Ralph Peters with some words of encouragement for sub-Saharan Africa:
Whatever planet Earth may find in short supply in 2010, violence and misrule will remain abundant, from the most-recent round of Muslim-vs.-Christian massacres in Nigeria to Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez’s delight in unleashing his thugs on students marching for freedom.
But no region — not even sub-Saharan Africa — competes with the greater Middle East when it comes to wanton savagery, thwarted opportunities and the danger posed to innocent populations around the world. With fanatical terrorists of unprecedented brutality, Islamist extremists pursuing nuclear weapons, rogue regimes, disintegrating states and threats of genocide against Israel, the lands of heat and dust between the Nile and the Indus form a realm of deadly failure that will haunt the civilized world throughout our lifetimes.
A survey of the region’s key countries — and problems — doesn’t offer much good news for the Obama Administration’s naive foreign policy efforts:
Said survey follows.
Oh, okay, you want a few highlights?
LEBANON: This isn’t a country — it’s a temporary stand-off.
Hezbollah has been rearming mightily in the wake of its 2006 war with Israel. A new war would devastate much of Lebanon — if internal strife doesn’t do it first.
EGYPT: … Egypt faces a potential succession crisis as octogenarian president Hosni Mubarak, who’s ruled the country for almost three decades, grooms his singularly unimpressive son, Gamal, to take over upon his death.
SYRIA: The neighborhood’s in such awful shape that this police state’s beginning to look like a success story…. When Damascus looks like a beacon, it’s getting awfully dark in the Middle East.
IRAQ: Can’t say we didn’t try. After years of serious progress toward a national compromise… [r]econciliation has come to a screeching halt. The Shia are smug, the Sunnis feel betrayed, and the Kurds are still denied title to the traditionally Kurdish city of Kirkuk. Every faction’s fighting for a greater share of oil revenues. And the Obama administration’s AWOL (this was Bush’s war — we wouldn’t want a positive outcome).
SAUDI ARABIA: Its two main exports are oil and fanaticism…. They care only for their repressive version of Islam. The birthplace of Bin Laden, Saudi Arabia’s differences with his terror organization are over strategy and tactics, not over their mutual goal of forcing extremist Islam on all of humanity.
IRAN: Racing to acquire nuclear weapons, delighting in the prospect of a cataclysmic war that would lead to the “return of the hidden imam,” beating the hell out of its own people in the streets, murdering members of the intelligentsia, and explicit in its vows to destroy Israel, the government of Iran continues to be protected by China and Russia.
If you want to know more about that benighted, poxy patch of scrub and swampland… I pity you. You need a date.