If you’ll allow a non-COVID-19 message, for my own sanity, I’d like to go back to a less complicated reality, that of elusive peace in the Middle East (sarcasm).  I’ve been pondering key events over the last hundred years that have placed us where we are today:
  • 1916 Sykes-Picot
  • 1917 Balfour Declaration
  • 1948 Israel becomes a nation, the Palestinians declare Nakba
  • 1967 Six Day War, commensurate with Naksa
  • 1972 Olympic massacre
  • 1973 Arab-Israeli War
  • 1979 Return of Ayatollah Khomeini to Iran and taking of U.S. hostages
  • 1983 Beirut Marine Bombing
  • 1990 Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iraq
  • 2001 September 11
  • 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan
  • 2003 US invasion of Iraq
Of all these dates, I find 1948 and 2001 the most impactful, but 1979-80 the most intriguing.  Why?  Because in addition to developments in Iran that year, Saddam Hussein came to power, Sadat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Egypt’s peace with Israel (then assassinated two years later), and I would argue that the singular event of the Grand Mosque in Mecca being overrun by radicals forever shaped the mentality of the House of Saud.  The country itself became more radicalized and subjugated its spiritual mandate to that of ultra conservatives who allowed Al-Qaeda to germinate and fester under their watch.  In my time in the Middle East it seems that very few people know much about the attack, which was thoroughly covered up.  That this assault on Islam’s Vatican appears only as a subtle footnote forty years later baffles me.  Thoughts?