The efforts originated in Iraq where the idea was to replace an evil dictator and inject democracy and free the people allowing them to live as they chose. That was supposed to be relatively fast and painless transition. Something went terribly wrong as it turned out the United States leadership did not understand some basic premises about the Middle East. The problem that plagued the efforts of the United States in Iraq were a direct result of European decisions made facilitating their rapid exit from the ever growing expense of holding on to colonies especially in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The mistake was countries were formed with the advice from those who were to be placed in power when the Europeans departed and these new leaders each desired to assure they would rule over those who were historically their enemies. This led to borders including different sects, tribes, families and former national interests within each new nation with Europe choosing the rulers who would end up holding power through subjugation often of ancient enemies. This led to growing mistrust of Europeans and constant strife. Iraq was formed containing three distinct groups within its borders; the Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds; along with a few smaller groups such as Christians and Jews. When the United States was presumably liberating Iraq it was also setting the tables for retributions of past injustices and ended up facing the dilemma of trying to make sense and peace of the mess which the Europeans had sewn when they hastily departed.
The exact same miscalculation was made by the same people who misjudged the situation and challenges of Iraq when dealing with the Palestinian autonomy when they decided to meddle in the Palestinian elections. Never mind that Mahmoud Abbas pleaded with President Bush and his point person, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, not to include the Hamas terror group in the election process as they would easily defeat any challengers. Never mind that the Israeli leadership unanimously agreed with Mahmoud Abbas and his warning about the imprudence of including the Hamas terror group in the election. Surprisingly, at least if you read the reports in the United States, Hamas won a significant majority of the legislative seats in the newly elected Palestinian Parliament. This caused the situation which exists today where the Palestinian Authority holds on to power in Judea and Samaria, aka West Bank, while Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in a quick and violent coup. Mahmoud Abbas, in order to retain any semblance of power, decided to cancel the elections for President of the Palestinian Authority as it was obvious that Hamas would easily win such an election. The two separate leaders of the Palestinian people, Abbas representing a nationalist influence and Hamas representing a theocratic influence, have been in opposition with every attempt to cobble together a ruling coalition agreement eventually collapsing as the two views do not mesh well.
So, was there any hope once the power in the United States changed and the new President, Barack Obama, came in promising a new vision to repair all the previous problems and to change the face that the United States showed the world? In his first term the new American President has most definitely charged through the Middle East and changed the face of the United States and done even more transformational face-work on the Middle East. Where there had been at least the semblance of cooperation forged in Iraq, the precipitous removal of the influence by the United States has allowed a regression in Iraq where the old Sunni-Shia animosities are running rampant and the Kurds have formed their own virtual state in the north severing most of their ties and concerns from the government in Baghdad. The picture in Afghanistan is not much prettier as the United States had begun secretive negotiations with what were termed the better interests of the Taliban. The government of Hamid Karzai was forced to attempt to forge his own agreement with those Taliban who might have been more friendly with his government and not completely defiant. The result has been the Taliban retreating from both negotiations and simply deciding to outwait the United States who has promised to completely leave Afghanistan when they can simply sweep into power either through election or other means. Meanwhile, for some unperceivable reason, sarcasm intended, the Afghans have steadily grown less and less friendly with their American counterparts and many feel betrayed while others prepare to return to their separate factions and Afghanistan is likely to return to the same problems that have plagued the remote lands since before Alexander the Great attempted to force some sense of order by marrying off daughters of his generals to the tribal leaders in order to allow Greek influence to be maintained. There are likely a number of general’s daughters in the United States who are very happy that the United States would never try the same approach.
The next grand step was the great speech of Cairo where the nascent President of the United States, Barack Obama, apologized for the sins of the United States and promised to stand with those who would choose to forge a new and people-empowering future throughout the Middle East. Egyptian President Mubarak pleaded with the American President not to make the speech and implored that he at least not invite the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned group in Egypt since the rule of Gamal Abdel Nasser. Needless to say, the President of the United States insisted that he knew best and was fully aware of what he was doing and that the President of Egypt should calm down and everything would be perfectly wonderful. Within a short period the world began to witness the changes which were birthed that day in Cairo with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood throughout the Middle East much as Hamas rose to power after the previous Administration had meddled against the strident warnings of those who live in the Middle East. Since then we have witnessed the spread of Middle East democracy through North Africa and now into the heart of the Middle East. As the initial birth pains of democracy have spread around the Middle East it has spawned the birth of new governance which has meant the Muslim Brotherhood just as Egyptian now former President Mubarak has predicted. What has become evident is that there was a difference between the rise of Hamas through George Bush and his Administration’s miscalculations and President Obama and his Administration’s intentional empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. The rise of Hamas was not the intended result that the Bush Administration sought but it appears that the Obama Administration knew full well that their efforts would result in the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood. That leaves the world with a simple question; will the Muslim Brotherhood allow further free elections or will their rise to power result in simply the replacement of nationalist dictatorial rule with theocratic rule.
After the change in power in Tunisia and Egypt the wave hit a couple of snags in Libya and Syria where the removal of their dictators was not smoothly attained through a couple months of demonstrations as had been the case in Tunisia and Egypt; the changes in these countries took full blown civil wars. This also attracted al-Qaeda and other terror interests to join in the change of power and has spawned what one hopes was an unintended consequence, the arming of terror entities by the efforts of the Europeans and the United States. This has been most evident each time the Egyptians have prevented shipments of arms from Libya terror influences heading to Hamas in Gaza. There has been far less success in preventing the weapons injected into Libya from reaching their counterparts in Syria most often through Turkey. Recently the flow of weapons into the Syrian rebels has shown a marked increase and reports have mentioned that the logistics are being aided by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The reports have also noted one troubling side effect; the arms are not necessarily ending up in the hands of the secular rebel forces and are instead being used to arm the Islamist rebel forces. This begs another question; is the arming of the Islamist rebel forces an oversight or intentional? It actually should not be all that surprising if this is a result of planned program instituted by the Arabist Islamic influences in the United States State Department and Muslim Brotherhood influences throughout various elements in the United States government.
This then may continue to play out much like the falling of dominoes across the Middle East with these same arms being transferred from one targeted country to the next. The current number one candidate for next is very likely Jordan. There will be no ability to prevent arms and Islamist influences from entering Jordan from the north once Syria has fallen, providing such is as inevitable as has been advertised. Where the transformation of the Middle East will finally run out of steam is anybody’s guess. The question which needs to be answered is whether the transformation of the Middle East and the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood will end in the Middle East or spread into Europe starting in the Balkans and Greek Islands. The other question is which influence will prove to be foremost in the Middle East, the Shia centered in Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood mostly in Egypt. Before anybody jumps to a decision, it might be best to reveal who is sided with each side. In the Iranian corner we have the Russians and Chinese while in the Muslim Brotherhood corner we have the United States and the NATO allies in Europe. This brings up another item of recent interest, Cyprus.
The bailout which has been implemented in Cyprus is tantamount to a declaration of financial war between the West and the Russians. The naked aggressive theft of as much as twenty-five-percent from deposits over one-hundred-thousand Euros from the Cypriot banks is a financial assault on the Russian interests who have deposited large quantities of presumably laundered monies with these banks. Whoever thought that was a good idea must have a large vacuous space between their ears. This move will not go unpunished and will possibly lead to a financial war between the Western nations and the Russian alliance of interests. The ramifications from this financial assault will be interesting to watch over the coming months. Also, is gifting Greece with ownership of some of the Cypriot banks really prudent seeing as Greece is not exactly the rock of economic strength. This appears to be a case of the blind leading the blind but it is a case of birds of a feather being flown into ruin together. Next we get to wonder how long before the Euro zone starts to collapse and throw out the weaker nations until only a select few remain and the European Union slowly sinks beyond the horizon and into history. Are we having fun yet?
Beyond the Cusp