The ‘What-ifs?’ of the Middle East

There are a lot of ‘what-ifs’ bouncing around the Middle East at the moment: speculation and hypothesis are rampant, but even these are subject to constant change and modification. Witness Syria, which renegged on it’s ‘peace plan:’ civilians continue to die each day. Or consider the Muslim Brotherhood, which has officially thrown it’s hat into the presidential election ring after consistent hem-hawing. News giant CNN has even jumped onto the speculation bandwagon, with articles on ‘Why American’s Should Care About Syria’ (which delved into the possible consequences of both pro-action and inaction in Syria) and ‘What if Israel Bombed Iran?’ which starts with,

 “Imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning and discover that during the night. Israeli planes had conducted a bombing raid on Iran. How would your world have changed?”

 In honor of the sort of vague wave of speculation and uncertainty that has rooted itself in the present climate of the Middle East (replacing that wild wave of rioting and violence, although rioting and violence are obviously still continuing in certain countries), let’s take a look at some wild-card, vague what-if possibilities, because, as Kate Capshaw so cheesily reminds us in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, anything goes!

“Anything Goes” from Indiana Jones

The negative what-ifs

What if Salafis overtook the Egyptian government?

Egypt’s Military rulers have pretty much made sure that this won’t ever happen, since they recently disqualified several promising presidential candidates from both the Salafist and Muslim Brotherhood parties. A strong Islamic rule over Egypt thus seems unlikely in the near future, but anything goes in Egypt, where protests seem to ignite every other day and people (a.k.a. the Military government and the police) keep pulling a fast one on the general public. However, if, perchance, this did happen, or a Muslim Brotherhood candidate decided to run less moderately than his party has been appearing to be as of late, the results would be possibly disastrous for Egypt, at least on an international level. Would tourism go back to pre-revolution times, if strict dress was required and Egypt’s clubs and beach resorts disappeared?

 >What if oil disappeared from Saudi Arabia/Middle East?

Ok, so this one isn’t happening relatively soon, but it’s worth throwing it out there anyway. Saudia Arabia itself is not the heyday country of endless public spending that it used to be, back when the oil was first discovered. In some of these countries, oil is the only thing keeping them afloat in the global economy. Take away the oil, and what do they have? Weak economies that don’t even produce food, let alone exports; unskilled (and, in the case of Saudi Arabia, unwilling) workers; and a lack of any other resources. Some of the Arab countries don’t even have natural water supplies, which makes the situation even more precarious. If the despotic and new-regime governments have the people’s (and their own) interests at heart, they should start boosting other sectors of the economy (once the rioting subsides).

>What if Iran bombed Israel?
CNN’s article discusses the possible outcomes of Israel bombing Iran. But what about if Iran somehow managed to bomb Israel? Would there be full-out retaliation (providing that Israel’s weapons weren’t hit?) The USA, in either scenario, would likely get involved-how could they not, seeing as supposed nuclear weapons are at stake and Israel is so closely tied with our government?-but this scenario, out of all the rest, would affect the world the most. Oil prices would probably go up, the Middle East would probably explode (with celebrating? with shame?) into even greater turmoil, and Iran would certainly become even more of a pariah than it already is.
>What if Bashar Al-Assad doesn’t step down?

This is the biggest question of all, and is being asked on a daily basis by the international community. It doesn’t seem likely that the USA/NATO will intervene. The United Nations probably won’t, either; after all, it’s been over a year now and al-Assad is still hanging in there. It seems unlikely that the Syrians will cave in, but a good fact to point out is that, unlike in Libya, where the rebels were strongly against Gaddhafi loyalists, there doesn’t seem to be a huge split between pro-Assad citizens and the protesting body.

…..And now the positive ‘what-ifs’
>What if women were granted equal rights?

Would men lose rights? Would children suffer as their mother’s joined the workforce, gained hobbies, spent less time at home? Would houses go uncleaned and fester, would food go uncooked, would families break down and split apart? Would men have more sex, or less? Would society’s morals scatter to the wind? Would immorality reign? Would women become more competitive and self-absorbed? Would Islam be insulted? Would Middle Eastern society, in effect, cease to exist? No, no, no and, oh, no! There really are only positive benefits to this eternal ‘what-if.’

>What if Israel gave Palestinian’s the right to govern themselves and withdrew?

 At the moment, this seems highly unlikely, given that France’s Le Monde reported that both countries are at an extreme impasse and unwilling to even talk. What with the constant hunger strikes and international media attention, Palestine on any level seems an impossibility. But if Israel did experience a coup de coeur and decide to give freedom to it’s Palestinian brothers, I could only hope that the Middle East would rejoice, and that Muslims and Christians could live side by side as they did in the past (kinda seems impossible in today’s climate, but if it was possible then, it’s possible now!)
>What if Ahmadinejad was no longer president of Iran?

I don’t think it’s a stretch that if the Iranian government was replaced, that Iran would probably embrace freedom and reopen it’s doors to the rest of the world. Is it solely Ahmadinejad that embodies what was started by Khomeini and the Islamic Revolution? Of course not, but it seems that the Iranian government rallies around a central figure to dominate. If revolution did occur in Iran, I believe it would be better organized and a lot more peaceful than the other Arab Spring Revolutions, because the Iranians are proud of their heritage, their religion, and culture and I believe that in the aftermath of such a revolution, that they would quickly unite to form a new, stable government.

All of these what-ifs are important questions. Are my speculations

realistic or not?

Who knows? When it  comes to the Middle East au moment, anything




3 thoughts on “The ‘What-ifs?’ of the Middle East

  1. I heard a report on 60 Minutes that the Christian population in Jerusalem has greatly declined. That alone should tell us something!
    I like your positive what ifs.
    Thought provoking blog.

    1. Sorry for the late reply, and yes around the Middle East the Christian population (like in Iraq) keeps moving away, which is sad because Christianity, after all, orginiated in the Middle East! Thank you for the compliments and yes—I always like “what if?” questions, because I think they’re important to consider.

      1. You are correct. We need to watch the Middle East and keep considering “what if”?

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