Lately I've been told that my issue isn't the burning issue of the Middle East. The Israel/Palestine issue can be put on the back burner, it's contained, even Lebanon invasion would be a local war, etc. Well here is Syria expert Joshua Landis at Foreign Policy, seizing on a visit by Russian president Medvedev to Damascus earlier this week and saying that it portends more trouble in the Middle East, a cold war between the superpowers in which the U.S. is cast as the enemy of Arabs and Muslims. Barack Hussein Obama indeed. And that it only puts more pressure on the U.S. to cure the human-rights blight that is at the root of our bad image: Palestinian statelessness.
America's leading allies have been Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. The Saudis have shown some signs of distancing themselves from Washington and have reached out to both Russia and China to hedge their bets. ... [Syria and Saudi Arabia] stood together in favoring Ayad Allawi as leader of a new Iraqi government. Syria has supported Saudi actions in Yemen. Jordan has also worked to improve relations with Syria. King Abdullah has warned the United States that it must pressure Netanyahu to stop settlement expansion for fear that war will break out.So long as America's No. 1 foreign-policy goal in the region is to hurt Iran and help Israel, Russia will be drawn back into the region and a new Cold War will take shape. Washington's failure to realign relations with Iran and Syria dooms it to repeat its past. But this time Israel will be more of a millstone around its neck as it thumbs it's nose at international law and human rights. China also presents a new and potent challenge...Russia can also be gratified by the deterioration of Turkey's relations with both Israel and the United Stats. It will continue to look for ways to frustrate U.S. efforts to add teeth to its sanctions regime against Iran.
So long as America's No. 1 foreign-policy goal in the region is to hurt Iran and help Israel, Russia will be drawn back into the region and a new Cold War will take shape. Washington's failure to realign relations with Iran and Syria dooms it to repeat its past. But this time Israel will be more of a millstone around its neck as it thumbs it's nose at international law and human rights. China also presents a new and potent challenge.
Gamal Abdul Nasser claimed that in the Middle East there was a role in search of a hero; he tried to fill it at great cost to Egypt. So long as the Arab-Israeli conflict remains unresolved, however, that role will exist. Iran and Syria are trying to fill it today. They claim to defend Arab and Muslim rights in the face of Israeli expansion and U.S. imperialism. If they are to have any success, they will need a larger power to champion their efforts. And Russia is the obvious candidate -- that is, until China is prepared to throw its weight behind Middle East peacemaking. Syria is well aware that neither Russia nor China can dare challenge the United States or Israel for at least a decade, but Syria and Iran seem prepared to play for time. The alternative to taking the long view for Syria is the loss of the Golan and national humiliation.