With so many events exploding across the Middle East, one can almost pick any country and come up with a headline grabbing story. This past week, America closed all of its embassies in the area to avoid terrorist violence. Besides being prudent, the closings were certainly a symbol of the upheaval in the area. Instead of the term “World War,” we might call the Middle East fighting a “Zone War.”
So, what’s happening in the Zone War in the middle of August?
For starters, the attacks of Sunnis on Shiites in Iraq reached new levels of violence. Saturday was Id al-Fitr, a holiday at the end of Ramadan, but the celebrations turned into a string of car bombs that killed over 60 people and wounded more than 200. These incidences were only the latest in a string of bombing that brought the death toll to the highest level in nearly five years. The United Nations reported that in July, 1,057 Iraqis were killed and 2,326 wounded. America left, but the war goes on.
In Yeman, Al-Qaeda continues to have a frightening foothold and the American Embassy remains closed. The United States considers the terrorist groups to be the most dangerous threat to American interests in the region. On Saturday, an American drone strike killed two militants in SouthernYeman. Four militants were traveling by car when the drone hit them. Two came out alive although one of the survivors remains in critical condition. In the past, drone strikes have proved highly successful in this region. Last year, militants were driven out of a area they had seized in the southby such strikes.
In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood is struggling to exist. The group was thrown out of the country thirty years ago by Hafez Assad, the father of the current dictator. The Brotherhood was brutally crushed and finally massacred in the city of Hamas, The groups leadership were killed, imprisoned, or exiled. The downfall of the Brotherhood in Egypt has shaken the remnant now fighting against Basher Assad’s regime. In Syria, the organization has always been seen as a foreign. Today, it is viewed by the Syrian government as a branch of an Egyptian movement. However, the Brotherhood continues to supply relief to rebel held areas in the on-going war. Last February, a Brotherhood newspaper was launched that is now distrubted in the rebel held areas.
The fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the rebel rebellion emphasizes the struggle that the American government has in supplying weapons to the rebels. Most of these groups like the Brotherhood are enemies of American foreign policy and ideals. Arming them raises the possibility that someday we may be facing our own weapons shooting back at us.
And so the struggle goes on. Pick a country – choose a weapon – or simply throw a dart at a map of the Middle East. You can’t miss finding a battlefield in the Zone war.