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Sharon stroke could inflame Middle East politics

The holiday break is a time for busy students to relax and detach from the chaotic world they face daily, but something very important in our world happened last week and I’m not sure how many of my peers caught this in the news.

Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister of Israel, experienced what the media is calling a “significant” stroke. Doctors immediately induced a coma to assess how much brain damage Sharon suffered and to prevent any further damage from occurring. At the time of print, Sharon had successfully resumed breathing with the assistance of a respirator and moved his right arm and leg in reaction to stimuli doctors provided. During the reaction, his blood pressure rose, an indication that certain functions governed by his brain did not suffer severely during the stroke. Bleeding continues on the right side of Sharon’s brain, so he is not yet in the clear, but on his way to at least a partial recovery.

Israelis now have to come to grips with the transition that Sharon’s stroke will create. When a nation and its leader are abruptly parted, nothing positive can come of it. Sharon became affiliated with the Israeli military during the nation’s foundation in 1948 and remained involved with the military for many years after. This is one of the reasons why he was so competent to govern over Israel. But now the question has arisen of who will lead the state of Israel after Sharon. Nonetheless, throughout conflict and convergence, Sharon remained effectively popular throughout the state of Israel.

Sharon, along with the United States, has been pushing Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. He pointed out on several occasions that it poses a threat to not only Israel, but to the safety of the United States. Rumors have been circulating for some time that Sharon was planning to order an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear installations. Israel is recognized for its powerful military and extensive weapons collection. Yes, America contributed to that collection. Good friends do that sort of thing. Unfortunately, the Iranian military is comparable to Israel’s military with respect to its power and weapons collection. Without Sharon’s strong leadership the clash could cause monumental and deadly repercussions.

So what does all of this mean for Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli relationships? Without Sharon’s strong hand for guidance, the strength and grace displayed in recent months may collapse, and business as usual will resume in the Gaza Strip.

Taylor Williams is a junior majoring in English education.