This weekend's rigged election in Iran as well as the roadblocks thrown up by both the Israeli government and by the Palestinians only all too well prove the major obstacles to real Mideast peace.
In Iran, it was pretty clear that the religious theocratic dictatorship was wary of losing control to a relative social and political moderate who might weaken their control over Iran's population and rigged the election for a win by hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad quickly moved to bring out near martial law sanctions against political rivals and protesters by bringing out goon squads of loyal police units to beat protesters and to make mas arrests of some political rivals and even some Western reporters. In an post-election interview to CNN's Christiniane Amanpour, Ahmadinejad ominously even refused to even guarantee the safety of moderate opposition candidate, Mir-Hossein Mossavi. In a phony bid to quiet the violence, one major cleric promised to possiby have the election results examined for fraud reports. Moussavi had as much as a 58% to 60% lead in most pre-election polls, however only supposedly garnered less than 40% of the vote on election day suggesting widespread vote count fraud. Amazingly, with the total absense of voting machine in Iran, the Ahmadinejad government claimed that 40 million ballots that needed to be hand counted were all counted and Ahmadinmejad proclaimechimself as the winner. The fact of the matter is that few if any ballots were ever counted by the Ahmadienjad government. Ahmadinjad's government also declared themselves to be victors among areas where he was highly unpopular such as among higher educated voters, more affluent voters and the young.
In Israel, both Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his Palestinian counterparts continue to throw up huge barriers to any eventual two-state solution to the long running conflict creating since the 1948 war that created the modern state of Israel. One major issue is security. Israel is only 11 mile wide in it's most narrow point, and with a growing population of immigrants from around the world settling into little Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu continue to allow new Israeli settlements to ruin and complicate any chances for a two-sate peace settlement. Further, neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority seem to really prevent radical Palestinians from acquiring rockets or other dangerous arms to send into parts of Israeli towns and cities.
Further, the immense corruption in both the Israeli and Palestinian governments make it very difficult to arrive at an honest peace. Neither corrupt government can be fully trusted. Palestinian officials have a long history of stealing aid from the United States and other countries. And the corrupt government of Binyamin Netanyahu who only narrowly escaped arrest for corruption charges once before, has only replaced the previous government voted out of office due to massive corruption. Neither the Palestinian or Israeli governments are trustworthy or honest governments, where any peace agreement would likely be broken faster than the ink could possiby dry.
But the most serious issue of all remains the issue of Jerusalem. While the city is currently considered as an international city, usually with a Palestinian leadership city council and mayor, the Palestinians like to claim this city as their own and want it to be the capital city for their own nation. However, the city of Jerusalem really has little historical connection to the Muslim faith despite the building of the Al-Asqa Mosque in the city. While the Muslim faith may trace it's roots to around 612A.D. after the prophet Mohammed when he claimed to receive a call from the Angel Gabriel and organized about 40 followers into the beginning of that faith, the fact of the matter is that the ancient remains of Israeli settlements have been unearthed around Jerusalem that date back as far as 10,500 where grain stores and evidence of permanent settlements have been discovered by archaeologists in the area. According to evidence uncovered by archaeologists, real proof of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of Judea and Samaria with Jerusalem as the capital city exist, while the Koran itself makes no mention at all of the city of Jerusalem. During a conquest by the Roman army, Jews lost control of this city as it was put under the control of Rome.
The fact of the matter is that it is highly unlikely that the religious leadership will give up their theocratic dictatorship control in Iran and allow the young people, middle class, upper class or highly educated to establish a modern democracy there. This leadership will keep a lackey like Ahmadinjad in power and still pursue nuclear weapons. And in Israel, massive corruption among both the Israeli and Palestinian political leadership, serious security issues, as well as Jerusalem only damn any good chances for peace. The Mideast is a real powder-keg in search of someone to throw a match to blow the area into conflict.
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