THE BLOG

Doing the Right Thing in the Middle East May Be Handing the Job to Someone Who Actually Can

In bad neighborhoods, it can get a bit hard to do the right thing. Like this morning, when I woke up to realize that 100 miles from where I live, hundreds of people were gassed to death in their homes, and if they were lucky, it happened when they were still asleep in their beds. You're shocked and horrified at the news, you feel you must do something, but what can you really do? Anything you do or say might be used against you, and you've already seen what has happened when giants like the U.S. have tried to get involved.

When you live in a good neighborhood, you can develop many theories about doing the right thing and try them out from time to time. But when you're a good guy living in the middle of a bad neighborhood, you can't really afford to try something out and be wrong.

In my neighborhood, more than 100,000 people died in the past two years in the name of freedom and democracy. These are two beautiful words, but unfortunately, most inhabitants of Arab countries have no real idea what they mean.

In my neighborhood, terrorists and dictators believe that only they deserve human rights, and women are killed "in the honor of their families" as a way of life. In my neighborhood, the most enlightened leader, Erdogan, holds a world record in arresting journalists and is a proud anti-Semite.

In a neighborhood such as this, it's a bit hard to do the right thing, or even to say the right thing, because autocratic leaders only wait for some outsider to say something they'll be able to twist, and divert the anger of the masses towards the Satanic West or the Jews, in order to strengthen their position.

In a neighborhood such as this, you can't expect the neighbors to behave according to western mentality, and you have to accept the fact that they have one of their own. Maybe that's why all the solutions suggested by the West until now, have been so wrong.
In a neighborhood such as this, millions of people live under the fear of being executed, tortured, oppressed, and 8-year-old girls are being sold to marriage every day because they have families to support, and it's just the way things work.

The oppressive, violent mentality is something the West cannot understand, and maybe it's a good thing that it doesn't. But perhaps this means that we shouldn't even expect the U.S. to be the one to come up with a solution in the Middle East. It just might be better to expect the Arab league to solve the problems in the Arab world, because it needs the relations with the West and it understands the mentality, which the West simply can't.

It seems no one can stop the horrific developments in Syria, while thousands are being slaughtered every week. The EU is frozen and scared, and only offers politically correct statements that won't really change anything. The UN is polluted with hypocrisy and block-votes that have prevented it from doing the right thing since the Arab Spring began. And the U.S. seems to really want to do the right thing, but doesn't know what the right thing is, as it cannot seem to understand the mentality, being so different from its own.

Maybe it's because most people in the West think democracy and a liberal society are one and the same, whereas in the Arab world, in democratic style elections the public has more than once opted for a religious society, which is traditional and closed.

Since countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey have many mutual interests with the West, maybe the best way to solve the problems in the Middle East is to let the Arab League handle it, as it understands the mentality better than everyone else. If the Arab League will form an alliance like NATO, excluding Iran, and including Turkey in its natural place, it might actually be able to reach a stable solution for the area, in a way that will at least work. After nearly three years of turmoil, it's quite clear that it's not an issue the EU, the UN, the U.S. and definitely not Israel can solve.

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