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A Symptom of Decline of US Hegemony
|by K. Gajendra Singh|
Beginning of the End of the ‘End of History’
The world at large, specially unpopular leaders are now watching with a mixture of anticipation, apprehension and concern massive revolts by aroused Arab masses from Morocco to Bahrain, suppressed since decades by their West supported dictators or feudal kings. The upsurge first ignited in Tunisia has now engulfed Algeria (where Muslim fundamentalists have been kept under duress since the 1992 elections which they would have won) up to far off Bahrain and even in Morocco. Mostly spontaneous, the uprisings have been met with violent counterforce by the rulers mostly aligned to USA to whom Washington has been providing overt and covert protection.
Modern day Pharaoh Hosni Mubarak, president of Egypt for 3 decades and a former Air Force General, fled the presidential palace, making it the biggest and the most vital and central piece of the authoritarian jigsaw puzzle in the Sunni Arab world to crumble. Faced with defiant peoples sit-ins in Meidan-e-Tahrir (Independence Square ) in capital city Cairo and elsewhere the bloody confrontation with security police and hired hoodlums left over 300 people dead, but the soldiers, mostly conscripts remained neutral. But there are reportedly dissensions between lower -middle and top military leadership, the latter closely associated with in loot with Mubarak, who himself accumulated reportedly a fortune between 30 to 60 billion US dollars. Apart from military controlled ventures in industry and trade as in Turkey, Pakistan, Iran and elsewhere, top military leadership in Egypt also benefitted from the US military aid amounting to over 1.5 billion every year. The Pentagon would try to leverage its close relationship with the top military brass.
Tunisia, where it was sparked by a suicide, provided the spark and inspiration to masses across the Arab world. Elsewhere sit-ins and protests continue apart from Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and Jordan. Over two hundred demonstrators have been reportedly killed in Bengazi and even Tripoli by armed forces and groups loyal to Libyan ruler Col Gaddafi, almost turning the conflict into a civil war. The maverick Colonel has ruled Libya since his 1969 military coup d’etat. His minister of Justice and some key ambassadors have left the sinking ship. Col Gaddafi seems to be on his way out but his son promised on Sunday night a prolonged fight. BBC and CNN are circulating all kinds of rumors.
Rioting, firings and demonstrations by opponents and supporters of the regime in place since four decades have taken place in many towns in Yemen leading to many deaths. Many deaths have also been reported from Manama, Bahrain’ s capital, a majority Shia mini Sheikhdom ruled by a feudal Sunni family for over four decades. The outcome here will be crucial for the region since it is next door to Saudi Arabia, where its Shia minority has remained marginalized and ill-treated, but which sits atop major oil resources and adjoins South Iraq. Following the 2003 US led illegal invasion a Shia regime has come into power in Baghdad, thus strengthening Tehran’s influence in the region, contrary to what Washington had hoped to achieve.
Across the Arab world, 2011 appears set to be remembered as the “year of revolutions”. In Iraq, ravaged by eight years of bloody US occupation, plunder, destruction and death, protests have burst forth in Baghdad, Kut, Basra, Kirkuk, Ramadi, Sulaymaniyah and tens of other locations. Iraqis will organize on 25 February, Iraq’s “Day of Peaceful Anger”.
The protests in Tehran began in sympathy and solidarity with Egyptians (since 1979 Iran and Egypt have been at daggers drawn), but soon those who are against the ruling regime in Iran converted it into an anti-regime demonstration. US led Western media has given biased and exaggerated coverage to these protests as has been the case since Western gendarme the Shah was forced to flee Tehran in 1979 in the wake of Ayatollah Khomeini led Shia revolution. To add insult to injury to the US concept of its manifest destiny to rule the world, the revolutionaries imprisoned US diplomats and other Americans for more than a year. Since then US led West has tried its damnedest to change the Clerics regime in Iran.
In spite of all the propaganda and lies from the West, Ahmedinjed’s re-election a year ago was legitimate. Most of twitter and internet generated propaganda was by Washington, its poodle London and anti-regime Iranians now resident USA. Yes, there is sizable opposition even up to 40% of the population to the austere and kill joy regime of Mullahs especially from the young and educated and among the city bred but the regime remains legitimate. Yes, it is time the Clerics changed some of its internal policies to cater to the opponents wishes as well and remove some of the medieval era restrictions. But women have more freedom in Iran than many Sunni states, certainly compared to its ideological rival Saudi Arabia. Women drive cars and work in offices. And on Iran’s right to enrich Uranium for power generation and even for a nuclear bomb, most Iranians, even those living in US, support the regime’s policies.
Washington will try to foment trouble for Tehran’s ally and Shia minority (12%) Assad regime in Damascus, where some protests were planned. Western machinations to undermine the popular Hezbollah party in Lebanon is unlikely to make much headway. In any case Western dominance and influence will be greatly weakened in the region, specially of the brutal US gendarme Israel which took over the role after the fall of the Shah of Iran. Tel Aviv has peace treaties with Cairo and Amman so the ongoing historic changes will be a setback for Israel and its backers in the West.
Western ‘Crocodile Tears’ for Democracy in Middle East
“Every time I read an op-ed in the New York Times that was written by a ‘senior scholar’ from the Hoover Institute or a “fellow” from the Cato Institute, I want to scream, please replace that with “paid whore funded by psychotic right-wing billionaire.” Which is significantly more accurate-“ Larry Beinhart , an American author.
There is nothing more sickening than cacophony from Washington and Brussels by its leaders and its abject corporate media shouting themselves hoarse calling for ‘democracy’ in the region. Almost all the dictators, whose thrones are now shaking, have been kept in power by US led West in order to exploit the energy and other resources of the region and its strategic location. The rulers obeyed Washington’s dictates on oil pricing, supporting the US dollar or entering peace treaties with the expanding Western implant Israel. The people of the region described the Arab street, now out in the open and facing bullets of the US supported dictators, have always despised US policies in the region specially its total support for Israel.
But Washington and Brussels have not given up and are making statements condemning Col Gaddafi of human rights violations and their readiness to help. British prime minister has visited Cairo to assess the situation and help out. Some nerve!
The author who started his diplomatic career from Cairo as assistant press attaché in early 1960s and was also posted at Algiers and Amman apart from a decade in two terms in Ankara; saw the decline and almost total fall of the mainline western media by 2003, which has now morphed in to disseminating spins, half-truths and blatant lies led by the likes of arch lair Tony Blair, Dick Cheney, George Bush and others before the awe and shock treatment of Iraq and its brutal occupation since 2003. According to ICF website over 1.4 million Iraqis have been killed and the country has been divided, brutalized and destroyed.
Like hunting dogs in a chase prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, BBC gave in its overall coverage a mere 2% time to opposition’s anti-war voices and 98% time was given over to war mongers. It was the worst of the leading broadcasters, including US networks, according to Media Tenor; a Bonn-based non-partisan media research organization. In a 4 July, 2003 comment in “the Guardian” titled “Biased Broadcasting Corporation”, Justin Lewis, Professor of Journalism at Cardiff University confirmed the above results. Other western corporate outlets like CNN, ABC etc., were no better. In US 90% of media is controlled by half a dozen corporate houses. Foreign funds have also acquired control over India’s celebrity and trivia obsessed so called national TV channels.
But do not hold your breath. Democracy with free political parties and elections is not coming to take hold in the region anytime soon. The men on the horseback, who provided the support to the rulers, would remain the main arbiters of power. (Watch this space for how it might evolve).
Great Britain and France colonized former Ottoman territories in North Africa in 19 century after its retraction with the final drawing of the arbitrary borders in Middle East after the WWI by London and Paris. Jewish Israel was transplanted in the heart of Arab world – a running sore since 1948. Iraq is already divided since 1991. It will take much bloodshed and time for the pacification and resolution of the problems of the region and adjustment and defining of the new borders.
Writing a year ago about possible US policy of exit from Afghanistan, Prof Paul Kennedy admitted that "the Afghanistan-Pakistan entanglement is an issue so vexed and complicated that it would have tested the wisdom of the greatest leaders and strategists of the past. It is not totally fanciful to imagine Augustus, William Pitt the Elder, Bismarck or George Marshall pondering over a map which detailed the lands that stretch from the Bekaa Valley to the Khyber Pass. None of them would have liked what they saw." Look at the distances, the awful topography, the willingness of the other side to accept appalling casualty rates, make a limited war—a finely calibrated war—something of a nonsense.”
To that now add the ongoing uprisings across a vast arc covering North Africa and the Middle East i.e. from the Atlantic to the Gulf with different levels of development, histories, tribal customs and ruling systems. It makes for an explosive cocktail to sort out. It will take a long time with much bloodshed and changes with ramifications far beyond the region.
Is Liberal Capitalism the Most Tortuous Way
Ever since the Fall of the Berlin Wall, the ideology of not only scientific socialism, but even other shades of socialism have been as if banished into the dustbin of history by western leaders and its so called thinkers and media. Washington has created a new entity and bogey i.e. terrorism, in place of Communism, Socialism and Nationalism with help from its new clients in East Europe and elsewhere, including India with help from captive corporate media. This is utter rubbish.
To fight nationalism and socialism of Nehru, Nasser and Tito, US led West encouraged right wing ideologies, Islam and Islamic fundamentalism specially in the Arab world and South West Asia, with massive financial outlay from petrodollar rich Saudi Arabia, which wants to keep Muslims backwards and beholden to Riyadh for money for Quran, mosques and Jihadi activities. The axis leveraged by the West to rule and exploit the resources in north Africa, west and south-west Asia, consists of US/UK/Israel-Saud dynasty /Wahabbi ideology-Pak-military/ISI. It is now under great strain and stress and giving way to usher in epochal traumatic changes. Wait and watch.
If one looks at the sweep of history and time ever since human beings started building blocks from family unit into clans and tribes, then hamlets, villages, towns, cities, kingdoms and empires and finally after centuries of warfare into republics and democracies, the post Fall of the Berlin era would be one of the most inhuman and cruel episodes where the gains of human endeavor for equality, equity and fraternity were sought to be eradicated by US led financiers and bankers through devices like liberal capitalism and globalization.
But does the trigger of revolts in the Arab world and elsewhere herald a return to a more egalitarian and just society. Will it usher a speeding of the end of rampant liberal capitalism, which is sinking fast in US and Europe.
While US and the West have tried to train and infiltrate into the suppressed anger and rebellion into the Arab masses specially in Egypt, aware that an ailing and much hated Mubarak and his regime were on the way out, there are reports of trade unions and other such organizations coming together in Egypt raising hopes that the space vacated by liberal capitalism and globalization will not be occupied by Islamic and Muslim fundamentalist groups created, used and exploited by London during the last century in Middle East and South west Asia and then by Washington since WWII. But the way towards equal rights and equality and fraternity would be hard and long.
To comprehend what might happen in the Arab world, let us see how the so called revolutions in East Europe have unfolded.
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02/25/2011 14:47 PM