Friday, September 4, 2009

The Middle East Firestorm Ahead

by Immanuel Wallerstein

"There is a firestorm ahead in the Middle East for which neither the US government nor the US public is prepared. They seem scarcely aware how close it is on the horizon or how ferocious it will be. The US government (and therefore almost inevitably the US public) is deluding itself massively about its capacity to handle the situation in terms of its stated objectives. The storm will go from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Israel/Palestine, and in the classic expression "it will spread like wildfire.".....

So then comes stage four of the firestorm -- Israel/Palestine. The Arab world will observe the collapse of US projects in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The US project in Israel/Palestine is a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israelis are not going to budge an inch. But neither now, and especially after the rest of the firestorm, are the Palestinians. The one consequence will be the enormous pressure that other Arab states will put upon Fatah and Hamas to join forces. This will be over Mahmoud Abbas's dead body -- which might literally be the case.

The whole Obama program will have gone up in flames. And the Republicans will make hay with it. They will call US defeat in the Middle East "betrayal" and it is obvious now that there is a large group inside the United States very receptive to such a theme.

One either anticipates firestorms and does something useful, or one gets swept up in them. "

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