Monday, July 17, 2006

The Gravity of Middle East Situation

Reflecting on my last post, that sense of foreboding remains. There can be little doubt that Hizbullah could not have ratcheted up their activities on Israel's Northern border without both the agreement and support of Iran and Syria. In the words of Walid Jumblatt, the Lebanese Druze Leader and no apologist for Israeli interests:
"One must not forget that Hizbullah works according to a Syrian-Iranian plan in one way or another. But I hope that Sayyed Hassan [Hizbullah chieftain Sheikh Nasrallah] has a margin of freedom allowing him to put the interest of Lebanon above the Syrian and Iranian interests."
Both Iran and Syria well understand the potential for the conflict to spread. It is therefore safe to assume that they judge a wider conflict to be either a risk worth taking or a deliberate ploy to produce it. Whatever their judgment, it is a considered and calculated one. They are not fools and both are implacably opposed to both Israel's continued existance as a State and the presence of the the Western Alliance in the Middle East.

Set that against the US (and in the final analysis the entire Western Alliance) as guarantor(s) of the existence of the State of Israel, together with the rapidly deteriorating imbroglio that is Iraq; mix it together with the sub-text of the entire Western involvement in the Middle East (which on any reasonable measure ought to be none of our damned business), namely continued access to and control/influence over what remains of the worlds oil endowment; and a 'peacful settlement', whatever meaning such a platitude can now have, appears remote indeed.

I have little doubt that the US considers its continued - and probably even expanded - military presence in the Middle East as absolutely fundamental to its national security interests. Things are not about to get better.

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