An extreme assumption

An extreme assumption

A close friend with very sensitive ears and an extremely analytical brain was expressing worries the other day. “What if something very, very unusual that may change the entire cultural-historical setup of the Middle East takes place?” he asked. I could not understand. “What?” I asked, expecting him to present me with a radically different Egypt analysis or say something on the Syria situation.

“The entire region is on fire. As you frequently say, the armed forces of many big and small states are castrated because of what some call the Arab Spring. The Syria situation is desperate. Under the challenge of the West-supported rebels, the military is unable to look at anything outside. They could not even respond to two Israeli attacks.”

I looked at the face of my friend, wondering where this conversation would lead.

“The Libyan situation is obvious. The air force has been devastated. There was no proper army anyhow. But, with the fall of Moammar Gadhafi it became an uneasy and incapable tribal coalition. Saudis have money and some sophisticated arms systems, but no men to fight. Gulf Arabs, forget them. Jordan and Palestine are the two states with the firmest governments now, but those firm governments are like paper tigers, very vulnerable. The Iraq situation deserves no further elaboration. The deal between Baghdad and the Kurds provided a better situation, but Iraq remains a country in turmoil.”

“There is nothing unknown in what you are saying,” I said, and he exploded: “What if all of a sudden the second holiest site of Islam, the al-Aqsa Mosque collapses into rubble?”

Silence. I could not understand what he was saying and definitely it was beyond my comprehension capability to accept any claim that Israel might undertake such a heinous, suicidal move.

My friend explained that under al-Aqsa, the Israelis have dug many tunnels over the past two decades or so, turning the area into something like a huge gruyere cheese. He said if more digging was done the whole mosque might implode down and vanish. Worse, Israel, my friend claimed, might explain to the world that the mosque collapsed by itself, it could not be blamed, it played no role in the collapse. As even at Camp David the Israelis were demanding sovereignty underneath al-Aqsa while giving sovereignty above ground to the Palestinians (the demand frequently cited as the prime reason of the collapse of Camp David peacemaking) would Israel allow reconstruction of al-Aqsa?

I was perplexed. My immediate reaction was “But if Israel takes such an odd move, Turkey, governed by the current political Islam team, could even declare war on Israel.” My friend smiled and fired back “No, nothing will be done. The international community would say whatever possible would be done and an international effort would soon get underway to rebuild al-Aqsa but as the Middle East nations will be busy with various forms of civil war, the Israelis will get away with what they have done and consolidate their claim on Jerusalem by getting rid of al-Aqsa as well.

It was a very extreme assumption or conspiracy theory from someone rather credible. Would I take it into consideration or just write it somewhere for future use? Better to share it and perhaps render more difficult such a grave development taking place. I just cannot imagine a Jerusalem without al-Aqsa, the Wailing Wall or the many mosques, churches and synagogues decorating it.