By Adel Suleiman

The Middle East is in so much disorder that chaos barely disappears in one place before it reappears in another. It is as if a hidden fiendish hand is controlling the destruction. Furthermore, it so happens that the flames only burn Arabs in the region and exhaust Arab resources.

Yemen, which was once a relatively happy country, is now suffering from the worst humanitarian disaster of this century so far, thanks to a futile war now in its fifth year. It is only Arabs involved, from the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, and it has affected western and central Saudi Arabia, as well as the UAE, places which have not witnessed war for decades.

Beloved Syria has become the scene of civil war for over eight years, during which time millions of people have been displaced, with hundreds of thousands killed and wounded while regional and international forces take advantage of their land. The blood being shed on Syrian soil is almost all Arab blood.

The people of Libya looked forward to freedom after ousting dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, but as soon they looked like doing so, chaos erupted at the hands of one of Gaddafi’s former officers.

Khalifa Haftar had been imprisoned in Chad before he announced his split from Gaddafi and became a refugee in the US, sponsored by the CIA and taking American citizenship. He is now behind the divisive and bloody fighting that is shedding Libyan blood; more Arab blood.

Now further chaos is erupting in Sudan as the people try to rise up against the regime of Omar Al-Bashir. After 30 years of oppression, tyranny and bloody repression, a group of generals raised the slogan of support for the popular revolutionary movement, arrested Bashir, formed a military council to take over the government, and then revealed their true face by ending a peaceful protest with violence at the hands of a compliant militia. More Arab blood shed by Arabs.

We should not lose sight of the tension in Algeria for the past four months. Weekly protests continue peacefully, albeit under the tight control of the army chief of staff. Let us hope things stay that way to allow the people to fulfil their aspirations.

Meanwhile, the chaos in Iraq continues. It’s nothing new, and the shedding of Arab blood is ongoing. In Palestine, the unrest and bloodletting has been going on for more than seventy years. The resistance against Israeli aggression has led to much Arab blood being spilt. Palestinian civilians are the main victims.

Does the Arab world have room for any more chaos? Who is behind it all, and why? Answers can be found in events in the heart of the region. The recent attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman sent a clear message that the oil supply routes from the Arabian Gulf can be cut very easily.

While the fingers of blame pointed to Iran and its proxies, the government in Tehran denied any involvement. Analysts concluded that the attacks sought to escalate the conflict between the US and Iran, in favour of regional states, and Iran sought to ease the pressure of US economic sanctions. Interestingly, both the US and Iran helped to rescue tanker crews caught up in the dispute.

Elsewhere in the region, America may be accusing Iran of threatening international peace and security, but its own ally, Israel, has laid the foundations of an illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights named after a certain Donald Trump.

The ceremony was attended by the US Ambassador in Israel, a confirmation that Washington accepts Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territory.

Next week sees the economic workshop being held in Bahrain to discuss the Palestinian issue through “investment for peace”, not land for peace. Washington has announced that the Arab parties which will participate are primarily Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

The programme is apparently a prelude to the political aspects of the “deal of the century”, the announcement of which has been delayed yet again, until November, following Israel’s second General Election this year, to be held in September.

In the midst of all of this, with contradictions galore between beating the drums of war and Arab states normalising relations with the Israeli enemy, Trump has spoken of his readiness for dialogue with Iran.

So who is causing all of this chaos in the Middle East, and what is the purpose? America will not strike Iran to please any regional party, nor will it stop blackmailing Arab oil states on the pretext of protecting them from the “Iranian threat”.

More importantly, its “deal of the century” to liquidate the Palestinian cause is on its way. In the meantime, it is happy to let the Middle East remain in flames, as long as only the Arabs get burnt.


Adel Suleiman is an Egyptian academic writer and researcher on strategic affairs and military systems. Chairman of the Strategic Dialogue Forum for Defense Studies and Civil-Military Relations.


The New Arab



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