The Battleground of a New Cold War(1)
Ali Asghar Kazemi
December 21, 2006
A new cold war is appearing on the horizon of international relations where the Middle East is the main arena of confrontation between rival parties. Contrary to the old East-West rivalries during the post Second World War period, the new emerging war is in fact not so much cold and has already claimed the lives of thousands innocent victims around the world. September 11th events at the beginning of the third millennium ushered the doors to the new cold war with a rather anomalous form and terrible consequences.
The main actors of the new cold war are amazingly unequal in terms of military capability and other components of national power. But, one side is caught by the firm obsession of representing the sublime truth which should be propagated throughout the world, while depicting the other as the devil to be destroyed and disappeared from the surface of the globe. Both are somehow conservative with tendency toward religion; but one seeks legitimacy from the outer world while the other relies on earthly rules emanating from the people.
Thus, one side seeing no limit to its sacred mission to convert the whole world to its dogma is ready to sacrifice its human and material resources for God’s will and the sake of its heavenly ideology. The other is ready to pay any price to contain the other’s ambitions, eradicate the threat and to protect its citizens and the sacred values of liberal institutions. Surely an encounter between the two rival parties is beyond imagination and could be awfully terrifying.
The new cold war is a bizarre conflict in which parties to the hostilities do not necessarily engage in a regular classical face to face confrontation and feel no obligation to abide by the rules of warfare. Humanitarian laws and norms have no meaning in this filthy war and no one seems to bother with human consideration and less for the natural environment. This dirty war is gradually getting out of control and the warriors have no intention to cease hostilities.
The center of this new war is now the Middle East region comprising Lebanon on the on hand and Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan on the other. Of course, the hostilities see no frontiers and can occur wherever the interests of the West extend in the world. Since, the problem for one side consists of challenging and changing the prevailing state of order in which Western civilization and the United States are the main architect.
Not long ago a typical contest by proxy took place in this region between Israel as the long arm of the U.S. and Hezbollah Shiite warriors supported by the Islamic regime in Iran. The conflict was bloody and alarming for the West since 33 days after its initiation, Israel’s legendary prowess was unable to crush the fundamentalist Shiites and finally the UN Security Council intervened to impose a cease fire. Indeed, the implications of the conflict continue to affect the political and strategic conditions in this region.
Elsewhere in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan the situation is not better at all and the American might is helplessly caught in an unprecedented quagmire from which it can not disengage without loosing its superpower status. To the fundamentalists Moslems, this is the ominous sign of American decadence in the world. Surprisingly in this contest, the two major factions of radical Moslems, i.e. the Shiites scattered around the Middle East and Sunnites symbolized by Al-Qaeda, are strategically bound together against their Western rivals.
(To be continued… )