The Middle East. Root causes?


Well, if the Iraqi people didn’t want to suffer, the Iraqi people shouldn’t have invaded Kuwait, now should they?

Listen, if there’s one “western” principle that I will unapologetically apply to any place in the world, is that citizens are always responsible for the actions of their goverments whether these governments are democratic or not. Saddam Hussein is no foreign invader - he’s an Iraqi, his governing clique is Iraqi, his army is Iraqi. If he’s in power, then the Iraqis have no one to blame but themselves. If you’re stupid - or passive - enough to follow a dictator, then you’d better be prepared to face the consequences.

Another thing: the Middle East was no idaellic paradise before the crusaders. You had your Sunnis and Shi’ites, your Egyptians, Syrians and Iraqis, you had your Abbasyds and Ummayyats and Mameluks and whatnot. Besides, didn’t the Arabs invade Europe first? I seem to recall them reaching as far as France before Charles Martel turned them back, and also them ruling all or part of Spain up until the fifteenth century. And don’t the Turks count? They faught the Austrians for years, ruling most of the Balkans until the beginning of the twentieth century. I’d say the Middle East gave as good as it got.

Claiming the Middle East is a “victim” of the West is inaccurate and demeaning. This is the cradle of civilization you’re talking about, and I insist you show some respect.

P.S. Mambo - the OP was referring to the Gulf War, not the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel is not the Alpha and Omega of all Middle Eastern disputes, thank you very much.

Good summery, though.

One theory on how Middle Eastern culture got so, well, “uptight”, was that a few thousand years ago, the Fertile Crescent dried up into the modern Middle Eastern deserts, which made food and water a lot more scarce. Fierce competition erupted over these scarce resources, resulting in warlords seizing power and imposing harsh dictatorships, which still exist to this day.

A particularly hair-brained take on this theory can be found at


Fair enough.

Of course the U.S. was acting out of its interests; I think my point is that the U.S. will always act out of such short-term attempt to be first in all fields (a ‘greedy’ algorithm) rather than encourage prosperity throughout the world thus ensuring stability, but giving up a bit on its current status as world leader and possibly taking some risks.

I think you are trying to force what I said into this pattern. Israel did not encourage China into buying military equipment. Israel merely answered the Chinese demand for such equipment. I find a great difference between passive and active approaches, although to some extent they both ‘destabilize’. Anyhow, Israel certainly didn’t advise or encourage anti-US activity by any means; These planes could just as well be used to spy on Russia.


I think you are being to hastey applying this rule to dictatorships. Most Iraqi people are so worried about tommorow’s bread, they barely have time to think of Saddam’s actions, and make any influence there.

The other few who are relatively (I stress ‘relatively’) wealthy, are usually miseducated and brainwashed, unaware of other government alternatives such as democracy.

Please name one more current conflict in the middle east. And what if the OP was referring to the Gulf War? He was trying to make a general point and any example would be welcome (I think).

On the contrary, the US tends to act in ways that will assure long term success for itself and its allies. This does not always work as well as expected. Anyway, I’m not sure you could successfully demonstrate how the US weakening it’s position as a world power will ensure world stability in either the short or long term. Though you are welcome to try.

Your argument is naive. What if the US decided to sell a few tanks and planes to the PLO? It would be only to assure that the PLO security forces would be able to battle the extremist Hamas inside it’s own territory. How eagerly would Israel accept this logic for the sale of arms to its enemy? Would it matter if the PLO simply put out a general “Request for Bid” to all major arms manufacturers rather than the US soliciting them directly?

** Alessan : **

Lets ignore the issue that Iraq is a dictatorship.There is still no timeline. Its nearly 10 years now. It may continue for another 10 years or more. In fact its likely to continue as long as Saddam is alive. U can basically exploit them as long as u want.

The conflicts in the Middle-East today are strictly local.
I’d say that the west helped in creating and fueling the problems in the middle-east. In that context, Its partly a victim of the west’s policies.
Do I mean disrespect, an emphatic no. Trying to get at the true nature of events in history should not mean disrespect. In fact I am trying to say that we should show them respect and let them to find their own solutions. And not intervene for the wests own interests.

Dont u think that self-interest shouldn’t be the only governing factor here? Shouldn’t it matter if its right or wrong?

They would most probably be put on hold :-).

The west has been policing Iraq for nearly 10 years and counting. Thats a huge bill. Plus its causing the Iraqi populace a lot of grief while the Saddam’s military establishment is still firmly in place. I’d say that solving this basic problem first would have been a lot cheaper. The kind of half-way measure that is now in place doesnt really seem right. This kind of intervention failed to solve the basic problem i.e Saddam.

So if we get rid of Saddam, who should we put in his place? Should we annex Iraq as our 51st state? What exactly is the “right thing” the West should do in the Middle East?

The fact of the matter is that a large amount of the oil supply, which the ENTIRE WORLD needs to run, resides in the Middle East.

It is also a fact that there have been conflicts in the Middle East for thousands of years. If we didn’t sell them tanks and fighters, they would still be killing each other with rocks and scemitars.

Please don’t be like “oh, the poor Middle East is being oppressed by the Great Satan in the West.” These counties, especially Iraq and Iran, are primitive, superstitous, intollerant, backward, oppresive nations. At best, they are feudal monarchies (like Saudi Arabia) and at worst, total dictatorships (like Iraq).

The problem is, their solutions seem to usually end up with something getting blown up. And what if we didn’t intervene in Desert Storm? Do you think its wise to allow a mentally unstable dictator with the third largest army in the world to control a major portion of the worlds oil supply? Imagine if the West had stepped in when Hitler invaded Poland instead of after he had conquered most of Europe and part of Africa.

Let’s not. Traditionally democracies get along best with other democracies. Dictatorships (tyrranical ones like Iraq) tend to rub everyone the wrong way. Don’t forget that Iraq is the instigator here not the victim. Nobody had any intentions of military involvement until Iraq invaded Kuwait.

How exactly is Iraq being exploited? Punished, yes. But exploited?

I see. So you consider the downing of an international flight over Scotland local? How about the bombing of US embassy in Africa and the conspiracy to bomb the UN? Also local?

I applaud your efforts but I don’t believe you have a fully developed perspective on the region’s history and current politics. You have also illustrated a weak understanding of the economic importance the region has on the entire world - not just the western powers.

In that case western intervention hasn’t really solved anything. As long as it remains a tyrranical dictatorship the threat remains.
The dictatorship which perpetrated the invasion is not really being punished. However the people are paying a heavy price. Is this the state of affairs that the western world really wanted?

Well what do u expect? If the west intervenes with all its economic and military power in local conflicts, the disadvantaged people are gonna react. They cannot challenge the US military, so terrorism is the most viable alternative.
I am not condoning terrorism here. But lets try to find out where this comes from.
The US must have had a complete idea that terrorist acts will happen if it intervenes. And somewhere the US administration must have decided to take the risk. This is another arm of a vicious spiral. The US knows the risk of intervention but it can go ahead knowing full well that such events will only increase support for more US intervention.

Hell man , I am no expert. Its just me here trying to develop a good perspective. And as I have found out here, that the western perspective is largely a selfish perspective. And I am not so sure its a good perspective.

To me, whats going on right now doesn’t really seem like the right thing. If the Iraqi dictatorship started an unprovoked war, then there should be some mechanism to dismantle this dictatorship and give the Iraqi people a better deal. If u are going to intervene then it should be a complete solution and not a half-measure u see now.

So how exactly are u helping the situation by selling them tanks and fighters? In fact I’d say that u are prolonging the conflict by supplying the arms.

Hey … Spare me the rhetoric. The western world has at various points in history supported those very ‘primitive, supertitious, intollerant, backward, oppressive nations’.
It may not be the Great Satan but its not the Messenger of GOD either.

Doesnt it bother u that the same mentally unstable dictator in still in power?

Look TruthFinder we are just spinning our wheels here. You don’t seem to appreciate the fact that it is not the role (nor should it be) of the western powers to depose the individual leaders of opposing countries. The west can approve or disapprove by various means such as endorsing or limiting trade. Providing or witholding economic aid. Policing or offering support in violent conflicts.

If the western powers set about to replace every leader who disagreed with them then the world would indeed be in a lot of trouble. That’s not to say that the west hasn’t tried such tactics before (read: Lybia). But fortunately they discovered the error of their ways early and no longer presume to assasinate or otherwise physically remove leaders like Saddam or Fidel. It is ultimately up to the citizens of the respective country to make that decision via organized revolt or even support despite the west’s feelings on the matter.

The west attempts to right wrongs (sometimes unsuccesfully) but it does not attempt to correct a wrong with another wrong - at least not in such an obviously malicious and thoughtless manner as you stubbornly continue to suggest (without much in the way of proof, I might add).

What exactly is the role of the western powers in Iraq today a decade after the conflict?
Spinning wheels is right. U dont seem to appreciate that the sanctions in place are not really achieving anything.
Here's a link thats quite helpful.
U have just put forth a moral argument to support western intervention. Its a lot more to do with economic and strategic interests than any moral viewpoint.

Those very same thoughtless and malicious methods were also practised by the US ( read Libya and Fidel and Noreiga in Panama as recently as 1989). In each of those cases, the western world justified interference as the right thing to do. I wonder why they didn't think it was thoughtless and malicious.