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After Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged that his administration was receiving “bags of money” from Iran, US sources commented on this by saying that this behavior was a “mystery” that needs to be investigated. However the true mystery is not the Afghan or Iranian behavior, but the US being surprised at this, for Washington and its elite seems to be unable to comprehend the nature of the conflict that it taking place in Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Lebanon. Washington is also unable to understand the nature of this geographic region, and how the foreign element is one of the most important factors fueling the conflict in this region.

The problem that Washington and its elite are having [in understanding this] is that they are looking at the world from the perspective of the American experience, which is very simple: there is a civil war going on in every country – like America – and these countries will overcome this by maturing, on the basis that countries, like individuals, learn from their experience, becoming more rational. In other words, a country’s history of war and bloodshed guarantees that it will develop towards rationality. However this is something that is untrue with regards to the majority of our Arab and Islamic world. We are not neighbors with Europe or Japan, or even South Korea.

America is separated from the influence of the outside world by an ocean, which also protected America from constant foreign interference [in its affairs] for a long period of time, until the famous Pearl Harbor attacks In fact America remained far-removed from direct and constant foreign influence until the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which affected America in a divisive manner. However with regards to the Iraqi, or Afghan, or Lebanese situation, external influence has been constant and unceasing, whether historically or in the modern period. Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iraq are united by the large number of wars that have taken place in their territories throughout modern history, as well as by the frequency of foreign involvement in their affairs.

Mexican President Porfiro Diaz once said “Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States” however what would he say about Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, who are close to Iran but far away from peace and stability? We have seen some major parties in Iraq receiving financial and military support from Iran, as well as Hezbollah publicly boasting of “pure” Iranian money, in addition to Karzai acknowledging that he receives “bags of money” from Tehran. Everybody is doing this openly! Despite all of this, Washington and its elite continue to deal with these regions and this conflict with a democratic and transparent mentality. However these are two things that are far away [from this], for these countries do not know stability, but rather are being plagued by tribal and sectarian problems, and there are [also] those who are working in the interests of Iran with regards to money and arms. As for Lebanon, the situation is getting worse whether this is due to the existence of Israel and its crimes, or the absence of a peaceful solution to defuse the situation there.

Therefore the Americans do not want to understand that these countries, and particularly Iraq and Afghanistan, are in need of a strong and rational central government to put an end to foreign intervention and domestic incitement, supporting natural progress, even if this is slow. This is better than the ongoing bitter conflict [that is taking place], and it is enough for Washington to contemplate the Turkish army’s experience and role in protecting Turkey as we see it today, economically, politically, and otherwise, particularly if the Americans recall the disaster of disbanding the Iraqi army, and the consequences of this.

What I mean to say is that the world is not America, and that in politics there is more than one solution to every problem.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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