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18 July 2006 at 10:19

the road to damascus

Are we really watching the start of World War 3 (or 4 if you count the Cold War)?

What is going on in the Middle East? And why? And how can it be fixed? My colleagues at the McDonald Island Institute tell me that, if you leave aside the last 50 years and forget about trying to apportion blame, the recent events actually make a lot of sense.

Remember the way that arab society works - tribal sheiks are the focal point of power (decision-making, grievance-handling, the legal system, wealth distribution, welfare etc.) The system works well, but it relies on maintaining the honour and status of the sheik.

Syria can be viewed as a sheik in macrocosm. Syria lost face when it was recently kicked out of Lebanon in disgrace. Syria is also on Bush's "axis of evil" black list. So it is grieving for its lost status as power-broker in the region.

How can Syria regain its status in the world (at least in its own eyes)? That's simple - first they get Hezbollah to provoke Israel into a war. Why?

Because this will force the international community to go to Syria and beg it to fix the problem (by calling off Hezbollah). A deal will be done, and Israel will bow to the demands to free prisoners, just as they have done after previous disputes. A great result for Syria, which is rehabilitated as a sheik on the world stage. In addition, Syria might take the opportunity to say "see what happened when we weren't around any more to run things in Lebanon?"

The brilliant Robert Fisk, who lives in Lebanon and has observed the area for 30 years, reckons that if it all goes according to the Syrian agenda, that is exactly what will happen after a few more days or weeks of slaughter on both sides. Of course, there is more to it than this, and people like the U.S.A. or Iran may yet screw up the Syrian power play.

Where I live, the breakaway regime on the other side of Heard Island has already developed a bunker system, disguised as a bliss cave. Unless they agree to shelter me and the visitors to this blog, I may have to provoke them into an attack, then get Spud and friends to clobber them and take their caves.

Sources acknowledged.

Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Zeig! Interesting analysis! How about Syria getting the shit blown out of it by Israel and Israel bombing the nuke facilities in Iran? The folk who sell oil will love this! Also, with oil prices really high, Scotland can go independent and we'll all be rich. Rich, I tell you! Oil at 80 dollars a barrel definitely helps us. Hotboy p.s. Declaring war on the US during the last World War was a wee mistake you made then. If Syria are pulling Hezbollah's strings, they've lost the plot!!!  

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Blogger J said...

And you wondered why we have two hundred thousand troops stationed in Iraq...  

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Blogger robmcj said...

HB - Israel won't touch Syria. For one thing, they don't need to, when they've already got what you pugilists call a punchbag in Lebanon.

Bush has lost the plot even more than the usual. We still got further than the U.S. in the World Cup.

Is your oil still flowing? I thought Thatcher had drunk it all long ago.  

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Blogger hotboy said...

Adolf! Heil! The oil companies tell lies! They say there's hardly any there to keep the taxes down. Alexis Sayle did a train journey show through Syria. There are six different kinds of secret police there. There was a great shot of pairs of secret policemen following each other around! Hotboy  

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Blogger Lee Ann said...

It is all very disturbing...every aspect of it!

Ok, something very simple:
Live by the Golden Rule!
...treat others as you wish to be treated

I know that sounds simple, but just think what the world would be like if everyone minded that rule!
~xo  

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Blogger robmcj said...

LA - I used to try and live by that rule. I eventually realised no-one else was doing it back, but I still try.  

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Blogger keda said...

ugh. interesting analysis yes.
its terrifying frankly though. and after speaking with friends who's families are trapped in beirut i began thinking of a debunk to your neck 'o the woods.  

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