The original Bush invasion of Iraq occurred at a time when conflict in the Middle East focused mainly upon Muslims focusing upon Israel or western Christian groups. Today, in 2014, the central conflict in the Middle East is Muslim vs Muslim. The defeat of Sunni Saddam Hussein, who had kept minority Sunnis under close control, resulted in triumph of Shiites who were determined to take revenge upon Sunnis who had for too long ruled over them. Syria was controlled by Sunni leaders such as the Assad family, but they were very secular in attitude and governance. Any demonstration of religion was for show purposes. The Assad clique had close working relations with secular Sunnis and Christians, and they were deeply concerned about rise of any Islamic religous figures. There regime was the perfect Muslim nation in which religion played a secondary role to that of power and prosperity. Bashar Assad married a very secular woman, and enjoyed the life of a modern upper class person. Yes, he attended the mosque, more for a photo op than for any deep involvement in religious issues.
The Middle East today is witnessing a new manifestation of older Sunni vs Shiite strugles. Shiites constitute about 15% of Muslims in the world, and a large percent of this group is located in the Middle East– Iran and Iraq. Islamic militants which swept into northern Iraq were Sunnis who resented loss of power in that nation to the Shiites. Hamas is as geatly opposed to the Egyptian government as it is to the Israelis. In Libya the conflict is between more secular Muslims vs more religious centered ones. The same struggle is dividing Tunisia and Algeria. Israel has nothing to do with these conflicts. Muslims are fighting Muslims.
A Shiite dilemma is they only possess power in the Middle East. Sunis dominate the Muslim religion throughout the rest of the world. If Shiites can not gain power in the Middle East it means they will never possess power anywhere in the world. A basic failure on the part of Israel is lack of understanding regarding the Muslim vs Muslim conflict. Instead of seeking alliances with secular Muslims, Israel fails to differentiate because its government views Muslims as some sort of monoithic entity. Israel must accept the Palestinian Authority as a leader in Palestine. It must empower Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and assist his efforts to destroy Hamas. How can this be accomplished?
1. Recognize the state of Palestine.
2. Accept that about 5% of the West Bank will constitute Jewish settlements.
3. Encourage the state of Palestine to forge a military alliance with Egypt in order to crush Hamas in Gaza. Israel could provide drones, and helicopters.
It is time the US and Israel recognied reality in the Middle East. The war to ensure peace must be won by Muslims, NOT Israel!