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America Is Losing The Middle East Also
For the first time, America openly opposed Arabs in war during the attack aimed at disabling the Hezbollah. Before the planned war with Iran, America may be expected to make two more "preparations" to narrow down the opposition front anticipated to develop in the region after an attack. A passionate persuasion diplomacy for Syria: Your place is not with Iran. Do like Egypt and Jordan ha
Tuesday, April 3,2007 00:00
by Haluk Ozdalga, Zaman.com

For the first time, America openly opposed Arabs in war during the attack aimed at disabling the Hezbollah. Before the planned war with Iran, America may be expected to make two more "preparations" to narrow down the opposition front anticipated to develop in the region after an attack.

A passionate persuasion diplomacy for Syria: Your place is not with Iran. Do like Egypt and Jordan have; come and join our ranks. The bait to be offered might even include affording Damascus the influence it enjoyed in Lebanon until recently. The main ambassadors of persuasion efforts: Husnu Mubarek and King Abdullah. The second piece of groundwork (to the extent that opportunity exists in Iraq’s civil war atmosphere) is weakening the Army of Mehdi, tied to Mukteda el-Sadr (not militias like Sistani’s Badr Brigades or the Peshmerge). As for the US’s general approach to the Arab world, it is based on two dubious premises: cooperation with despotic governments like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia that close their ears to the voice of the people and developing an America-Sunni Arab front by exploiting Shiite-Sunni differences.

US ally Mubarek

Ruling Egypt for 25 years under martial law, Mubarek is besieged by the Muslim Brotherhood (MB, al-Ihvan al-Muslumin). The biggest political and economic support that affords him to stay on his feet comes from the US. General elections were held in November, 2005. In spite of heavy suppression by the Mubarek government, the prohibition of free participation by parties and candidates, and the open theft of votes, the MB gained 88 representatives (out of 420) by showing independent candidates. Egypt’s oldest party and leader of the independent struggle, Vafd, only won 6 representatives. Unable to endure the merciless conditions of the Mubarek regime, Vafd is now in a process of disintegration. The Brotherhood is Mubarek’s only political rival. Claiming to have won by a wide margin, Mubarek’s National Democratic Party is nowhere to be found on the streets. Just like Sunalp Pasha"s MDP. Because the MB is sure to gain a greater victory, Mubarek cancelled this year’s local elections. Repression has increased. During May and June, 645 MB members, including some prominent leaders, were arrested. Ayman Nur, who showed courage to oppose Mubarek in the last presidential elections, is now in jail. He doesn’t even have a right to defense. Meanwhile, the army has to be bridled. Mubarek showers military officers with attractive material benefits, but commanders whose names become a little well-known are immediately dismissed. General Abu Gazala, whose name was frequently mentioned in Egyptian public circles, has been under house arrest for a long time.

Mubarek is preparing his son Jamal to take his place. Jamal has been appointed to the position of Political Commission Chairman, a rather important office. A constitutional change enables only NDP members to be candidates for chairmanship. Occasionally Jamal travels to Washington. He is received on the highest level by Bush-Cheney administration, and he is gaining diplomatic and state administrative experience. At forty-two, Jamal is Cairo’s most well-known "Playboy." He is excessively fond of women and luxury cars. A short time ago, his family said, "This is enough," and Jamal was married to the 22 year-old daughter of one of Egypt’s richest businessmen. Outlawed by the Mubarek regime, support for the MB is continually rising among intellectuals and academicians. Lawyers supporting the MB won a majority in the Egyption Bar administration. Recently Mubarek has been having trouble with the 8000-member Judges Association. Egyptian judges are pushing hard for judicial independence. Association president Abdulaziz is calling for "civil disobedience." One of the key results of judicial independence will be the supervision of elections by independent judges.

Egypt is one of the countries most suitable for democracy in the Middle East. Sitting on an unequaled cultural heritage, Egyptian intellectuals have can express themselves in almost effective manner. A comparatively strong, enterprising middle-class carry a potential for rapid growth and it is business-wise. Slowly its economy is opening up to the world. Perhaps most importantly, there is a dynamic and progressively yearning for democracy. There’s no need for US "help" for democracy; A neutral U.S. will probably suffice. However, the forked-tongue Bush Administration, which is dragging Iraq through a dirty war in order to "bring democracy," continues to support Mubarek, an enemy of democracy in Egypt.

Another U.S. trick is to promote the Shiite-Sunni polarization. The U.S. is known to incite its despotic friends in the region in that direction. King Abdullah has uttered words to the effect that he is concerned by the "Shiite crescent" in the region. The Saudi administration makes imams under its command give religious declarations against the Shiite Hezbollah. Mubarek accuses Iraqi Shiites of being more loyal to Iran than to their own country. It’s obvious what the real concern of these dictators is. Taking control in Iraq after Saddam, America not only divided Iraqis into Sunni and Shiite while forming civil and military administrations, but it also separated them according to their place of birth. Whereas, as Jewish researcher Izhak Nakash indicated, for Iraqi Shiites the Arab identity is superior to the Shiite identity and their political preferences are along those lines.

Will Religious Sect exploitation attain its goal?

At a time, America was planning to bring Jordan’s Hashemi family to power in Iraq. The views of Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, fathers of Neo-con ideas who were brought to the highest levels in the Defense Department by the Bush administration, are as follows: "Using their influence on Najaf, the Hashemi family (if in power in Iraq) can enable Shiites in southern Lebanon to be saved from the influence of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria, because for their strong ties to the Hashemis. The Shiites are foremost tied to the Prophet Muhammad’s family and the Jordan King, who with the Prophet’s blood flowing in his veins, is a direct descendant of that family."

The desire of the Neo-cons to exploit sect differences in the Middle East is pathetically clear. But so is their ignorance of the region they want to govern. Just as anyone in the slightest way informed about the Middle East knows, Ali is the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law. But the Shiites loyalty is only to those coming from Ali’s lineage. If someone is descended from the Prophet’s line, like the Abbasids and Omayyads, they wouldn’t be happy about the others either. In addition, Shiites hate the Hashemi family who were brought to power in Jordan as the puppet of the British.

As long as Israel’s occupation of Arab lands and the suppression of Arabs continues, and as long as politics are cogently imposed by the US-Israel partnership’s one-sided will, America will not be successful in the Middle East. The number of countries in the region following America will not increase; to the contrary, current governments siding with the US are under threat and may be overthrown. A change of regime in one of these will have serious consequences in the region. The Bush Administration’s ignorance about the region where it wants to draw a new map is nothing less than mind boggling. Only a few weeks ago, they were planning for Mubarek to send troops to Lebanon. Egyptian soldiers were to implement Israel’s politics there. They would take arms from the hands of the Hezbollah! Mubarak, knowing too this American nonsense would pave the Muslim Brotherhood’s road to power, said no.

Other resistance movements embracing Islamic ideology like Hamas and Hezbollah will grow stronger. Common denominator of these movements is their new leadership positions in Arab nationalism that has been left without a patron. For this reason, America’s efforts to place a wedge between the Sunnis and Shiites is doomed to failure. In spite of the royal family’s efforts to the contrary, in Saudi Arabia individuals with favorable attitudes toward Shiites, in general, and the Hezbollah, in particular, have started to appear, even among conservative Wahabis. Forget about a Shiite- Sunni split, now an Arab-Iran rapprochement can be expected. The global leadership of an America that doesn’t reach its political aims in the Middle East might be buried in the Arabian desert. This will not only be the birth of a New Middle East, but the birth of a multi-power New World Order.

Other Topics:

Bush’s messy Mideast adventures
TOM TEEPEN - Cox News Service


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