Published On: Wed, Oct 26th, 2016

Healing a War-torn Middle East

Over a million killed, millions more displaced. No stability of governments, nor any semblance of democracy. Young boys being forced to fight, others killed mercilessly as collateral damage in drone strikes. Cultural heritage sites have been bulldozed or destroyed by bombs. Women are being raped, abducted, or widowed, becoming heads of their families all of a sudden.

This is the sad picture of many countries in the Middle East these days, as various wars have torn them apart. There are sad similarities in these different cases: Dictators who are at the highest ranks of a kleptocracy rule for decades, until rebels take up arms. The rebels also have vested interests too, such as the promotion of their kind of Islam – the Houthis of Yemen and the Hezbollah are both Shia militant groups, while the Taliban, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), and the Muslim Brotherhood are Sunni Islamists – or the aim to control resources, or a seat of government.

  cartoon Carlos Latuff

cartoon Carlos Latuff

How do we heal countries torn by decades-old wars?

Perhaps most urgent is a commitment among the advocates of democracy and peace to stop participating in these wars. Over the past years, the United States has often found itself in wars that it should have nothing to do with. Notably, the rebels find weapons and transportation somehow, and advanced ones at that, the kind that the United States is known for manufacturing.

After all, US’ military complex is the largest and most sophisticated across the globe, and not a few entities have pointed to its record in profiting from war. Especially in the era of George W. Bush, we saw how war-mongering got us into this deep quagmire that is the Middle East situation.

In Iraq, we accused Saddam Hussein of possessing weapons of mass destruction, and blasted the propaganda across the globe. We toppled his regime. We killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, and lost thousands of our own armed forces. In all likelihood, we made many orphans out of children, and widowers and widows out of men and women, and for nothing, because it turned out, we were wrong.

In Afghanistan, we fought the Taliban, and propped up the groups we support. It’s a 13-year war that killed tens of thousands.

Have we ever apologized for the misery we have caused these nations? Have we installed a social support network to provide livelihood to the people? Have we stopped meddling in their affairs? Something tells me that it is high time that we do.

Author’s Note: Rick Kimball is a firm believer of freedom and the importance of fighting for it. That is why he enjoys writing about history on his blog, Rick Kimball’s War, Peace and Freedom Blog.

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