Missiles, the changing of alliances, and history

Abdullah bin Bijad al-Otaibi
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The widespread presence of ballistic and non-ballistic missiles has turned into a one-of-a-kind phenomenon in the Middle East; and it is time for it to become a wake-up call for the international community, which must shoulder its responsibility for this phenomenon and the entities behind it or supporting its spread.

Missiles were launched from the north towards the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, which hosts oil sources and oil refining and export factories. Others targeted Saudi Arabia from the south, where the Houthi militias are based. Others were launched from Lebanon towards Israel, then stopped after Hezbollah’s resounding defeat in 2006. Others are still being launched from the Gaza Strip, which is under the complete control of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas movement. Missiles striking US troops in Iraq. Missiles filling up the airspace of the region.

These terrorist missile military acts fall somewhere between a “truce” and “traditional warfare,” but range closer to the latter. Not to mention the continued targeting of international shipping lanes in the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea, which are also part of the aforementioned terrorist military acts, meaning they have not reached the point of traditional warfare. Rather, they are run by a conscious entity that plans and executes with high precision that guarantees it stays far enough from any kind of “truce” or “peace,” but also does not reach the point of full-fledged “traditional warfare,” thus sheltering it from explicit international condemnations.

It is surprising that all investigations at the international, US, and European levels point to the entity responsible for these acts in data, details, dates, and names; yet the West opts for “negotiation” and dialogue instead of sanctions and pressures.

Even more surprising is the West’s tendency to pressure traditional allies, fabricating crises with them and drawing and repeating false information even long after they were exposed and debunked. Knowing history and its cycles, and knowing reality and its challenges and complexities, gives researchers, analysts, and study centers enough space to understand the scene, read the future, and build ideas. It is a totally different space from the one given to decision-makers, who are governed by complicated interests and balances and huge responsibilities that force them to have enough political realism and reason to face challenges and avoid damage.

Thus, understanding political directions, currents, and symbols in major world powers is crucial and vital, especially when decision-makers themselves discuss them in detail. It is also essential to link them to all that has happened in the Middle East over the past few decades, especially in the decade since the emergence of the so-called Arab Spring, which was rather the spring of chaos settling and the demagogy of the masses; a fundamentalist spring whose effects and consequences are still fresh in people’s minds.

Many observers and analysts express their surprise at a decision the size of the US decision to withdraw from Afghanistan and its consequences for the region as a whole. However, this surprise wanes -- but does not disappear -- when it is considered within its political, cultural, and economic context, while also taking into account the publicly available and known stances of stakeholders involved in the making and execution of this decision.

The toppling of Iraq in 2003 had severe repercussions. This may happen again, though in a lesser degree, with the fall of the Afghan political system and all its aspects and effects in the near future.

Lastly, history is a great teacher that doesn’t lie. What history says is that just as alliances develop and grow, they weaken and crumble. This doesn’t happen overnight, though, but rather gradually, with changes that may be slow, but are also certain.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Emirati news outlet Al-Ittihad.

Read more:

Afghanistan and the failure of the political project

Afghanistan and US legacy

Is it the start of a different era in US history?

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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