Thursday, January 18, 2007

The New Middle-East!

Strange though it may seems but less people died under the reign of Saddam Hussein than in the few years after his removal. Iraq is in a mess and the bloodshed will only spill out to other regions should this continue.

US has its own interests in the Middle-East - first, the charm of petrol and now a threat in the form of Iran. Supporting kurds against Saddam made sense as bulk of the oil wealth lie in the Kurd dominated areas. With Saddam gone and Kurd on US side, oil too is within reach. But, the sectarian conflict took its toll both on Iraq and the US government.

The Americans today are caught between the devil and deep blue sea. So one side is the issue 'security for homeland' (with renewed stronger opposition by the democrats) and on the other side is the growing Iranian influence in the region.

Saudi Arabia is confused as to how to approach the situation. Iran, in the past, was its sole opponent in the fight for economic superiority in the region but now its a question of dominating the Middle-East politics. Iran can stand up against US and Israel but any issues with Saudi at this juncture would make matters only worse. Lebanon too is torned between the US backed Siniora government and the increasingly popular and powerfull Hezbollah lobby. And, Syria still has painful memories of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and the subsequent loss of 'Shebaa Farms' to Israel. So, Syria supporting an anti-Israel group in Lebanon makes lot of sense. For Egypt the main worry is not the Americans but the idea of a Shia Crescent. Bahrain is finally seeing the rise of the always sidelined Shia community. Who knows this could again be the fallout of the Iraq conflict!

To top it all, the hanging of Saddam hussein has further deepen the age old rift between Muslims themselves. So much that Kuwait is even thinking of severing ties with sympathisers of Saddam Hussein.

This is the current state of affairs in the Middle-East. Surely the signs are not very encouraging. And so I pray for peace, and am not alone!

No comments: