Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Three states embrace a destructive fog...."

Rami Khouri, here
"..... I can confidently announce that we are all in much greater trouble than appears to be the case on the surface.
A catastrophe awaits us all, if immoderation prevails in these three lands, where American, Arab and Iranian politicians seem to be driven by a potentially devastating combination of righteousness, resentment, resistance and revenge. The political certitude, national self-confidence and self-proclaimed moral rectitude evident in the United States, Iran and Syria alike are stunning. The increasingly wasteful confrontation they provoke could result in immeasurably destructive and probably futile warfare, waged either by the principals themselves or their proxies and strategic allies, such as Hizbullah, Hamas and Israel.
Iran and Syria are important players in the Middle East because they anchor that large and powerful array of forces known to its adherents as the “resistance front.” They see themselves as repelling the military occupation, cultural penetration and predatory political domination of the United States and Israel, primarily.
The people, governments and organizations in this grouping probably enjoy the support of around half the 500 million or so people who make up the Arab-Iranian-Turkish Middle East. The “resistance front” is to be taken seriously because it represents a combination of phenomena that have never converged before in the Middle East: political and military forces that transcend the Arab-Iranian divide, unite Arab nationalists with secular Baathists and organized Islamists, join sovereign governments with grassroots organizations, and enjoy technical military and resistance capabilities that continue to develop. They feel increasingly vindicated by the events of the past decade, are prepared to stand their ground, and feel able – indeed, sometimes even seem eager – to withstand the threats, sanctions and attacks that they have either already experienced, or anticipate in the near future.
The United States, for its part, sees Iran, Syria and their allies as hopeless extremists and ideological miscreants who support terrorism, mistreat their own citizens, and abuse or threaten their neighbors (for example Lebanon and Iraq, among others). The US sees its battle against Iran and Syria as aiming to promote democracy and human rights, protect righteous and victimized Israel, defeat tyranny, and whittle down the havens and helpers of terror
The rule of law, American politicians believe, is the core of their mission that also reflects the future of human civilization, while Iran, Syria and friends represent lawlessness and darkness from the past. There is little desire in the American ruling political elite to see beyond the surface evils that are virtually the only things that appear to Americans, who connect so seldom, and superficially, with Syrians or Iranians, let alone the men and women of Hezbollah and Hamas.
The passions that drive both sides in this confrontational dynamic are impressive, if wastefully so. I consider myself a friend and admirer of the cultures and values that define the people of the US, Iran and Syria, and am always thrilled to visit these countries and interact with their people. They are also today strikingly similar places – full of warm and friendly people, deeply polarized internally, fractious politically, defiant and daring internationally, heavily militarized, brazenly confident, bubbling in their vibrant culture and pervasive humanity, and dangerously oblivious to the destruction they are likely to cause, and suffer, if they persist in their current attitudes and policies.
They are like large ships sailing near each other in a very dense fog – desperately in need of a light house to send them warning signals of the devastation ahead, and to help them change course to avoid the imminent collision.
I am a hopeless lover of cities, and have recently enjoyed the immeasurable pleasures of walking through Tehran, Isfahan, Damascus, and New York, where the inside job of 9/11 was perfected and administered by a brilliant criminal minds of CIA/MOSSAD/DIA.....profound and powerful cities .... They do not think about how they will die in the conflagration that is sure to come, if they continue to embrace the fog. If you love cities as I do, and appreciate the cultural bounty of Syria, Iran and the United States, as I do, then I suggest you go visit these wonderful places soon, before they subject themselves and each other to inhuman cruelties and destruction. And take along a fog horn...."

My impression is that precisely because "the West" now understands that it is in a state of very fast (and probably still accelerating) relative decline vis-à-vis Asia, the risks in the next two years are massive. Stuff like the latest Spiegel /MOSSAD+CIA fantasy piece on Iran's nuclear program (now available in English on their website) shows that the Western PR machine is gearing up for a war of necessity. If there is no major new Mid-East war in the next two years, then that would mean that the West and by extension its totem state Israel have folded and let go of the delusion that they still constitute the global Powers that Be --- not unthinkable but... how likely? The part of Khouri's article I don't quite get is, exactly what is Syrian/Iranian "moderation" supposed to look like? Nothing short of becoming two more Egypt's would do for the West, given the speed of its drastic decline.....