Six conflict-zones of the greater Middle East are in danger of erupting into fresh violence. In all six, the US and its allies seem unable — or perversely unwilling — to contribute to a peaceful solution. Instead, in each case, they are adding fuel to the fire.
When President Barack Obama assumed office on January 20, 2009, he had a chance to put an end to America’s 30-year estrangement with Iran. There was even talk of a ‘grand bargain’ which would have resolved fears about Iran’s nuclear programme and stabilised the Gulf by recognising Iran’s legitimate place and role in it. There was also a chance that US engagement with Iran would calm Sunni-Shiite tensions across the region brought to boiling point by the Iraq war.
… Just as Israel’s friends in George W. Bush’s administration pushed the US into destroying Iraq, so the aim now would seem to be to push the US into destroying Iran. Needless to say, if Iran is pressed too hard, the danger of a hot war breaking out is ever present.
… Is Obama listening? Or is he thinking only of his re-election?
Patrick Seale is a commentator and author of several books on Middle East affairs, Al Assad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East and Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire.
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