The Middle East Watches, and Waits, for the Next American President

President Barack Obama, in his address to the annual opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, said that it would be desirable for the Israelis not to develop Palestinian land (settlements) and for the Palestinians to accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. This is true, but also a truism. While everyone knows that there have been fierce ethnic, tribal, sectarian, and national disputes in the Middle East for centuries, most would not know that there has been an almost constant state of war for 4,000 years across much of the area, despite the comparatively stabilizing influence over centuries of the Persian, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman and British and French empires.

As a prominent Lebanese journalist recently reflected, Arabs shriek of crimes and vengeance if an outside power knocks down two Arab houses, but they scarcely react at all in polemical terms as Arabs themselves lay waste whole Arab countries.