The semi-mess is unraveling into a full mess (Near East)

It looks as if the semi-mess of the Near East 'peace' is unraveling. The U.S.-led approach to peace in the region was to bribe governments in the region into accepting certain terms of peace (with military aid and access to prestige stuff such as photo ops with POTUS or access to shiny U.S. fighters and tanks).
Those governments that did not play along were denounced as rogue states,t error states and bullied (Libya, Syria, Iran) - while others were too unimportant and had to be content that they weren't invaded (Jordania) ... or they even were were invaded eventually (Lebanon).

The actual reconciliation between the people, between the populations, did not came into being. Israel's in my opinion terribly short-sighted security policy poured too much oil into that fire by being not content with status quo (see settlements) and military action.

Now Israel is looking at a terrible grand strategic situation. The Turkish Erdogan government is finally fed up after suffering a minimal dosage of Israel's usual disrespect for Muslim nations and turns from kind-of-ally to political opponent.
The Arab spring flushed out governments that were bribed into friendliness and even cooperation with Israel (such as the joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza) - most notably the Egyptian one.

I suspect we're looking at a major shift in Near East foreign politics. The U.S. doesn't seem to be capable or willing to renew the interim system of governments bribed into peace (hands up; who thinks that annual multi-billion dollar bribes to foreign governments are still easy in the current U.S. political climate?).

Israel appears to be becoming very busy with internal problems (not just economic ones) - problems so large that even the distraction of bullying Gaza a bit didn't sway the focus away from domestic issues.

It will be interesting to see whether the EU approach to Near East peace (bribing the people AND the government by mostly civilian assistance, especially in 'Palestinian' areas) will get the necessary funds to take over. Somehow I doubt it, given the current fiscal moods in Europe.

Maybe - just maybe - the Assad regime will be toppled, with a new chance for Israel to make peace (unlike Egyptians, Syrians should be somewhat wary of anti-Israel rhetoric since it was employed by their dictator). Maybe if they find an agreement about Sinai Golan heights...but that isn't going to happen, of course.

It sucks to miss a 30-year historical chance to reconcile peoples while you can still do it.



  1. i appreciate your views, SO. they balance me out. i am an incurable optimist when i comes to the middle east peace process.

    many chances have been missed. this is certainly the truth. now, there is a looming sense of disaster in the region.

    however, i still think that the vision of a truly peaceful middle east is a better vision than the alternative - a desolation.

    if the people there sober up, especially if the israelis and the palestinians turn toward each other - drastically - i still think that the iron's hot enough to strike.

    have a great week, my friend. peace be with you. God bless you and God bless Germany.

  2. Reconcilliation was never going to happen, its simply not the way of things.
    You can bribe people into contentment, but it never lasts, rememebr, a German politician has just said EU Blue Helments should be collecting taxes in Greece, IE, the EU should invade and take reparations. Germany and Greece have yet to reconcile.

    There simply isnt enough to go around in the middle east, someone has to go hungry, someone has to be thirsty, someone has to go without a plasma screen TV.
    No ones going to agree to that voluntarily, so we have war.

    That said, no one in the region, with the possible exception of Saudi Arabia, can possibly stand against Israel.
    The combined forces of every arab airforce, operating as a single body, would still almsot certainly lose against the Israelis.

    Throw in that all of those powers have been (or will be)stripped of their USAID, whereas Israel has not, and it only gets worse as time goes by and spare parts run out.

    The arab nations are dirt poor and friendless, last time, they had a sugar dady in the form of the USSR, which was happy to arm them, and rearm them, continue to replace the losses they suffered at the hands of the IDF, as part of a proxy war agaisnt the US. Who's going to step into that role now?
    Russia is bankrupt, as is China, even if you ignore that little problem, what are they going to offer that can seriously stand against the 22/35 combo?

    Ringing Israel with S300s would be a nightmare for them of course, but who pays? And Israel is hardly without experience of disabling Russian air defence networks to blwo up Syrian Nuclear Reactors.

    Erdogan is all talk, or he's insane, he cant possibly win, even if he can somehow cajole his generals into fighting the war, they cant win.

  3. Well, there was reconciliation between Germans and Frenchmen - it failed during the late 20's and succeeded post WW2. That conflict lasted for about 250 years and was in many ways more extreme than the Near East troubles.

    About "no friends"; hardly. The Chinese are already making progress. They won't hand out gifts, but are eager economic partners, including arms sales.
    Israel cannot stand a 1:50 situation in the long run - it has to cool down the conflict in interest of its survival. 'Survival through strength only' is a short-sighted grand strategy that's bound to fail.

  4. SO
    Franco-German Wars go back a lot longer than 250 years, but nothing has been solved, merely put into suspension.
    The old rivalries are never far from the surface, once Germany stops paying France via the EU, why wont relations sour again?

    As you say, China wont hand out gifts, so which Arab state can afford to buy?
    Saudi and Iraq are the only two with significant oil money that isnt already welfared away, Egypt is a net importer now, neither appear to be on a colision course with Israel, Iraq doesnt have a central government worth the name, and Saudi is far more likely to wage war on Iran than Israel.

    Theres a world of difference between funding unguided rockets, and funding jet fighters.

    I dont see where the money comes from for the second.
    The first doesnt present an existential threat.

    Could years of harrasment wear away Israelis will, perhaps, but it didnt last time.
    True, guerilla warfare within the cities drove them out, but the Palestineans are penned in Gaza and the West Bank, quite literaly, and so cannot continue that war into the Israeli countryside and cities.

    Even if they could politicaly isolate Israel, as Rhodesia and South Africa were isolated, victory is far from certain, the "black" revolutions were only successful due to vast Soviet and Chinese aid.

  5. 1681-1945 - I rounded a bit. The issue is resolved, it's difficult to find anyone in Germany who considers this to be German territory, and French is the majority language there.

    The 50:1 numerical relation between Arab League populations and Jewish 3/4 of Israel's population points out that no matter how rich Israel will be, it'll be unable to match Arab efforts in the long term.
    That's why it needs to end that antipathy.

    It'll follow the crusader's lead if it doesn't. That may take ten years or hundred years, but it'll eventually happen if the antipathy persists.

  6. TrT wrote:
    "You can bribe people into contentment, but it never lasts, rememebr, a German politician has just said EU Blue Helments should be collecting taxes in Greece, IE, the EU should invade and take reparations."

    Big sigh!!!
    No, he didn´t. The Daily Telegraph said that.
    A newspaper not necessarily known for fact checking when it comes to Germany.
    After reading that claim in several blogs I decided to read the actual interview.

    Oettinger observed that the Greek bureaucracy seems inefficient, unable to collect outstanding taxes or selling state assets. Therefore he proposed to send qualified public servants from other Eurozone countries to Greece for an extended period of time to assist in these tasks.

    Maybe for British conservatives public servants collecting taxes equals an occupation by UN blue helmets? :)

    But if other newspaper articles are true:
    - Greece loses an estimated Euro 20 billion per year due to tax evasion and
    - the Greek state is owned Euro 41 billion in outstanding overdue taxes and fines.

    The proposal isn´t realistic (like all others he made) but given the numbers above the frustration seems understandable?
    Even getting only half or a third of them would represent serious money.

    Sorry for being off topic here.

  7. At 81.75 million people, I wouldn't be surprised if we had at least one idiot for such an idea, and since I didn't see this mentioned anywhere else and didn't even know who was meant...

    About Germany and reconciliation a quick google result:
    The French rate our influence in the world more positively than WE do. I'd say mission accomplished, Mr. Adenauer!

  8. Anon
    I'm sorry, but if you dont see the problem with Germany sending in Tax collectors, theres little point continueing.
    Its what empires do to their vassels.

    In the 20's and early 30's, the UK was preparing for wars against the US and France, allied with Germany and Japan. Germany has paid the bills and France has made the decisions for 50 years, thats swiftly coming to an end.

    But I am an eternal pessimist.

  9. Germany 'paid bills' according to the same rules as France - only the UK has a discount rate.

    The tax collector thing depends entirely on sovereignty. It's rather akin to development aid if we sent some experts to help them, without them having powers.
    Think of it as advisors who adviseinstead of dictate. This is actually a quiteregular feature of German development aid; send bureaucrats to help improving governance.

    It was more close to an insult to Greek bureaucracy than to an offence against Greek sovereignty. To be honest, Greek bureaucracy appears to have earned such treatment. It's been obvious to tourists for at least two decades that the Greek are not exactly fond of proper organising.

  10. "Maybe if they find an agreement about Sinai...but that isn't going to happen, of course."

    You mean the Golan Heights.

  11. There is not common ground between the Jews and the Arabs - no matter how far sighted one's policy is. I'd agree Israel has a "best before" date. Is it already now? Don't think so. The Israeli Jews are still a hundred times more capable than the surrounding Arab entities. And if the Jews don't loose their believe in Israel, and as long as Israel still has the economic connection to the West (whereby I see Europe as becoming more important than the U.S.), their time has not yet come. But considering the big picture, Israel will probably end in a couple of decades (without the influx of Russian Jews after 1990 that end would have come quite sooner). In the lucky case things will just peter out and fade away, in the worst case it will end like Acre did.