I heard John Douglas on IPM talking about his experiences in Yemen.
A friend of mine had an identical experience in Yemen. While training Yemenis, not in construction, but in another productive skill, he was taken hostage several times. His release was secured in return for promises to provide roads, mosques and the like. It was - virtually - bartering, the tribal way. Unfortunately the last kidnapping wasn’t benign, and ended up with a very serious gun battle, from which he had a narrow escape.
Now Yemen is in chaos. At present, the US is backing a military intervention by Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia against a Shiite rebellion aided by Iran.
The Houthis are backed by Iran. Meanwhile Hezbollah’s (Shiite) Hassan Nasrallah calls for Arabs to unite against Israel.
Mahmoud Abbas, presently in a supposed coalition with Hamas (Shia) has just delivered a speech at the Sharm el Sheikh summit in which he appeared to be asking for the Arabs to unite against terrorism. (ISIL)
Whatever will the Sunnis and Shia do next? Will they fight each other, unite against the ‘terrorists’, or focus on Israel. Hatred of Israel is after all the only thing upon which they agree.
If Houthi, al-Qaeda and ISIL cause enough trouble in the region they might even be forced to call upon Israel’s assistance. No, surely not.
What is needed is some clear, well informed, intelligent unbiased analysis of this dangerous situation. Hard to know where to turn.
The picture in the Middle East bears more than a striking resemblance to the religious wars of the 16th and 17th century in Europe with Protestant and Catholic being replaced by Sunni and Shia. We see the same flux of ideological challenges, millenarian movements, national or dynastic interest and "Great Power" involvement - Sweden and Spain back then. There is also the same backdrop of a discontented youthful population. Difficult to identify a parallel with Israel - but the survival of the small republic of Geneva in all the chaos has some parallels.ReplyDelete
The general Sunni/Shia civil war seems well under way in Yemen, Syria, and Bahrain - and has been rumbling on in Pakistan for decades now.