Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Palestinians – With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies?

The old say that a nation gets the leaders they deserve should not be applied lightly to the Palestinians or any other nation. Truly, in recent history, they have been ruled by a series of terrorist and corrupt leaders. But in a non-democratic society people cannot truly choose their leaders, just like in a gang controlled slam its poor residents cannot be blamed for their criminal rulers.

However the saddest fact about the Palestinians, a poor migrant people, is the way they have literally been used as cannon fodder in the many Middle East conflicts.

The most well known was the Israeli-Arab conflict, because one third of the estimated 10 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip areas of Israel. The other third live in Jordan (where they account for half of the population) and in Israel proper. The final third are dispersed throughout the world with large numbers in conflict-prone Syria and Lebanon.

For many years the oil-producing Arab countries used the Palestinians' plight for a nation state to stir up the fear of disruptions in oil supplies and raise the price of oil. There is even a bad taste joke saying that the Arabs will fight for the Palestinians to the last Palestinian.

Then the theocratic rulers of Iran, in their drive the rebuild an ancient Caliphate or Persian Empire, decided to take over their cause. They did so by sponsoring the Hezbollah and Hamas terrorist camps in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Fortunately for the Palestinians, the oil suppliers are now more spread all over the world and the alternative energy industries in the oil-importing countries are the main lobbyists to keep the prices higher. Likewise the Al Qaeda and Iran-sponsored terrorists are now largely discredited even among Arabs.

However, while the embryonic Arab Spring Revolution brought a new hope for a democratic era in the region, a dangerous new “savior” for the Palestinians appeared in the scene.

We refer to the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, the maverick leader of the Islamist AK party that now rules Turkey. Seizing the current political vacuum in Egypt, Erdogan is moving swiftly to assert himself in the Arab world by taking a hostile stance against Israel. This can only be bad news for the poor Palestinians. They cannot become once more cannon fodder in another bid to restore an ancient empire, this time the Ottoman.

In a globalised and free world, people will no longer accept new empires, especially religion-driven, whether by Christians or Muslims. So all attempts by any of the largest Islamic nations (Indonesians, Turks, Persians, Saudis or Egyptians) or sects (e.g. Al-Qaeda) to enlarge their area of influence by reclaiming ancient caliphates or empires is doomed to fail and can only harm the Palestinians.