Sitting at home in the United States reading newspaper reports about the violence occurring in the Middle East seems almost unreal. I know that at least for me, it is hard to imagine that people living in that area are accustomed to this violence and that their lives are being altered as we speak. We don’t see this sort of ‘warfare’ in the US quite as much as people throughout the Middle East do. Imagining a world where car bombs are common and assassinations of military officials is not out of the ordinary is hard to wrap your head around. But for people living in these war torn areas of the Middle East, this is a grim prospect they face on a daily basis. Most recently, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, and Syria have seen much violence.
Most people who have kept up with recent news in the Middle East have almost definitely heard of the uprising in Syria. Since its beginnings rooted in the Arab Spring revolutions, protests and violence have broken out between what are being called different terrorist groups and their opposers. Demonstrations against the Syrian government have also broken out. All of these events have lead to upwards of 45,000 deaths. Recent destruction in nearby countries has lead to much concern over the spillover of this violence into neighboring countries.
One of these countries is Lebanon, which borders Syria to the North-West. During the most recent act of violence, a car bombing went off in the capital city in what is now being called an assassination of one of Lebanon’s top intelligence officers. Many are pointing fingers at Syria’s president for the responsibility of this act. This event is similar to past assassinations in which top political figures have been targets of terrorist organizations. Many see these acts as pulling Lebanon into the Syrian turmoil and have been calling the Syrian conflict a regional one.
Israel is another nation which many see as being threatened by Syrian violence. To the north, Israel has seen much distance between its neighbor, Lebanon. Israelis believe Hezbollah operatives hiding out in Lebanon are to blame for violence on the border. This has lead heightened security at the border. Due to Hezbollah’s infiltration into Lebanon and Israel’s strong opposition of them, Israel has remained at close watch for any eruption of violence from them.
To the south, most recently mortars and rockets have been shot into Israel from Gaza. This may be an internal affair for Israel, but the violence definitely coincides with the trend of violence in that region. At least 4 Palestinians have been killed by Israel rockets that have fired back. This destruction has led Israel to fortify all homes by the border, shut down schools, and send citizens into bomb shelters. Currently, Israel is continuing preventative actions, but as for future violence, it seems very uncertain.
This violence is definitely affecting the upcoming presidential elections. President Obama and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney have both said that they will stand with Israel if they are attacked. Both candidates foreign policy issues are of big concern for many American voters and are also being watched by people around the world. Due to the US’s total commitment to Israel, future violence may drag us into closer ties with Israel.
The Iron Dome is another issue tying the US to this region. President Obama has increased funding for this initiative, which intercepts rockets and acts as a safety barrier for violence. With the recent rocket strikes on Israel, this support system has come in great use. Since the security cooperation between the US and Israel has grown so strong recently, the outcome of the recent violence in Israel will have a definite impact on the US.