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End of the New Middle East

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    The End of the New Middle East By Nir Rosen http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/2008/05/the_end_of_the/ When Israel was bombing Lebanon in 2006, killing
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2008
      The End of the New Middle East
      By Nir Rosen

      When Israel was bombing Lebanon in 2006, killing its civilians and
      destroying its infrastructure, Condoleeza Rice celebrated this as
      the "birth pangs of the new Middle East," a phrase that lives in
      infamy in Lebanon. The events of the last 24 hours in Lebanon were
      the death throes of the Bush plan for the new Middle East. In Iraq,
      instead of creating a democracy, the US introduced a civil war,
      sectarian militias, death squads and ethnic cleansing. It installed
      a series of ineffective dictators, Garner, Bremer, Allawi.

      Then it surrendered to pressure from the sectarian Islamist Shiites
      it had empowered and agreed to elections, which of course ended in
      victory for sectarian Islamist Shiite militias who began
      slaughtering anybody they didn't like, especially Sunnis. Then the
      US decided it had had enough of its puppet prime minister Jaafari,
      who was not proving obedient enough, so they forced him out and
      replaced him with another sectarian Shiite Islamist, Maliki, who
      also proved a disappointment to them. But though they threatened to
      remove him, they have backed him as he loses popularity and even
      attacks more popular Shiite movements like the Sadrists. Meanwhile
      the US has introduced new Sunni militias composed of thugs and
      former murderers. Its icon was Abu Risha, the slain leader of the
      Awakening council in the Anbar.

      In Palestine, furious that Hamas won democratic and fair elections,
      the US (along with the Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Egyptians and
      others), backed the unpopular Fatah and Mahmud Abbas, a traitor to
      his own people, collaborating with their occupiers. As Fatah
      tortured its opponents Gaza was suffocated and the Palestinian
      people punished for their decision to take part in elections. As
      Fatah thugs attempted a coup in Gaza, Hamas thwarted this threat
      with a counter coup and easily defeated the American backed
      Palestinian militias.

      In Somalia, the Americans backed a coalition of hated warlords to go
      after the much more popular Islamic Courts Union, in the name of the
      war on terror. The Islamic Courts rise was the first reason for
      optimism in Somalia, the first time after 14 attempts to set up a
      government and 15 years of civil war.

      The Islamic Courts introduced peace and stability to Mogadishu and
      its environs, got rid of warlords and their militias who terrorized
      Somalis. Women were able to walk on the streets unharassed and
      exiled businessmen returned to rebuild the broken country. But it
      was an Islamist movement, and in the era of Bush, that means al
      Qaeda, so the US backed the war lords and its local proxy, the
      Ethiopians, who invaded Somalia and occupied Mogadishu and are now
      raping and killing civilians, while the Islamists radicalized and
      the situation in Somalia is worse than ever.

      Things aren't going very well in Afghanistan either, where Hamid
      Karzai, a weak puppet who controls nothing, relies on the Americans
      to back an every strengthening violent resistance.

      In Lebanon, the Americans view Hizballah as a terrorist threat and
      have pressured their Sunni proxies not to compromise. Hizballah, the
      most popular movement by far among Lebanese Shiites, and very
      popular among other groups (not to mention throughout the region)
      was demanding a national unity government so that it could have a
      more equitable share of political power, but Hizballah, despite its
      military power, was not even asking for a a larger share for Shiites
      but instead it sought a larger share for its non Shiite allies in
      the opposition. This was in order to have a say in strategic issues
      and prevent the weapons of the resistance from being threatened,
      while also maintaining Lebanon outside the American and Israeli
      sphere of influence.

      According to Amal Saad Ghorayeb, an expert on Shiite movements and
      on Lebanon, until recently attached to the Carnegie Center for
      International Peace Middle East Center: "US policy in Lebanon is
      underpinned by an overarching US Middle East strategy of
      reconfiguring the political map of the Middle East as we know it,
      aka, the "New Middle East" plan, formerly the "Greater Middle East
      Initiative" officially unveiled by Condi Rice at the start of the
      July War. The tactics change but the strategy remains the same: both
      in its earlier (promoting democracies) and most recent (supporting
      autocracies) incarnations. US strategy seeks political, military and
      economic domination of the region, while ensuring the security of
      Israel. Its chosen instrument for implementing this strategy is
      the "moderate"US-friendly client Arab regime.

      Given its dissatisfaction with the results of democratic elections
      in the region, the Bush administration continues to support
      autocratic regimes in Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere,
      while de-democratizing existing democracies in Lebanon and
      Palestine. In the latter case, it is cultivating the latest breed of
      democracy, "the democratic regime," a new form of government which
      is popularly challenged, constitutionally disputed and derives its
      legitimacy from outside powers. The formation and preservation of
      regimes such as Siniora's (the Lebanese Prime Minister) has
      necessitated a US policy of promoting instability and national
      disunity, in short, a policy of "constructive instability."

      The Americans thought that they could pick a proxy and get him to
      rule Lebanon. But Lebanon is too complicated for them, and they
      didn't know that no single group can rule Lebanon. The Americans
      along with their Saudi allies backed the creation of sectarian Sunni
      militias in Lebanon, some of whom were even trained in Jordan. Their
      ideology consisted of anti Shiite sectarianism. But these Sunni
      militiamen proved a complete failure, and America's proxies in
      Lebanon barely put up a fight, despite their strident anti Shiite
      rhetoric. Now it is clear that Beirut is firmly in the hands of
      Hizballah and nothing the Americans can do will dislodge or weaken
      this popular movement, just as they cannot weaken the Sadrists in
      Iraq or Hamas in Gaza.

      Jordanian training, which was provided to the Sunni militias in
      Lebanon, the Fatah militias in Palestine and even Iraqi security
      forces, has proven inadequate. Note that in Iraq, the Iraqi security
      forces are either sectarian death squads or are unable to fight, and
      rely on the Americans.

      Say what you will about Hizballah and its allies, whether you
      sympathize with them or oppose them, it is clear that they cannot be
      dislodged, that they are an integral part of Lebanon and the Middle
      East. They proved this when they won the war of 2006 and proved this
      once again yesterday when they dispatched pro American and Saudi
      militias with ease and seized control of Beirut.

      If one dreams of a Hizballah without weapons, or a Hamas that does
      not engage in violent resistance, or any sort of peaceful resolution
      in the Middle East, then one has to begin at the beginning, with the
      Israeli occupation of Palestine (as well as a little bit of Syrian

      -- Nir Rosen



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