05 August 2006
Crossroads Closeup of Chaos
If Geography is destiny, then this place is doomed to be a mess. It is literally one of the bottle necks on the map that make it a major connection to the rest of the world. The Mediterranean takes you to Europe and the Atlantic. The Black Sea to Eastern Europe and Russia. The Caspian is a gateway to the Orient. The Red Sea opens the way to Africa, and the Persian Gulf takes you to the Arabian sea and on to India and the Pacific.
When you add oil and arable land (you might want to buy pistachio futures), then you have a place that everybody wants. A brief timeline of the area tells the whole ugly history of invasion, wars, and brief periods of cooperation. This hasn't been improved by European and American interests in competition with the historical tribal and religious inhabitants. All of these forces try to gain a permanent upper hand that selfishly benefits their interests.
Only working toward what is best for all stands a chance of bringing peace to the region. Whether the U.N. can both control and implement this vision is open to question. Certainly the current American administration has complicated matters, but without a concentrated effort by all the parties concerned, the Middle East will continue to be a major source of worry and conflict to the whole world.