When I wrote my latest book on how America rules its Mideast empire, I chose the title, “American Raj,” because this imperium so closely resembled the way Great Britain ruled India.
As I predicted in the book, and in a column here last April, America’s Mideast Raj is now on fire.
Are we looking at a Mideast version of the 1989 uprisings across Eastern Europe that brought down its Communist regimes and then the Soviet Union?
There are certainly strong similarities between the old Soviet East Bloc and the spreading intifada across America’s Mideast Raj. Corrupt, repressive governments; rapacious oligarchies; high youth unemployment and stagnation; widespread feelings of frustration, hopelessness and fury.
But there is also a big difference. The principled Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, and the Communist rulers of Eastern Europe, refused to turn their army’s guns against the rebelling people.
In Tunisia, where the current Arab uprising began, the army has so far stayed admirably neutral.
But in other Arab states now seething with rebellion – Egypt, Algeria, Yemen, Morocco, Libya – there may be no such reservations. Their ruthless security forces and military could quickly crush the uprisings unless the soldiers refuse to shoot down their own people – as happened in Moscow in 1991. This remains to be seen.
Washington is watching this growing intifada in its Mideast Raj with alarm and confusion. Ignore the Obama administration’s hypocritical platitudes urging “democracy.” All of the authoritarian Arab rulers now under siege by their people have been armed, financed and supported for decades by the US.
The tear gas being blasted at demonstrators in Cairo bears the mark, “Made in USA.” The brutal, sadistic secret police and other security forces of Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen were all trained and equipped by the US. The CIA taught them “interrogation techniques,” just as it did to the Shah of Iran’s secret police, Savak.
In yet another example of shameless hypocrisy, State Secretary Hillary Clinton urges “restraint” on both sides. One supposes she means those being beaten by clubs, raped, or tortured by electric drills must show proper restraint. Washington simply does not understand that this kind of sickening hypocrisy turns even more people in the Muslim world against the United States.
Egypt, as this column has long said, is a ticking bomb. Half of 85 million Egyptians subsist below the UN’s $2 daily poverty level. A third of all the Arab World’s people are Egyptian.
Husni Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist since 1981.
All opposition to his regime has been crushed. But now Mubarak’s time may be running out. Nobel-Prize Laureate Mohammed al-Baradei has returned to Egypt to challenge Mubarak and his designated successor, son, Gamal. Arab league chief Amr Moussa may also stand against Mubarak.
Washington has previously lauded Mubarak for “wise leadership” and “stability”. The US pays Egypt over $2 billion annually not to confront Israel, to jail Islamists, and to keep Hamas in the open air prison of Gaza. The US Congress provides half of Egypt’s food. Since Israel gives Congress its marching orders on the Mideast, it also exercises extraordinary influence over Egypt.
So far, none of the intifadas across the Arab world have produced effective leadership. But this could soon change.
Thanks to the bombshell “Palestinian Papers” leaked to al-Jazeera, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has been exposed as an eager collaborator with Israel and its West Bank occupation. The endless Israeli-Palestinian “peace talks” are shown to be a total fraud. Israel’s Mossad and its Palestinian Quislings have worked closely to destroy the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza.
We also learn from these papers that in 2008, US State Secretary Condoleeza Rice actually proposed shipping millions of Palestinian refugees to Latin America. This after Israel, financed by the US, imported one million Russian settlers, many of them not even Jewish. One is reminded of British proposals in the 1930’s to move Germany’s endangered Jews to Kenya.
This was Washington’s modern version of US-taxpayer financed ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Christians from the Mideast. Small wonder these revelations have produced fury across the Mideast.
The “Palestinian Papers” and Wikileaks show the US government at all times taking Israel’s side and defending its interests and policies. So much for Washington being an honest-broker.
The US-Israeli backed Palestinian Authority has lost its last shreds of credibility. This news will surely fan the flames now spreading across the Arab and greater Muslim world as their peoples realize the full extent of the betrayal of the Palestinians.
These dramatic events are poorly understood by most North Americans. The US and Canadian media frame news of the regional intifada in terms of the faux war on terror, and a false choice between dictatorial “stability” and Islamic political extremism. Much of what’s happening is seen through Israel’s eyes, and is badly distorted.
Platitudes aside, there is little concern in the US about bringing real democracy and modern society in the Arab world. Washington wants obedience, not pluralism, in its Mideast Raj. As with the British Empire, democracy at home is fine – but it’s not right for the nations of the Arab world.
This post is in: International Politics