The newspapers are currently full of the latest middle east drama as if it is some kind of new occurrence. However, casting an eye to history reveals that such conflicts have been going on in that part of the world for at least the last four thousand years.
From the rise of the Egyptian state under the first Pharaoh Narma in 2950 bc to Cleopatra, the last, in 30 bc, warfare in those lands has been a constant fact of life. These Pharaohs were warlords and totalitarian despots of the kind that make Saddam Hussein look like widow Twankey.
Sending their armies rampaging down into Nubia (for slaves) conquering Mesopotamia, Libya and rampaging across Gaza, Palestine, and Lebanon (for cederwood for their warships) and north as far as the Mediterranean coast to put garrisons on Cyprus. All this accompanied by the usual scale of slaughter rape and mayhem.
After Cleopatra came the Legions of Rome, in 44 bc, Followed much later by Napoleon and his troops to be then driven out by the English who, registering their cannons on the Sphinx, the various batteries competed with each other, and succeeding in knocking it’s nose off in a fine example of John Bull yobboism,
Now these vast and empty Arabian deserts are still littered with the burned out wrecks of Saddam Hussein’s tanks and those from the earlier wars. General Montgomery’s rusting tanks and those of Rommel’s Panzers. And beneath these the white bones of millions of those Pharaohnic armies who fell in the constant wars that raged throughout this time, for when a Pharaoh died his sons or other wanabees waged civil war for the crown, thus weakening the Empire and becoming vulnerable to the invading armies of Syria which slaughtered their way through Palestine and Gaza to establish their own claim to the Egyptian double crown. Backwards and forwards these conflicts raged through almost four thousand years with only an occasional interval between.
And what difference does it make being aware of this? None whatsoever. Not a jot or tittle. Except to give a sense of scale and a perspective on the events currently occurring in the middle east of which the daily newspapers give only a very shallow view, for it is no more than a minor skirmish in well over four thousand years of constant warfare.
And it can be taken for certain that not even one spearman from the vast armies of the great warlord Ramesses II ever got back home in time for Christmas either.