developing quickly in the USA – to an unprofitable venture economically and therefore an uncompetitive one.
Except that the Saudi step has made waves on other shores: Iran is very worried about the lowered oil prices, because it needs money desperately and the Russian economic crisis also stems partly from the lower profits that country is obtaining for its gas and oil exports.
Does anyone expect countries like Iran to sit quietly by while Saudi Arabia hurts their economy so drastically? Everyone realizes that one Iranian missile on a Saudi oil rig will not necessarily lead to war, but it can certainly raise the price of that commodity sky high. Iranian decision makers, longstanding enemies of the Saudis, are highly tempted to do just that.
It is worth noting that Saudi Arabia itself has been hurt by the lower income from oil exports, but that the Saudi monarchy has enormous financial stores that give it almost limitless financial breathing space. The Saudis can hand out the oil they produce at no charge for a year without any serious damage to their economy.
Israel, the island of stability in the Middle East, is now caught in the whirlwind of an election campaign, leading naturally to a certain amount of uncertainty with regard to the future: will the coalition that emerges from the elections be center-right or center-left? Will the coming coalition give in to the pipedreams of those within Israel and outside of it who believe in the two state delusion, or will they bring a rational element into Israeli political thought that will refuse to consider a policy that can allow the establishment of another Middle Eastern terror state – this time in the high ground of Judea and Samaria, the birthplace of the Jewish people?
On Hanukkah, which we are celebrating at present, we recall the miracles that our ancestors experienced in their physical war against the Greek conquerors – and in the cultural war they waged against the Jewish Hellenists in their midst who sided with the enemy. The challenges facing them then were uncannily similar to those the Jewish people face today. May G-d grant victory to those who are loyal to Him today, just as He did then.
Reprinted with permission from Arutz Sheva