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Murder in the SunMorgue
by Denis O'Brien, PhD

Who killed hundreds of Syrian children in Ghouta, Aug21|2013? How, and why?

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Israel & the Middle East


Analyzing the balance of inter-Semitic hatred to see where the Middle East is headed in 2013

Juan Cole's Shia/Sunni Map

My approach to understanding the Semitic mess called "the Middle East" is that first you've got to realize that all of these peoples -- Arabs, Palestinians, Jews, Sunnis, Shia, Wahabis, Hasidim,  on and on --  are Semites.  And so the whole ME mess is just one big inter-Semitic dog-fight.  Semites have been killing Semites for as long as there have been Semites -- all the way back to Noah, and that is not going to suddenly end in 2013.  BTW, all of these people are called "Semites" because they are descended from Noah's son, Shem.  They should be called "Shemites," but that sounds too much like female bed-bugs, so they dropped the "h." 

From this unvarnished perspective it is easy to see that understanding the ME -- and guessing who is going to attack whom next -- is a matter of figuring out the "balance of hatreds:" who hates whom the most at any given time.  Everything can be explained in terms of a spectrum of Semitic hatred, for if history teaches us anything it's that no group of people in the world loves hatred more than Semites.  

With that rather stark introduction, we turn to Juan Cole's very masterful explanation of the current ME situation and what's up for 2013.  I don't think I have ever seen a cleaner or clearer explanation of such a complex disaster.  I could not hope to improve on this piece and would not even try.  What I will try to do, however, is to look at the Palestinian-Israel shoah through the lens of Cole's analysis and restate some of his major points in terms that might be more familiar to those who speak a less disciplined -- i.e., less politically correct --  vernacular.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a moral conflict . . . in the eyes of most of the world.  Nobody, except the Palestinians, cares about what is "right" and what is "wrong" with respect to the Israelis stealing the Palestinians’ land.  I mean NOBODY -- Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindi, Buddhists, or Bengali bungi-jumpers -- cares that this incredible rip-off and the subsequent Israeli apartheid is morally wrong.  And that fact is Exhibit "A" in the argument that the Israeli domination of the media is the most effective spin-machine of all times and all places.    

In the absence of moral motivations, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the last 60 years has been driven by who has the most firepower and who hates whom the most.  Likewise, inter-Semitic hatred and the fear of being nuked, essentially, is what drives the wider ME conflict.

Shia hate Sunnis; Sunnis hate Shia. It’s been that way since Mohammad was on his death-bed and it won’t be changing in 2013. These people have been literally cutting each other’s throats for over 1200 years. This is the major dynamic that drives politics and policies in the ME.

Shia and Sunnis hate each other more than they hate Jews, which suits the Jews just fine. The Israelis have been playing the Shia and Sunnis against each other since before 1948 and they are masters at that game. For instance there has been a lot of talk in 2012 about Israel setting up airbases in Sunni controlled Azerbaijan on Iraq’s northern border. This is possible only because the Azerbaijan Sunnis hate the Iranian Shia more than they hate the Israeli Jews. See how this goes?

Iran is the dominant Shia force in the ME and in the world. Palestinians are Sunnis. Israelis are Jews. Consequently, Iran hates the Palestinians (a little bit) more than they hate the Jews. Besides, the Israelis have nukes and are psychopathic enough to use them. And so Iran has never been a major player in the Israel-Palestinian face-off, much to Israel’s benefit.

What happens inside Palestine is not affected by a fear of Israel’s nukes other than the world powers will do what they have to do to keep those nukes out of the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamic organization.  Israel's nuclear stockpile is what guarantees the US's protection.  But Israel is not going to drop nukes on Bethlehem or any other Palestinian area. It’s called "not shitting in your own nest."  But Israel would nuke Cairo -- it has already threatened to do so in the 1973 War.  Israel would also likely drop tactical nukes on Damascus and Beirut if push comes to shove.  Only nuclear deterrence from Iran would likely neutralize the Israeli nuclear threat. 

Lebanon is a key strategic point in the Islamic fight against Israel.  There are vast oil reserves off-shore that Israel and Lebanon have already started bickering over.  Little Lebanon is looking more an more like the lynch pin.  It is virtually controlled by the Shite group, Hizbullah, which is funded and armed by Shite Iran.

In order to get arms and supplies from Iran to Lebanon, ya’ gotta’ go through or over Iraq and Syria. That’s because US/Israel have a lock on the Mediterranean.

Iraq is predominantly Shia. Saddam was Sunni and ruthlessly subjugated the Shia.  With the Sunnis in control of Iraq up until 2003, Iran had limited opportunities for arming Lebanon, particularly when Iraq and Iran were fighting a bloody war in which the US backed Saddam. But when a butt-head named George H. Bush overthrew Saddam in 2003, a major barrier between Iran and Lebanon came down and weapons began to flow into Lebanon.   Hizbullah became the darling of the anti-Israeli crowd for beating back the Israeli attack in 2006, using arms supplied by Iran through Iraq.

Assad of Syria is, for all intents and purposes, Shia. One of the groups trying to bring Assad down is the Muslim Brotherhood, a pack of Sunnis supported by the Saudis and Egypt.

If the MB’hood gains control of Syria, it will certainly team up with Lebanese Sunnis and Palestinians. Things will get very interesting.

Cole is suggesting that MB’hood control of Syria will shut Iraq out of Lebanon, and Hizbullah will suffer as a result. But it seems to me – on the balance of hatreds – that the MB’hood/Lebanese Sunnis and the Hizbullah Shia hate the Jews more than they hate each other. If these militant Shia/Sunni factions team up against Israel after Assad falls, arms will continue to flow from Iran into Syria and Lebanon. In addition, Israel has to deal with the MB’hood in Egypt to its south.

Hamas, an off-shoot of the MB'hood that controls Gaza, would almost certainly come to the party if Hizbullah and MB’hood join forces. This would be Israel’s worst nightmare: being surrounded by Muslims who hate each other less than they hate Jews.

This analysis of the balance of hatreds would suggest that as Assad's position weakens, Israel will begin to warm up to the PLO in order to try and drive a wedge between Fatah/PLO Sunnis and any Hizbullah/MB’hood/Hamas coalition.  Israel certainly wants to get these Muslims to keep fighting each other to prevent the UN from seriously considering giving Palestine full-fledged nation status.  But the only thing that might get the Shia and Sunni militant groups to stop killing each other is their hatred of the Jews.  It is anybody's guess whether their hatred of the Jews is hot enough to vitrify these Muslims into a sufficiently stable organization that would justify nationhood status in the UN.      

I would say "Don't hold your breath."  Up to now the Muslims have been too stupid and too blinded by Sunni/Shia hatred to get organized against Israel, and that will always be the case for Sunnis and Shia at large.  For instance, the Saudis (Sunnis) hate and fear the Iranian Shia a lot more than they hate or fear the Israeli Jews and they are known to be supporting Israel plans to attack Iran.  But if the non-nation, militant Muslim factions that hate the Jews more than they hate each other are driven together by the vacuum left by the disposed Assad regime, and if Iran is willing to keep sending them arms, then the Israelis may have a very unpleasant 2013 unless they can convince the US to take out Iran.

 -- Denis O'Brien, aka, The Gutter Grunt   









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