Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pirates of the Arabian

Two world events point to impending conflict in the Middle East, specifically an Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear facilities. First, Israeli PM Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak met secretly with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman. Israel needs an air route to Iran. American allies of Jordan and Iraq provide one means to the target.

Israel needs quiet on all other fronts, Gaza, Syria and Lebanon. Jordan pushed the Arab Peace plan, on the table since 2002. Israel dusted it off. Dangling the prospect of peace might tamp down widespread retaliation.

Second, pirate attacks in the Arabian Sea off Somalia are way up. The U.S. Navy used to patrol this huge area. While they couldn't protect every ship, they kept pirates somewhat under control. The uptick in piracy means the Navy isn't there. Where did they go? Maybe the Persian Gulf? We will be ready to contain the blow back from an Israeli strike.

President Bush and Prime Minister Olmert meet this coming week. The two pariahs could finish their dwindling terms with a bang. They have no popularity to lose. Will the heavy handed pair pursue peace through war? If so, they'll need minions.