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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Thomas Friedman, "Without Water, Revolution": It Took Tom Terrific Two Years to Get It Right

In a May 2011 New York Times op-ed entitled "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/22/opinion/22friedman.html?ref=opinion), Thomas Friedman, writing from Beirut, told us that the protestors being gunned down by Assad's monstrous regime were seeking "democracy":

"More than in any other Arab country today, the democracy protestors in Syria know that when they walk out the door to peacefully demand freedom they are facing a regime that has no hesitancy about gunning them down."

This was all about "Democracy protestors"? I wrote in response (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2011/05/thomas-friedmans-they-shoot-horses-dont.html) that Friedman's explanation was "a facile depiction of a rebellion having its roots elsewhere." I continued:

"Notwithstanding demands by demonstrators for greater political freedom, the Assad regime is being brought down by the failure of its economy. Syria's agricultural sector employs some 30 percent of its labor force, and much emphasis has been placed in recent years on achieving food self-sufficiency and stemming rural migration. However, Syria's most important cash crop is cotton, which demands much water, and a five-year drought has had catastrophic consequences."

Was I invited to the State Department to expound upon my thoughts? A phone call? Heck no! Why do they need someone like me when they can depend upon a persistent stream of drivel from would-be Middle East experts such as Tom Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.

Fast forward two years: Thomas Friedman today has finally gotten around to acknowledging the effects of the drought in Syria. In an op-ed entitled "Without Water, Revolution" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/19/opinion/sunday/friedman-without-water-revolution.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0), Friedman now writes:

"Then, between 2006 and 2011, some 60 percent of Syria’s land mass was ravaged by the drought and, with the water table already too low and river irrigation shrunken, it wiped out the livelihoods of 800,000 Syrian farmers and herders, the United Nations reported. 'Half the population in Syria between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers left the land' for urban areas during the last decade, said Aita. And with Assad doing nothing to help the drought refugees, a lot of very simple farmers and their kids got politicized."

An answer to the drought and the swelling population in the Middle East? Simple: Israeli desalinization technologies.

Question: Will Muslim countries throughout the Middle East agree to erect desalinization plants based upon the technologies of the "descendants of apes and pigs," or, will they prefer to see their agriculture and economies ravaged?

The answer is simple. Chaos will continue to reign, but here I should also acknowledge that I was wrong in the past. I anticipated that Sunni rebel forces in Syria would sweep away Assad's army, consisting primarily of Sunni conscripts led by Alawite officers. I did not take into account that Iran would order Hezbollah shock troops into the fray on the side of Assad, which have been countered with Sunni jihadists from around the Muslim world, who are supported by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar.

In effect, a new theater with a resultant stalemate has been created in the Iran - Saudi Arabia proxy war, not entirely unlike the Sa'dah War in Yemen.

1 comment:

  1. Well, as Begin supposedly said in a similar matter, (paraphrasing) "The best of luck to both sides."

    Do I want to see women and children killed? Of course not. Do I want to see two enemies bleeding each other dry? Hell yes.

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