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Name: Deepak Jes

Paper: Middle Eastern Politics


Middle East politics are quite a furor anywhere they are given a mention. Several
definitions of what is going on in the region have come up with much speculation on how
external forces play a role. Some accuse the west of biases while others blame the societies as
being fundamentalists with their traditions taking precedence. Whatever the real issue is, there
are some attributes that cannot be denied. The people in the Middle East have to endure
stereotyping by the west and condemnations from the liberal Arab states for taking different
sides. Their protection of the land they own is considered as terrorism. The issue of Israel has
also placed a significant taint in the involvement of the US into issues regarding the Middle East.
They have changed tactics within the last few decades as they seek to satisfy their domestic
politics (Lesch, 2007). They know that peace in the Middle East will translate to more business
at lower prices as each country will have proxy governments, controlled by sanctions from the
Western countries. Israel is already a compromised state for the western world since it represents
their interests at hand. With Palestine as a thorn in their relationships, the US looks at a possible
truce as a sign of increased business and an additional proxy state in the region (Looney, 2009).
However, Arab countries will obviously refuse such attempts because they understand the
interests of the US come first before the peace in any country can be assured. For instance, the
Taliban, once funded by Americans, overrun a country and became a hub for terrorism activities.
Nonetheless, something catches ones attention in the way the Middle East is portrayed to
the outside world, and especially by the Western media. As Said stipulates, the perceptions that
overrun the minds of many are of vicious militants ready to kill to protect what they believe

MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS

(Said, 1997). Generalizations skew the perception of the Muslim community, and they speculate
that the Middle East is a hub for all the terrorists in the world. What matters is the way the west
views them. Their stands are not taken into consideration at all. They provide information that
degrades the Middle East, and this goes along the way in forming opinions over what the Middle
East occupants want or what their opinions are towards politics and life. Though most of the
bombings aimed at the US and other Western countries were carried out by the Muslims, it is
crucial to understand that this was retaliation over their ignored grievances (Telhami & Barnett,
2002). The west has provided an ideal lifestyle and expects all countries to emulate. They
disregard the traditions of these nations. As Ali stipulates, the fundamentalists want a portion of
their traditions to pass on to other generations (Ali, 2003). Though Marrar writes about two states
pushed upon by the US, there is much more than what the Americans want (Marrar, 2008). They
have for a long time supported the Israelis against the Palestinians and this skews their allegiance
to the turn of events. If they do, the media will nonetheless portray them as puppets, and if they
refuse, they are branded as extremists.
If the US supports a country, it is seen as the superpower taking steps towards world
peace. If a country, for example, Iraq or Iran, supports Afghanistan or Palestine, they are enemies
of peace. Said states clearly that the generalizations put across by the media and the West do not
help in making relations any better (Said, 1997). They are frisked in public, humiliated in a
country that prides itself in respect for human rights and segregated from national duties just by
association. The media, and more so those in power, have created a link between Arabs, Muslim,
and terrorism that gets difficult to shed off every new day. They complicate relations between
Muslims and other religions (Looney, 2009). They view Islam as an aggressive religion that
advocates for war rather than peace and this makes it difficult to alienate religion from the people

MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS

themselves. This leads to mixed emotions, which may nonetheless prove too difficult to bear in
the long run (Lesch, 2007). The Islam will feel a need to retaliate and protect their religion, as
well as their territories. This may lead to more loss of lives and will go against what each side
preaches. However, the perception created cannot be shaken by their retaliation. It will only
aggravate the situation further.
Truly, there are instances where Muslims have carried out attacks on innocent civilians.
These cases receive the greatest attention from all leading media houses. However, any atrocities
carried out against the Muslim have gone accounted for and, in fact, are praised as part of
cleansing the world against insurgents. The Iraqi invasion both in the early 1990s and the early
millennia were considered as the best way of quelling the rising tensions emanating from the
region (Lesch, 2007). They descended on them with all their manpower, inflicting more pain on
innocent civilians than they would like to admit. However, no one could condemn them because
they were fighting the enemy. If the Muslims retaliate, it becomes acts of terrorism. As Telhami
opines, the western world places the governments at near-destructive positions while allowing
their allies to enjoy maximum benefits from the collaborations (Telhami, 2003). The people and
public opinion for that matter are ignored with each country left to survive. On the other hand,
the international community, mainly the west imposes sanctions on these governments.
As such, the Middle East politics are mainly a game of perceptions, mainly influenced by
the media and western diplomats. The international community has done little to quell the
situation and realign allegiances. Instead, they succumb to the will of a few and condemn the
majority. If the world is to experience any peace, the prejudices that each community holds
against the other should be shed of first, and peace prevails as a way of bring everyone on board.
Whether the US or the Western nations work against the unity of certain Arab countries, it is

MIDDLE EASTERN POLITICS

paramount that each country maintains peace. If one country is at war, it will affect the neighbors
directly and indirectly. Peace is the best solution, not inflammatory sentiments.
References
Ali, T. (2003). The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity. London:
Verso.
Lesch, D. W. (2007) .The Middle East, And the United States: A Historical and Political
Reassessment. London: Westview Press.
Looney, R. E. (2009). Handbook of US-Middle East relations: formative factors and
regional perspectives. New York, NY: Routledge.
Marrar, K. (2008). Arab Lobby and US Foreign Policy: The Two-State Solution. New York,
NY: Routledge.
Telhami, S. (2003). The Stakes: America in the Middle East, the Consequences of Power and
the

Choice for Peace. Boston, MA: Basic Books.

Telhami, S., & Barnett, M. N. (2002). Identity and Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Ithaca,
NY: Cornell University Press.
Said, E. W. (1997). Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine how We See the
Rest of the World. New York, NY: Vintage Books.