Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

A Bloody Strategy: Today's Plans and Yesterday's Tragedies - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Every time the secretary of states, Condoleezza Rice, addresses Palestinians and Arabs she reminds them that “deeds speak louder than words”. If we want to apply this maxim on secretary Rice herself in her thirteenth visit to the region and on the actual consequences of American policy in the Middle East we will be able to discover the future objectives of current American policy in the region without having to decipher the new terminology they introduce everyday to the language in order to cover up acts of occupation and settlements and deny the Palestinian people their basic and inalienable rights.

The statements of vice-president Cheney also help us to understand these future objectives. In an interview with CNN Cheney reaffirmed that: ” the Bush administration would still send troops into Iraq if it could do it all over again, even knowing what it knows now, including that more than 3,000 U.S. military personnel would be killed.”. Needless to say that the vice-president never mentioned the millions of Iraqis, killed, maimed and displaced, as the Iraqis do not enter as an element in his calculations! Cheney adds: “I firmly believe, that the decisions we’ve made with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan have been absolutely the sound ones in terms of the overall strategy”.

Of course what Cheney said about Iraq and Afghanistan no doubt applies to Darfour, Somalia, Palestine and Lebanon as the U.S. policies towards all these countries serve the strategy and objective highlighted by Cheney. The question now is, does the latest Arms grand sales of billions of dollars to the Gulf states and the “security aid” to Egypt and Abbas also serve the same strategy and objectives, and if the answer is yes then how? In order to reach the most plausible answer we have to recall the American strategy towards Saddam and Iran in the early 1980s of the last century and how the U.S. started a kind of contest to make Saddam a star visited by tens of foreign ministers in a month and how the Iraqi army was elevated in U.S. reports into the fourth strongest army in the world in order to prepare the psychological, military and political climate for a needless war between Iraq and Iran which effectively led Saddam to the scaffolding and destroyed Iraq as a country and brought a horrid catastrophe on the Iraqi people.

If “deeds speak louder than words”, as Ms Rice is fond of saying, then her visit with Gates to the region and the 60 billions arms deal to the Arabs and Israel is an enlarged application of the pilot project, they started with Iraq in the 1980, on a number of Arab countries in order to deprive them of their wealth and create for them a conflict with Iran to deplete all their resources and get Israel off the hook by substituting the Arab-Israeli conflict with a mirage conflict between Muslim neighboring countries: The Arabs and Iran. Hence the visit of Rice and Gates to the region and the signing of Arms deals with rich Arab states coincided with leaking news from Washington leaked by senior American intelligence personnel that “president Bush has decided not to strike the supposed nuclear Iranian installations”. Thus the argument between Cheney and Rice about Iran seems to have been resolved by working on creating a new conflict in the region that will be very profitable for arms industry in the U.S. and would save the U.S launching another war through convincing others to fight this war on their behalf. This war would also exhaust the Arab resources and wealth exactly as the Iraq-Iran war did to Iraq and this would mean much weaker Arab presence, and of course, a stronger Israeli presence in the region. The one element this strategy did not calculate is that Iran may well emerge stronger, just as it did after the American war on Afghanistan and Iraq. But the objective may be only the exhaustion of the Arabs in their different countries and putting an end to their claim to Palestine, Jerusalem and all other occupied territories even if that means that Iran and Turkey will emerge as stronger players in the region. Within this framework the statement of Cheney that they would have launched the war on Iraq, even with the knowledge they have today, makes sense because the strategy, then, is to destroy Iraq as first step, and then move to destroy other Arab countries, so that the Arabs become the Red Indians of this region and Israel becomes the Mideast American Empire! In the light of this analysis the so-called “peace conference” that will convene in the Fall aims to normalize relations between Israel and few more Arab countries. That is why “vagueness” is the master of the endeavor as the right of return for the Palestinians, Jerusalem and the Palestinian state become “Political Horizon” or “Basic Issues” or “Matters of Difference” without even mentioning them.

This U.S. Israeli strategy may achieve short term objectives; flow of money to the U.S. countering Iran, but, in the long run, it is going to backfire, just as supporting fundamentalism to get rid of the Soviet Union has backfired. The Arab people are thousands of years old and they will not give up their right to their land and water. The struggle will go on for decades but, as history taught us, at the end, right will prevail and not military might.

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban

Prof. Bouthaina Shaaban is political and media advisor to the Syrian presidency, and the former minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer, and has been a professor at Damascus University since 1985. She received her PhD in English Literature from Warwick University, London. She was the spokesperson for Syria. She was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

More Posts