Graft, Sectarianism, and War in the Middle East

Bahrain, which is a close ally of Saudi Arabia, is dealing with serious terrorism issues. Why, you ask? Well, Bahrain is a majority Shia country under the yoke of Sunni royalty. Sound familiar? Sound like, say, Iraq or Syria or Yemen? Predictably, a tiny minority of the Shia majority are rising up, and given the new standard model of an insurgency, they rely on terrorist bombing.

So why are these authoritarian governments continually holding on to power? Let’s get some perspective from Yemen. The former president of Yemen is a billionaire. He’s the one who recently was forced from power by the Houthi and is now in his stronghold of Aden. Now it’s come to light that he skimmed anywhere from 30 to 62 BILLION dollars in his 33 years in “office.” Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East.

And that’s true in Egypt too. The military dictatorship there, led by Sisi, is one of the main benefactors. They make tons of money off of commercial enterprises and their source of income would be threatened by a non-military government. Like many other illegitimate governments, Egypt is dealing with it’s own insurgency in Sinai. The conflict, of course, isn’t staying put.

An Egyptian court listed the militant wing of Hamas, the Palestinian organization, as a terrorist group. Hamas, by the way, is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Egyptian court accused Hamas of supporting the insurgency in the Sinai peninsula, saying “it has been proven without any doubt” that Hamas committed violence against Egyptian security forces in Sinai. However, It should be noted that Egypt has always been a key player in keeping the blockade on Gaza, and while that doesn’t excuse terrorism, it explains why Hamas might be supporting insurgent in Sinai.

So here we have greedy politicians/generals fighting insurgencies against large swaths of the population that they regular fuck over. Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Pakistan, and probably more. All the while, Qatar quietly funds the most influential media organization and pushes their own agenda without a care for their journalists. Iran funds any Shia group it can and Saudi Arabia funds arch-conservative Sunni ideologues that try to bring back the stone ages. Money and the military are bringing down the whole area. The conflicts won’t end until the jaw-dropping graft and sectarian struggles are finally abolished. I don’t have much confidence that’ll happen any time soon.

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