To Know You Don’t Know, by Robert Gore

Since the death of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the theories as to what he was doing in Iraq, why he and his companions were murdered, what the Iranians and Iraqis will do in response, and the future implications for the Middle East, the US, and the world are well into double digits if they haven’t already hit triple digits. (The above seems to be the most prevalent spelling of Qassem Soleimani’s name. It’s emblematic of the Middle East that there’s always more than one spelling for proper names of individuals and organizations.)

It’s ludicrous that American and European media figures, mainstream and alternative, presume to offer authoritative opinions within a few days after such an event. It is even more ludicrous that millions of people, most of whom can’t find Iran, Iraq, or any other country in the Middle East on an unmarked map, will believe one or the other purported explanations based solely on their firmly held misconceptions, prejudices, and pure ignorance.

SLL does not claim to know what’s going on, what went on, or what will go on in the Middle East beyond four incontrovertible truths. One: it’s always been impossible for anyone, even the inhabitants of the region, to know exactly what goes on there. Two: the Middle East is at the forefront of the global trends towards decentralization, devolution, and chaos because it’s always been decentralized, devolved, and chaotic. Three: that being the case, outsiders who venture into the Middle East for religious crusades, geopolitical advantage, or economic gain invariably rue it. Four: the Middle East sits on the world’s largest aggregate pool of oil, but its economies have relatively little use for it, which means oil must be exported for its petroleum to have any value for its governments and inhabitants.


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