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Old March 1st, 2017, 11:49 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by SufiMystic View Post
Problems of the Middle East?

1. All the countries were artificially created by European colonial powers in the early 20th century, without regard to the people who live there. See Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of them paragons of successful nation building... not.

2. The Saudi Wahhabist ideology. Funded by the petro dollar, Saudi religious extremists spread an extreme ideology around the globe. The results in ruined lives are a human tragedy. And guess who helped the house of Saud into power? The British. Look it up. Thanks, western powers...

3. The US-backed coup which overthrew the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran in the 1950s. Yet another disastrous western intervention, which messed up Iran by installing the authoritarian Shah, leading to the 1979 Islamic revolution.

4. Israel. Created by the western occupying powers in the early 20th century. This state was created by massacre and forced eviction of the people living there, and followed up with two wars which inflicted further misery. The ongoing occupation, constant oppression, illegal wall, confiscation of lands, military checkpoints, murder of civilians, detention, arrest, torture and construction of settlements on Palestinian land is an intolerable ongoing crime against humanity. Once again, thanks western powers...

5. The invasion of Iraq in 2003. Destroying the country, killing millions of people and then replacing it with a criminally incompetent administration, turning a beautiful country of culture and poetry into a horrific wasteland of slaughter and hell. Thanks again, western countries... and while we're at it, thank you for selling Saddam chemical weapons in the 1980s and then using those weapons as an excuse to invade in 2003. Yeah, real smooth... thanks guys.

6. ISIS. This evolved straight out of point 5. Thanks again, western guys. You really did a good job. Not.

7. Aside from all these, there are problems that go back deeper. The unification of the area under the Ottoman and Safavid Empires from the 15th century onwards probably worked against innovation during the period of industrialisation, which was in any case invented in north Europe. This left the region economically behind.

8. After a brilliant start in the Golden Age up to about c.1100, the Middle East gradually began to turn away from progress after the ulemma became dominant, the first signs starting in the 12th century but really gaining ground after the Mongol invasions after 1230 or so. Al Ghazali's book attacking the incoherence of philosophers was a key moment. Perhaps the Mutazila movement was partly to blame, and particularly the caliph al Mamun, whose persecutions cost the movement its popular support. It took centuries for the consequences to feed through though.

9. The Mongol invasions. These devastated Persia and Iraq and ripped the heart out of the Muslim world in the 13th century. The great cities of Khorasan and also Baghdad had been centres of learning and culture. Their destruction and the massacre of the population, combined with the reversion to nomadism and the destruction of books and urban centres set back the progress of civilisation by centuries. It is possible to argue that the Muslim world never really recovered. Particularly since they were hit again in the 15th century by Tamerlane, bringing a new wave of devastation almost equal to the first.

10. The discovery of the new world disadvantaged the powers of the old world, who lacked access to the vast riches. Enormous inflation set in, destroying the economic basis of society. This undermined the Ottomans and Safavids, while benefiting Europe

That will do for now.
Very good post. *****
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 03:58 AM   #52

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Bashar's father was fighting 3 wars with Israel.
Hafez Assad didn't get power until about 1970. Under him, Syria fought in two wars against Israel--'73 and '82.

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Israel was never safer than today. Egypt is weaker, Syria and Iraq non existant, other their neighbours were never a real threat to Israel (Jordania and Lebanon).
Agreed.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 05:55 AM   #53
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False. Britain supported the Saudi's against the Hashemites of the Hejaz.
That is simply not true.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 05:57 AM   #54
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UN Security council's primary responsibility is maintaining peace by forcing sides to uphold various resolutions. In 1990 (and before), UN Security council proposed a resolution, so UN was involved. You are incorrect.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...Resolution_660

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United...Resolution_678

As for invasion in there are two resolutions supporting a "legal" invasion. 678 and some number related with weapons in Iraq.

Entire world, even Brits, pretty much concluded that invasion of Iraq was not legal. What is even worse is that even if it was legal, it devastated the country and we are still reaping what has been sow in 2003.

More reading for the legality of the Invasion of Iraq, you seem to be in need of such reading:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_the_Iraq_War

Although dysfunctional due to rule of power that still present in the way that states exist, UN's various organs (Security Council, Court of Justice, etc.) are "competent" to make judgments.
You are living in a fantasy-world. In the real world sovereign states have the sovereign right to wage war when their vital interests are at stake.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 09:47 AM   #55

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You are living in a fantasy-world. In the real world sovereign states have the sovereign right to wage war when their vital interests are at stake.
Ignoring the irrelevant opener in the post, I just gave you example how UN was involved in both Iraq wars, in spite of the fact that you claimed they weren't and it was between involved states. UN Security council is no joke when there is a general consensus that a particular resolution should be enforced. Whether it's a matter of some state's interest or not is irrelevant. That's what we have observed in first invasion and haven't observed in the second one.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 03:49 PM   #56

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Neither. They're just phases of the same problem.

Countries with lots of natural resources and a low average income are ruled by elites who siphon off resources. This isn't a Muslim problem: the Crusades were fought over the same thing - the people of the Levant didn't matter, the trade did. In the Age of Imperialism, New York was traded for a 3 mile spice island. Tens of thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians to boot were sent to their death for puny plantation atolls and 3-galleon trade lanes. The Byzantines and Genovese once fought a war with over 300 ships together on both sides over an island the Genovese were using to smuggle wine to the Byzantine elite.

Saddam was a Sunni elite, and while he succeeded temporarily between 1984 and 1991 at unifying his people under his rule through patriotic struggle against Iran and the perception of victory, his regime quickly regressed into a Sunni and family elite siphoning off resources. His lackeys were deposed, and joined with Islamists that had come out of the desert and landed in American prison camps. There, they incubated their comeback, the idea of ISIS.

Meanwhile, a fractious and divided Shia elite backed by their own militias had taken power in the South, and a Kurdish elite under Barzani had won a series of intermittent civil wars in Kurdistan. And they are an elite: Barzani has deep financial connections with the Turkish government and his enemies in the old civil wars were separate cliques backed by Iran.

Why do ISIS soldiers fight with high morale? Because they are paid well. Why do PMF (Iranian-backed militias) fight with high morale? Because they are paid well. Why does the regular Iraqi army fight badly? Because it isn't paid well.

The present problem isn't a Sunni/Shia problem, it's a third world problem. Different cliques are taking advantage of tribal/religious divisions to kickstart their way into power, then they confiscate oil revenues and use them to hire mercenaries to hold onto them. It's like they're playing a game of monopoly with people's lives. Neither Arab Spring's prevention nor the fall of Saddam would have done anything but delay the process. Once Saddam died, you can bet that Northern and Southern Ba'ath factions under Douri in the North and the Southern Wing in Basra would have fought over oil wealth as well. The Kurds would have launched another uprising, and the Iranian-backed Badr brigades would have stepped in to capture some wells in the South.

If there was no Sunni/Shia divide, the government would come up with some other ridiculous propaganda to stay in power. Just look at the old Egyptian government and its pharaonic images to hold up the mantle of military victory from 1973, or the old Libyan government and its clashes with the West and "bread and circuses" spendthrift policy to prevent revolt. Where there are resources, there are warlords, mercenaries, and huge propaganda departments.
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 03:31 AM   #57

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Originally Posted by Alto View Post
Neither. They're just phases of the same problem.

Countries with lots of natural resources and a low average income are ruled by elites who siphon off resources. This isn't a Muslim problem: the Crusades were fought over the same thing - the people of the Levant didn't matter, the trade did. In the Age of Imperialism, New York was traded for a 3 mile spice island. Tens of thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of civilians to boot were sent to their death for puny plantation atolls and 3-galleon trade lanes. The Byzantines and Genovese once fought a war with over 300 ships together on both sides over an island the Genovese were using to smuggle wine to the Byzantine elite.

Saddam was a Sunni elite, and while he succeeded temporarily between 1984 and 1991 at unifying his people under his rule through patriotic struggle against Iran and the perception of victory, his regime quickly regressed into a Sunni and family elite siphoning off resources. His lackeys were deposed, and joined with Islamists that had come out of the desert and landed in American prison camps. There, they incubated their comeback, the idea of ISIS.

Meanwhile, a fractious and divided Shia elite backed by their own militias had taken power in the South, and a Kurdish elite under Barzani had won a series of intermittent civil wars in Kurdistan. And they are an elite: Barzani has deep financial connections with the Turkish government and his enemies in the old civil wars were separate cliques backed by Iran.

Why do ISIS soldiers fight with high morale? Because they are paid well. Why do PMF (Iranian-backed militias) fight with high morale? Because they are paid well. Why does the regular Iraqi army fight badly? Because it isn't paid well.

The present problem isn't a Sunni/Shia problem, it's a third world problem. Different cliques are taking advantage of tribal/religious divisions to kickstart their way into power, then they confiscate oil revenues and use them to hire mercenaries to hold onto them. It's like they're playing a game of monopoly with people's lives. Neither Arab Spring's prevention nor the fall of Saddam would have done anything but delay the process. Once Saddam died, you can bet that Northern and Southern Ba'ath factions under Douri in the North and the Southern Wing in Basra would have fought over oil wealth as well. The Kurds would have launched another uprising, and the Iranian-backed Badr brigades would have stepped in to capture some wells in the South.

If there was no Sunni/Shia divide, the government would come up with some other ridiculous propaganda to stay in power. Just look at the old Egyptian government and its pharaonic images to hold up the mantle of military victory from 1973, or the old Libyan government and its clashes with the West and "bread and circuses" spendthrift policy to prevent revolt. Where there are resources, there are warlords, mercenaries, and huge propaganda departments.
Great post. Well said, Alto
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 04:35 AM   #58
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The Saudi's do play a major negative role. You need to look up history however. Then you will learn that the Saudi's came to power in the Arabian peninsula AGAINST the British and by driving the British-supported Hashemites out of the Hejaz.
Not at all. You are mistaken. The British exploited Sharif Hussein to put an end to the Ottoman control over Arabia. Once done, the British dropped him without scruples, allowing the Saudi clan to settle in the Hejaz.
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 04:38 AM   #59
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Ignoring the irrelevant opener in the post, I just gave you example how UN was involved in both Iraq wars, in spite of the fact that you claimed they weren't and it was between involved states. UN Security council is no joke when there is a general consensus that a particular resolution should be enforced. Whether it's a matter of some state's interest or not is irrelevant. That's what we have observed in first invasion and haven't observed in the second one.
What you write is simply not true. Clearly you do not have even a basic understanding of international law or even of the UN charter.
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Old March 3rd, 2017, 05:53 AM   #60

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You are living in a fantasy-world. In the real world sovereign states have the sovereign right to wage war when their vital interests are at stake.
US vital interests were not at stake in 2003. WMD were just a pretext; even if Iraq had what shrub claimed--which it didn't--the US had more than ample deterrent capability. The war was a neocon attempt to benefit Israel primarily not the US. The real fantasy world was the alleged Iraqi threat and the supposed benefits of toppling Saddam, as per the neocon scheme.
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