Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Armageddon Tired Of This

Just thought I'd share my thoughts on the Middle Eastern conflict. Most people have an agenda when looking at what is happening and it colours their thoughts. I have no such agenda, no bias, just pragmatism - the visceral kind. Although I am no expert in the politics of the region, I am not totally oblivious to what is going on. I've also visited many of the countries whilst in the merchant navy, so I know a little about the culture. This is how I see it........

Background

It would be easy to blame the current crisis on oil and in effect it would be true..... currently. Blaming the troubles on religion is absurd, if anything it's due to racism and the subsequent attempts at 'ethnic cleansing', not a fight over who God loves best. The problems in the Middle East began with agriculture, long before oil or religion. Agriculture took humans out of their comfort zone. The need to migrate as nomadic hunter-gatherers became a thing of the past, and city states sprang up.

Of course the downside to the huge growth in population of these city states was crop failure and famine. It is easy to see what followed, one state would then try and take away what another state had and war was invented. At first it may have been 'justifiable' in that it was a choice between fight or die if help was refused. Later it became all about greed. I'm not going to give you a complete history of the Middle East but let's just say the conflict between modern day Iran and Iraq has ALWAYS been a problem.

The problem wasn't just confined to Iraq/Iran. Nomadic tribes were claiming land as their own and forbidding access of others, others who had used the land for generations. It began the bitter dispute in Israel / Palestine, yet again BEFORE oil and monotheist religion. We see these ancient disputes today on a global basis. Native Americans, Aborigines, Maoris, Irish, Kurds, etc. etc. There is no doubt empire building and control of resources / strategic positions has resulted in many foreign invaders claiming land they had no right to but where do you draw the line?

Take for instance the Maoris. They claim the Brits cheated them out of land. The Maori culture had no concept of owning land so when the Brits offered them cash they took it not realising the implications. Today they say they were cheated out of their land and in effect they were. The Brits have been there for nearly 200 years though and the Maori people consisted of a number of different tribes similar to the Native Americans. These tribes warred with each other and territory was taken by conquest. So who does own the land?

The same applies to the Middle East, how far back do you go to settle a dispute over territory. It is impossible to answer and there are only two solutions. More attempts at conquest, or cooperation and redistribution of resources on a non-competitive basis. Unfortunately the latter cannot happen due to the way governments operate.

Protagonists

Putting to one side the dispute over Palestine, there is also the territorial dispute between Israel and Syria. This involves an area around the sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. If the strategic value was not enough there has now been oil found in the Golan Heights. Syria is backed by Russia and Israel by America. Add this to the fact that Russia also backed Iran and America backed Iraq in a series of conflicts. Iran is also a supporter of Syria. The Saudis would appear to support the predominantly Sunni Iraq but Daesh have complicated matters for them.

Iraq: The situation in Iraq is a bigger problem for the USA than it is for Russia. Putin must be rubbing his hands gleefully. It started with Saddam blowing the wealth of the nation on the war with neighbours Iran. From what I understand he demanded fellow Sunnis Kuwait and Saudi Arabia help finance the war with predominantly Shia Iran. When they refused he invaded Kuwait. What followed has divided opinions. Personally I believe all this weapons of 'mass destruction' nonsense was a Tory plot to discredit Blair, the most successful Labour PM for decades even though I objected to the 'New Labour' tag. Odd how Thatcher won an election by starting a war (Falklands) but Blair lost for the same reason.

To my mind the potential weapons of mass destruction 'excuse' was immaterial. Saddam was attempting genocide and that was justification enough. Anyway, the tinpot dictator was ousted and a great void was left behind. I didn't really follow too closely after Saddam but it appears with much interference from America a Shia government was put in place. What could possibly go wrong. In fairness any government would have failed as the war was won by toppling a dictator but not defeating his army. It was a powder keg waiting for a spark and there were plenty of those flying.

Iran: There is a strange mix of democracy and fundamentalism in Iran. Is it a sham, a respectable 'front'? It is suspicious the Ayatollah calls all the shots and that is a worry. When Daesh is finally defeated what happens to Iraq then. It would certainly be a good time for Iran to settle a 5000 year old dispute. Should Iran start leaning towards extremism would they use nuclear weapons? Probably not against Iraq, there would be no need. Would America support Iraq and risk a nuclear war. It wouldn't hurt the fundamentalists, they're going to heaven anyway.

Syria: Assad seems to be another Saddam type regime, hell bent of ethnic cleansing. Assad is another to gain from Daesh. They justify attacks on 'terror groups' which gives him the perfect platform to get rid of his own people who oppose him. The biggest danger however comes from Assad's designs on the disputed territory around Galilee and the Golan Heights. To me, it appears Syria is in danger of becoming a patsy for Russia in starting a war with Israel.

Israel: The problems with the West Bank and Gaza strip have always been simmering but if a conflict with Syria ignites, it will no doubt boil over. Megiddo could easily fulfil Revelations. Again the question is who will support Israel. America? Nato? I can't see it. I think Israel will be sold down the river. There will of course be much fuss and ado, the question is how Israel will react to ultimately losing the disputed territories. Only with Putin's continued assistance could it happen, but I suspect Russia wouldn't appear to sanction such a move by Syria. Iran on the other hand....

USA & Russia: The big two are key. They both have strategic and economical interest in the region.. They both have dangerous men in charge. I wonder if they might start seeing common ground in the need to defeat extremists. It wouldn't be the first time America and Russia came together to defeat such a foe. Russia has always been distrusted, mostly due to Stalin, but as they gradually repair some of the damage America goes the other way. America a friend, an ally (at a price) in two world wars have regressed. Trump is not a politician and as a figurehead reminds me of an extremely obnoxious cheap copy of Boris Johnson.

Russia hold all the aces, they just have to sit and watch, occasionally antagonising America in Syria. Russia are there with permission and are merely trying to stop terrorists from overthrowing a legitimate government.  Yeah, crock of shit but such are judicial systems, Putin is innocent of all charges. America are up the proverbial creek without a paddle. They need the Iraqi government to be seen to defeat Daesh because foreign victors would put into question its legitimacy. Another consequence is that defeated jihadis that don't come to Europe will probably join Al-Qaeda.

Summary

The outlook is grim and a solution, though obvious, simply will not happen. As a species we are at a crossroads. This 21st century will be known as the century that killed or cured mankind. Our understanding will be taken to a higher level, or we will destroy each other. The biggest problem is false democracy. Many countries are guilty of it, some blatantly so. With most European countries it is more surreptitious, reliant on the stupidity of the masses. The elected governments are supposed to be representative of the majority of the people, this is rarely the case. For example, I don't believe the majority of the British people wanted to sell off our industries.

Every country is striving to increase profits and get out of debt. How can the whole world be in debt? How can a country be home to 2000+ billionaires yet be 18 trillion in debt? I don't need to spell it out. Government needs to evolve, globally. At the minute almost every country is behaving like those morons on Black Fridays. This is just a personal view, I would be interested to hear where I've misconstrued things.

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