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The Middle East’s New Geopolitical Map » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

The Middle East’s New Geopolitical Map

by PATRICK SEALE

The Arab Spring is not the only revolution in town. The toppling of dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya; the mounting death toll in Syria and Yemen, where the outcome is still undecided; the revival of long-suppressed Islamic movements demanding a share of power; the struggle by young revolutionaries to re-invent the Arab state — all these dramatic developments have distracted attention from another revolution of equal significance.

It is the challenge being mounted by the region’s heavyweights — Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran — against the hegemony which the United States and Israel have sought to exercise over them for more than half a century.

When David Ben-Gurion declared Israel’s independence on 14 May 1948, he held the view that the country’s security could be assured only if it were militarily stronger than any possible Arab combination. This became Israel’s security doctrine. The desired hegemony was achieved by the prowess of Israel’s armed forces, but also by Israel’s external alliances first with France, then with the United States.

Military superiority won Israel outstanding victories in the 1948 and 1967 wars, a less resounding victory in 1973, still more contentiously by its invasions of Lebanon in 1978, 1982 and 2006, and more reprehensively by its operation of unashamed brutality against Gaza in 2008-9 — to mention only the most significant among a host of other Israeli attacks, incursions and onslaughts against its neighbours over the past several decades.

In its early years, Israel’s hegemony was reinforced by its so-called ‘periphery’ doctrine — its attempt to neutralise the Arabs by concluding strategic alliances with neighbouring non-Arab states such as Turkey and the Shah’s Iran. Its 1979 peace treaty with Egypt also proved a vital asset over the past three decades, since it removed the most powerful country from the Arab line-up.

The collapse of Soviet power in 1989-91 contributed to the Arabs’ disarray, as did the huge success of pro-Israeli Americans in penetrating almost every institution of the American government, whether at state or federal level, most notably the U.S. Congress. The message these advocates conveyed was that the interests of America and Israel were identical and their alliance ‘unshakable.’

Over the past forty years, the United States has provided Israel with sustained political and diplomatic support, as well as massive financial and military assistance, including a guarantee, enshrined in American law, of Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) – that is to say a U.S. pledge to guarantee Israel’s ability to defeat any challenge from any of its neighbours.

Even 9/11 was turned to Israel’s advantage in convincing American opinion that Palestinian resistance to Israel was terrorism, no different from that which America itself had suffered. There followed George W. Bush’s catastrophic militarisation of American foreign policy, and the invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq on fraudulent premises, largely engineered by neo-cons such as Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith and their colleagues at the Pentagon and in the Vice-President’s office, concerned above all to remove any possible threat to Israel from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The United States has sought to protect Israel’s regional nuclear monopoly by harsh sanctions against Iran, because of its nuclear activities, as well as joint U.S.-Israeli sabotage operations, such as the infiltration into Iranian computers of the Stuxnet virus. Washington has turned a blind eye to Israel’s assassination of Iranian scientists, and has followed Israel in demonizing resistance movements such as Hizbullah and Hamas as terrorist organisations.

America’s most grievous mistake, however — the source of great harm to itself, to Israel, and to peace and stability in the Middle East — has been to tolerate Israel’s continued occupation and dispossession of the Palestinians. These policies have aroused intense hate of Israel in the Arab and Muslim world and great anger at its superpower protector.

We are now witnessing a rebellion against these policies by the region’s heavyweights — in effect a rebellion against American and Israeli hegemony as spectacular as the Arab Spring itself. The message these regional powers are conveying is that the Palestine question can no longer be neglected. Israel’s land grab on the West Bank and its siege of Gaza must be ended. The Palestinians must at last be given a chance to create their own state. Their plight weighs heavily on the conscience of the world.

Turkey, long a strategic ally of Israel, has now broken with it. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced it as “the West’s spoilt child.” In a passionate speech in Cairo, he warned Israel that it must “pay for its aggression and crimes.” Supporting the Palestinians in their efforts to gain UN recognition as a state was, he declared, not an option but an obligation.

Prince Turki al Faisal, a leading member of the Saudi Royal family and former intelligence chief, has publicly warned the United States that if it casts its veto against the Palestinian bid for statehood, it risks losing an ally. In a widely-noted article in the International Herald Tribune on 12 September, he wrote that “Saudi Arabia would no longer be able to cooperate with America” in the way it has since the Second World War. The “Special Relationship” between the two countries “would increasingly be seen as toxic by the vast majority of Arabs and Muslims, who demand justice for the Palestinian people.”

Last week, the American-brokered 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty — a key underpinning of Israel’s regional hegemony — came under open criticism from Egypt itself. The treaty was “not a holy book,” said Egypt’s prime minister, Dr. Essam Sharaf. It would need to be revised. Amr Moussa, the leading candidate for the Egyptian presidency, has called for the treaty’s military annexes to be reviewed so as to allow Egyptian troops to be deployed in Sinai.

As for Iran, denunciation of the United States and Israel can be expected from President Ahmadinejad when he addresses the UN General Assembly in the coming days. The failure to engage with Iran — demonising it as a threat to the whole world, rather than working to incorporate it into the security architecture of the Gulf region — has been one of Obama’s gravest policy mistakes.
Turkey, Iran and Egypt, heirs to ancient civilizations, are thus asserting themselves against what they see as an Israeli upstart. Saudi Arabia, the region’s oil and financial giant, guardian of Islam’s holiest sites, is breaking free from the constraints of the American alliance.

Israel stands accused. Will it heed the message or shoot the messenger? If true to its past form, it might well try to fight its way out of the box in which it now finds itself, further destabilising the region and attracting to itself further opprobrium.

As for the United States, bound hand and foot by Israeli interests, it seems to have abdicated the leading role in the Arab-Israeli peace process it has played for so long — but to so little effect. Disillusion with President Barack Obama is now total. Others must now take up the baton. Many believe the time has come to break the dangerous stalemate with some coercive diplomacy. Will Europe take up the challenge?

Patrick Seale is a leading British writer on the Middle East. His latest book is The Struggle for Arab Independence: Riad el-Solh and the Makers of the Modern Middle East (Cambridge University Press).

Copyright © 2011 Patrick Seale .

 

Google’s Revolution Factory – Alliance of Youth Movements: Color Revolution 2.0

Google’s Revolution Factory – Alliance of Youth Movements: Color Revolution 2.0

by Tony Cartalucci
Global Research, February 19, 2011
Signs of the Times

In 2008, the Alliance of Youth Movements held its inaugural summit in New York City. Attending this summit was a combination of State Department staff, Council on Foreign Relations members, former National Security staff, Department of Homeland Security advisers, and a myriad of representatives from American corporations and mass media organizations including AT&T, Google, Facebook, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, and MTV.

http://allyoumov.3cdn.net/f734ac45131b2bbcdb_w6m6idptn.pdf

One might suspect such a meeting of representatives involved in US economic, domestic and foreign policy, along with the shapers of public opinion in the mass media would be convening to talk about America’s future and how to facilitate it. Joining these policy makers, was an army of “grassroots” activists that would “help” this facilitation.

Among them was a then little known group called “April 6” from Egypt. These Facebook “savvy” Egyptians would later meet US International Crisis Group trustee Mohamed ElBaradei at the Cairo airport in Februrary 2010 and spend the next year campaigning and protesting on his behalf in his bid to overthrow the government of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The Alliance of Youth Movements mission statement claims it is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping grassroots activists to build their capacity and make a greater impact on the world. While this sounds fairly innocuous at first, even perhaps positive, upon examining those involved in “Movements.org,” a dark agenda is revealed of such nefarious intent it is almost difficult to believe.

Movement.org is officially partnered with the US Department of State and Columbia Law School. Its corporate sponsors include Google, Pepsi, and the Omnicon Group, all listed as members of the globocrat Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). CBS News is a sponsor and listed on the globocrat Chatham House’s corporate membership list. Other sponsors include Facebook, YouTube, Meetup, Howcast, National Geographic, MSNBC, GenNext, and the Edelman public relations firm.

Movement.org’s “team” includes Co-Founder Jared Cohen, a CFR member, Director of Google Ideas, and a former State Department planning staff member under both Condoleezza Rice and Hilary Clinton.

Founding Movements.org with Cohen is Jason Liebman of Howcast Media which works with mega-corporate conglomerates like Proctor & Gamble, Kodak, Staples, Ford, and government agencies such as the US State Department and the US Defense Department, to create “custom branded entertainment, innovative social media, and tardeted rich-media campaigns.” He was also with Google for 4 years where he worked to partner with Time Warner (CFR), News Corporation (FoxNews, CFR) Viacom, Warner Music, Sony Pictures, Reuters, the New York Times, and the Washington Post Company.

Roman Sunder is also credited with co-founding Movements.org. He founded Access 360 Media, a mass advertising company, and he also organized the PTTOW! Summit which brought together 35 top executives from companies like AT&T (CFR), Quicksilver, Activison, Facebook, HP, YouTube, Pepsi (CFR), and the US Government to discuss the future of the “youth industry.” He is also a board member of Gen Next, another non-profit organization focused on “affecting change for the next generation.”

It is hard, considering these men’s affiliations, to believe that the change they want to see is anything less than a generation that drinks more Pepsi, buys more consumerist junk, and believes the United States government every time they purvey their lies to us via their corporate owned media.

While the activists attending the Movements.org summit adhere to the philosophies of “left-leaning” liberalism, the very men behind the summit, funding it, and prodding the agenda of these activists are America’s mega-corporate combine. These are the very big-businesses that have violated human rights worldwide, destroyed the environment, sell shoddy, overseas manufactured goods produced by workers living in slave conditions, and pursue an agenda of greed and perpetual expansion at any cost. The hypocrisy is astounding unless of course you understand that their nefarious, self-serving agenda could only be accomplished under the guise of genuine concern for humanity, buried under mountains of feel-good rhetoric, and helped along by an army of exploited, naive youth.

What we see is not a foundation from which all activists can work from, but a foundation that has a very selective group of activists working on “problem spots” the US State Department would like to see “changed.” Sudan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Eastern Europe, Venezuela, and even Thailand – where ever protesters and movements are working to undermine governments non-conducive to corporate America’s agenda, you will find Movements.org supporting their efforts.

The April 6 Movement of Egypt is one of them, and their role in the apparent success of the US ousting of Hosni Mubarak that may see their man Mohamed ElBaradei in office is a perfect example of how this new army of prodded youth will be deployed. It is color revolution 2.0, run directly out of the US State Department with the support of corporate America.

It would be strongly recommended that readers go to Movements.org themselves and explore the website, in particular the 3 summits they have held and those that were in attendance. Everyone from the RAND Corporation to the Council on Foreign Relations comes to “prod.” Movements.org truly is a new tentacle for manipulating and undermining the sovereignty of foreign nations.

2008 Summit New York City .pdf
2009 Summit Mexico City .pdf
2010 Summit London
Global Research Articles by Tony Cartalucci

Robert Fisk: These are secular popular revolts – yet everyone is blaming religion – Robert Fisk, Commentators – The Independent

Robert Fisk: These are secular popular revolts – yet everyone is blaming religion

Our writer, who was in Cairo as the revolution took hold in Egypt, reports from Bahrain on why Islam has little to do with what is going on

Sunday, 20 February 2011

A barbed-wire fence at the Pearl roundabout in Manama yesterday

Getty Images

A barbed-wire fence at the Pearl roundabout in Manama yesterday

Mubarak claimed that Islamists were behind the Egyptian revolution. Ben Ali said the same in Tunisia. King Abdullah of Jordan sees a dark and sinister hand – al-Qa’ida’s hand, the Muslim Brotherhood’s hand, an Islamist hand – behind the civil insurrection across the Arab world. Yesterday the Bahraini authorities discovered Hizbollah’s bloody hand behind the Shia uprising there. For Hizbollah, read Iran. How on earth do well-educated if singularly undemocratic men get this thing so wrong? Confronted by a series of secular explosions – Bahrain does not quite fit into this bracket – they blame radical Islam. The Shah made an identical mistake in reverse. Confronted by an obviously Islamic uprising, he blamed it on Communists.

Bobbysocks Obama and Clinton have managed an even weirder somersault. Having originally supported the “stable” dictatorships of the Middle East – when they should have stood by the forces of democracy – they decided to support civilian calls for democracy in the Arab world at a time when the Arabs were so utterly disenchanted with the West’s hypocrisy that they didn’t want America on their side. “The Americans interfered in our country for 30 years under Mubarak, supporting his regime, arming his soldiers,” an Egyptian student told me in Tahrir Square last week. “Now we would be grateful if they stopped interfering on our side.” At the end of the week, I heard identical voices in Bahrain. “We are getting shot by American weapons fired by American-trained Bahraini soldiers with American-made tanks,” a medical orderly told me on Friday. “And now Obama wants to be on our side?”

The events of the past two months and the spirit of anti-regime Arab insurrection – for dignity and justice, rather than any Islamic emirate – will remain in our history books for hundreds of years. And the failure of Islam’s strictest adherents will be discussed for decades. There was a special piquancy to the latest footage from al-Qa’ida yesterday, recorded before the overthrow of Mubarak, that emphasised the need for Islam to triumph in Egypt; yet a week earlier the forces of secular, nationalist, honourable Egypt, Muslim and Christian men and women, had got rid of the old man without any help from Bin Laden Inc. Even weirder was the reaction from Iran, whose supreme leader convinced himself that the Egyptian people’s success was a victory for Islam. It’s a sobering thought that only al-Qa’ida and Iran and their most loathed enemies, the anti-Islamist Arab dictators, believed that religion lay behind the mass rebellion of pro-democracy protesters.

The bloodiest irony of all – which dawned rather slowly on Obama – was that the Islamic Republic of Iran was praising the democrats of Egypt while threatening to execute its own democratic opposition leaders.

Not, then, a great week for “Islamicism”. There’s a catch, of course. Almost all the millions of Arab demonstrators who wish to shrug off the cloak of autocracy which – with our Western help – has smothered their lives in humiliation and fear are indeed Muslims. And Muslims – unlike the “Christian” West – have not lost their faith. Under the stones and coshes of Mubarak’s police killers, they counter-attacked, shouting “Allah akbar” for this was indeed for them a “jihad” – not a religious war but a struggle for justice. “God is Great” and a demand for justice are entirely consistent. For the struggle against injustice is the very spirit of the Koran.

In Bahrain we have a special case. Here a Shia majority is ruled by a minority of pro-monarchy Sunni Muslims. Syria, by the way, may suffer from “Bahrainitis” for the same reason: a Sunni majority ruled by an Alawite (Shia) minority. Well, at least the West – in its sagging support for King Hamad of Bahrain – can point to the fact that Bahrain, like Kuwait, has a parliament. It’s a sad old beast, existing from 1973 to 1975 when it was dissolved unconstitutionally, and then reinvented in 2001 as part of a package of “reforms”. But the new parliament turned out to be even more unrepresentative than the first. Opposition politicians were harassed by state security, and parliamentary boundaries were gerrymandered, Ulster-style, to make sure that the minority Sunnis controlled it. In 2006 and 2010, for example, the main Shia party in Bahrain gained only 18 out of 40 seats. Indeed, there is a distinctly Northern Ireland feel to Sunni perspectives in Bahrain. Many have told me that they fear for their lives, that Shia mobs will burn their homes and kill them.

All this is set to change. Control of state power has to be legitimised to be effective, and the use of live fire to overwhelm peaceful protest was bound to end in Bahrain in a series of little Bloody Sundays. Once Arabs learnt to lose their fear, they could claim the civil rights that Catholics in Northern Ireland once demanded in the face of RUC brutality. In the end, the British had to destroy Unionist rule and bring the IRA into joint power with Protestants. The parallels are not exact and the Shias do not (yet) have a militia, although the Bahraini government has produced photographs of pistols and swords – hardly a major weapon of the IRA – to support their contention that its opponents include “terrorists”.

In Bahrain there is, needless to say, a sectarian as much as a secular battle, something that the Crown Prince unwittingly acknowledged when he originally said that the security forces had to suppress protests to prevent sectarian violence. It’s a view held all too savagely by Saudi Arabia, which has a strong interest in the suppression of dissent in Bahrain. The Shias of Saudi Arabia might get uppity if their co-religionists in Bahrain overwhelm the state. Then we’ll really hear the leaders of the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran crowing.

But these interconnected insurrections should not be seen in a simple ferment-in-the-Middle-East framework. The Yemeni uprising against President Saleh (32 years in power) is democratic but also tribal, and it won’t be long before the opposition uses guns. Yemen is a heavily armed society, tribes with flags, nationalist-rampant. And then there is Libya.

Gaddafi is so odd, his Green Book theories – dispatched by Benghazi demonstrators last week when they pulled down a concrete version of this particular volume – so preposterous, his rule so cruel (and he’s been running the place for 42 years) that he is an Ozymandias waiting to fall. His flirtation with Berlusconi – worse still, his cloying love affair with Tony Blair whose foreign secretary, Jack Straw, praised the Libyan lunatic’s “statesmanship” – was never going to save him. Bedecked with more medals than General Eisenhower, desperate for a doctor to face-lift his sagging jowls, this wretched man is threatening “terrible” punishment against his own people for challenging his rule. Two things to remember about Libya: like Yemen, it’s a tribal land; and when it turned against its Italian fascist overlords, it began a savage war of liberation whose brave leaders faced the hangman’s noose with unbelievable courage. Just because Gaddafi is a nutter does not mean his people are fools.

So it’s a sea-change in the Middle East’s political, social, cultural world. It will create many tragedies, raise many hopes and shed far too much blood. Better perhaps to ignore all the analysts and the “think tanks” whose silly “experts” dominate the satellite channels. If Czechs could have their freedom, why not the Egyptians? If dictators can be overthrown in Europe – first the fascists, then the Communists – why not in the great Arab Muslim world? And – just for a moment – keep religion out of this.