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A major region for Middle East rivalries, and for Israel's paramount importance to the people of the world

Reader comment on item: The Iran Deal Is 'Bizarre' and 'Wretched'
in response to reader comment: Pluses and minuses

Submitted by Michael S (United States), Aug 4, 2015 at 02:29

Hello, Anon. You said,

the things in favor are Iran's demographics and pro Western populace that are natural enemies of the worst actors in the middle east from Saudi Arabia to PAkistan to Isis. In the long run countries like Saudi arabia and Pakistan are the real unplacatable foes of Israel.

I will answer this as briefly as I can.

First of all, the situation in the Middle East has little to do with demographics. One look at a map ought to tell you this: Israel, the only Jewish nation on the planet, having about 10 million people, is surrounded by 22 Arab nations with about 360 million people. Those nations have tried repeatedly to wipe Israel off of the face of the earth, but have not only failed but have been defeated time after time. In spite of this, Israel has countless times been labelled as an aggressor, and has been the subject of international demands to cede lands to the Arab aggressors to create for them a 23rd Arab state. None of this makes any sense, from a demographic point of view.

A far better understanding of the situation is to view it historically. There are some countries in the region of tremendous historic significance. One of these is Iraq, which is divided into a Shi'ite south and a Sunni north. The northern portion is renowned for having been the seat of the Assyrian Empire, which flourished around 850 BCE. They contributed nothing of lasting cultural value to the world. The southern portion, however, was the site of the Civilization of Sumer, whose records in cuneiform writing, dating back to around 3,500 BCE, are the oldest writing in the entire world. These writings include a Creation Epic, a Flood Epic and several early legal codes. Sumerian civilization extended into Elam, in modern-day Iran.

The Israeli Jews speak a language closely akin to that of the ancient Phoenicians, with whom they shared an alphabet that was ancestral to all the alphabets of the world. Their monotheistic religion, together with their principal holy book, Torah, has formed the basis of Christianity, Islam, modern Judaism, Mormonism and other religions, in total followed by over half the world. Tradition says that Torah was first recorded around 1400 BCE; and manuscripts of nearly all of it, nearly identical to modern manuscripts, date back to before 200 BCE. The Muslim holy book, Qur'an, by comparison, was not put to pen before the 7th Century CE.

Other countries in the region boast somewhat ancient cultures, notably the Egyptians and, as you have pointed out, the Pakistanis. Few of these have left much of a heritage in modern times. Evidence of even the existence of the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan did not even surface until recently, and their writing has not been deciphered. Egyptian hieroglyphics were deciphered in the 19th Century; but neither their writing nor their writing has stood the test of time. The Hebrew language of Israel, by contrast, is a living language -- spoken by the entire population and written in a variant of Phoenician writing hundreds of years older than the Arabic script used from Senegal to Malaysia.

These are the things that give Iran-Iraq, on the one hand, and Israel on the other, outsized significance in the region; and in the case of Israel, a preeminent position in the eyes of the whole world. It also goes a long way, to explain the rivalry among the states there.

Submitting....

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