Letter to the Editor

Middle East requires study

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

President Donald Trump has stated that he will not tolerate any nonsense in Syria and Iraq.

To obtain a clearer picture of the situation, we need to do some historic research.

When I was touring Israel and Egypt in 1994 and 1995, there were tanks, barbed wire and a U.N. soldier along the border that separated Israel and Syria.

Syria is an ancient country that was known as Aram or the “highlands.”

This was the general name given to the country east and northeast of Israel (Palestine).

Its original inhabitants were a Semitic group fo people related to the Israelites (See Genesis 10:22 and 22:21.)

Aram was divided into the small kingdoms of Damascus, Maachah and Geshui. They were rivals of Israel. Damascus was destroyed.

Syria was conquered by Gen. Pompey and his Roman soldiers. Prior to that, the Greeks conquered Damascus. Later, it was passed into the hands of Muslims (Arabs).

In 2018, Syria is an Arab country. The cities of Aleppo, Palmyra and Damascus were founded in about 2000 B.C. The official language is Arabic. Most of its inhabitants are Arabs.

However, there are Kurds and Armenians living there. All sorts of traders and conquerors traveled across Syria and helped to populate it.

Six out of 10 people in Syria are farmers. Most of the shepherds are Bedouins (wandering Arabs). They raise sheep, goats and cattle.

Syria is northeast of Israel. Iraq and Israel share an important western border with Jordan. When our tour group crossed over that border, we observed that it was populated by Arabs, known as Jordanians.

Oil is like black gold in Syria and pipelines carry it to seaports along the Mediterranean Sea. Important pipelines connect the oil fields of northern Iraq and eastern Saudi Arabia.

A sandy plain that is the northern third of a triangular plateau forms a natural bridge from Syria to Iraq.

Understanding problems in the Middle East require a history lesson, knowledge of geography and an evaluation of natural resources.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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