Category Archives: Iraq

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

BLOG 485

September 7,  2020

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A number of readers have made responses to the previous blog concerning the new Israeli-United Arab Emirates peace agreement. Certainly, it is a signal of changing times with practical implications for the future. Further analysis suggests some of these possibilities.

The agreement is the third peace treaty Israel has signed with an Arab state, but it is the first to contain the promise of a warm peace. This is in sharp contrast to Israel’s relations with prior accord partners Egypt and Jordan, which are limited to very narrow personal, diplomatic, and security relations. With Egypt, the peace treaty has rarely reached even that threshold. Hosni Mubarak, throughout his 30 years of ruling Egypt, never made an official visit to Israel, which is less than an hour’s flight away. In over a decade of rule, King Abdullah of Jordan. has abstained from visiting Israel despite meeting several times with PA head Mahmoud Abbas in nearby Ramallah.

The UAE peace treaty, unlike the treaties with Egypt and Jordan, was signed under quite different conditions. There is a wide expectation that it will be followed by one or more similar pacts with other states, especially other Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. No such expectations accompanied Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan.

One major accomplishment has already been achieved by the UAE-Israel agreement. It has been largely overlooked, perhaps because it is a case of what did not happen rather than what did. Even as an El Al plane flew over Saudi Arabian territory carrying a bevy of Israeli officials, businessmen, and investors to the Emirates with the aim of promoting a warm piece, there were no demonstrations of consequence in the Arab world. Amman, Beirut, Tunis, Algiers, and Rabat, where demonstrations against the Israeli “occupation,” the “desecration” of al-Aqsa, and other charges against Israel are generally well-attended, were silent, at least on the street.

For Iran and the violent proxy organizations it supports, the lesson was vivid and painful. Not only was the Palestinian card they have played for decades visibly diminished in importance, but the lack of protest over the Palestinian issue contrasted sharply with the growing level of protest in Lebanon and Iraq regarding Iranian meddling in their internal affairs to the detriment of the native populations.

It is one more sign of long-term processes of political maturation in the Arabic-speaking public. The late senator and former Harvard professor Patrick Moynihan famously said that all politics are local. Indeed, mature democracies are usually characterized by populations that privilege local interests and welfare over universal concerns.

In today’s Middle East, populations are no longer clamoring for pan-Arab unity. They want better social welfare, greater economic opportunity, good education, innovation, the rule of law, and equality before the law at home. The Israel-UAF agreement fits those needs.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

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A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

BLOG 483
August 16, 2020

palestine flag

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

A SURPRISE AT SUNRISE!

Israel has agreed to suspend West Bank annexation plans in exchange for the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates, according to a joint statement from Israel, the UAE and the US released by US President Donald Trump. UAE Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayad confirms in a tweet that Israel has agreed to suspend annexation plans, but says that the countries have only agreed to work toward the normalization of relations. The UAE and Israel also agreed to cooperation and setting a roadmap towards establishing a bilateral relationship.

While this is big news this week, it not actually new. Israel and the UAF have been doing business under the table for a considerable amount of time. The driving force behind this mutual public recognition is animosity toward Iran. The Arabs are particularly hostile and the world knows Iran continues to seek nuclear weapons. In this agreement, Israelis is the big winner and Iran the loser.

Israel had already put annexation on hold because of Washington’s preoccupation with their own problems. Trump continues to lag in the polls and the White House struggles with those worries. Reactions across the region have been predicable.

The mayor of the Beit El settlement Shai Alon accused Netanyahu of selling out his movement. “They pulled a fast one on the settlers. Our future is in Judea and Samaria and in courageous decisions which our leaders will make. Notagreements that we sign today and are not worth the paper they are written on tomorrow.” But Oded Revivi, mayor of the Efrat settlement says suspending the annexation bid is a “proper price,” for normalizing ties, while predicting a change in how settlements are perceived.

Of course, Palestinian officials were not happy. Hanan Ashrawi said, “Israel got rewarded for not declaring openly what it’s been doing to Palestine illegally & persistently since the beginning of the occupation,” She also said the UAE has come forward with its “secret dealings/normalization with Israel.”

Arab countries are recognizing the reality of Israel’s endurance and economic wellbeing. Israel’s are the major military power in the Middle East. It makes more sense to play ball with them than to stand outside the stadium.

Undoubtedly more normalization will come.

YOU MIGHT ENJOY MY NEWEST BOOK HOT OFF THE PRESS
82 DAYS ON OKINAWA
Harper-Collins Publishers
JUST OUT – IT’S A THRILLER!
Col. Art Shaw & Robert L. Wise

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA at your local book store or on Amazon.

Leave a comment

Filed under America, Arabs, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump

UPDATES ON ISRAEL

BLOG 455

January 13, 2020

peace

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

UPDATES ON ISRAEL

Egypt remains quiet as does Jordan. Lebanon still struggles under the grip of Hezbollah. The Ayatollah Supreme leader of Iran warned the leader of Hezbollah that American might strike him next after the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. The media has been full of the story of the exchange between the USA and Iran with Iran’s tragic shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner. Tehran’s streets were filled with protesters screaming for the Ayatollah to resign because of the strike on the commercial airliner.

You might be interested to learn that the Christian population has grown in Israel. Over 177,000 new citizens moved in to make Christians 2% of the Israeli population. Three quarters of this population are Arabs. In the past year 2.5 million tourists came to Israel. No wonder tourism remains at the top of the list of Israel’s industries. My, my, does the Middle East ever give us something to think about.

You probably know that the third election for Prime Minister of Israel will be held March 2. The political upheaval in Israeli politics keeps the public in turmoil. The latest blow to Netanyahu is the ruling by the Knesset legal adviser that it is okay for their parliament to proceed with the immunity debate. Israeli Channel 12 political analyst Ammon Abramovitch reported, “I think Netanyahu can wave farewell to immunity.”

With charges of bribery and corruption hanging over his head, Bibi Netanyahu has sought to maneuver the Knesset into making him an exception to the law. Three charges of corruption hang over his head. Of course, many, many Israelis resent this attempt to make the Prime Minister an exception to the law and maintain it amounts to an admission of guilt. Will they vote that conviction? March 2 will tell us.

Netanyahu has been attempting to prevent the Knesset committee from being formed until after the March 2 election. His strategy is to hopefully win a majority of seats that would then vote to halt the charges from going forward. The entire matter is filled with almost more twists and turns that now exist in American politics.

Isn’t there someone, somewhere, to stand up and ask for the truth regardless of the political consequences? Like American politics, the pushing and shoving only discredits the politicians further and they are already at the bottom of the list of people who Americans trust.

Keep your eyes open. Much more to follow.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW IN ISRAEL

BLOG 455
January 6, 2020

israel-election

WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST

Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.

MORE THAN YOU WANT TO KNOW IN ISRAEL

Could any country have more turmoil than is currently happening in the United States?

Yeah. Israel.

Two big stories grab the headlines. Of course, the bombing in Iran is blazing across the headlines because Iran has sworn the destruction of Israel. The other story is the continued struggle to elect a Prime Minister and get the government back on track.

Any progress on the Netanyahu-Gantz struggle? No.

On March 2, the next election will be held. Acrimony is already in the air. Making matters more complicated, Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration Wednesday night that he is seeking parliamentary immunity from prosecution was unprecedented and hugely dramatic. For the first time in Israel’s history, a prime minister now aims to persuade his Knesset colleagues to allow him to avoid being tried for corruption. And until they have made their decision, which could be months from now, he will not be required to stand in the dock at Jerusalem District Court and face the three charges of graft issued against him. But a second drama followed hard on the heels of the first, with Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman immediately announcing that his party “will not be part of the immunity coalition.” Since Liberman has now declared that he and his party will not back Netanyahu’s bid for Knesset immunity, the prime minister’s gambit has instantly become significantly less likely to succeed. And if, as is more than probable, the prime minister anticipated that Liberman would not back his bid for immunity, his move stands as an act of desperation.

And then the pots are boiling in Iran with the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimaniby an American drone. Iran’s most public proclamations declare hate for Israel and the USA. What will they do to retaliate? If I knew, a military airplane would be waiting to swish me off to Washington, D.C..

On one side of Iran is Saudi Arabia with an equally strong hatred of the Iranians. On another side, Iraq is ruled only by uncertainty. The unexpected action of America has left the Iraqis in a real bind. Iran pulls the strings in that country, but American action could change everything overnight.

Recently General Kenneth F. McKenzie noted that more troops in the Mideast might not stop possible attacks by Iran. The world knows they are the number one exporter of terrorism across the Mid-East into Africa. Moreover Iran’s increased activity in their nuclear program remains a monster waiting n the closet.

No one seems to know what President Trump will do next. No one apparently knows what Hassan Rouhani will do in retaliation. The world is looking down a gun barrel.

Is that the way you planned to start the New Year? I don’t think so.

You might find my collection of Holy Land experiences to be helpful.
BIBLE LANDS: An illustrated Guide to Scriptural Places
Barbpir books Publishers

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HEADS UP! MORE IS COMING—

BLOG 239 February 9, 2015

You may have picked up from the media that Israel made an air strike on Hezbollah in Syria that killed senior Hezbollah officials, six Iranians, and an Iranian general. What was a general from Iran doing in Syria with this terrorist group? You got it! If we didin’t know before, that’s a clear picture of how Iran is financing and directing Hezbollah as well as other terrorists groups.

General Muhammad Allahdadi was from the Revolutionary guard, the right wing military force inside Iran. It is believed that Allahdadi was planning deadly cross the border assaults against Israel.  Jihad Mughniyeh, who was also killed,  was known as a ruthless terrorist who had the direct backing of Iran. The head of Hezbollah’s operations in Syria and Iraq was also killed.

Currently, Northern Israel is on high alert. Revolutionary Guard chief General Muhammad Ali Jafri warned they will fight to the end until “this epitome of vice” (Israel) is destroyed –meaning Hezbollah will strike back –sometime. The military promised “ruinous thunderbolts” would fall on Israel. Of course, Israel is also blamed for all terrorism in the Middle East. No surprise there.

The question remains where and when Hezbollah will strike. The current situation signals that adherence to the 2006 Second Lebanon War agreement is wearing thin. If the terrorist group make a minor attack, Israel will respond tit-for-tat and that would probably conclude the current situation. A much larger assault and Israel would undoubtedly attack inside Lebanon. In that circumstance, all bets are off.

Can Hezbollah stand such an assault after the serious defeat Hamas suffered in the recent Gaza war. Even though the Hamas leaders are wealthy from the money flowing into their pockets that was meant for  Hamas, the organization is in serious trouble and losing ground in Gaza. Does Hezbollah want to risk the same defeat?

Hard to say.

Hezbollah is much larger, better equipped, and now better financed than Hamas was, but they are also strung out over Syria. Should Israel hit them full force, it might wreck their war machine in Syria. In such case, Israel would be hurting the Assad regime. Would they do that? It is known that Israel prefers the devil they know to one unknown and many of the rebels fighting Assad are worse than he is.  What a tangled mess the Middle East has become!

Again, Hezbollah could be taking a significant risk if they attempt to reach across the border as Israel would not hesitate to respond. The situation remains highly explosive and could ignite more regional conflict.

More is definitely to come.

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RELIGIOUS CLEANSING AND CHRISTIANS

BLOG 236 January 26, 2015

Nina Shea, director of Washington based Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, recently noted that the goal of Islamic extremists to achieve total Islamization has virtually been met in Iraq. The former 1.4 million Christians are nearly all immigrants, refugees, or displaced persons in Kurdistan. The religious violence has reached a level that is beyond persecution. It appears that the correct label is now religious cleansing.

For the first time in its history, Iraq has become entirely Muslim. In addition to the Christians, the Yazudi, Mandean, and Jewish communities have all been driven out. Because the Christians were the largest non-Muslim group they became the recent targets for attack. One aspect of the tragedy is that Christians have worked and lived in Iraq back to Biblical times. Now, they are on the run.

Equally alarming is the West’s apparent ignoring of this situation. At one point, Christians in Iraq called for the creation of a special province for minorities. Called the Nineveh Plains proposal, the idea was largely ignored by policy makers in the West.

The situation is no better in Iran. While President Rouhani tweeted a Christmas “best wishes” to the followers of “the prophet Jesus Christ,” Pastor Farshid Fathi was experiencing his fourth Christmas in jail because of his Christian ministry in that country.

Open Door USA is an organization that seeks to prevent Christian persecution and stays abreast of what is happening across the world. They constantly chronicle who and where these violations are occurring. In their Top 10 list of persecutors of Christians are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are at the top. Of course, the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) now heads the list. An analysts for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, Dexter Van Zile said that ISIS must not only be defeated but be made to pay for murdering Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. He emphatically insisted they should not be able to get away with these crimes.

The violence in Iraq against Christians prompted Pope Francis to say, “Your resistance is martyrdom, dew which bears fruit.”

The analogy is now being made between current religious cleansing and what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Some of the blame for these deaths fell on nations that would not allow Jews to immigrate during the crisis. Voices like Van Zile are calling for the world to pay attention and not let such happen again.

Western policy makers have failed to focus on the jihadists who are attempting to wipe out Christians. The time has come to wake up!

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Reminiscing on Labor Day

BLOG 216 September 1, 2014

September’s here and you get this day off to have time to sit back and reflect on the summer and the Fall ahead. Sip a nice cool glass of ice tea, put your feet up, and reflect on where we are on this day in 2014.

Do you realize that 100 years ago and four thousand miles away we entered the Great War in France? World War I took 40 million lives with 116,000 Americans dying in only 19 months. While the British attempted to minimize the American role, the USA contributed mightily to the successful outcome of the Allies. My question? After 100 years, has military conflict improved?

Last February, I was in Israel and visited the Dead Sea Scrolls monument that remembers the ancient Jews that lived by the Dead Sea and wrote of the conflict between the Sons of Darkness and the Sons of Light. They had an important insight into conflict because the war with the Sons of Darkness has never stopped. Two thousand years later, we are still fighting the creatures of the night. World War I is both a long time ago and yesterday morning.

A week ago, an Israeli missile flattened a 11-story apartment building where Hamas military leaders lived. The sudden strike followed more rocket attacks aimed at Israel and signaled that Israel would not hesitate to make more audacious military forays into Gaza. As I predicted in a recent blog, Hamas held a victory rally after they accepted a cease fire proposal they had earlier rejected. What they were celebrating remains a mystery as they have been flattened like the 11-story apartment building.

That war probably goes on.

Twenty-one Egyptian soldiers were killed near the isolated Farafara oasis in western Egypt not far from the Libyan border. An attacking gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade into an ammunition cache that killed the soldiers and left four other wounded. Jihadist groups from Libyan continue to run wild. The struggle continues in Egypt.

We could wander off and ponder the lying Prime Minister of Russia who is currently attacking and fomenting strife in the Ukraine. But Putin is too far from the Middle East to ponder in this biog  –though the most ridiculous political statement of the last two centuries was George Bush’s asserted he looked into Putin’s soul and saw brotherhood. If he had really seen into Putin’s soul, Bush would have run for the door.

Another sign of the times was this weeks about-face by Syrian President Hassan Rouhani. Reversing himself, Rouhani stated the USA can never be trusted. He acknowledged Iran’s attempts to by-pass sanctions that they consider crimes against humanity. It is not clear exactly what Rouhani is expressing. Because the Obama administration has just imposed new sanctions intended to affect Iran’s nuclear arms program, Rouhani may be reacting in order to improve their position at forth-coming negotiations with the West. On the other hand, the hard-liners pelted him with eggs for talking with Obama and negotiating with the West. Rouhani may be trying to protect his backsides from violence against himself in Iran. Hard to say.

And I haven’t even mention ISIS in Iraq –

Well, on this Labor Day you might want to think about these conflicts. The Sons of Darkness still seem to be at it. Perhaps more than rest, we ought to pray.

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JULY 4TH!  FIREWORKS DISPLAY AVAILABLE IN IRAQ!

Here we are! Our great national holiday and the big firecrackers are going off around the world – not in your backyard. The Iraqi Army on Saturday claimed to have pushed the Islamic extremists from a major city only 50 miles from Baghdad. Independent sources confirmed Tikrit’s government buildings and major road had been liberated but that’s about the only good news coming out of the government’s side of the war.

And guess what came out of Russia? Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov issued an ultimatum of sorts that Russia “will not remain passive” while jihadists push an offense in Iraq. More fireworks on the way?

Apparently, America’s lack of military response has been an attempt to increase the pressure on Malaki to resign and get a more inclusive leader in office who can run the country. Drone are in the sky but rockets are not hitting the ground. Into this vacuum, Uncle Vladimir Putin is now sticking his nose in. The Ukrainians told him they want involvement with Europe, not Russia. Obviously, he was more than hacked off. So, today Putin is sabre-rattling over Iraq. And oh yes, Ryabkov has rejected America’s position in supporting moderate rebels in Syria. Surprise. Surprise.

Actually, the man to look to for insight is Vice-President Joe Biden. From way back at the beginning of the Obama administration, Joe Biden had Iraq put on this plate. Many people see Biden as a bumbling sort of politician with a talent for saying the wrong thing. However, the current fireworks in Iraq may prove to be a vindication for Biden.

Back in 2006, Biden proposed dividing the country into three largely autonomous regions. At this time, that is exactly where the current fighting is going. The three areas would be Kurd, Sinni, and Shi’ite dominated. The Kurds are holding their own while the other two duke it out. When the speaker from the Peanut Gallery Dick Cheney interjects his negativity, Biden’s camp notes that it was the current Iraqi government who opposed keeping even a small American force in the country.

Actually, Iraq was divided into exactly these same three divisions before World War I crumbed the Ottoman Empire and clumsily created the current boundaries. Biden’s better idea was to return to these natural religious and political dividing lines. Currently, Biden is not blowing this horn in an effort to support the Obama administration’s attempt to create a unity government. Of course, that figures.

The problem is that the Obama State Department and John Kerry fail to recognizes the religious realities of the Middle East. As people like myself predicted months ago, negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would fail. The same fate is now staring the Malaki government in the face. Malaki and company’s  religious differences with the ISIS are that the two sides are from two different planets (and the ISIS are little more than a religious extremist killing machine).

If the situation continues to deteriorate, Biden’s idea could make an important come back.

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Iraq Blows Up!

Iraq is falling apart. At the risk of repetition for my faithful readers, I have already covered how the war between the Sunni and Shiite (Shia) factions is endless. What we are witnessing in Irag today is a return to a holy war.

Let me put this in contenxt.

The world has traditionally recognized three types of war: just, unjust, and the holy war. The unjust war is an assault in which for one side attempts to destroy the other. World War I was of this order.  The just war occurs when one side is clearly fighting to restore justice and stop the other from illegitimate aims. Beside of the violent objectives of Hitler as well as the Holocaust, World War II was considered just. The holy war develops when one side believes God has sent them on a divine mission. The Crusades were created by the Pope sending soldiers to reconquer the Holy Land in Medieval times.

Holy Wars are the most violent and dangerous form of combat.

In Iraq, the ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) have issued edicts stating the harsh terms under which they will govern under Sharia Law. They have already murdered government officals and police officers. ISIS kills relentlessly. They are unrelenting and purist in their religious objectives. Their ultimate objective is creating a caliphate, an Islamic religious nation spanning sections of Iraq and Syria. ISIS is fighting a religious war!

The Shia- Sunni conflict has remained at the epicenter of Islam due to the fact that it is not only persistent in ideological differences between Shia and Sunni sects, but also a disagreement about who possesses the rightful claim to political power. Although this conflict has been persistent within Islam for centuries, the rift between Shia and Sunni factions has only widened over time, creating a power struggle which became illuminated due to the 9/11 attacks and the emergence of Jihad as the defining aspect Islam.

The 2003 United States occupation of Iraq can be argued to have been the initiator of the rise of ‘jihadist’ movements within Iraq in the twenty-first century.  The U.S. invasion and occupation fueled the growth of Islamic militancy across the world and in Iraq. The American attack became a major instigator for the concept of Jihad affecting so much of the twenty-first century politics.

Today Republicans blame Obama for the deterioration in Iraq. They have forgotten Obama ran on a platform of stopping the war and getting soldiers out of that country. His position won the election. Americans had enough. Unfortunately, Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and all America did was stir up a holy war. Maliki’s incompetence and political  problems continue because he won’t allow  Sunnis in his government. Why are the Iraqi soldiers dropping their weapons and not fighting? Same reasons. No one trusts Maliki to be democratic and inclusive.

Can we at this late date make a difference? Not unless we want to nuke ISIS and kill everybody in sight. Of course, American will not do so. And so the war goes on and all we can do is decide between getting back into “their war” or same out of the fray.

Let’s hope the politicians don’t do something stupid.

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A POTPOURRI OF PROBLEMS

            With so many events exploding across the Middle East, one can almost pick any country and come up with a headline grabbing story. This past week, America closed all of its embassies in the area to avoid terrorist violence. Besides being prudent, the closings were certainly a symbol of the upheaval in the area. Instead of the term “World War,” we might call the Middle East fighting a “Zone War.”

            So, what’s happening in the Zone War in the middle of August?

For starters, the attacks of Sunnis on Shiites in Iraq reached new levels of violence. Saturday was Id al-Fitr, a holiday at the end of Ramadan, but the celebrations turned into a string of car bombs that killed over 60 people and wounded more than 200. These incidences were only the latest in a string of bombing that brought the death toll to the highest level in nearly five years. The United Nations reported that in July, 1,057 Iraqis were killed and 2,326 wounded. America left, but the war goes on.

In Yeman, Al-Qaeda continues to have a frightening foothold and the American Embassy remains closed. The United States considers the terrorist groups to be the most dangerous threat to American interests in the region. On Saturday, an American drone strike killed two militants in SouthernYeman. Four militants were traveling by car when the drone hit them. Two came out alive although one of the survivors remains in critical condition. In the past, drone strikes have proved highly successful in this region.  Last year, militants were driven out of a area they had seized in the southby such strikes.

In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood is struggling to exist. The group was thrown out of the country thirty years ago by Hafez Assad, the father of the current dictator. The Brotherhood was brutally crushed and finally massacred in the city of Hamas, The groups leadership were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The downfall of the Brotherhood in Egypt has shaken the remnant now fighting against Basher Assad’s regime. In Syria, the organization has always been seen as a foreign. Today, it is viewed by the Syrian government as a branch of an Egyptian movement. However, the Brotherhood continues to supply relief to rebel held areas in the on-going war.  Last February, a Brotherhood newspaper was launched that is now distrubted in the rebel held areas.

The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the rebel rebellion emphasizes the struggle that the American government has in supplying weapons to the rebels. Most of these groups like the Brotherhood are enemies of American foreign policy and ideals. Arming them raises the possibility that someday we may be facing our own weapons shooting back at us.

And so the struggle goes on. Pick a country – choose a weapon – or simply throw a dart at a map of the Middle East. You can’t miss finding a battlefield in the Zone war.

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