See Full Text of G-8 "Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with the Region of the Broader Middle East and North Africa" at end:Crusade II
Reagan Brought the Neocons to Power
Even as the U.S. pushed and cajoled to get the U.N.
and the Europeans in line Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine continue
to erupt and still more American troops are being rush to the region.
Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 10 June 2004:
Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, Abrams, Bush...and the list goes on. Those who have recently led the crusade to invade Iraq, subjugate the Palestinians, and fight Islam, were brought to power in Washington for the first time some 23 years ago when Ronald Reagan of the once far-right was victorious over Jimmy Carter of the once mid-left in American politics. And some now forget that the man who greatly helped bring Ronald Reagan to power was none other than George Herbert Walker Bush, former head of the CIA, who now became Vice-President for the next eight years and then himself succeeded Reagan as President in 1989.
What happened back in 1981 also had deep Middle East roots at the time. Throughout the 1980 election campaign the big daily story then was of the large number of American hostages being held in Iran - revolutionary Muslim Iran that had resulted after the overthrow the year before of the terribly repressive and U.S.-supported Shah. Americans felt anger and betrayal at Carter who had allowed the situation to continue for more than a year with nightly newscasts about the "hostage crisis" -- the origins in fact of today's popular "Nightline" program. The Carter Administration was perceived to be plagued by self-doubt, considerably exacerbated by the aborted hostage rescue plan and the "in principle" resignation of Secretary of State Cyrus Vance.
Shortly after taking power in January 1981 the not-yet-so-named neocons, already closely-aligned with Israel, decided they would try to remake the Middle East. Just as in 2001 when Bush took power a retired top Pentagon General was put in charge of the State Department. And urged on by the Israelis, just as would be the case in 2001 except for the choice of which country to invade, the Americans then secretly pushed U.S.-ally Iraq to invade Iran and bring about a counter-revolution...i.e., "regime change" of that era. Throughout most of the 80s this terribly bloody war brought tremendous death and suffering to both Iranians and Iraqis, then draining both countries of their wealth, resources, fervor, and manpower.
At the same time the U.S. and Israel further decided to attempt to destroy the PLO, and at the same time install a pro-Israeli government in Beirut. This intrigue led to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 which followed Israel's attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak the year before.
The 1982 invasion/occupation of Lebanon then led to the rise of Hezbollah, the phenomena of suicide bombers, and after the "Reagan Plan" of 1982 which further encouraged Israeli settlements to the Palestinian Intifada.
In those years Iraq, with Saddam Hussein already in charge, was being armed, financed, and clandestinely assisted in many covert ways by the United States; all coupled with considerable money from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. The major goal was to remake the Middle East by destroying Israel's enemies and imposing a kind of pax-Americana by installing pro-U.S. and pro-Israeli regimes in Iran and Lebanon. The Arab "client regimes" in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and other of the lesser Arab mini-countries went along with these developments for reasons of their own -- largely in the unspoken hope that Pax Americana and Israeli support would preserve them in power in their own countries.
Though this crusade was dealt a harsh blow when revolutionary Iran stood and when the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks were blown up by suicide bombers in Lebanon, the overall plan to remake the Middle East was not abandoned...just put on hold especially when the "Iran-Contra" "arms for hostages" scandal of that era almost brought about the downfall of the Reagan regime and the neocons.
Even so, it was the policies pursued in those early Reagan years that then led to the first Gulf War, to Israel's escalating attempts to surround and barricade the Palestinian population areas, to sanctions and quasi-occupation of Iraq, and eventually to the much more brutal Intifada II and the U.S. invasion/occupation of Iraq when the neocons took power again in 2001, now with the son of George Herbert Walker Bush the front-man in the White House.
The "Reagan Plan" was enunciated by the President in a major 1982 speech from which we quoted excerpts earlier this week. The Bush speech earlier this year at the arch-conservative think-tank home of the neo-cons, the American Enterprise Institute, was in effect a major update of what was begun then some twenty years ago.
But after the "Reagan Plan" was enunciated there were historic events which undermined it's fulfillment:
* the assassination of the Bashir Gemayal, Israel's choice as the new President of Lebanon
* the horrific massacres in the Lebanon refugee camps, overseen by non-other-than General Ariel Sharon,
* naval shelling of Lebanon by the U.S. sixth fleet
* suicide bombings of the U.S. Embassy and Marine Corps barracks and the rise of Hezbollah
* growing Palestinian resistance leading to Intifada I
The U.S. plan of that era to remake the Middle East in a way subservient to the American empire and in accordance with Israeli desires
was in a sense blocked by unforeseen and unexpected resistance throughout the region.
And now today, in a very real sense, modern-day Crusade II is well underway; this time with the backdrop of 9/11 and a far more technologically advanced American military and CIA.
All this background is the crucial backdrop to what the Americans are pushing hard to bring about at the G-8 summit ending today in Georgia. But resistance in the Middle East, including growing distrust and hatred of the United States throughout much of the world, will no doubt have a considerable impact on how the future will now unfold. The fact that both of the major U.S. allies in the region -- Egypt and Saudi Arabia - refused invitations to come to Georgia is telling in itself. And sadly, as the first article below from the Washington Post makes evident, the corporate America media keeps playing along, refusing to put things in historical context, telling only bits and pieces of the overall story, and pretending that what has happened, and what is happening, in the once Holy Land to the native Palestinian population, is not a key part of the story and can be largely overlooked.
Poised to Back U.S. Plan for Mideast
By Glenn Kessler
and Robin Wright
SAVANNAH, Ga., June 7 -- The Bush administration's plan to promote democracy in the Middle East -- the centerpiece of its agenda at this week's summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations -- has been accepted by Europeans and Arabs only reluctantly, and some administration officials fear that the program's goals have been undermined to ensure its acceptance at the summit.
White House officials have said the plan, which is intended to unite all of the administration's Middle Eastern initiatives under a common theme, grew out of a speech by President Bush last year, saying the United States was wrong to support autocratic governments in a search for Middle East "stability."
But others in the administration said the G-8 initiative was driven primarily by White House officials who are not experts on the Middle East. In their account, those officials focused on either trying to bridge gaps between the Europeans and the Americans on key issues or on trying to ensure a "deliverable" at the summit that would obscure the turmoil in Iraq and the failure to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The G-8 leaders will formally adopt the plan at the conclusion of the summit, which will be held in Sea Island, Ga., Tuesday through Thursday. A draft version circulating among summiteers said it would include creating a "forum for the future" to provide a "ministerial framework for our ongoing dialogue." It would also form a democracy assistance group that would coordinate efforts by individual nations from outside the region, begin an initiative to lend money to small businesses, and establish a task force on changing the investment climate.
Bush administration officials said the embrace of Middle Eastern democracy by the world's most powerful economies is a signal achievement. National security adviser Condoleezza Rice, briefing reporters here Monday, suggested that the plan, the "Broader Middle East and North Africa Initiative," will help counter extremism in the region responsible for terrorist attacks.
But others -- Europeans, Arabs and some U.S. officials -- said the rhetoric is not backed up by money or new ideas. Some administration officials said they feared that $200 million now dedicated by the administration to nascent and low-key efforts to promote reform will be diverted to high-profile talkathons that shift the focus away from substance and toward process.
In a report Monday on the G-8 plan titled "Imperiled at Birth," the International Crisis Group (ICG) said, "There are few indications [the administration] is prepared to put established relations with authoritarian but cooperative Middle Eastern states at risk and pin its future on civil society and political opposition movements."
The report added that "reformers throughout the region are hard pressed to say kinder things about the U.S. initiative than that the message -- the need for more democracy -- should not be disregarded because the messenger, especially in the post-Iraq war world, is suspect."
Europeans and Arabs said they believe the administration has scaled back the initiative in its struggle to win approval. The ICG report said the G-8 document is a "considerable climb down from the lofty ambitions proclaimed in the President's November 2003 speech, and a drastic narrowing even of the initial goals suggested" in earlier drafts.
"That is absolutely false," a senior White House official said. "I can't see how anyone could say there is a scaling back."
As for the made-in-America imprint, White House officials said the G-8 endorsement will help erase that. They also said the skepticism toward the plan is more the result of built-in prejudices than of any administration failings.
"You are getting spin from the Europeans and the Arabs," a White House official said Monday. "There is substantial resistance to the notion of the democratization of the Arab world. It comes partly from Arab rulers who don't want to democratize, and partly from Europeans who don't think that Middle Easterners and Arabs are really ready for democracy. It's an incredibly condescending viewpoint."
European officials said the Americans were the ones who adopted a condescending attitude, appearing to lecture toward Arabs and not appreciating Europe's long-running efforts to promote reform and modernization in the Middle East.
In an effort to demonstrate engagement with Arabs on the issues, Bush invited the leaders of a number of Islamic countries to attend a lunch Wednesday with G-8 leaders, at their own expense. But leaders of some key nations, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco, turned down the invitation, and Qatar was purposely snubbed because of administration anger at al-Jazeera's coverage of the Iraq war. Rice cited scheduling issues as the reason Morocco and Egypt -- one of the effort's harshest critics -- will not appear.
"We will continue to have good discussions with the Saudis and with the Egyptians, as well as other countries in the Middle East," she said.
White House officials point to a succession of statements from the region, such as a declaration by the Arab League on reform and modernization last month, as evidence that there is ongoing interest in democracy -- and that the administration's push has prompted a response. The draft statement for the G-8 quotes liberally from these statements, which also included a conference held in March at the Alexandria Library in Egypt.
White House officials also say questions about the lack of money in the program are misguided. "This is a generational challenge," an official said. "No one believes that the promotion of democracy, the support for reformers in the region, is going to change the face of the region from now to January, or to a year from January. It is literally like the fight against communism."
Bush, Europeans Vow United Mideast Effort
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
SEA ISLAND, Ga. (AP - 10 June) - President Bush and European leaders are pledging a united effort to promote democracy and prosperity across the larger Middle East, but the rare show of unity masks lingering discord on both that plan and, more urgently, on ways to support Iraq.
French President Jacques Chirac objected Wednesday to Bush's suggestion that NATO take a greater role in Iraq. But Bush aides said they expected to find some common ground on the issue before a NATO summit this month in Turkey.
Bush and the other Group of Eight leaders were wrapping up a summit dominated by the Middle East with a session with African leaders on Thursday. Then Bush and others were leaving this exclusive beach resort for Washington to attend the state funeral of former President Reagan.
During the summit's three days,
Bush talked several times with
his speechwriters about the eulogy he will deliver Friday, aides
On Africa, the powerful leaders of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia were expected to endorse proposals including support for research on an AIDS vaccine, an initiative to attack famine and a U.S. proposal to train more than 50,000 new peacekeepers in the next five years.
After weeks of bad news out of Iraq, Bush was able to claim a victory as the summit began, when the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday approved a resolution granting legitimacy to the new Iraqi interim government.
Bush invited Iraq's president, Ghazi al-Yawer, to the summit to showcase the victory.
In their private discussions, Bush and al-Yawer talked about Iraqi reconstruction and the country's relations with Syria and Iran, said a senior administration official present at the session.
Iraqis with close ties to Syria should try to persuade Syria ``to be more responsible'' in guarding its border to keep militants from entering Iraq, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the president.
During a picture-taking session, al-Yawer told Bush that his country was ``moving in steady steps'' toward democracy.
Bush called the meeting ``a special day'' because ``I really never thought I'd be sitting next to an Iraqi president of a free country a year and half ago. And here you are.''
The G-8 leaders on Wednesday adopted a compromise version of Bush's plan to push democracy across the greater Middle East, but tied such an effort to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, at European insistence.
The plan aims to spur democracy by providing support to grass-roots groups, training 100,000 new teachers over the next decade and providing loans to fledgling entrepreneurs.
While all countries endorsed the aims, European countries grumbled that they have been pursuing many of these goals for years in the Middle East.
And many Arab countries remained suspicious of the whole enterprise, seeing it as unwanted meddling by the Bush administration.
``Change should not be imposed from the outside,'' said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the Middle East leaders who attended Thursday's discussion. ``The character and traditions of each country must be taken into consideration.''
Bush did not elaborate on what he meant by an expanded role for NATO now that an interim Iraqi government is in place, but Chirac said, ``I do not believe it is NATO's purpose to intervene in Iraq.''
Chirac and other G-8 leaders said they would be open to further discussions, and administration officials said they were not discouraged by the initial skepticism.
The Bush administration would like the alliance to take on additional duties, such as training Iraq's new army. It also would like NATO to send forces, but recognizes that is unlikely given strong German and French opposition, aides said.
Likewise, the administration was looking for upcoming talks to produce a breakthrough on forgiving a substantial portion of Iraq's estimated $120 billion in foreign debt.
Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi is prepared to ``eliminate the vast majority'' of the Iraq debt that Japan holds if other members of the Paris Club of wealthy creditor nations do the same, said Japanese delegation spokesman Jiro Okuyama.
The United States is looking for significant reduction in Iraq's massive debt to give the country's war-shattered economy a chance to rebound.
For Immediate Release
for Progress and a Common Future with the Region of the
Broader Middle East and North Africa
Sea Island - Georgia
1. We the leaders of the G8 are mindful that peace, political, economic and social development, prosperity and stability in the countries of the Broader Middle East and North Africa represent a challenge which concerns us and the international community as a whole. Therefore, we declare our support for democratic, social and economic reform emanating from that region.
2. The peoples of the Broader Middle East and North Africa have a rich tradition and culture of accomplishment in government, trade, science, the arts, and more. They have made many lasting contributions to human civilization. We welcome recent statements on the need for reform from leaders in the region, especially the latest statement issued at the Arab League Summit in Tunis, in which Arab leaders expressed their determination "to firmly establish the basis for democracy." Likewise, we welcome the reform declarations of representatives of business and civil society, including those of Alexandria and the Dead Sea, Sana'a and Aqaba. As the leaders of the major industrialized democracies in the world, we recognize our special responsibility to support freedom and reform, and pledge our continuing efforts in this great task.
3. Therefore, we commit ourselves today to a Partnership for Progress and a Common Future with the governments and peoples of the Broader Middle East and North Africa. This partnership will be based on genuine cooperation with the region's governments, as well as business and civil society representatives to strengthen freedom, democracy, and prosperity for all.
4. The values embodied in the Partnership we propose are universal. Human dignity, freedom, democracy, rule of law, economic opportunity, and social justice are universal aspirations and are reflected in relevant international documents, such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
5. In launching this Partnership, we adhere to the following principles:
5.1. Strengthening the commitment of the International Community to peace and stability in the region of Broader Middle East and North Africa is essential.
5.2. The resolution of long-lasting, often bitter, disputes, especially the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is an important element of progress in the region.
5.3. At the same time, regional conflicts must not be an obstacle for reforms. Indeed, reforms may make a significant contribution toward resolving them.
5.4. The restoration of peace and stability in Iraq is critical to the well-being of millions of Iraqis and the security of the region.
5.5. Successful reform depends on the countries in the region, and change should not and cannot be imposed from outside.
5.6. Each country is unique and their diversity should be respected. Our engagement must respond to local conditions and be based on local ownership. Each society will reach its own conclusions about the pace and scope of change. Yet distinctiveness, important as it is, must not be exploited to prevent reform.
5.7. Our support for reform will involve governments, business leaders and civil societies from the region as full partners in our common effort.
5.8. Supporting reform in the region, for the benefit of all its citizens, is a long-term effort, and requires the G-8 and the region to make a generational commitment.
6. Our support for reform in the region will go hand in hand with our support for a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab- Israeli conflict, based upon U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. We fully endorse the Quartet's Statement of May 4, 2004 and join the Quartet in its "common vision of two states, Israel and a viable, democratic, sovereign and contiguous Palestine, living side by side in peace and security." We support the work of the International Task Force on Palestinian Reform and the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and urge all states to consider the assistance they may provide to their work. We welcome the establishment of the World Bank's Trust Fund and urge donors to contribute to this important initiative. We join in the Quartet's call for "both parties to take steps to fulfill their obligations under the roadmap as called for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1515 and previous Quartet statements, and to meet the commitments they made at the Red Sea Summits in Aqaba and Sharm el Sheikh." We reaffirm that a just, comprehensive, and lasting settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict, including with respect to Syria and Lebanon, must comply with the relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, including Resolution 425, which "Calls for strict respect for the territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon within its internationally recognized boundaries."
7. We stand together united in our support for the Iraqi people and the fully sovereign Iraqi Interim Government as they seek to rebuild their nation. Iraq needs the strong support of the international community in order to realize its potential to be a free, democratic, and prosperous country, at peace with itself, its neighbors, and with the wider world. We welcome the unanimous approval of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1546 on Iraq, and we join in supporting the continued, expansive engagement of the United Nations in Iraq after the transfer of sovereignty, as circumstances permit. We pledge to provide support and assistance for the electoral process leading to national elections for the Transitional National Assembly no later than January 31, 2005. We are united in our desire to see the Multinational Force for Iraq, in accordance with the UNSCR 1546, succeed in its mission to help restore and maintain security, including protection of the United Nations presence, and to support humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. We express our shared commitment, and urge others, to support the economic revitalization of Iraq, focusing on priority projects identified by the Interim Government. We welcome the success of the recent International Reconstruction Fund Facility donors' conference in Doha, and commit to meeting before the next conference in Tokyo later this year to identify how each of us can contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq. Debt reduction is critical if the Iraqi people are to have the opportunity to build a free and prosperous nation. The reduction should be provided in connection with an IMF program, and sufficient to ensure sustainability taking into account the recent IMF analysis. We will work with each other, within the Paris Club, and with non-Paris Club creditors, to achieve that objective in 2004. To help reestablish the ties that link Iraq to the world, we will explore ways of reaching out directly to the Iraqi people - to individuals, schools, and cities - as they emerge from decades of dictatorship and deprivation to launch the political, social, and economic rebirth of their nation.
8. The Partnership we launch today builds on years of support for reform efforts in the region through bilateral and multilateral cooperation programs. The Euro-Mediterranean Partnership ("Barcelona Process"), the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative, and the Japan-Arab Dialogue Initiative are examples of our strong commitment to supporting democratic and economic development. We are similarly committed to such progress in Afghanistan and Iraq through our multilateral reconstruction efforts. The Partnership we propose will build on our on-going engagement in the region.
9. The magnitude of the challenges facing the region requires a renewed commitment to reform and cooperation. Only by combining our efforts can we bring about lasting democratic progress. We welcome and support the work of other governments, institutions, and multilateral agencies that aim to assist the region's development.
10. Central to this new Partnership will be a "Forum for the Future," which will root our efforts in an open and enduring dialogue. The Forum will provide a framework at ministerial level, bringing together G-8 and regional Foreign, Economic, and other Ministers in an ongoing discussion on reform, with business and civil society leaders participating in parallel dialogues. The Forum will serve as a vehicle for listening to the needs of the region, and ensuring that the efforts we make collectively respond to those concerns.
11. Our efforts in the Partnership we commit to today focus on three areas:
11.1. In the political sphere, progress toward democracy and the rule of law entails instituting effective guarantees in the areas of human rights and fundamental freedoms, which notably imply respect for diversity and pluralism. This will result in cooperation, the free exchange of ideas, and the peaceful resolution of differences. State reform, good governance, and modernization are also necessary ingredients for building democracy.
11.2. In the social and cultural sphere, education for all, freedom of expression, equality between men and women as well as access to global information technology are crucial to modernization and prosperity. A better-educated workforce is a key to active participation in a globalized world. We will focus our efforts to reduce illiteracy and increase access to education, especially for girls and women.
11.3. In the economic sphere, creating jobs is the number one priority of many countries in the region. To expand opportunity, and promote conditions in which the private sector can create jobs, we will work with governments and business leaders to promote entrepreneurship, expand trade and investment, increase access to capital, support financial reforms, secure property rights, promote transparency and fight corruption. Promotion of intra-regional trade will be a priority for economic development of the Broader Middle East and North Africa.
12. The Partnership for Progress and a Common Future offers an impulse to our relationship with the Broader Middle East and North Africa region. As an expression of our commitment, we issue today an initial Plan of Support for Reform outlining current and planned activities to give life to this Partnership.
We welcome your comments and information in the new MER FORUM.
Phone: (202) 362-5266
Fax: (815) 366-0800
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