Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
« June 2007 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Sleepless in Fulham: Rambling and gambling by David Young
Sunday, 17 June 2007
Should we ignore the Middle East in order to help it?
Topic: Politics

Prospect magazine had an interesting article about the Middle East in its May edition. 'The Middle of Nowhere' argues that 'despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it.'

That's actually two statements rolled into one. The latter one is the important one. It's an interesting thesis and for many an appealing one. Just learn to ignore AIPAC, Tikkun, the ISM, etc and the problem should get better by itself! I don't doubt that the region would benefit if Iran stopped interfering, but it's less clear to me whether it would benefit from a more laissez-faire attitude in the West.

The article makes some intersting observations about the Middle East and I recommend that everyone read it. But I think it's misleading to point out that the region has "only about five per cent of the world's population". What matters most is what percentage of the world's young people it has and how fertile they are. Middle Eastern nations are mostly very young in comparison with the rest of the world, apart from Africa. And they have larger families. On current trends, Yemen's population will overtake that of Russia within a few decades.

But of more concern to me is the second statement - that the conflict would benefit if the rest of the world took less notice. The reason it bothers me is that there already is a violent conflict that the world takes little notice of and the lack of external interest doesn't appear to make peace more likely. It's a conflict that doesn't involve oil or Islam.

I'm talking about Sri Lanka, where a Tamil minority wishes to break away from the Sinhalese majority to form its own state to be called 'Eelam'. Since 1983, the Sri Lankan civil war has claimed 68,000 lives. The Tamils pioneered the use of suicide bombing, years before the Palestinians adopted it. Yet the civil war there gets a fraction of the attention from the world's media and politicians that is given to the Israel/Palestine conflict. Why?

I must confess I have a personal axe to grind here. I'm getting fed up of reading books and articles about terrorism that don't make reference to the Sri Lankan Civil War. I read the whole of Nathan Sharansky's otherwise excellent 'The Case for Democracy' waiting for him to make the comparison. It never came. I keep waiting for a critic of Israel to make a comparison of Israel's handling of public security with Sri Lanka's. Surely if an unflattering comparison could be made, I would have heard it by now? I've skim-read a lot, though not all, of Norman Finkelstein's 'Beyond Chutzpah' and I've not yet seen any such comparison, though I have seen an unflattering comparison made with the British handling of the threat from the IRA. If Sri Lanka has a better human rights record then say so. Either it doesn't, in which case Israel isn't so bad, or it does, but nobody wants to say so, because 68,000 people have died!

Monday, 18 June 2007 - 12:30 PM BST

Name: "anonymous"

Here we go again, "The wogs are out breeding me!" Not difficult seeing as you cannot get a woman to so much as look at you.

Haven't you noticed the difference between other conflicts and the Middle East? Nobody gives a shit about conflicts where there is no money to be made. Sri Lanka, Burma, Zimbabwe and so on.

Now what does the Middle East have that we are so keen on sticking our noses in? Gawhar field and the states that surround it.

It was mentioned in the first paragraph of your latest dirge, "'The Middle of Nowhere' argues that 'despite its oil, this backward region is less relevant than ever, and it would be better for everyone if the rest of the world learned to ignore it.'"

As usual you just ignore it and launch into some irrelevant bollocks.

The Middle East has oil. If Zimbabwe found oil today then all of a sudden the US and China would be in there propping up the Lucozade swilling mad monkey of Harare. Angola has it. In go the US petroleum companies. Sudan, in goes China. Nigeria, in go the Europeans.

Sri Lanka has no resource worth caring about. If you want to bring peace to Sri Lanka then go there and find them some oil. I am sure that your friend GW will then help one side to exterminate the other and then negotiate an oil contract. Just like in Iraq where the puppet government has been forced to tear up all previous contracts and only deal with the US and UK in dollar denominated contracts instead of the previous euro denominated contracts with Russia and France.

You are a very naive person not to understand how conflicts come about. You have no understanding of geo-politics or diplomacy. For the umpteenth time, why do you write this trash?

Monday, 18 June 2007 - 1:29 PM BST

Name: "anonymous"

Monday, 18 June 2007 - 4:31 PM BST

Name: "anonymous"

Monday, 18 June 2007 - 4:40 PM BST

Name: "David Young"


you're missing the point. I'm well aware that the outside world takes more interest in conflicts that involve oil producing regions. Why wouldn't it? Oil production can be used to finance war and terrorism.

My point is that I can't see why Prospect should assume that the middle-east would benefit from benign neglect. It doesn't help Sri Lanka.

Heaven only knows why you dive off the deep end with your irrelevant drivel.


Tuesday, 19 June 2007 - 2:52 AM BST

Name: "James Feeny"

My anon, why are you so bitter? Is engaging in debate without throwing personal insults beyond you?

View Latest Entries