Unrest, Upheavals, MassacresThe universe is unfolding as it will. It is summertime in the Northern Hemisphere. People complain of hot, steamy weather, of tornado watches, hurricane winds, ongoing heavy rain events causing flooding and much inconvenience. And then there are bus crashes, train wrecks, and the unfortunate deaths of passengers; unforeseen events that bring tragedy to peoples' lives.
Everything is relative; no point telling people who are injured and concerned over their future that they will have a future; elsewhere many do not.
In Nigeria the mostly Muslim city of Kano had an explosion in an entertainment area in the Christian quarter. According to hospital officials in Kano at least 24 people died. A spokesman for the Military Joint Task Force blamed the attack on suspects from the Islamist extremist Boko Haram network. It is dangerous to be a Christian these days in majority Muslim communities in North Africa and the Middle East.
But on the other hand, it is also dangerous to be a Muslim in any Middle Eastern or North African country of Muslim majority. In Shia-ruled Syria it is dangerous to be a Sunni Muslim. In Iraq, al-Qaeda ensures there is danger in being a Shia Muslim. In Pakistan and Afghanistan the Taliban ensure that danger exists for all Muslin civilians whose misfortune it is that they are not adequately Islamist.
Al Quada's Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has proudly taken credit for a wave of cross-country bombings that succeeded in destroying the lives of at least 58 individuals, predominately Shia Muslim. There were no fewer than eighteen blasts that took place across the country in just the latest surge of violence that has swept the country since April, during which time over three thousand people have died.
The death toll for July alone -- not yet over, and encompassing Ramadan, the sacred celebratory Islamic calendar -- 680 people have met their miserable end of life. "Iraq is bleeding from random violence, which sadly reached record heights during the holy month of Ramadan", said Gyorgy Busztin, acting United Nations' envoy to Iraq. The fears are that these atrocities might shove the country "back into sectarian strife", as though that is not already occurring.
In Syria, there are credible, evidence-based claims that the Alawite (Shia) regime of Bashar al-Assad's arming of his Shia supporters has led to wholesale massacres of Sunni civilians, entire families wiped out by pro-regime military shabiha, competing for notice as the most brutal of bloodthirsty slaughterers with the Al-Nusra terrorists eager to return to them what they have done to the Syrian Sunnis.
And in Tunis, gunmen ambushed a Tunisian army patrol killing at least eight soldiers on Jebel Chaambi, Tunisia's highest 1,500-metre mountain close by the Algerian border. Where an intensive military operation in search of militants took place in the spring. "An entire patrol carrying out a search operation in this mountainous region was decimated", presidential spokesman Adrian Mancer announced.
The attackers took possession of the soldiers' weapons after slitting their throats.
And in Egypt, conflict between Islamists and other members of the population who have spurned the administration of the Muslim Brotherhood -- calling in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to remove President Mohammed Morsi -- approximately 250 people have died over the past several weeks, spurred on by Islamist fervor not to surrender their all-too-brief ruling advantage.
The newly-appointed, interim cabinet has stated pro-Morsi rallies and sit-ins are "no longer acceptable". The interior ministry has been charged to take "all legal measures" to disperse the sit-ins and "confront acts of terrorism and road blocking." The Muslim Brotherhood has responded by describing that initiative as "terrorism".
"Morsi loyalists will continue their sit-in, and no threats will frighten them. The military coup is the terrorism", said Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Ahmed Aref.
And in Washington, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met for two days to gently hammer out some preliminary-to-peace-negotiations guidelines, at the State Department. Wined and dined by Secretary of State John Kerry, and receiving the White House stamp of approval from President Barack Obama, $4-billion has been pledged by the U.S. to aid in creating infrastructure and employment in the West Bank.
"A viable two-state solution is the only way this conflict can end. And there is not much time to achieve it", said Mr. Kerry. The Palestinians to have their state based on pre-1967 borders with agreed land swaps, and Israel to be assured security, and a long-overdue recognition of its status as a Jewish state. As for the issues relating to 'right of return' and east Jerusalem, there is where peace will flounder.
The Arab and Muslim world cannot find peace within itself. How likely is it that the Palestinians who believe that Israel sits on Palestinian land will finally agree to a settlement and find peace with a Jewish State?