Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Middle East dystopias

Murtaza Hussain has a bleak vision of the Middle East on view at Al Jazeera today.

Hussain sees a series of fractured states, weak and vulnerable to foreign manipulation.

Iraq and Syria and Lebanon will disintegrate and in their wake will emerge sectarian statelets easily bullied and contained by the Nations of Virtue; ie NATO plus one.

Much of his thesis has been put forward on this site in the past.

But it will not end there. The state of Israel herself has at least as many internal contradictions as any of the Arab states in the neighborhood. Long the "only democracy in the Middle East," that claim to virtue fades by the day, and even the myth of it is largely sustained by the bottomless well of American subsidy.

That well cannot and will not remain bottomless forever, at which time there will be a reckoning.

The Washington-Tel Aviv-Riyadh "axis of control" of which Hussain writes is doomed to failure, and it will fail independently in each of those capitals.

Riyadh is the weakest link. The House of Saud enjoys more popular support in Israel than it does in Saudi Arabia. That fact may make for feel-good headlines in certain corners of the media, but it is not a situation that is sustainable.

The House of Saud is bearing down on it's best-before date faster than those thousands of Princes can possibly imagine, and its collapse will also mean the end of the blank check for fundamentalist mischief-makers throughout the Islamic world.

Israel may survive the next round with Hezbollah, but survival is the best to be hoped for. Her status as the neighborhood bully will be radically eclipsed. The Likud agenda in Israel has managed to maintain an element of popular support because so far every victory has been relatively easy. Once that reality changes, so will popular support for the belligerent "Greater Israel" crowd and the settlement project.

America is the wild card.

America boasts a failing education system, a failing health care system, crumbling infrastructure, runaway unemployment, an unprecedented level of debt, and by far the largest military budget in the history of military budgets.

Does any serious person imagine that such a state of affairs can continue indefinitely?

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