Saturday, February 19, 2011

US' Israelicentric Middle East policy

The Arab world's going through a political earthquake of great importance. The Arab masses in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Baharain, and Yemen have awakened from a long slumber. Conscious, they no longer fear hatred long lived authorian rulers.
You've thought the US would be swift to profit from the events in that strategic part of the world. Wrong!
The Wikileaks US diplomatic cables reveal that US is not aware of the warts of the Arab governments and regimes it supports. [GuamDiary suggests that its readers in America who are denied ready access to these documents, google the UK paper 'The Guardian'.] Washington, therefore, cannot hide behind the old country boy excuse, 'Aw shucks, had we only known...we wouldn't have been taken by surprise'. The word was out, but was it heard, which we cannot say for sure.
Since the uprising in Egypt a steady stream of talking heads have dominated the media. On one hand, it is refreshing to hear newer voices: voices of Arab intellectuals, activists, businessmen, and politicians in and out of power. On the other, a barrage of old views and faces who, having be caught short, struggle to put a bright face, in order to show they're not as dumb as they look.
Consider the stream of intellectuals from Egypt who came to Washington, at the invitation of the government or government funded think tank. Although it shouldn't have come as a shock, but it did, almost to a man, they simply left shaking their heads, because the US Middle East policy is Israelicentric. These members of the intelligentsia expressed dismay that US policy makers are very far behind the curve of what's happening in the Arab world. And what's more, how wedded they are to a cul de sac diplomacy which will surely put US interests to greater risks than they ought to be. [America's traditional allies, say, in the Gulf and Trucial States and Saudi Arabia, are shaking in their boots. The stakes are high: oil and the financial centre those emirates have become, and of course, the military importance they hold for the US. They are more prone to use brute forces to remain in power; any concessions, they see, will embolden their subjects to want more and ultimately call for their overthrough.]
The Obama administration passed up an opportunity at the UN Security Council; it chose a well worn path on the Israeli Palestine matter. It could have voted with the other 14 members of the Security Council in condemning the Netenyahu regime for illegally building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory. Washington failed to take to heart the rapid changes which are taking place in the Middle East. It vetoed the resolution: a many times used instrument when it comes to protecting its client Israel from sharp criticism in the world forum. By this act, the US has put itself on the wrong side of history. Consequently, it has no reason to wonder when events turn US policy into the endless grains of sand, which offer no hope of a new life. [It would do US policy makers well to revisit the effects of what happened to the US after it withdrew any offer to fund the Aswan Dam.]
The US' excuse for exercisising the right to veto was ingenuous: were the Council to condemn Israel, the peace progress would be put back years or some paltry excuse like that. Hello! On what planet has the US department of state been living on?
America won't regret its torpedoing the resolution, but on the other hand it has not right to cry foul when Arab countries turn away from it.

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