THE BLACK HOLES OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Following the unrest in the Middle East, the revolutions and the mass demonstrations, in the process of creating an unknown New Arab-World, new dark holes of ungoverned regions and fears were created threatening even more the stability of the region.
The first of those new “Black Holes” is the slow transformation of Libya to a Somalia-like country where the civil war is stuck in a sort of stalemate. For the moment on both sides there is no clear chain of command – gangs, tribesmen, unorganized army units and militias are fighting each other in a total disarray (see – The Libyan-Campaign ). It is not fully clear who joins the fight on both sides. It is generally assumed that while the Benghazi rebels are supported by some elements of al Qaeda, pro Gaddafi forces are recruiting mercenaries in black Africa. Libya who cooperated in the last years with Europe in limiting Islamic immigration, especially to France and Italy, and in containing Islamic terror does not exist anymore.
The second “Black Hole” is the Egyptian Sinai peninsula where the local Bedouins, who are confronting the Egyptian regime for many years, helped and assisted in committing terror attacks, especially on the Red Sea resorts and are handling the large scale weapons smuggling from Iran via Sudan to Gaza Strip through the Rafah Tunnels. The Sinai Bedouins took advantage of the Egyptian chaos and the regime transformation. The Egyptian internal security and police apparatuses, now under investigation of killing civilians during the Egyptian revolution, fear to use lethal power against the Bedouins. The general atmosphere of disarray and uncertainty was used by the Sinai Bedouins to upgrade their Mafia style armed gangs to organized tribal militias (see – El-Arish 02.05.11). The Bedouins already took control on villages in Sinai and blew twice the Gas pipeline to Israel, Jordan and Syria, the last time on Wednesday 04/27/2011. Since the end of 01/2011 a number of Egyptian policemen were killed by Bedouins in Sinai. For the moment most of the mountainous Sinai Peninsula is ungoverned by the Egyptian regime, a hotbed for Islamic militancy, weapons smuggling, drug and human trafficking and regional crime. It will take time, sources and political will to restore the Egyptian control on Sinai and it is not expected to be in the near future.
Today, Saturday 04/30/2011, we learned that the Hamas leadership in Damascus is considering to move to Doha, Qatar, since they feel Damascus is no longer a safe place for them (see -Friday Bloodshed). But not only the Hamas is worried – the Hizbullah in Lebanon stockpiled a large part of its rockets arsenal on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon in order to protect the rockets from being destroyed by Israel and not to violate UN security council resolution 1701 from 08/2006 (see – Le-Figaro Report). It is a matter of only a few kilometers to move the arsenal to Lebanon, if needed, and to use it against Israel. Since the unrest in Syria the Hizbullah is preparing the possibility to shift all the weaponry to Lebanon, which can cause an internal crisis in Lebanon with other Lebanese fractions and with the international community. In the worst scenario such a move can trigger an Israeli preventive strike. The crumbling of Syria from within made the Syrian-Lebanese border a potential source for yet another regional crisis and violence.
My be in the long run the turmoil the Middle East is going through will create a more open and democratic society and make it worthwhile. But for now from the three possible options: a more democratic and open Middle East, a more Islamic Middle East or a more chaotic Middle East – the third option is taking over.
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