THE ARAB WORLD [Regime] ON IT'S KNEES
by international syndicated columnist & broadcaster Eric Margolis
Jan. 30, 2003
NEW YORK - Never has the old maxim `hang together or be hanged separately' been more fitting than for the Arab states now quailing in fear before President George W. Bush's evangelical crusade against Iraq.
The Arab World's startling weakness and subservience to the west has never been more evident than in its open or discreet cooperation with Bush's plans to invade `brother' Iraq. Though 99.99% of Arabs bitterly oppose an American-British attack on Iraq, their authoritarian regimes, which rely on the US for protection from their own people and their neighbors, are quietly digging Iraq's grave. Every Arab leader knows the US will crush Iraq, so none will support unloved megalomaniac Saddam Hussein and risk ending up on Washington's hit list.
In order to deflect the coming fury of their people over the almost certain invasion of Iraq (baring a last-minute coup against Saddam Hussein), Arab rulers have ordered their tame media to launch broadsides against Iraq and lay blame for the impending Gulf War II on Saddam. Never has the Arab World's chronic disunity, backstabbing, and petty tribalism been more pathetically on display.
Particularly so because Arab leaders are keenly aware the strategy for the US attack on Iraq, and attendant propaganda campaign - the biggest since WWII - were drawn up in 1998 by American neo-conservatives linked to Israel's rightist Likud government. The plan was then made Bush Administration policy by its three champions, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, and Lewis Libby.
Earlier this month, the establishment `Washington Post' published a remarkable article revealing how this cabal of neo-conservative hawks within the Bush Administration had stealthily engineered a war against Iraq. `Many ( neo-conservatives) were also strong supporters of Israel,' wrote `Post' staff writer Glenn Kessler , `and they saw ousting Hussein as key to changing the political dynamics of the Middle East. '
Translation: the war on Iraq was designed to leave Israel dominant and unchallenged in the Mideast, put an end to Palestinian resistance, exact revenge on Hizbullah, ensure Arab regimes would be subservient to Israel and the US. Control of Iraqi and Saudi oil by the US, Israel and Turkey might follow.
Yet in spite of knowing full well that their bitter enemy Israel was pressing the Bush Administration into a war against one of their `brothers,' a war whose stated objective is to re-draw the Mideast map, topple some of its regimes, perhaps even Saudi Arabia, and loot Iraq's oil, Arab rulers and potentates remain paralyzed like deer in the headlights of a Abrams tank.
If ever Mideast regimes have shown an utter lack of legitimacy, it is now. Arab governments are ferocious at internal repression, but fainthearted and inept when it comes to facing external threats. In contrast to Israelis, who are clever, organized, and determined, Arabs rulers appear a frightened, dithering, bunch of hand-wringers, whose interests rarely transcend personal power, wealth, and extended family.
What could Arabs do to prevent a war of aggression against Iraq that increasingly resembles a medieval crusade?
Form a united diplomatic front that demands UN inspections continue. Stage an oil boycott of the US if Iraq is attacked. Send 250,000 civilians from across the Arab World to form human shields around Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. Boycott Britain, Turkey, Kuwait and the Gulf states that join or abet the US invasion of Iraq. Withdraw all funds on deposit in US and British banks. Accept payment for oil only in Euros, not dollars. Send Arab League troops to Iraq, so that an attack on Iraq is an attack on the entire League. Cancel billions worth of arms contracts with the US and Britain. At least make a token show of male horomones and national pride.
But the Arab states won't. They will cringe, temporize, then join the vultures who will feed on Iraq's bleeding carcass, while vying to prove their loyalty to Washington. The brutally efficient Arab security forces will crush popular uprisings caused by the US attack on Iraq, particularly in Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. The Arab states will continue torturing and executing those who protest their craven policies. Self-proclaimed Arab champions, like Libya and Syria, have gone mute. No wonder Osama bin Laden remains so popular.
The only Arab leader to show any gumption over the past decade is Saddam Hussein. However cruel and disastrous his rule, Saddam alone stood up to the Mideast's modern colonial power, the United States. Saddam's refusal to surrender in 1991, and his continuing defiance of Washington, is why the US and Britain have bombed Iraq for the past ten years, and why President Bush is so determined to crush Iraq and kill its leader. It's not about weapons of mass destruction, it's about defiance. The US is determined to make an example of Iraq to teach the rest of its client Arab states the terrifying cost of disobedience.
`Good' Arabs that cooperate will be rewarded with more money and arms. Those that fail to join the Bush's crusade may face `regime change' and `liberation.' Palestinian resistance will be crushed.
Nadir is an Arabic word, meaning the lowest point. The Arabs are about to reach their nadir.