I love paradoxes and here is a great one from The Strong Horse, Lee Smith's new book on Middle East politics: "after 9/11, the schizophrenic nature of Saudi policy at the same time became plain: while members of the Saudi royal family relied on U.S. military might to protect them from foreign enemies, their domestic security depended on their ability to redirect the political furies of domestic rivals onto those same Americans who protected them," and so the end result is 9/11, because the Saudis, though beholden to America (for security of resources, diplomacy with Israel, protection from the Shi'ites, safety on the Suez Canal and in the Persian Gulf) still needs to direct the profoundly Sunni Al Qaeda's rage away from the region . . . and this time America was the victim . . . and the same sort of thing is going on in Iraq, where the Iraqi people, especially the minorities, need American support, but to preserve their honor and to attract a following and possibly garner power in the region, they need to fight against America-- Smith's thesis is that the region is still far too tribal to be ready for democracy, and that it is hard for Americans to even understand the mentality at play there, which I witnessed first hand when we invaded Iraq and one of my nicest, smartest, most diligent students in Damascus said her mother told her, "If I didn't have two daughters, I would go to Iraq and kill Americans, " and this is a woman who sent her two daughters to the "American" school to learn liberal values-- but still, when it comes to honor, though Saddam was a bad man, he was still a Sunni strong man and no one wanted to see him fall (and the Syrians I talked to pretty much hated the Kuwaitis because they were rich sell-outs, so they didn't really mind when Saddam invaded Kuwait, I could go on and on about this, especially the Druze, the Maronites, the Sunnis, and the Shi'ites in Lebanon, but, mainly, you should definitely read this book!)


rob said...

while this is a fascinating and thought-provoking post, even saddam himself would blanch at the liberties taken with the 'sentence' form.

Dave said...

i am the strong horse dictator of this blog, and i deem what a sentence is.

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.