The balance of power in the Middle East has shifted considerably in my lifetime.
And this isn’t by accident but by design.
And to properly understand this, it is important to go back in time.
The Ottoman empire, which ran things for a few centuries, suddenly found its position had diminished considerably in the aftermath of the great war.
And when the myriad tribes which existed under this all powerful set-up became sovereign entities on their own, this new reality came with new sets of problems.
A few of nation-states —Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon — were a mishmash of groups which had nothing in common and it was inevitable that this arrangement would fall apart at some point.
And this reality was also exacerbated by the discovery of vast quantities of oil in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
The British government which had created Anglo-Persian oil,(prior to the first world war), which later became BP was intent on controlling the resources of a sovereign nation and this thinking led to the 1953 CIA sponsored coup which ousted the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh from power.
The Mossadegh coup had signaled to the wider region that it would be dragged into major fights with the west, if it dared to nationalize assets, which were once controlled by Britain and France.
The Egyptian leader, at the time, who had dangerous ideas of his own, certainly didn’t get the memorandum nor did he pay heed to what was going on around him.
Once Colonel Nasser decided to nationalize the Suez Canal, Britain and France along with Israel decided to attack Egypt and what saved the day was America’s refusal to back the European imperialists, given its legitimate concerns about the Russians.
But the Suez Canal episode did embolden Nasser and pushed him to make a series of (foolish) moves, which is directly responsible for the state of affairs in the Middle-East, today.
There was the six day war, in which the Arab forces were ignominiously routed by Israel and there was also the Yom Kippur war, which Israel also won quite…