Several headlines grabbed my attention these past two weeks. One that stood out described Syria as descending into an ''inferno as the world begins to lose interest.''
"The situation in Syria has descended into a new level of Hell, as the civil war continues, refugees fleeing the country increase, and the fractured rebel groups have begun to turn on each other as much as fight the Assad family regime." ~ John Metzler
The article cites the "carnage" tally now at over 95,000 Syrian civilians. The 2013 exodus from Syria averages out at 6,000 per day and is claimed by the United Nations to be the worst refugee crisis in some twenty years.
Metzler is rightly critical of the Obama Administration's "muddled Mideast policies" and lack of strategic focus. He also notes that the Administration had given assurances of military aid to the rebels: "the good guys, we assume, presume and hope."
Trust these guys with guns?
They would be the same "good guys" who are turning on each other, beheading Christians and posting the videos of these beheadings on the internet. These are the same Free Syrian Army "good guys" who, according to numerous reports, wiped out an entire Christian village.
But U.N. correspondent Metzler doesn't delve into the Christian massacres. That would probably open up a large can of snakes exposing the intolerant Islamist problem; something the United Nations would like to avoid. He does, however, believe that Syria is "hemorrhaging" and has undergone irreparable physical and psychological damage.
Metzler also correctly notes that, regardless of the world at large, the "outcome of Syria's conflict" is a clear cut Russian interest. In fact, one pundit sees Russia as heading for a big win in Syria.
Just in case no one got the memo regarding Russia's desire to re-establish its presence as a potent economic and military power; it has just concluded one of the most massive drills in recent memory. The drill involved: "five Russian armies, the Third Air Force and Air Defense Command, including strategic aviation, and its navy's Pacific Fleet", and included: "nearly 160,000 troops, about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships."
Is Putin serious? You better believe it!
One fly in the ointment, though, is Israel. Not because of its warring policies so much as it's selfish policy to maintain its existence. Israel's possible response to present and future existential threats is bad for business.
The Syrian crisis has spilled over to Israel. The influx of Islamic extremists supporting the Free Syrian Army has compromised border security and these extremists will eventually turn their focus on Israel. That is why the Russians offered to place troops in the Golan recently. That, and Israel's conflict with Iran, is why we can be certain that Russia will maintain an active presence in the region.
Some people are still peddling the absurd notion that most of the Middle East's problems may be resolved if "Israel would just give back the Palestinian's stolen land."
If it were only that simple! Yet, the inconvenient facts are that Israel hasn't stolen Palestinian land and it would be happy to live in peace with a viable Palestinian State, if that State were to reciprocate by accepting a Jewish State.
But not only can Hamas and the Palestinian Authority not agree over the organizational structure a future State (think Libya, Syria and Egypt), but both have consistently demonstrated that they won't abide living alongside a Jewish State.
If nothing else, the "Syrian inferno" and the Egyptian conflict shows that many of these people don't mind ripping each other apart in the pursuit of power or their particular brand of Islamism. That's leaving aside their horrific treatment of non-Muslims.
So why should Israel trust a Hamas?
Well, I guess Hamas showed off their touchy-feely soft side when they expressed sadness at veteran American journalist Helen-Jews-should-go-back-home-Thomas' passing. As per the Al Quassam eulogy: "Rest in peace, Helen Thomas. We respect you for taking a stand."
I suppose that may get her a pass with Allah.
Of course, the recent extreme rioting in the West Bank is a bit of a setback for optimistic peaceniks. I think Khaled Abu Toameh gets it right:
"The thousands of demonstrators didn't forget to condemn the Palestinian Authority for "selling out to Jews" instead of seeking Israel's destruction. Unlike the U.S., Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sees and hears the voices of the extremists at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque, in the West Bank, and in the Gaza Strip. This is precisely why Abbas will never agree to sign a peace deal with Israel: it would turn him into the biggest traitor in the Palestinian and Islamic world." (Emphasis mine)
As it stands, the European Union and the Obama Administration are drunkenly fixated on forcing a peace deal between two parties. Yet one of the parties is intent on exterminating the other and has consistently stated so.
Neither the E.U. nor the U.S. have been able to prevent Islamists in Syria and Egypt from killing each other. So what makes them think they can change the two Palestinian leaderships' mindsets about Israel?
Why would Israel simply shake hands and trust someone who is an avowed enemy, just to please the world? That would be insane.
Does anyone else get a sense of déjà vu?