Timesunion printed "15 rules for understanding the Middle East." They all are interesting, but the ones that struck me as the most true are Rule 9: In Middle East tribal politics there is rarely a happy medium. When one side is weak, it will tell you, "I'm weak, how can I compromise?" And when it's strong, it will tell you, "I'm strong, why should I compromise?"
This presuposes they really understand what "compromise" means.Rule 10: Mideast civil wars end in one of three ways: a) like the U.S. civil war, with one side vanquishing the other; b) like the Cyprus civil war, with a hard partition and a wall dividing the parties; or c) like the Lebanon civil war, with a soft partition under an iron fist (Syria) that keeps everyone in line. Saddam used to be the iron fist in Iraq. Now it is us. If we don't want to play that role, Iraq's civil war will end with A or B.
I am afraid you may be right, at least about that 20% of the country where most of the violence is.Rule 11: The most underestimated emotion in Arab politics is humiliation. The Israeli-Arab conflict, for instance, is not just about borders. Israel's mere existence is a daily humiliation to Muslims, who can't understand how, if they have the superior religion, Israel can be so powerful.
Maybe the answer is their religion is not that superior. It has aspects plagerized from Judiasm and Chrisianity, but then Satan got involved, and convinced Muhammad that he was the angel Gabriel, and started teaching him about spreading the faith through conquest and forced conversion.Al Jazeera's editor, Ahmed Sheikh, said it best when he recently told the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche: "It gnaws at the people in the Middle East that such a small country as Israel, with only about 7 million inhabitants, can defeat the Arab nation with its 350 million. That hurts our collective ego.
Oh your poor ego.The Palestinian problem is in the genes of every Arab. The West's problem is that it does not understand this."
Rule 12: Thus, the Israelis will always win, and the Palestinians will always make sure they never enjoy it. Everything else is just commentary.
That pretty well summarizes the facts.Rule 13: Our first priority is democracy, but the Arabs' first priority is "justice."
And they define justice as "We want to win"The oft-warring Arab tribes are all wounded souls, who really have been hurt by colonial powers, by Jewish settlements on Palestinian land,
What about Arab settlements on Jewish landby Arab kings and dictators, and, most of all, by each other in endless tribal wars. For Iraq's long-abused Shiite majority, democracy is first and foremost a vehicle to get justice. Ditto the Kurds. For the minority Sunnis, democracy in Iraq is a vehicle of injustice. For us, democracy is all about protecting minority rights. For them, democracy is first about consolidating majority rights and getting justice.