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Friday, 28 July 2006 00:52

Are the Neo-Cons Pursuing a Failed Nation-State Policy in the Middle East?

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A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

There has been some intriguing speculation floating around among commentators on the net that the Neo-Cons never had any real intention of building electoral democracies -- as we know them -- in the Middle East. In fact, their goal may be the destruction of nation states in their current form in the Middle East and their replacement with a United States "protectorate" of sorts.

The first choice of the Busheviks would be the installation of puppet governments, such as the one that the U.S. installed for a few decades under the Shah in Iran. And we all know what that led to, don't we.

But in the absence of the ability to establish SAVAK controlled governments, the Neo-Cons may have decided permanent instability in the Middle East, through the destruction of the current nation states, is preferable to their rule by Anti-American leaders.

It should be remembered, in passing, that there are two types of Anti-American leaders in the Middle East: Islamists and secularists. The head of Iran is the former and Assad is the latter.

The current nation-state structure of the Middle-East is a relatively modern creation that came in the wake of post-colonial rule, primarily by the French, British and Ottomans (and if you go far enough back Rome and other armies who have receded into history.)

Iraq is the perfect example of an artificially constructed nation-state in the Middle East. That is why it is currently experiencing civil war. It is basically a truism that if the warring factions within the Islamic world weren’t united in fighting Israel, they would be fighting each other.

That is why Iran and Iraq lost upwards of 2-3 million people in their conflict allegedly over a waterway, when the U.S. under Reagan (through Donald Rumsfeld) backed Saddam Hussein against the Ayatollahs of Iran (who came to power in reaction to the U.S. support of the odious Shah).

Iraq is really composed of primarily three separate peoples: Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish. Without the imposition of the post-colonial map makers, Iraq would have likely been three separate nations.

Lebanon, at one time one of the more or less actual democracies in the Middle East (besides Israel), is composed of so many different "clans" (including Christian Lebanese) that they are hard to count. Yet, miraculously it almost made a go of it as a functioning democracy. Unfortunately for Lebanon, it got caught up in the geopolitical wars of the Middle East and got whacked from Syria, Israel and the U.S. on different sides, as well as becoming a staging ground for Palestinian extremists after the PLO was expelled from Jordan way back when.

The point here is that we could go on and on about the complexities of the Middle East. Israel has no doubt been besieged for so long that it has forgotten, in large part, how to pursue options for peace beyond military excess. But there is little question that if Israel weren't the symbol of Western intervention in the Middle East, the different religious and ethnic factions would be warring with each other.

Students of Lawrence of Arabia know that the Middle East was basically composed of nomadic tribes based on monarchal like loyalty until the beginning of last century.

In large part, with the exception of Iran (which is Persian, not Arab), identities are still largely determined by religious denomination within Islam rather than national identity. Ironically, this is only less true in a secular dictatorship like Syria (and was also the case in Iraq) -- but the old fault lines are and were just simmering below the surface.

This is a very superficial overview of the Middle East leading back to the point that the fantasy lure of "democracy" for the Middle East is a canard because the nation states Bush is talking about are largely artificial constructs. Given true democracy, they would become dismembered into new nation state constructs along lines that more accurately reflect religious and tribal identities than European imposed artificial national nation state constructs.

That is why much consideration should be given to the idea that the Neo-Cons want to create instability in the Middle East by destroying the very concept of the nation states created during the post-Colonial era. Because with chaos and destruction, the Neo-Cons believe, comes the opportunity to divide and conquer.

The end result would be something akin to a U.S.-British protectorate of sham governments in the Middle East, which would allow the U.S.-British oil companies to control the natural resources.

If all this sounds preposterous to you, remember that a truly Western style democratic government in Iran was overthrown by the U.S. in 1953, largely over the issue of Iran's desire to reclaim their rights to their own oil (which was then completely run as a concession by the British). The Dulles brothers claimed that they were protecting the oil fields from the Soviet Union, but that was so much bunk. They were upholding the right of the West to basically control oil in the Middle East.

The 1953 overthrow of a charismatic, truly democratically elected leader in Iran led, ultimately, to the seizing of the American hostages and the "Ayatollah revolution."

What is clear from history is that U.S. policy has laid the seeds of its own destruction in the Middle East. And Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the Neo-Cons are surpassed by no one for being Johnny Appleseeds of self-defeating chaos and destruction.

All that will be born of their wanton and reckless bloodshed is a new generation of anti-American sentiment, more radical, militarized and even further away from any notion of the peaceful development of their societies.

Finally, it should be noted that however loathsome the goals of Hezbollah and Hamas may be, they have gained the support of many followers among the general population they live amongst not for their militancy against Israel, but rather for the social, medical and educational services they provide. Like an old time ward precinct captain in Chicago, they know that people are thankful for basic services, particularly in the absence of functioning nation states.

Destroying nation states will only accelerate the attractiveness of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, because they spend dollars (a lot of it from Iran, particularly in the case of Hezbollah) on taking care of "their people."

How about if the U.S. and Israel spent billions of dollars on improving the lives of Middle East residents instead of trying to bomb them into submission?

That would probably be the best long-term investment in the national security interests of both the United States and Israel. Some isolated military actions might be needed now and then to stop those hard core radicals intent on attacking either nation (particularly in the case of suicide bombings), but nothing along the magnitude of the war in Iraq or the current bombing of Lebanon civilians and infrastructure.

All politics are local. Most Palestinians -- like most Israelis and Americans -- just want peace, prosperity and respect. We should create the conditions where the garden can grow instead of being trampled on.

But both America and Israel are much better off negotiating with legitimate nation states than with terrorist organizations. The Neo-Cons appear to be pursuing a policy of creating failed nation states.

And that is a major reason that they are such miserable failures.

Because you can negotiate with a nation state. But you can't negotiate with chaos.

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS