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.
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.