I live beside a large river. One time, looking over the bank, on a ledge a few feet below my feet was a tangle of Water Snakes. Twenty. Thirty. A lot. They were so ensnarled, resting there in the sun, that you could not count them.
When I think of the Mid East today, the image of those snakes comes to mind. A snarled up mess where one cannot connect head to tail. Too many snakes looking to control too small a ledge. Even the small ones are poisonous.
I watch the news and try my best to sort things out. The scorecard constantly changes. First there are the religious teams. All Muslim, of course. There are the Shias. Syria, Iran, most of Iraq. Then there are the Sunnis. Some of Iraq, ISIS, and fellow travelers around the world. Saudi Arabia is Wahabi. Then you have Qatar, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Morocco et alia. It is a snakes nest.
They all go by the theory that, "the enemy of my enemy, is my friend". For now! Tomorrow? We'll see. Throw in an ineffectual United States, leading from way behind, and a testosterone driven, Putin ruled, Russia, and you have a real garbage stew. Hillary wanted to know what FUBAR means. This is the definition.
America's influence started waning, in the area, when Jimmy Carter kicked out the Shah of Iran and turned it over to the mad mullahs. These ideology driven mad men, immediately started attacking the United States verbally and kidnapped and held prisoner the whole staff of the American embassy. Rather than reacting, our government sat paralyzed for over four hundred days. Since then, except the years after 9/11, the US has proven to be weak and ineffectual.
The gap that we left, gave the perfect opening for Vladimir Putin to step in with the Russian military. By doing this, he reaped great benefits. He humiliated Barack Obama. He embarrassed the United States. He immediately gathered Iran and Iraq to his side along with his old friend Syria. He became the hegemon of Mid East power. He made himself the premier world leader. All for an nickel and dime investment.
But here are the puzzlements. Does Putin fully realize that his Mid East buddies are his buddies only because they have a common enemy? Russia is still an infidel country and they will turn them at the drop of a scimitar. When Putin sent rockets against rebel troops in Syria, some hit Iran. Was that an accident? Maybe. Might it have been a warning for the mullahs to behave? Maybe. Will every other country in the area try to befriend Mr. Putin? Probably. Has the United States just lost all influence in the area? Yep!