Friday, February 25, 2005

Some words concerning US policies towards the Middle East

US policies toward the Middle East leave a lot to be desired. However, I prefer a policy that promotes change in our country and our region, rather than a policy that supports dictators and totalitarian regimes. I am not going to be angry that the US props up democracies only when doing so is in its interests... I am going to thank God that I am alive in the era that my interest and the interest of the US at least partially coincide!

With regards to Iraq, I think that it was, and is still a debacle. It is more than obvious that the US wants a presence in that country, and is offering "democracy" as a carrot to win over the population. Nuclear weapons, al Qaeda, bla bla bla... that was all nonsense, the US wants to be there! Why? Oil!!!

But so what?

Will they give Iraqis democracy? Will they turn Iraq into a kind of Germany? That's what they're saying they'll do. That is what I hope they'll do. Am I doubtful? Hell ya! But, hey, I don't give a shit about the oil... let them keep it. Was the population benefiting from it before the Americans came in? Barely! In fact, oil was actually harmful. It gave the dictators enough money to buy their seats of power rather than at least attempt to seek popular approval.

I am not going to judge the US now.... I am going to wait and see how they deliver on their promises to the Iraqis. At the moment, I am more infuriated at Zarqawi, and the other "Arabists," "nationalists" and "Islamists" that kill fellow Iraqis like they're swatting flies. These very people that the entire Arab world is supporting don't know how to do anything except by brute force. What will happen to the Iraqi people if they do win, and get to power? Will it be another 40 years of violent dictatorship? Yes! Is that what we (as fellow Arabs) want for our Iraqi "brethren"? Well, apparently, Yes again! Oh how we care for the Iraqis....

A friend of mine told me that he's always the very first person to defend Arabs when Americans say that we have an "irrational hate" of everything American... but considering the Arab reaction to Lebanese demonstrations against Syria, he is really starting to reconsider! It is natural for human beings to gather together and oppose the most powerful among us. But maybe we should look beyond this and ask ourselves whether our interests (as secular, modern, and somewhat liberal Arabs) are being advanced by everything that is happening on the ground today (moral values aside)?
We really need to reconsider our position towards the US. Let us not be apologists, but at the same time, let us not simply say what Arab dictators want us to say...


Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with your comment that the reason why the US is in Iraq is only about oil. That old and tired arguement just has no value. The US is in Iraq for a deeper issue....stability - long term stability.

Stability is the reason why the US acted in Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Somalia, Liberia, Afghanistan etc. in the past 15 years. None of these countries have oil, they do have instability and they didn't have democracy.

Post 9-11 the instability that Saddam could have provoked and the general instability caused by Arab dictatorships had to be confronted. George Bush took a gamble. Texas style. He bet that by milatarily provoking a "regime change" in Iraq and having a regime change already in Afghanistan he would be able to challenge the regime in Iran - an equally strong precipitator of instability. The dividends are even greater when you consider the leverage when the the paradigm of Arab democracy is realized in Iraq, that its infectious reaction will continue to Lebanon, Egypt, and hopefully so on. The first signs of this have already started. Even Walid Jumblatt has become aware of this; refer to

What Bush has started is not pretty, most people don't like it. Many are uncomfortable with the US use of force and power. But for sure the reason is not oil at all.

From the economic point of view, oil is fungible, meaning it is available throughout the world to every consumer at the same market price. All of the oil from Iraq, Iran, Russia, Saudi, US goes into a theoretical pool where futures contracts are bought and sold and oil is efficiantly made availble throughout the world. The exploiter of the oil (in Iraq it is the Iraqi gov't) gets paid by the consumer (the billions of energy users throughout the world). To say the the US is in Iraq to somehow steal oil does not make sense when the profits of the oil are returned to the Iraqi treasury.

Raja said...

I don't see how securing a strategic resource and securing stability in the country/region where that resource lays contradict each other. Your view on why the US is in Iraq makes sense; however, although oil may be fungible, it remains the most valuable resource on the planet.

I am not proposing that the US is going to "steal" Iraqi oil. But, it would definitely be in US interests to have a foothold in that country. With the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies, and the diminishing stocks of oil, it would seem to me that oil is becoming even more valuable as the years pass by.