Our generation has lived with war and conflict in the Middle East for much of our lives. Although these complicated and multifaceted conflicts loom over us, they do often feel very removed from our lives and can be difficult to understand. The combination of religious and political hatred has caused multiple intertwining issues and sometimes it feels as if a news story or article is not enough to capture all of these problems together. For example, the Israeli airstrikes in Syria were not meant to involve Israel in Syria’s 3-year civil war against rebel opposition; rather, the strikes were directed at missiles from Iran. It is rumored that Iran was sending these missiles to Hezbollah, a Lebanese organization, although it is possible that they were Iran’s offering to the Assad government, which is low on missiles. The missiles, known at Fateh-110s, were being stored at the airport in Damascus, Syria on their way to Lebanon. Israel struck there in the hopes of cutting off Hezbollah’s supply of chemical weapons.
Hezbollah is a Shi’a Islamic military and political group based in Lebanon. Several countries, the US and Israel included, consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist group. The organization was created in 1985, inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini’s form of Islam, with the original goal of ending Israel’s occupation in southern Lebanon. Ever since, many of Hezbollah’s leader have sought the destruction of Zionist Israel. The group has strong support within Lebanon’s Shi’a community. Hezbollah is currently helping Syria to drive out rebels, while Israel is unsure of how to handle the growing conflict. Battles are beginning to erupt near the Syria-Israel border in a normally peaceful area, but for now Israel seems more focused on preventing the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah in an attempt to derail their own conflict with the strong Lebanese party.
We can see that Israel’s airstrike to Syria had little to do with their opinions of the Syrian civil war, but regardless, it is clear that all of these conflicts in the Middle East involved several countries, religious views and multiple issues within them. Although it is often difficult to get a clear picture of all that has happened and is happening in such a culturally different and geographically removed area of the world, it is important for our generation to be aware and learn about the various motivations of these conflicts. With all the information we receive about violence and political arguments, it is strange to think that there are many citizens in the Middle East who are similar to us, and are going through many of the same issues that we face as we become college students and move on into the world, but I think it is important that we remember these citizens who must go through these basic difficulties of life while dealing with the increasing lack of safety in many of their homes.