Another day, another mess in the Middle East. The latest turmoil is yet another set of attacks by Israel on the beleaguered Palestinians in the occupied territory that is Gaza. Some 700 dead so far. Hamas, labeled a terrorist organization, is the ostensible target. Innocents, including children, overwhelmingly make up the victims.
The invasion has set off another round of handwringing and tut-tutting. More posturing and postulating from those who think they know better and want to stick their noses in it, from Washington to Moscow. The usual response.
Noticeable this time around is the growing shift in support for the Palestinians, who have won the battle for international hearts. The politicians and those who profit from arms deals are another matter, however.
After years and years of summits and bad-faith bargaining by all sides, little seems to change when it comes to the Arab-Israeli struggle.
Stripped of the jingoism, all the adventures there smack of imperialism: control of strategic areas – especially important during the Cold War – and of a strategic resource, oil.
For all the fuss, the reality is that what happens there – who lives, who dies, who does what – matters no more to us than what happens in Africa and other Third World countries. In short, we don’t give a damn.
That applies to invasions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the various movements that formed what we called the Arab Spring, though those rallies against dictators and their foreign masters did touch us due to the shared human yearning for freedom, which is increasingly an illusion in the West. Need proof of our indifference? How much attention have we been paying to Syria?
You remember Syria, right? The Baathist regime that carried out atrocities under the autocratic rule of Bashar al-Assad, just as it did under his father for three decades prior to that? The government, aligned with Russia and Iran, that’s no friend of the West? The more than 100,000 people who died in the conflict?
Once major news, Syria is largely off the map. Life in the country, meanwhile, is not better. Nothing’s been resolved.
For all the military adventurism in the Middle East, only the naive and partisan believe the goal has ever been democracy and freeing people from tyranny. There’s nothing noble in anything we’ve done there.
As it stands, we’re doing more harm than good. That’s especially true of the Americans, who have advanced the cause of radical Islamists. Experts predict more of the region will fall under the sway of Islamist revolutionaries, who’ve been made stronger by American bungling in the region.
Hamas’ actions in Gaza in recent weeks are an example of things to come. Intervention and occupation by the West and its proxy state have made extremists more popular with the native populations, exactly the opposite of what needs to happen for things to get better.
In reality, it doesn’t really matter what happens internally with those countries: the oil will still flow and people in the West won’t notice a thing.
Stop meddling. Go home. And maybe then we’ll stop hearing about the Middle East.