Published On: Mon, Dec 10th, 2012

There are no good guys

In the Middle East, there are no good guys. Old vendettas, based on legends and religious believes, often hundreds or even thousands of year’s old, rule. Children are taught to bitterly hate their enemies from the moment they are first able to speak.

Moral believes, behavior and stances of all factions are competing for sympathy of the Western world, but the West is now very confused. In a way, the little Gaza conflict of last month was almost a blessing. A dead beaten path of old arguments over the right of existence of the state Israel and Palestine, abuse of Jews or Palestinians in occupied territories and urban settlements, could be used in very emotional and often, near hysterical debates. But the public debate shied away from the tens of thousands of casualties of Syria’s civil war, since the issues were too difficult to understand. After all, who were the good and who were the bad guys?

To get some grip and understanding on what is happening, assume the rule, that, there are no good guys in the Middle East conflict of today.

On one side is the Shiite, Iran-Syria-Hezbollah crescent, and on the other, the Sunni Muslim Alliance, led by Egypt-Turkey and Qatar. One major battle field is Syria where Alawis or Alawites of president Bashar al-Assad, backed by Hezbollah and Iran, are fighting rebels, backed by Turkey, Qatar and Egypt and, increasingly, by western arms. For the historically conscience, today’s conflict reminds of the extremely divisive Umayyad-Abbasid power struggle in Damascus in the Caliphate succession wars (662-750) after Mohammed’s death.

So what is new?

New is the 65 years looming conflict of Israel with PLO-Fatah-West Bank and Hamas-Gaza.

Hamas-Gaza was sponsored till a few weeks ago armed by the Shiite, Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Crescent. Its common resolve was to “wipe Israel of the map of existence.”

PLO-Fatah-West Bank and Gaza under rule of the Palestine Authority declared statehood in 1988 and thereafter was recognized by 130 nations, but not by its rivals, Hamas-Gaza and Jihadists- Gaza. After a bitter war, 2004-2006, PLO had to relinquish Gaza control to Hamas and its allies, the fanatical Jihadists.

Last month, in a rain of terror of thousands of missiles, fired upon Israeli urban areas, Hamas and Jihadists provoked an Israeli reaction and counter attack. Hamas and Jihadists resolve against the powerful weapons of Israel won a underdog like emotional victory in the media battle in the war. Before the armed conflict could erupt into a full fledged war, the Sunni Muslim Alliance, under leadership of Egypt’s president Morsi brokered a cease fire and stole the Gaza momentum away from its Shiite rivals. The cease fire recognized the Camp David accords and Israeli’s right to exist. Thus, PLO-Fatah with its president Abbas were rescued from the spotlight focused on a Hamas victory. It must have felt as a surrender of Hamas-Gaza, back to Sunni control.

PLO-Fatah captured the moment to reestablish the Palestinian Authority’s claim over Hamas-Gaza as the only legitimate Palestinian state by gaining a vote in the UN, accepting the Palestinian State as a non-member observer state, a status they already had as Palestinian Authority. This UN-recognition was Abbas-PLO-Farah face saving but equally much a declaration of war by PLO-Fatah on Hamas and its Shiite allies.

It is not clear how this change of balance of power will play out.

The Shiite reaction to Morsi’s leadership of the Sunni camp was swift. A long discussed temporary presidential decree in the constitutional formation process, was exaggerated for the masses and explained as a grab for dictatorial power by Morsi. Within 24 hours, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in the streets of Cairo and Morsi’s presidency was severely weakened.

Shiite further engineered the exhumation of PLO-Fatah leader Arafat--- dead for nearly 8 years--- eventually hoping to accuse Shiite opponents or Israel of poisoning Arafat with radio-active Polonium 210.

In the civil war of Syria, Sunni-backed rebels are making major progress. Many expect the Assad regime to fall within weeks or months at the most.

The Iranian economy is failing, due to a UN embargo and a currency devaluation of 30-40%. Iran’s supply lines in the Gulf are drying up due to lack of currency reserves. Inside Iran, a power struggle for the presidency is in full swing. The controversial Ahmadinejad, as teacher and engineer seen as an intellectual but also as a bridge builder to the orthodox clerics, will leave office in January. His successor is not yet known.

In any case, it is not likely that Iran and its allies will sit idle, remain passive and wait for the Sunni camp to take control of the Muslim world; a war is imminent.

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