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The Middle East; a Boiling Cauldron of Hate and Vengeance

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Syria, caught up in a bloody state of civil war, Iraq being torn apart by internal strife, Israel devastating the city of Gaza; a large portion of the Middle East has become a boiling cauldron of extreme hate and violence. And, so far Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant force and arch enemy of Israel, silently watches and waits, ready to immediately retaliate if provoked.

Then we have Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey, countries that many expert observers believe are involved in funding and providing weaponry for the various opposition forces, both religious and political zealots, taking part in these conflicts. This situation is getting so totally out of control and confusing that one wonders if those in the midst of the conflicts can tell their enemies from some of those on their own side.

While all this turmoil is going on around it, Israel, the most powerful nation in the Middle East, is continuing to relentlessly attack the city of Gaza. This is not really a war in the normal sense of the word; it is, rather, a large powerful military force steamrolling the tiny city of Gaza and everyone there, whether guerilla fighters or civilians who are fleeing from the destruction but have no real escape routes.

Sure, we know Hamas, the fierce militant group in Gaza, is launching hundreds of rockets into various areas of Israel, most of them falling harmlessly to the ground and doing no real damage. One might say that launching these primitive rockets, apparently without any kind of accurate guidance systems, can be likened to using a peashooter to try to bring down an elephant. It's a clear sign of desperation, frustration and extreme anger but not the least bit effective.

Gaza is a really tiny area 25 miles long, about 5.6 miles wide, and a total area of 141 square miles. Its current population is about 1.82 million people so it is one of the most densely populated parts of the world. Israeli tanks can roll over it in a matter of a few minutes.

Israel is a sliver of a nation, about 263 miles long, slightly smaller than New Jersey. But it also happens to be the most formidable and aggressive nation in the Middle East. This country possesses a massive arsenal of weaponry accumulated over decades as a result of the extremely generous, endless aid granted by the U.S., France and Britain. In fact, we the taxpayers of American send $3 billion in annual aid to Israel and you can bet that a very large portion of it goes to developing more and more sophisticated weaponry.

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To many Americans the Middle East and its people who follow various religions can be very confusing. So let's clarify it some. Most of the nations and people in this overall region of the world are Muslims. A Muslim is one who "submits to the will of God", and is a follower of Islam, the term used for this religion as a whole. Shias and Sunnis are both Muslim and the main sub-groups of Islam but they have differing religious interpretations and political views.

The vast majority of Palestinians are Muslims and most of them are of the Sunni branch of Islam. Hamas is the radical militant group of the Palestinians and are also primarily Sunni. The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is of the Shiite sect. To show how complicated this is here are the religions that are in the majority in the following countries: Iran, Shia; Saudi Arabia, Sunni; Turkey, Sunni; Lebanon, 30% Shia and 25% Sunni; and Iraq, Shia.

Now you would think that since Hezbollah is Shia and Hamas is mostly Sunni, that because of the deep divisions between the religious ideology and political beliefs of each, that they would be adversaries; but that's not necessarily the case here. Because Hezbollah is the sworn enemy of Israel there is no question who Hezbollah would support in a potential conflict.

Hezbollah and Hamas have been at odds over the war in Syria because the former was supporting Shiite factions and the latter the Sunni fighters. But they have seemed to have patched up these differences in the past year or so. There is no question but that the leaders of Hezbollah are more than troubled by these latest Israeli attacks because they have seen how these situations can easily escalate out of control and spread into Lebanon.

Israel and Hezbollah have, over the years, had many dangerous confrontations especially in the 1990's and throughout the first decade of the 21st century. Hezbollah is the same powerful group that fought the Israeli military to a standstill in 2006. Just how powerful is Hezbollah? Well, here are excerpts of stats that I have taken from this Newsmax article by Steve Emerson that talks about how Israel and Hezbollah are on constant alert against each other.

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Hezbollah's rocket arsenal is more than 10 times greater than that of Hamas including some 100,000 rockets and missiles with extremely powerful warheads which have ranges of several hundred kilometers with accurate guidance systems. Some of Hezbollah's projectiles can easily bring down whole buildings.

Israel does not have enough air defenses to cope with a massive Hezbollah rocket attack, and the David's Sling system, designed to shoot down heavy Hezbollah rockets, is not operational. The author further states that, "Israel's defense budget would not allow for the creation of sufficient numbers of interceptor missiles to deal with the level of firepower that Hezbollah has amassed. According to Israeli estimates, the Lebanese terror organization is number five in the world in terms of its firepower."

So we can conclude that Israel, in an encounter with Hezbollah, would be subjected to massive missile air strikes on specific targets, far greater in intensity and power than those currently being launched by Hamas.

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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense (more...)

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It seems that some things never change, they go on... by michael payne on Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:07:06 AM
Looking at history, show me one good revolution th... by Pal Palsimon on Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 at 2:52:28 PM
Pal: When you say, "I defy you to give me an examp... by michael payne on Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 at 3:55:41 PM
But we fought fascists only to establish it here a... by Pal Palsimon on Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 at 1:39:58 AM
Interesting.Hezbollah gave Israel all it could han... by George W.Reichel on Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 at 12:55:15 PM
Several thoughts: "insanity" doing the same thing ... by James Tennier on Wednesday, Jul 23, 2014 at 11:08:23 PM
A Rabbi had 2 good articles here last week. The f... by Michael Dewey on Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 at 8:53:05 AM
The middle east is indeed a boiling cauldron of ha... by Bill Johnson on Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 at 9:32:14 AM
Bill; your observations are right on. Maybe I'm ov... by michael payne on Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 at 10:25:33 AM
Why is U.S. responsible for Palestinian sufferi... by Pal Palsimon on Thursday, Jul 24, 2014 at 7:30:57 PM