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Israel

1) A child who gets beaten does not turn against the idea of beating; he inflicts the same pain on his own children. So it is with the Jews. After centuries of persecution in Europe, they quickly became persecutors of their own neighbours, the Palestinians.

2) The Israelis have two enemies, the Shiites and the Sunnis, or Persians-plus-Azeri-Turks and Arabs. The Arabs they can beat in battle any day, any time. The Shiites are now their superiors on the battlefield, and not just in numbers. Surfers and college kids are nothing to fervent religious warriors. The lesson has taken a long time to learn, but after eighteen years in Lebanon, ending with their withdrawal in 2000 and the defeat by Hezbollah in 2006, the point has become obvious to Israeli Intelligence. Their population is now too soft to fight a large-scale war.

3) Instead Mossad has decided to go it alone, to take out key people in Hamas and in Iran. This will only make the journey to the negotiating table longer. It will make the eventual concessions larger.

4) The USA will not go along with the Israeli wish to bomb Iran. If Israel decides to bomb Iran alone, that will be the beginning of the end of the State of Israel. Neither Europe nor the USA will come to its rescue, not unless there is a Tea Party politician at the helm.

5) In the Palestinian State of 1947, most Jewish colonies were in the coastal areas, from Jaffa and Tel Aviv northwards. The UN plan for a Jewish State in 1947 allotted to the Palestinians the West Bank, an area on the border with Lebanon, and another area including Gaza and along the Sinai border with Egypt. In 1949 the Israelis took the Sinai and Lebanon border regions from the Palestinians, leaving them with the small Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

6) In the 1967 war Israel not only occupied the West Bank, but took the Golan Heights from Syria and the whole of the Sinai Peninsula. The Sinai was returned to Egypt in various intervals between wars over the years 1978 to 1982, but the other areas were never returned to their previous owners. And so long as Israel can rely on US support, there are no signs that they will give those areas back; however, when US influence in the region diminishes, they will have to reconsider.

7) To the USA, Israel is a liability, not an asset. Knowing this, the Israelis have established the world's most powerful political interest group in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which has traditionally supported the right-wing Likud Party. . Only the House of Saud has a more direct line into the White House and the US Senate.

8) Through excessive violence by Israelis in the Gaza Strip, much of it directed at women and children, Israel has now lost its popular support in Europe. That has taken some fifty years.

9) If the current political direction in Israel prevails, the country is likely to weaken with the decline of the USA. . Its position will not improve when China is leading country. Like the Romans, the Chinese have no tolerance for fanatics of any kind, especially not the religious kind. Unlike the Americans and the Europeans, the Chinese will be unsentimental about Israel.

Iraq

1) Iraq, the land of the two rivers, consists of Sunnis (about 32 per cent), Shias (about 48 per cent) and Kurds (non-Arabs, about 20 per cent). Kurdistan is already a quasi-independent state within the state, with its own government and militia. The Shias have become the de facto rulers through their majority. The previous rulers and allies of the Americans, the Sunnis, have been marginalized.

2) Shias represent only about 12.5 per cent of all Muslims worldwide.

3) Remember that al-Qaeda is a Sunni movement. So, our best strategy in Afghanistan would have been to co-operate with Iran, but of course we did not do that. That is because the real enemy of America since the Shah was ousted has always been Iran, not Iraq and not Afghanistan.

4) Iraq was controlled by Turks for close to 900 years163 (the Baghdad Kiosk at the Topkapi Palace was built to commemorate the victory), and under British protection for only forty years.

5) In 1920 an Arab socialist movement was founded in Paris by a Syrian and an Orthodox Christian. This historical relationship explains why both the left in France and the Christians supported Saddam Hussein.

6) Both Europe and the USA actively supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran. Now, since that war, Iran has won the struggle for the control of the Middle East. How ironic. Our strategy was highly shortsighted and irresponsible. Now it is time to mend the situation and make new alliances.

7) Saddam and Nasser were the political descendants of Kemal.

8) The two major religious cities of the Shiites lie along the Euphrates: Karbala and Najaf. We are seeing the beginning of their reunification with the motherland.

9) Turkey will not agree to the Kurds establishing an independent republic in Iraq, but they may be forced to accept it. When the last American forces have left, we may even see military conflict between Kurds and an alliance of Sunnis and Shias over the disputed oil fields.

10) The US invasion of Iraq could be called the greatest strategic blunder of modern history (cf. Baer 2009): it served to strengthen the only real potential superpower in the region, Iran, America's arch-rival.

 
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