The Middle East: The Root of the Problem

By Michael Clarke in The Guardian, February 15

Conclusion of the article headlined “If the Syria ceasefire fails, ISIS will be the least of the West’s problems”:

…First, ISIS is not the crisis. It is a symptom of a civil war within Islam in the Middle East, between Shias and Sunnis, and between mainstream and extremist Sunni sympathies.

Second, the conflict of which ISIS is only a symptom is the struggle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for dominance. It may be defined by religion, but this struggle is essentially about the unstoppable political ambitions of the two most significant regional powers.


2 responses to “The Middle East: The Root of the Problem

  1. The ‘problem’, as I see it, is ‘multi-rooted’. The best one can do to make any sense of it is, I would suggest, to slice the ‘roots’, as it were, at a given point in time to reveal the raw surface of each ‘root’. Ownership of the ‘pot’ within which the ‘problem’ itself is ‘rooted’ is subject to an intensifying ‘tug-of-war’ between the United States and Russia.

  2. The `problem’, as I see it, is that a significant number of followers of Islam hate the countries of Europe and the US because of their liberalising influence, particularly on the young and on women.
    This is compounded by an interpretation (whether based on fact or not) of a holy creed that says they have to convert, conquer or kill non-believers.
    I prefer Muslims fighting each other rather than attacking non-Muslims.
    As to the struggle for supremacy between Iran and Saudi Arabia: Even if the US (as is its wont) joins in, its track record over the past 60 years suggests it will back the `wrong’ side and support Saudi Arabia.
    I think Iran will triumph if only because of the inherent brittleness of a despotic monarchical system.