What the World Needs Now Is… Another Arab State?

390px-Saddam_Hussein_at_trial,_July_2004

It’s not only that Arab states like Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Libya are now imploding or, like Egypt and Lebanon, racked by severe strife and instability. Arab states have a history of just the sort of mass-scale horrors now occurring in Syria.

In Iraq, Saddam Hussein

murdered as many as a million of his people, many with poison gas. He tortured, maimed and imprisoned countless more. His unprovoked invasion of Iran is estimated to have left another million people dead.

In the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990) about 120,000 people were killed, many of them in massacres of Christians and Muslims. Mass slaughter is also not new to Syria; in 1982 the Syrian army massacred about 20,000 Sunni Muslims in the town of Hama, reportedly using cyanide gas. Egypt also used poison gas in the North Yemen Civil War (1962-1970).

Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen are heterogeneous Arab countries. But in predominantly Sunni Arab (with some Berber ethnicity) Algeria, the 1990-2002 civil war between Islamists and regime forces claimed about 100,000 lives, including massacres of whole villages by the Islamists.