Middle East : Where the U.S. treads, democracy does not spread
The Nobel Institute discerned its Peace Prize this year to the American President Barack Obama. This decision greatly surprised for Obama has not achieved any considerable results in world peace since in office. The Nobel’s move was then attributed to the hope that Obama’s election has risen in the world and as an encouragement in his future actions for world peace.
Since, nothing has advanced and the U.S. actions are directing us further from world peace than we were a few months ago.
It is undeniable that the largest stakes for peace and stability in the world are in the Middle East : the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Iraq situation, the war in Afghanistan and last but not least, the Iranian nuclear issue. To avoid further wars and conflicts in that region that could lead to dangers in a much larger scale that could spread to the entire Central Asian region and its neighbouring Eastern European and Eastern Asian regions, the above issues need to be embraced, and solved in pragmatic actions.
But the pragmatic approach that the U.S. is using is not the approach to peace and stability. The Obama administration merely carries a policy that was into place in the 70s. At the peak point of the cold war the U.S. agenda was not as it pretended to establish democracy in Iran but to have control over a petrol rich region and bar its access to the Soviet Union. The Shah having in pure interest for Iran approached Moscow to equip his country with Industrial infrastructures that the West was refusing him, was not in the role that the U.S. and its allies had predestined for him. His late independence from the American stronghold on Iran worried Washington. A extremely efficient media campaign against his supposed atrocities in human rights was launched as of 1975 which culminated in the 1979 Islamic revolution in which an even fiercer despot in the person of Khomeini was imposed upon Iranians with a democratic sticker apposed on his forehead by Western journalists who had flocked to his Paris retreat to report his supposed peaceful and freedom loving philosophy to the international public opinion.
Within a few months, the international press went from glamorous reports on the Pahlavi couple and the positive modernity they were bringing to Iran to a hateful campaign of discrediting the same couple they adored a few weeks before by accusing them of atrocious crimes. Reports that were then diffused in Iran via radio stations such as the BBC and the Voice of America. What was set up to look like an undeniable support for democracy for the people of Iran turned out into the establishment with Western benediction of one of the filthiest and bloodiest totalitarian regimes of modern history.
Today, as Iranians have at last risen against this regime does Obama, the Nobel Peace Prize nominee, support in any manner the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people ? The pragmatic approach would be to support the Iranians in their quest of liberty. For what would be a better guarantee for a peaceful and denuclearized Iran but a democratic regime that would only act in its nation’s interests of prosperity synonymous with peace ? Unfortunately for Iranians, democracy is not on top of the agenda for Iran. The agenda is a U.S. controlled Middle East and Central Asia in order to bar an awakened Russian ambition and a rising Chinese power form the lucrative and indispensable natural gas and oil resources of the region. The East-West political and ideological cold war having been replaced by a yet colder economic war between the old American, the reborn Russian, and the new Chinese powers. Iran is once more being sacrificed on the altar of Western interests.
We know that the Mullacratic regime is in awe. They have no veritable base left within the country. Their economy is in shambles after 30 years of poor management, a costly eight-year conflict with Iraq, and the heavy toll of harsh financial sanctions. It would take a small breeze to topple this regime. All the ingredients for a revolution in Iran are united. This is exactly what the U.S. administration is avoiding. Engaged in a dialogue with the Mullahs, a change of regime in Iran would erase all efforts and oblige Washington to begin a new approach with a new regime in Iran. A forced dialogue that the Mullahs have been consistently refusing and have found themselves engaged in by an American ruse. The U.S. wants an entente with the Mullahs in view of their greater agenda for the region. Washington will do all in its efforts to maintain this regime in place. A democratic Iran will in no way be a guarantee of an entente in the direction that Washington wishes.
Beyond the Iranian question remains the Israeli-Palestinian question. Israel has been for decades the only democracy in that region along with Turkey this past decade. The unconditional American support for Israel was an alibi. If the U.S. motives were questioned, Israel was proof that the U.S. supported a sovereign and democratic country in the Middle East, thus sweeping aside the lesser glorious unconditional support for such undemocratic regimes as Saudia Arabia, Kuwait or Egypt. Israel also profited from a compassionate attitude from the Western public opinion guilty of their if not collaborative but at least of their lack of reaction against the Holocaust. Today, sixty years later the majority of the Western population only has a vague historic notion of the Holocaust and does not feel personally concerned about it. The time is ripe for the U.S. and its allies to change their unconditional support to a critical support. It comes at very bad time for the Israeli and Palestinian people, for the two sides are very close to a peaceful outcome in their conflict. But would a peace between the two nations benefit the U.S.? The answer is no. If Israel becomes a “normal” neighbour to its former enemies in the region the unconditional servitude towards the U.S. would no longer have a vital reason. Israel could move from time to time to oppose American decisions for the region if they do not meet their own interests. That would be a major slap to U.S. foreign policy. Therefore, to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians impossible, the Obama Administration has suddenly become critical of Israel and specifically of their colonization policy. This open critic of Israel has upped the stakes. The Palestinians suddenly feel they have something to gain from the paling of the Israeli star with the West. The status of Jerusalem has thus suddenly become once more an important issue for the Palestinians as it became an unacceptable one in 2000 when Barak and Arafat were a few hours away from signing an agreement and thus giving birth to a Palestinian State. Then like now, the status of Jerusalem as the unique capital of Israel and both sides’ incapability of accepting any compromise sunk the agreement. It is obvious today, that Arafat was encouraged to demand more at the last minute with high hopes of success. However he were poorly advised by his Western advisors, and backing out would have signed the end of his political career. The second Intifada a few weeks later put an end to the peace process.
The U.S. invasion of Iraq was to bring a Western style democratic regime to Iraq. Or at least it was the pretention of the American led coalition that invaded Iraq and brought down the undeniable dictator that was Saddam Hussein. Taking a closer look at the methods used by this coalition to supposedly bring democracy to this country at best shows their utmost amateurism or at worst a deliberate strategy to bar the Iraqi nation from democracy. For, why would the coalition deliberately create a de facto three-headed power in the country by encouraging an independent Kurd region, by allowing Iran take to control of the Shiite factions and by completely eliminating the previous political elite to replace them with weak Sunnite leaders with no experience whatsoever in governing such a complex nation as Iraq ? The result is an instable Iraq in permanent civil war incapable of taking its own future into hand. When the time arrives for the coalition forces to pull out of Iraq, the situation would have worsened to such an extent that the International community will have to impose a reconsideration of the pull out to save the country from total chaos, thus establishing a permanent military and influence base for the U.S. in the region.
The last American “democratic” cause in the region is Afghanistan. With the claim that Al Qaeda is still active in the country, which still needs to be proven for they have been completely removed from Afghanistan and pushed into Pakistan, the U.S. and its allies are creating havoc in Afghanistan in a series of attacks that are led against unknown factions. They are arming tribal chiefs, obviously weakening the central government of Karzai. All was done during the last elections to weaken Karzai. The elections were turned into ridicule first by pushing the announcement of the results to its most possible extent, more than two months after the elections, an international record. By first alluding to a first round victory of Karzai and then pushing him into a humiliating second round with his opponent Abdullah, who immediately pulled out making Karzai a discredited re-elected President in the absence of an opponent. The result in the long run will be a feudal system in the image of the Middle Ages in Europe. A country in permanent civil war with no efficient central power, and mostly a base for destabilizing neighbouring Iran and Pakistan when needed, for the frontiers of Afghanistan with its mountainous landscape are impossible to control. Thus infiltrating armed groups for terrorist actions into neighbouring countries will be feasible.
Why destabilize Pakistan ? Pakistan is not a homogenous nation. Destabilizing a country formed of mostly tribal groups and so many divisions including amongst its own army is easily done. A chaotic Pakistan can be a threat to its two major eastern neighbours, China and India two nuclear powers that the West cannot intimidate. The war with these two nations who are moving closer and closer to each other is economic. By controlling Iranian, Iraqi and Saudi Arabian oil reserves and by creating chaos in the Muslim regions of India and China, neighbouring Pakistan, the U.S. will definitely bar their access to the gas and oil they need to continue in their insolent economic growth. The Muslim path is the only one the West has found to halt China and India. The latter is already a Democracy and the U.S. cannot use the lack of liberties to agitate Indians. The non-Muslim majority is very rooted in their caste system and their “fate” philosophy. Poverty and general poor conditions of living are not a source of trouble in India, for the majority think that it was their fate to be born poor and therefore put their hopes for a better life in their reincarnation. The Chinese, without having the same philosophy are more attached to their economic success and in general do not cultivate individualistic values. Therefore, political agitation in China is a feat, as we saw with the Tianamen events, a massive uprising is not evident in China. However, the Muslim populations less prone to general interests, for their faith is based on an individualistic relation with God, are easily moved to protest against the Central power. The U.S. has intelligently chosen the correct path in their destabilization strategy in the Far East.
It is therefore justified to affirm that a great democratic nation as the United States of America has no interest in exporting their model to a region that in their interests should not have access to the same liberties as themselves. That is the greatest mistake in American and generally in Western thinking. If peace has produced prosperity in the Western world, then it is obvious that it would have the same result in the Middle East. For despite the difference in religion, the Middle East population is much closer culturally to the West than generally believed. The cultural base for what used to be the Persian and Ottoman Empires, the entire Middle East, is also Greek and Roman. Or if we go further back, the cultural base of what is today Europe is the Mesopotamian culture. We share the same values. A vast democratic Europe and Middle East can not only prosper but also live side by side in peace and brotherhood as the European nations have proven its feasibility since World War II. The only hope of the Iranian and Middle-Eastern people is that the European Union with their new centralized institutions will awaken to this fact and put an end to their blind following of the outdated U.S. strategy in the Middle East, for wherever the U.S. treads democracy does not spread.