The United States of America is on track, or so it thinks, in Middle East and North Africa (MENA). ‘Arab Spring has made that possible’ regales Washington. President Obama listed the falling dominos in his admonishment of the 193 member-nation United Nations General Assembly.
His administration likes to think that the global stature, whatever the domestic economic problems of America, of the Nobel-winning president with a Muslim father and a middle name reaching out to the Muslims has enabled the transformation of the region after that transformation was actively conceived since 9/11 by the Bush administration.
The reality on the ground, especially given the Iranian situation and the suppressed militancy in the region against American quasi-unilateralism from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan, however, tells a different story.
The backdrop of the roiling religious psychology in the region does not provide any comfort either: both Muslims and Christians believe in the Armageddon and getting to the table to talk before going to war to destroy the other side seen as evil puts Israel in a bind as the common subliminal enemy.
Having carved out the state of Israel in 1948 in Christian guilt, the Judeo-Christian West has a stake in its persistence, as has been consistently clear in the last 6 decades, at the expense of the Muslims. The last remnants of resistance to the existence of Israel are Iran and the extremist groups. And it is these very groups that could come together to undo all western inroads into peace since the 2006 change in Iraq strategy by the United States (US).
The emerging dynamic following America’s proclamation to veto Palestinian entry into the United Nations (UN) as a full nation-state, side-by-side with Israel, appears to be setting up conditions for the defeat of the United States in all wars: Iraq with no American combat troops, Libya with simmering dissent from the Gadaffi supporters against the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Taliban rearing its ugly head in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Iran, accused of sponsoring Al Qaeda, besides Hezbollah, Hamas and the Iraqi militias, while under pressure from NATO to yield on its nuclear program.
The consequences of shattered hopes after a prolonged struggle for Palestinian freedom is the pestilence that could remain forever in the Pandora’s Box of geopolitics in the absence of hope, as surreal as it may seem.
The disappointment of the Palestinians in the West Bank when they are denied full entry into the United Nations because of Israel and the United States will be perceived as the defeat of Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, shifting the allegiance of the people to Hamas.
Quickly, with Iran’s shadow support, all of the militant groups in MENA – the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, pro-Gadaffi factions in Libya, the pro-government factions in Syria, anti-American militias in Iraq, and Hezbollah in Lebanon – will join Hamas against Israel and the United States, and all hell could once again break loose in Iraq, and in Afghanistan when Taliban tries to dislodge President Hamid Karzai’s regime, putting the United States on the path of retreat.
Retreat after more than a decade at war is never acceptable to a large military coalition such as NATO. Saudi Arabia receiving protection from the United States, US and Israel will be caught in a conflagration with Iran and its regional militia allies in MENA, putting the entire region back under the fold of authoritarian regimes with the implicit blessing of Russia and China on the permanent UN Security Council, a potential circumstance that could lead to a world war, not merely a regional war.
Big wars, fueled by deep-seated ideologies, often come about because of small altercations. Any mob violence between Israeli settlers in the West Bank and the Palestinians, because the withdrawal of the Israeli settlements in West Bank is no longer supported by Israel and the United States, can lead to war between Israel and Palestine, and of the world.
Transformations hopes that the United States and Israel can prove us wrong by avoiding war.