Tag Archives: Middle East

Cold War Reborn in the Hot Middle East?

Earlier today, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said “tensions in the Middle East threaten to lead to a new explosion or even a catastrophe.” Really? I’m impressed with how observant of a person he is, apparently he reads the newspaper just like the rest of us. Over the past few years, Russia has been increasing her role in the Middle East, both as mediator and instigator. President Medvedev asserted that the tensions he spoke of were Israeli-Arab tensions, yes these tensions exist, but Russia has done little to appease this tension.

We all know of the political and military ties between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. Russia is also well aware of the connections, but the country continues to be hesitant in placing stronger sanctions and limitations on Iran as a punishment for pursuing nuclear development. Although Russia has been coming around after it was revealed that Iran has improved enrichment abilities, Russia remains the last major entity to not fully support harsher sanctions. Hey Medvedev, here’s an easy way for you to help reduce tensions, stop resisting sanctions and punishment for Iran.

Actually I have an even better way for you (Medvedev) to stop instigating the tension you claim you want to reduce. Don’t build a nuclear facility in Syria! New reports claim that Russia plans on developing a nuclear power plant in Syria, citing that cooperation on the atomic front is the best way forward. I guess Russian schools must not offer informative or accurate history classes. For one, let’s think back to the later half of the 20th century. If I remember correctly, there was this thing called the Cold War. I’m pretty sure this term was coined to describe the tensions between the USSR and the US over nuclear activity. I’m also pretty sure that most of the fighting was carried out in satellite countries where one side supported said country and the other didn’t. Let’s fast-forward to today, something about this nuclear facility announcement and the divergence of opinion between Moscow and the West over Iran seems strikingly similar to the Cold War. Russia is heading down a path of opposing Western interests on the atomic front and is on the verge of helping one of the axis of evil countries build a nuclear facility.

Lesson two, Syria has supposedly attempted to build a nuclear reactor in the past. Guess what happened to it, Israel bombed it. So Russia, do you think it wise to invest in a nuclear power plant only to see the investment destroyed by Israeli fighter jets? Although Russia boasts a large number of tycoons, it doesn’t seem as though Russian schools were the source of such successful business or investment knowledge (I suppose instead of schools, the Kremlin or friendships were the best educational sources for business success).

Dear President Medvedev (and your puppet master, the stealthy Vladimir Putin),
If you want to truly be a source of international positive recognition and assume a role in Middle East mediation, don’t be the instigator who prevents punishment to Iran and supplies nuclear facilities to Syria. By continuing to pursue the current policies, Russia is inadvertently being a supporter of Hezbollah. Thank you for signing the new arms reduction treaty, but we all know it doesn’t take the massive cache either country owns to destroy the enemy. Signing the treaty was a nice gesture, but please come to your senses before you cause Cold War II or WWIII.
Thank you,
The World

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Saudi Arabia’s newest export

Poetry has been the classical means of expression and battle (much like rap battles) in the Arabian peninsula. In ancient times, different tribes developed their own style and verse and monthly competitions were held. During a competition, work would stop and hundreds if not thousands of Arabs would gather to hear the latest poems and verses. Both men and women would compose and recite and often times women would win competitions. Poetry was the most revered style of art; so much so that the Qur’an is written in poetic verse. Conflicts and wrong doings were often resolved through poetic battles or through poetic oration of apologies and acceptances rather than by sword or stone. As history progressed, poetry continued to transcend sexual lines, but in more recent times, as the role of women continued down a path of repression and forced submissiveness, their influence in poetry began to fade. Women still competed, but often lacked the ability to present issues of substance in their poems.

Saudi Arabia, a US ally, is one of the most repressive and sexually segregated regimes in the Middle East. Unmarried men and women are not allowed to be alone in the same room and as recently as March 2010, a woman was arrested for driving! But things are beginning to change in the country. Women have begun to protest that only men staff lingerie stores which makes purchasing properly fitting lingerie nearly impossible. While protests over these kinds of issues are important a new world hero has quickly emerged thanks to the Middle East’s version of American Idol. Her name is Hissa Hilal.

In the United Emirates, the show has taken the form of a competition among Arab poets. Both men and women compete, but until this season, no woman has ever reached the semi finals. What is even more amazing than Hissa Hilal reaching the semi finals is that she is the crowd favorite. Did I forget to mention that the live audience is separated into men and women sections. And what’s even more amazing is that Hissa Hilal’s poetry is a non-violent protest against the repressive Saudi regime. Hissa Hilal stands in front of the audience, covered head to toe in a black abaya cloak, beautifully criticizing her country’s government. Her actions are extremely heroic, every time she takes the stage and bashes her home country she runs the risk of being arrested upon returning home and facing unspeakable torture and travesty.

Let’s hope that she has gained enough popularity to become an untouchable social and political leader upon her return to Saudi Arabia. If you know anyone living in the Middle East, please ask them to text their vote for Hissa Hilal, the world’s newest heroine, to the show.

Woof Woof

Since we previously spoke about canines and their usefulness in Chinese delicacies, I thought another post about dogs was needed. This week researchers have announced that modern domesticated canines ancestors hail from the Middle East. Not sure why it took science so long to discover this, if man originated in Africa, wouldn’t his best friend also evolve from there? Cats and dogs have proved extremely useful once Man abandoned their nomadic heritage. So are we to assume that dogs were created once domestication started to serve as a protector of animals, I think not. It makes too much sense that these animals would have been brought along from the origins of civilization – ancient Middle East and Africa.