Please can someone explain in simple terms the "middle east crisis".

(18 Posts)

Piggy backing off an earlier US Politics thread.....

Have never understood the middle east "issue". Is it really about land or religion. Who is right? Who is wrong? Or are there no rights and it is all wrong. How did it start? Why has it not be solved.

I feel awful for not getting it. I tried to wiki it once and got drowned (and probably interrupted by DCs). I will admit to normally hiding my ignorance. But I am ignorant. I could not even begin to explain it to my DC if they asked.

Please help.

TalkinPeace2 Fri 31-Aug-12 21:54:57

Judaism had a set of holy places to the East of the Med.
Out of Judaism rose Christianity which also claimed those same places
Out of those two arose Islam which ALSO claimed those places and lands
Then schisms within each of the religions arose leading to even more conflicting interpretations of the importance, relevance and ownership of the sites and land.
And the buggers have been fighting ever since.

Betelguese Sat 01-Sep-12 13:22:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 01-Sep-12 15:09:58

It's a combination of land disputes, religious and tribal sectarianism, old (often ancient) scores being settled, wealth vs poverty, oppressive political systems and a complex network of alliances and enmities that mean local problems quickly spread elsewhere. The long-running Israel/Palestine problem is a big source of disagreement.

toysoldiers Sat 01-Sep-12 15:15:51

The main issue is the existence of Israel. After the atrocities of the Holocaust there was international feeling that the Jewish people needed a nation of their own. Israel was established in 1948 but at the expense of the Palestinian people who had been living there up until that point. Many were forced into refugee camps, neighbouring Arab nations fought to grab some of the land back and it has been to and fro ever since with aggression on both sides.

To complicate matters, due to powerful & wealthy Jewish lobby in the US, the US have predominantly been on Israel's side throughout, with all the consequences (good and bad) that brings.

Obviously there is more to it than that but it's a start!

TalkinPeace2 Sat 01-Sep-12 17:08:26

There's not a lot of love lost between the Orthodox Christians and the Muslims either
and the fact that all of the national boundaries in the middle east were drawn by the European colonialists with the deliberate aim of dividing ethnic groups - to keep them weak so Oil could be exploited

but yes, the Israel issue : most Americans over estimate the number of Jews in the world (both before and after the holocaust) by a factor of about 100.

A very dear family member of mine estimated there to be around 50 million Jews in the USA - because they are rich and vocal and there are in fact just over 5 million - the same number as there are in Israel !

breadandbutterfly Sat 01-Sep-12 23:06:27

A good comparison to help you understand it is Northern Ireland - a similar situation in that the people there have been fighting over land/religion. In Israel, the situation is made more extreme by the existence of holy sites for both Judaism and Islam (and also Christianity) so the land disputed is not just people's homes but the centres of their faith.

It has been exacerbated by others trying to stir up divisions to draw attention away from other things - eg Middle Eastern dictatorships who would rather demonise Israel than deal with their own inhabitants' lack of rights, poor standards of living etc.

TalkinPeace2 Sun 02-Sep-12 12:02:48

Northern Ireland is rather different in that it was a Catholic Country and the Protestants - who were mostly Scots - we put there by English Landowners to work in the mills. It is no older than the land clearances.
And many catholic kids do not realise that protestants are Christian too - and vice versa

The Middle East will never settle down - there are too many vested interests in keeping it infighting and therefore weak - hence why Russia is supporting Assad

HmmThinkingAboutIt Sun 02-Sep-12 12:22:52

Wow subject and a half!!

The easiest way to look at this is to see a timeline of the main events.
This one by the BBC isn't a terrible summary (though it only goes up to 2005).

Not sure you can really sum it up very easily in the same way as the US election thread, because its gone on for so long and there are so many events that have contributed to the next stage of the conflict.

Betelguese Sun 02-Sep-12 17:00:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

This has been really, really useful thank you. I feel far less uninformed about the whole thing and the BBC timeline really helped put a framework around it.

Thank you all so much. And yes - I now feel able to go and do some further reading without being overwhelmed from the off.

And most importantly, should my DC ask I feel I could give a broad-strokes intelligent answer.

I love MN.

PigletJohn Mon 03-Sep-12 09:20:06

the term "middle east crisis" most often refers to the latest Israel/Palestine based event

Occasionally it refers to the latest oppressive dictatorship being prodded by its inhabitants. If and when an oppressive regime gets overthrown or collapses, its previous allies and supporters can expect to be viewed with disfavour by the new rulers.

MyNeighbourIsStrange Mon 03-Sep-12 09:28:21

Imagine if you were in year 6 at school, you had been sitting in the same seat since reception, your Mum made you nice seat cushions. One day a child from another school arrived, they had been badly bullied at their last school, and their family had attended that school 500 years ago. The teacher felt sorry for the new child, they gave the new child your seat and cushions, and sent you to sit on the floor under the blackboard.

MoreBeta Mon 03-Sep-12 09:38:55

The Middle East Crisis is a fairly modern name applied to a a range of complex locala and global geopolitical issues which western interference has exacerbated.

Typically we think of it in terms as the Israeli - Palestinian conflict to which we might add the ongoing issue with Iran and its nuclear ambitions and even more recently the Egyptian, Moroccan, Libyan and Syrian uprisings.

However, these are only recent manifestations of an ongoing series of crises which Western Govts have a strategic interest in. Think backwards in time to the Iraq War I and II, Iran - Iraq War, Yom Kippur conflict between Israel and Egypt, Suez Crisis, Islamic Revolution when the Shah was deposed, multiple civil wars in places like Bahrain and Lebanon. Think back even further to the time of Lawrence of Arabia. The list of Middle East conflicts and crises goes on and on all the way back to Ottoman Empire and The Crusades.

Fundamentally, it had been about oil in modern times and before that it was about strategic control of trade routes and geopolitical rivalry between major world powers in what is still called The Great Game over who controls the region that lies between China, Russia and Europe. Add to that the conflict between ethnic and religious groupings and and I do not see a resolution in my life time - only periods of relative peace.

breadandbutterfly Tue 04-Sep-12 11:54:13

MyNeighbourIsStrange - not terribly helpful comparison. Don't think the Holocaust is terribly well summed up as being 'badly bullied' and there are no teachers setting the rules in real life.

I'd expect a year 6 child ie aged 10-11 could handle a rather more mature and less facile take on the Israel-Palestine situation.

Not sure you can,though?

andyinlondon Tue 04-Sep-12 12:17:10

and of course don't forget the added complications of oil in the region.
Not in Israel but close by, and that makes other interested parties get involved and muddy the water even further.

PigletJohn Tue 04-Sep-12 13:03:02

it's very depressing that greed need for oil influences the way that other countries interfere.

For example, many of the countries are ruled by unpopular, oppressive, undemocratic regimes, often put in place or maintained by outsiders. Often the oppressed population, will say of, for example, a large, rich and powerful country that prides itself on democracy and freedom "if it's good enough for you, why not us? Why are you propping up these despots? We want democracy and freedom too"

I particularly remember George Dubbya claiming that resentment was caused by hatred of freedom and democracy. This was a travesty.

MoreBeta Tue 04-Sep-12 13:18:51

I do wish we would just stay out of the Middle East and let them sort out their own problems.

I used to work in the oil industry and believe me, these countries will still need/want to sell oil regardless of who is in charge and whether we interfere or not.

We have loads of gas we can use.

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