David Brooks—The biggest threat to world peace right now is one big Middle eastern War

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Syrian civil conflict is both a proxy war and a combustion point for spreading waves of violence. This didn't start out as a religious war. But both Sunni and Shiite power players are seizing on religious symbols and sowing sectarian passions that are rippling across the region. The Saudi and Iranian powers hover in the background fueling each side.

As the death toll in Syria rises to Rwanda-like proportions, images of mass killings draw holy warriors from countries near and far. The radical groups are the most effective fighters and control the tempo of events. The Syrian opposition groups are themselves split violently along sectarian lines so that the country seems to face a choice between anarchy and atrocity.

Meanwhile, the strife appears to be spreading. Sunni-Shiite violence in Iraq is spiking upward. Reports in The New York Times and elsewhere have said that many Iraqis fear their country is sliding back to the worst of the chaos experienced in the past decade. Even Turkey, Pakistan, Bahrain and Kuwait could be infected.

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptLebanonSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

Posted September 4, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. BlueOntario wrote:

Interesting that Brooks didn’t mention how the war (or wars) in Syria has already reengaged the divides in Lebanon. It’s not simply a Shiite/Sunni conflict, but an Iran vs. everyone else one as well with some mixing of tribal, clan, and religious animosities among the proxies and not always a simple religious divisions between the players.
I’m don’t see the chronic strife ever going away without a change of heart in people not seeking any such thing, or a change in borders which is mind-boggling complex and would create novel issues.

September 4, 8:51 am | [comment link]
2. BlueOntario wrote:

Forgot to add…
IMHO, I think fear that American intervention in response to the use of chemical weapons will further destabilize the region is overstated. It’s been down the tubes for decades, just with the appearance of stability. How far will this “threat to world peace” spread? Probably no farther than it already has: the Middle East, SW Asia, and NE Africa. It will play havoc with economies everywhere, though, especially through an increase in the price of oil on the speculative market.

September 4, 8:54 am | [comment link]
3. Cennydd13 wrote:

2.  I agree completely.  Brooks’s assessment of the potentialities is very telling in that such a Mideast war would have the very real potential to escalate into a conflict involving the entire Middle East and beyond, and this means us, the British, and every other country with assets and interests there.  I firmly believe that a firm neutrality would be in our best interest, even if it means an armed neutrality.

September 4, 1:20 pm | [comment link]
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