Spot on. Morality to one side, Saddam was a buffoon, more interested in pursuing wealth and opulence than world domination. He didn't want the likes of Al Khidr destabilising his comfortable life.Hussain had problems locally, Iraq was heavily in debt due to 10 year war with Iran and his creditors wanted their money back. Kuwait No.1, Saudi and others following. Hence Kuwait invasion. The US population wanted revenge over 9-11, Afghan and Iraq wore it, Libya and a few others pulled their nose in fearing a similar outcome. However, no body in the US thought it would drag on so long and the exit plans were very weak. The USA has struggled how to handle Al Qaeda which is not a single nation, the key people are increadibly hard to find and its turned out to be like the Viet cong on a larger scale for which we all know what happened there (US butts kicked).
Without too much trouble the US could have bought him off and use him as a bulwark against Iran and terrorist groups. After all look at how Gaddafi was being brought back into the league of civilised nations.
Instead they ended up spending much more in dollars and blood for what end. Dead is dead.
Al Qaeda is a growing force, the loss of these major dictators has fuelled the fire. The middle east people by and large don't like it. Its forcing things to become more extreme and conservative in the name of retaining their culture. Ongoing povety and low economic choices is making it easy for them to get a foot hold which in part due to massive population growth. The GCC countries are working incredibly hard to try and keep their people happy and not fall victim to the ideology. The GCC countries leaders have been slowing trying to keep the west on side by ensuring their countries continue to become more liberal, esepcially Saudi which wants to distance itself from Sept 11 as much as it can.
Realitsically the Israel issue is minor and only affects the likes of Syria who cannot let it go over having their arses kicked multiple times and its more a govt thing than people. The rest are all talk over Israel but have greater issues, but allowing Palistine to exist would make a world of difference. They don't see Israel a threat to the existance and know full well Israel is here to stay and US (their biggest customer, miltary supplier and protector, and in some cases debitor) will never let it fall. For its part I think Israel is being incredibly tolerant. It provides un restricted food, water and medical to Gaza and West bank at low cost to zero, it allows millions to earn money from Israel and take it home. Yet these are the same communities that fire rockets and set off bombs. The great wall Israel is building in my mind maybe should have been built decades ago. However Israel needs to return much of the occupied territories and this is a sticking point internally and externally.
The biggest issue for middle east is one religion and the different view points on how it should be observed and many don't accept that your neighbour is free to do what he chooses. The religion is very social and peer driven in a region where support from your extended family and community is critical to your wealth and survival.
While I think the USA/UN should do something, no one wants to see dead babies, women and children on TV from any strike and unfortunately this will happen and there has been so much death a distruction to the Syrian people while the world watched, I think its too late now to try and come in as the white night. The Syrian people have had enough from their own, they don't need more from others. +100,000 dead, 0.5% of the population. They should have enforced a no fly zone 2 years ago and let them sort it our more fairly. Its simply too late.