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Middle East crisis: Was George Orwell right that war is peace?

Xn Iraki
 George Orwell. [Getty Images]

George Orwell is better known for his book "Animal Farm," where he satirically suggested that "war is peace," a theme also present in his less-known work, "1984." Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, provided insights into the nature of man that may have originated from his diverse life experiences.

He served as a policeman in Burma, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and pursued careers as a teacher and journalist. Born in Bengal, India, Orwell's unique perspective on human nature was undoubtedly influenced by the varied chapters of his life.

The Middle East currently mirrors Orwellian satire. Orwell suggested that through propaganda, citizens could be manipulated into believing that war is peace. It's also conceivable that when war becomes too commonplace, people adapt to it, and it no longer seems unusual.

It's akin to someone from a leafy suburb visiting Eastlands, slums, or rural areas and thinking there is something wrong with the place. Yet, for its inhabitants, it is their home, and they are accustomed to it.

The Middle East has recently become a theater of war, and, hopefully, in an Orwellian context, peace will eventually prevail. Before the widely publicised Israel-Hamas conflict, there were the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars. Additionally, there has been persistent instability in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Let's not forget the instability in Lebanon and the attempted coup in Turkey. Iran and Israel are not allies and have been engaged in a proxy war for years.

The conflicts in the Middle East are cultural, religious, and have external links. The Middle East is a mixture of different cultural groups, including Arabs, Jews, Palestinians, and numerous indigenous communities. Adding to the complexity are two of the world’s major religions: Christianity and Islam, with its Sunni and Shiite factions. Additionally, two of the world’s holiest sites, Mecca and Jerusalem, are located in the Middle East.

Both religions have contested the ownership of some sites like Jerusalem. Middle East is not just about oil but spirituality too. This is an explosive mix. 

The Israel-Hamas conflict is a highly visible aspect of the volatile Middle East, driven by factors such as religion, history, and land. External powers align with both parties, with the West generally siding with Israel and Iran supporting the Palestinians. This geopolitical divide contributes to the region's volatility, turning the Israel-Hamas war into a broader conflict involving the West against Iran and its allies, extending beyond just Israel and Hamas. The one-sided nature of the conflict, with Israel employing overwhelming power, is evident in media images of Gaza and its towns.

This asymmetrical war seems to have unintended consequences. One is that Hamas got easy sympathisers. They have come up with a military strategy - relieve pressure on Gaza by opening new fronts.

That’s an old and tested military strategy. Forest fire fighters use the same strategy. The new fronts are well chosen; to hurt most and draw in by-standers.I am not a military strategists, the closest I got to that was graduating as a serviceman from the National Youth Service (NYS), but I can join dots. 

By attacking Israel from Lebanon, a neighbouring country, Hamas and her Hezbollah allies are awakening the ghosts of Israel infiltration of Lebanon and its consequences and cost. They also know that Syria is not far, and is an ally of Russia. 

Add the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah have umbilical cords to Iran. Should Israel defend her border with Lebanon or continue pulverizing Gaza? 

The second front is psychological. By keeping tabs on the number of dead and injured in Gaza, Israel is getting a bad name. The numbers are too high compared with the number killed when Hamas attacked Israel. That’s perhaps why South Africa has taken Israel to The Hague, adding to bad publicity.  

The third front and most potent are the Straits of Hormuz and The Bab el-Mandeb by the Red Sea. The two chokepoints carry lots of oil to global markets including to China. Iran and Houthi rebels in Yemen have disrupted shipping along the two busy sea routes. The consequences are easy to feel. The price of oil and other imports will go up. Supply will be restricted and importers will add the higher transport and insurance costs. Remember Kenya is a net importer. Compare the cost of shipping through the Suez Canal and the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of South Africa. In a country already reeling over high oil prices, another price hike is most unwelcome. 

The rest of the world will feel the economic effect of the Israel-Hamas war and could take sides. That’s what makes the Middle East a powder keg. Who are the allies and funders of Hamas, direct and indirect? Who are the funders of Israel, direct and indirect? Think of bitterness as the number of casualties keeps rising in the Middle East. Hope no one will portray the conflict as religious, pitting Christians against Muslims. Remember the Crusades?

The fourth front is Ukraine. The West is already stretched by Ukraine. More commitments in Gaza, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf, and Yemen would stretch the west further and have political consequences. The USA and UK are going up the polls this year and these wars will be on the ballot box. The number of countries being drawn into the Middle East conflicts directly and indirectly is a reason to worry, and keep many leaders awake. We are awaiting fuel price review eagerly. Will this reflect the effect of the Houthi attack on shipping?

Can the Middle East be pacified? 

Palestinian question has eluded us since the establishment of Israel in 1948. It’s time to confront it head-on. Both Israel and Palestinian supporters must sit and reason together. This planet has enough space for all of us. Did I hear that some Palestinian refugees could be “exported “? A military solution will burn all of us, if not on the battlefront, in our pockets as inflation is driven by oil bites.

Will stretching Israel and her allies on the new fronts relieve Gaza and force Israel to the negotiating table? Will conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, and Yemen reset the world order?  Let’s add that some Christians are invoking Revelation 20:7–10 to explain the ongoing in the Middle East. What does the Quran say about the same? 

 

 is better known for his book "Animal Farm," where he satirically suggested that "war is peace," a theme also present in his less-known work, "1984." Orwell, whose real name was Eric Arthur Blair, provided insights into the nature of man that may have originated from his diverse life experiences.

He served as a policeman in Burma, fought in the Spanish Civil War, and pursued careers as a teacher and journalist. Born in Bengal, India, Orwell's unique perspective on human nature was undoubtedly influenced by the varied chapters of his life.

The Middle East currently mirrors Orwellian satire. Orwell suggested that through propaganda, citizens could be manipulated into believing that war is peace. It's also conceivable that when war becomes too commonplace, people adapt to it, and it no longer seems unusual.

It's akin to someone from a leafy suburb visiting Eastlands, slums, or rural areas and thinking there is something wrong with the place. Yet, for its inhabitants, it is their home, and they are accustomed to it.

The Middle East has recently become a theater of war, and, hopefully, in an Orwellian context, peace will eventually prevail. Before the widely publicised Israel-Hamas conflict, there were the Syrian and Yemeni civil wars. Additionally, there has been persistent instability in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Let's not forget the instability in Lebanon and the attempted coup in Turkey. Iran and Israel are not allies and have been engaged in a proxy war for years.

The conflicts in the Middle East are cultural, religious, and have external links. The Middle East is a mixture of different cultural groups, including Arabs, Jews, Palestinians, and numerous indigenous communities. Adding to the complexity are two of the world’s major religions: Christianity and Islam, with its Sunni and Shiite factions. Additionally, two of the world’s holiest sites, Mecca and Jerusalem, are located in the Middle East.

Both religions have contested the ownership of some sites like Jerusalem. Middle East is not just about oil but spirituality too. This is an explosive mix. 

The Israel-Hamas conflict is a highly visible aspect of the volatile Middle East, driven by factors such as religion, history, and land. External powers align with both parties, with the West generally siding with Israel and Iran supporting the Palestinians. This geopolitical divide contributes to the region's volatility, turning the Israel-Hamas war into a broader conflict involving the West against Iran and its allies, extending beyond just Israel and Hamas. The one-sided nature of the conflict, with Israel employing overwhelming power, is evident in media images of Gaza and its towns.

This asymmetrical war seems to have unintended consequences. One is that Hamas got easy sympathisers. They have come up with a military strategy - relieve pressure on Gaza by opening new fronts.

That’s an old and tested military strategy. Forest fire fighters use the same strategy. The new fronts are well chosen; to hurt most and draw in by-standers.I am not a military strategists, the closest I got to that was graduating as a serviceman from the National Youth Service (NYS), but I can join dots. 

By attacking Israel from Lebanon, a neighbouring country, Hamas and her Hezbollah allies are awakening the ghosts of Israel infiltration of Lebanon and its consequences and cost. They also know that Syria is not far, and is an ally of Russia. 

Add the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah have umbilical cords to Iran. Should Israel defend her border with Lebanon or continue pulverizing Gaza? 

The second front is psychological. By keeping tabs on the number of dead and injured in Gaza, Israel is getting a bad name. The numbers are too high compared with the number killed when Hamas attacked Israel. That’s perhaps why South Africa has taken Israel to The Hague, adding to bad publicity.  

The third front and most potent are the Straits of Hormuz and The Bab el-Mandeb by the Red Sea. The two chokepoints carry lots of oil to global markets including to China. Iran and Houthi rebels in Yemen have disrupted shipping along the two busy sea routes. The consequences are easy to feel. The price of oil and other imports will go up. Supply will be restricted and importers will add the higher transport and insurance costs. Remember Kenya is a net importer. Compare the cost of shipping through the Suez Canal and the Cape of Good Hope, the southern tip of South Africa. In a country already reeling over high oil prices, another price hike is most unwelcome. 

The rest of the world will feel the economic effect of the Israel-Hamas war and could take sides. That’s what makes the Middle East a powder keg. Who are the allies and funders of Hamas, direct and indirect? Who are the funders of Israel, direct and indirect? Think of bitterness as the number of casualties keeps rising in the Middle East. Hope no one will portray the conflict as religious, pitting Christians against Muslims. Remember the Crusades?

The fourth front is Ukraine. The West is already stretched by Ukraine. More commitments in Gaza, Lebanon, the Persian Gulf, and Yemen would stretch the west further and have political consequences. The USA and UK are going up the polls this year and these wars will be on the ballot box. The number of countries being drawn into the Middle East conflicts directly and indirectly is a reason to worry, and keep many leaders awake. We are awaiting fuel price review eagerly. Will this reflect the effect of the Houthi attack on shipping?

Can the Middle East be pacified? 

Palestinian question has eluded us since the establishment of Israel in 1948. It’s time to confront it head-on. Both Israel and Palestinian supporters must sit and reason together. This planet has enough space for all of us. Did I hear that some Palestinian refugees could be “exported “? A military solution will burn all of us, if not on the battlefront, in our pockets as inflation is driven by oil bites.

Will stretching Israel and her allies on the new fronts relieve Gaza and force Israel to the negotiating table? Will conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, and Yemen reset the world order?  Let’s add that some Christians are invoking Revelation 20:7–10 to explain the ongoing in the Middle East. What does the Quran say about the same? 

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