The Storm Clouds Darken and the Winds are Blowing
And so in the Middle East the winds of war continue to blow, like wild cyclones colliding, moving in every direction. Just because the last ‘on-the-hour’ 5-minute newscast only mentioned one country being torn apart by the bloody storm doesn’t mean that the others are not still in the midst of theirs. People continue to die, just without the headlines to make it real. Some storms seemed to have passed over in this country or that, but after the eye has passed they face renewed and strengthed destruction from the other side.
To the south of Israel, Egyptian Islamic extremists are again filling the streets, this time using anti-Israel violence to weaken the military commanders (some of whom themselves have long rejected the Egyptian/Israeli peace accord) while at the same time they fire up the not-so-latent anti-Israel sentiment of the Egyptian public. The ransacking of the Israeli Embassy was for them a wild success: The Egyptian military leadership was finally forced to protect the fleeing Israeli diplomats and arrest many of the violent attackers in the full glare of international media, but by holding back so long, they gave tacit approval to the rioters.
After a tense night in the situation room in Jerusalem, Netanyahu was obligated to issue a thank you to the military leaders in Egypt who were finally persuaded to intervene and rescue some trapped Israelis from the building. Of course, it wouldn’t be diplomatic to ask why the Egyptian Army and Police didn’t protect the Embassy from the start and stop the rioters BEFORE they broke down the wall and entered the building. Meanwhile, Israeli diplomats ignominiously fled for their lives and documents from the Embassy were scattered far and wide by the winds of Cairo’s fiery revolution. It should be noted that once all was well and Netanyahu had soothed ruffled feathers with his fine speech, the winds in Cairo shifted temporarily. The military leaders and Islamic revolutionists could now claim that they were after all really against the riots, take a golden opportunity to arrest a few of their enemies and come out of this latest storm all dusted off and in control.
Meanwhile, Turkish winds blow strong then wane and shift more erratically than any unstable hurricane. Following his bellicose bombastic blast, Erdogan now claims that no one understood the his words correctly. He didn’t really MEAN that war ships would confront Israel over the Gaza blockade, just that Turkey would protect any potential Turkish citizen on any potential flotilla ship from any potential harm, should it be needed.
However, newscasters trying to avoid the storm won’t tell you that Obama is helping Turkey (and Iran) bomb the Kurdish separatists into submission by passing US intelligence to them through Iraqi channels. Add to that, the missile defense system soon to be installed in Turkey to detect and protect against Iranian missiles which of course are to be primarily aimed at Turkey. And who knows what Obama is promising Erdogan about those enticing gas fields in the Sea just out of Turkey’s reach. Israel and Cyprus have already defined their territories, Israel has found gas in Israel’s share, and Cyprus (under Erdogan’s ominous Turkish Cypriots storm cloud) is preparing to find gas in Greek Cypriot waters. Erdogan is beside himself with greed and determination, but the genius US manipulator thinks he has the wind at his back.
Even so, Erdogan couldn’t resist throwing a dart at Obama, though it missed its mark by an country mile: He essentially accused Obama of failing to protect an American Citizen of Turkish descent who was on the Mavi Marmara flotilla ship. Did Erdogen really expect Obama to acknowledge his attack? Obama is playing his own game, under cover. At this point in time, his ‘darts’ are aimed at Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem, sending Dennis Ross et al to pressure Netanyahu to surrender to any and all demands made by PA PM Abbas (who, by the way, isn’t in the mood to make any just now).
So, at this moment there is a temporary respite in the storm in the south and in the eastern Mediterranean. Of course, there is Syria. But it’s not at the top of anyone’s list just now. In helpless frustration, the whole world is just wringing its collective hands about Syria where there is a sort of stable chaos. It’s as if there were an invisible wall around it that keeps the storm within from being influenced by the winds from without. Assad doesn’t even take the time to put his finger into the wind to see which way it is blowing. He should. His storm is disturbing the Persian bear just now.
So, little Jordan is due some attention. Small storms have threatened that Kingdom, coming and going while most of the world ignored them. But now, the Palestinians who want to topple the throne have decided that what worked in Egypt might just work for them and even better. They’ve created Facebook pages to call for a “million men (I think that includes women too as they do have permission to die for Islam) to come to the Israeli Embassy in Amman on Thursday. They seem to think they can do more damage than the Egyptians did, but since the word is out, it seems a little unlikely that unarmed Israelis will just wait around for them there.
The real threat is to the throne in Jordan which is not sturdy enough to withstand even a mild storm. In order to control the 1/2 of Jordan’s population that is Palestinian (Yes, it is true: the British DID set Jordan up as the Palestinian State under the Mandate to keep those ill-behaved Arabs and Jews apart.), King Abdullah will either have to acquiesce to their demands or subdue them in the traditional way, following his father’s example: remember Black September? He doesn’t have a lot of survival options. He is definitely not able to go to war on his own against anybody and who is going to protect him against his own? His traditional protectors are quite busy battening down the hatches under their own storms. Egypt? US? And their latest benefactor, Saudia Arabia? Actually the Saudis are fighting for their own survival, trying to keep storms under control in Yemen, Syria, Bahrain, and Iraq in order to keep the Persians at bay.
In Gaza, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and on and on
It’s obvious that none of the Arab rulers (or wanna-be’s) want an immediate major conflict with Israel, but they must all position themselves and posture and bluster and blow as if they did in order to keep their people’s eyes trained on an enemy without. So, the winds blow this way and that and in the meantime, it is mostly Arab blood being spilled…by the Arabs.
The groups – the Islamists, the Left, the Revolutionaries and Rebels, as well as the West – all think they are in control of the chaos resulting from the storms they have created, but there is something they are NOT taking into account: In the Middle East, there is a very ancient and unseen minefield underlying the whole region. If they are not careful, a ‘devious someone’ by intent or just a ‘unimportant anyone’ in ignorance will trigger a mine and the explosion will echo into the far corners of earth…..