Oct 6, 2009

Beauty and the Beast in the Middle East

by Tim Mattingly

There is something darkly magical about the Middle East, and it is not their falafels. A terrible tale of woe is being woven before the world’s eyes, whose characters are strangely similar to those of Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

That is, if Beauty in the Beast’s “G” rating stands for gratuitous violence.

The “Beast” of the Middle East, is none other than Israel — a nation surrounded by a wolf-infested forest of conflict and hatred. Led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel is constantly forced to bare its claws, flash its fangs and bristle in self-preservation.

As the perilous plot thickens in the Middle East, Israel’s deepest growl is reserved for Iran and its president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Like Gaston, Ahmadinejad desires the blood of the Beast, but he is not waving torches and pitchforks. The Iranian president is waving nuclear warheads.

“If everything taking place right now on the Iranian front continues as expected, it is then that Israel will need to make one of its most difficult decisions ever — to attack Iran or allow it to continue with its nuclear program,” the Jerusalem Post reported Sept. 29.

Whether the Israeli Beast will bite Iran’s Gastonian throat depends entirely on upcoming dialogue between the world’s leading powers, according to the Jerusalem Post.

However, Netanyahu is skeptical about the United Nations’ ability to maintain peace, saying it “stood poised to destroy the foundations of the Middle East peace process by denying Israel its right to self-defense,” according to Israel Today.

The Beast is expected to act with force in Spring 2010 if Gaston does not call off his hunt for nuclear technology, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“Israel is always close to a strike, because Israel cannot afford to be asleep,” former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dan Gillerman said, according to Fox News. “Taking words from your president, yes we can. And if absolutely necessary, and if all other options are exhausted, yes we will. Israel cannot live with a nuclear Iran.”

Amidst this middle-eastern chaos and conflict twirls a beauty in her blue dress of democracy. Naturally, America is Belle, caught between the Beast and Gaston in the Middle-Eastern conflict.
But President Barack Obama is at the beginning of his political story, and like Belle, wants “so much more than they’ve got planned” — he is neither pro-Beast, nor pro-Gaston.

On one hand, Obama is put-off by Iran’s nuclear advances, seeing it as a threat since the new facility is the perfect size for producing nuclear weapons, according to the UK Guardian. He also promised “serious, meaningful engagement with Iran,” on the issue of nuclear development, according to Fox News.

However, Obama also rebuked Israel and the military action in the Middle East.

“America does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” Obama said in a speech to the United Nations on Sept. 23, according to Fox News.

Currently, Jerusalem is classified as an “Israeli settlement.”

To make matters worse, Iran is “evolving a plan” that could further separate America’s ties to Israel. Like Gaston, the wheels in Iran’s head have been turning in a political plot against Belle’s sickly father — the American economy.

Iran’s Major-General Mohammad Ali Jafari promised to “impose control on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz,” if there was “confrontation over Iran’s nuclear program,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Every day, 17 million barrels of U.S. oil pass through the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, according to the Herald. Through this, Iran is threatening to throw America’s “wacky old coot” of an economy further into the financial loony bin.

“After this action, the oil price will rise very considerably, and this is among the factors deterring the enemies,” Jafari said, according to the Herald.

Through this tactic, Iran is pitting the Beast against Belle’s father. America is at the drawbridge of its future and now must choose between its Israeli ties and its economy.

Conflict comes crawling through the mist, through the woods, through the darkness and the shadows of the Middle East. And tensions rise with Ahmadinejad’s constant cry to “kill the Beast.” While Israel knows Gaston is coming in advance, it remains to be seen how it will react if Belle and the rest of the world stay on the sidelines.

Contact Tim Mattingly at tmattingly@liberty.edu.

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