Insatiable instability (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Yoram Ettinger 04/20/12)
Israel Hayom Articles-Index-Top
To comprehend the real Middle East – including the root causes of
regional turbulence, the key obstacle to peace and Western peace
advocates´ oversimplification of reality – one should examine the
Iraq-Syria labyrinth, an arena of chronic instability and volatility.
In April 2012, the Iraqi regime – led by Shiites – is supporting the
regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle against
Syria’s Sunni majority and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are perceived
as a worse threat – than Assad - to the current regime in Baghdad.
However, from 2003 until the current bloodshed in Syria erupted a
year ago, Iraq was haunted by pro-Saddam Sunni terrorists, who were
armed and trained by Assad, terrorizing Iraq and undermining the
stability of the current Iraqi regime.
Moreover, from 1966 - when a rift divided the Damascus and the
Baghdad wings of their ruling Ba´ath party - until the demise of
Saddam Hussein in 2003, Syria supported all ideological, ethnic,
tribal and religious elements that opposed the Iraqi dictator. In
fact, from 1979 until 2003, Damascus and Tehran provided asylum to
Iraq’s current prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, who was then in the
opposition to Saddam Hussein.
The rivalry between Syria and Iraq has raged – on and off - since the
eighth century, when the Damascus-based Umayyad Caliphate lost the
military battle for intra-Muslim leadership to the Baghdad-based
Welcome to the real Middle East, the role model for violent
volatility, where the most predictable factor is unpredictability.
The unpredictability that is inherent to the region has resulted in a
multitude of intra-Muslim accords that were signed, but routinely
abrogated. The most recent example of intra-Muslim cease-fire
agreements that have been summarily and mercilessly violated can be
seen in Syria.
The higher the unpredictability, the lower the prospect of compliance
with such agreements. The lower the compliance, the greater the need
for security, especially in the unstable, fragmented, violent and
unpredictable Middle East.
The failure of Muslim regimes in the region to adhere to intra-Muslim
agreements attests to the provisional and fragile nature of
agreements signed with “infidel” entities, such as the Jewish state.
The critical issue is when and how – not whether – such agreements
will be called off. For example, in 1994, Jordan’s chairman of the
joint chiefs of staff told his Israeli colleague that “agreements
signed with the Palestinians in the morning are violated by the end
of the day.”
However, U.S. President Barack Obama, Western European nations and
the U.N. – just like the Israeli supporters of the Oslo Accords and
supporters of a "New Middle East" - are obsessed with the formalities
of concluding Israeli-Arab agreements. However, they fail to
appreciate the deeply rooted fragility of all agreements reached in
the Middle East. They pressure the Jewish state to make
irreversible “painful tangible concessions” in return for reversible
intangible Arab declarations. They lean on Israel to retreat to the
defenseless nine to 15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean from
before 1967. They prod Israel to transfer – to unpredictable and
violent neighbors – the cradle of its history, which also happens to
be a strategic mountain ridge dominating the Mediterranean sliver
that is indispensable protection for Israel’s survival in the most
conflict-ridden region in the world.
Currently, the real Middle East is being further traumatized by the
tectonic implosion that has rattled the Arab street, the meltdown of
traditional regimes, and the surge of radical Islamic elements – all
of which have happened irrespective of the Palestinian issue or the
Arab-Israeli conflict, which only had a secondary impact on the
Islamists have clinched the leadership of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt
and are challenging every Arab regime.
Emad el-Din Adeeb, a columnist of the London-based Arab daily, A-
Sharq al-Awsat, wrote on Feb. 4, 2012: “I sorrowfully say, God bless
the days of Saddam Hussein, compared to today’s Iraq! ... Iraq has
been dismantled, and is now practically divided into three minor
states: the Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions ... The number of
Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq amounts to 200,000 armed troops.
This is in addition to the fact that some government correspondence
in Baghdad is now written in both Persian and Kurdish ... The state
has shifted into a major power center for extremist Islamic currents
that threaten national and regional security, most prominently al-
Qaida … The Iraqi authorities want to relocate the late President
Saddam Hussein´s corpse from his grave - because of the numerous
visits and crowds gathering nearby – to an unknown or remote place …
Judging by what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, no one believes
change in Syria will be democratic in the long term. It will bring to
power a sectarian Islamic fundamentalist party. Instability will
continue to be the order of the day.”
In contrast, President Obama, Europe and the U.N. continue to ignore
the realities of the Middle East. They pressure Israel to be the only
country negotiating away its cradle of history, while lowering its
security threshold, as if the region were at all predictable or
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