Troubling trends in the Middle East

In an examination of the “five mostly troubling trends from 2010 that will probably define and plague the Middle East for the year ahead,” Rami G Khouri writes:

The transformation of the formerly localized Arab-Israeli conflict into the fulcrum of a much wider regional confrontation with strong religious overtones bodes ill for the region in the years ahead.

The Arab-Israeli conflict now anchors a much more violent and complex stand-off that sees some Arab states (notably Syria), Iran and powerful Arab Islamist resistance movements like Hamas and Hezbollah working together to repel not only Israeli territorial aggression, but what they see as wider American-Israeli hegemonic ambitions in the Arab-Islamic Middle East.

The narrow competing claims of Palestinians and Israelis in a small corner of the region have now transformed into a regional and quasi-global existential battle among powerful actors who seem prepared to fight to the finish.

Large regional and global conflicts will now more easily find local proxies to wage the battle, while local feuds will often escalate quickly into more fierce and intractable conflicts because of the association with foreign actors.

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2 thoughts on “Troubling trends in the Middle East

  1. Norman

    I wonder just how long the Israeli’s can keep up the war beat without actually forcing the U.S. to withdraw support? The new Congress will try extend the time line, but when all is said & done, the U.S. will have no choice in the matter, but to deny support. This may well be everyone’s “Waterloo”.

  2. Joseph Elias

    Mr. Khouri does a disservice. In what universe are Syria-Iran-Hamas-Hezbollah equivalent to Israel? Separate or combined, these parties are no match for Israel. In addition, these diverse parties have issues among themselves. Syria and Iran do not see eye to eye on Iraq or Lebanon. Hezbollah is not the puppet that the West so badly wants to portray. They represent a significant community in Lebanon, and should be treated as such. Hamas was Israel’s bastard child. It is surrounded by enemies–Egypt is as complicit in the punishment of Gaza as Israel.

    Israel has regularly violated Lebanese and Syrian airspace. Israeli agents are credited with assassinations in both countries. None of the four parties has anywhere near the sophisticated military hardware–tanks, fighter aircraft, spy planes, drones, naval vessels, small arms, artillery, etc. And if that is not enough, a 200 plus Israeli nuclear arsenal would incinerate the entire area.

    Israel poses a real and viable threat. It has no compunction in using its force. It has demonstrated that it will overreact to the slightest incident. It is noted for its disproportionality. With the US as its wingman, Israel fears neither financial restraints nor international condemnation.

    If there was a real balance of forces, Israel would come to the peace table.

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