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Mar 3, 2011 11:14 pm


Revolutions in the Middle East: What Next?



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Background

Regardless of whether Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak will stay or go, the Arab world has been rocked by a wave of revolutionary upheaval that has drawn many comparisons to 1989—or 1979. What will the consequences of the uprisings in the Middle East be, both regionally and globally?

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Food for Thought

Robert Tignor: Only hope for Mubarak and his party is"foreign powers [coming] to the rescue

Throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Egyptian men and women outside the halls of power have challenged their rulers and have sought a voice in state affairs, only to be stymied by the forces of order. Up until the 1950s, foreign troops from Britain and France put down the popular uprisings. Foreign interventions to suppress popular demands has left a strong suspicion that the big powers in the world, at present the Americans, will in the final analysis defeat the wishes of the people. Since then, the Egyptian military has put down those movements of popular dissent that proved beyond the capabilities of the security forces. Yet, never before have the soldiers faced such large numbers. If the military is to be taken at its word, it is no longer available to repress protesters. Nor is this surprising, given the fact that the military is a conscript army and those who would be called upon to curb the actions of the people would have to turn against their own relatives and friends. The only hope for Mubarak and his National Democratic Party is that foreign powers will come to the rescue as has occurred so frequently in the past. At the head of these powers would be the United States, which has relied on the Mubarak government to maintain political stability and support for American policies in this volatile region. The Americans may be willing to sacrifice Mubarak, but they are unlikely to view favorably a government in which Muslim elements have a strong voice. Even so, how the ruling elements and the army will restore calm short of allowing free and democratic elections, with possibilities for Muslim Brothers to enter the government, remains the big dilemma for the ruling group in Egypt and its American backers.

Juan Cole: 2011 Egypt is no 1979 Iran

Alarms have been raised by those observing the popular uprising in Egypt that, while it is not itself a Muslim fundamentalist movement, the Muslim fundamentalists could take it over as it unfolds. The best-positioned group to do so is the Muslim Brotherhood. Some are even conflating the peaceful Brotherhood with radical groups such as al-Qaeda. I showed in my recent book, Engaging the Muslim World, that the Muslim Brotherhood has since the 1970s opposed the radical movements. In any case, the analogy many of these alarmists are making, explicitly or implicitly, is to Iran in 1978-79, which saw similar scenes of massive crowds in the street, demanding the departure of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, their king....

Egypt is, unlike Iran, not primarily an oil state. Its sources of revenue are tourism, Suez Canal tolls, manufactured and agricultural exports, and strategic rent (the $1.5 bn. or so in aid from the US comes under this heading). Egypt depends on the rest of the world for grain imports. Were it to adopt a radical and defiant ideology like that of Iran, all its major sources of income would suddenly evaporate, and it might have trouble even just getting enough imported food. Moreover, the social forces making the revolution in Egypt have a significantly different profile and different dynamics than in Iran....

So to recapitulate. The white collar and labor activists are far more central to the organization of the Egyptian protests than had been their counterparts in the Iranian Revolution. The Egyptian “bazaar” is much less tied to the Muslim clergy than was the case in Iran, and far less likely to fund clerical politicians. Whereas Iran’s bazaar merchants often suffered from Western competition, Egypt’s bazaar depends centrally on Western tourism. Secular parties, if we count the NDP, have an organizational advantage over the religious ones, since they have been freer to meet and act under Mubarak. It is not clear that the law banning religious parties will be changed, in which case the Brotherhood would again be stuck with running its candidates under other rubrics. And, Sunni Muslims don’t have a doctrine of owing implicit obedience to their clergy, and the clergy are not as important in Sunni religious life as the Shiite Ayatollahs are in Iran. The Muslim Brotherhood, a largely lay organization, has a lot of support, but it is not clear that they could gain more than about a third of seats even if they were able to run in free elections.

Laith Saud: U.S. will have to rethink assumptions about the Arab world [Truthout]

Over the last decade, the American understanding of the Arab world has severely deteriorated. The American narrative has been dominated by concerns over the so-called rise of"extremists" and"Islamists," while our policies have become increasingly imprudent regarding Israel and oil. As is well-known, in the name of securing Israel and oil, the West has preferred stability over democracy. We could legitimately ask why securing Israel or oil means contravening democracy in the Arab world, but, for the moment, let us indulge in a more pragmatic analysis. For example, even if the United States continues to insist on its unqualified support for Israel, does American support for dictatorial regimes assist in that effort? My answer is, unequivocally, no, for such support is based on an extremely vacuous conceptual understanding of the region. We have, for the worse, adopted Israel's understanding of the region, wherein the Arabs are constantly seen as"Islamists in waiting" and of course, by extension, as"terrorists."

Well, for the average Arab, who is around 30 years old, university educated and unemployed, this approach to the region is completely meaningless. But the United States operates according to this false understanding: resources are distributed, alliances are made and authoritarian regimes are supported. Quite simply, we support police states and do not even exhibit a concern for the development of Arab civil society. This approach is literally ensuring the inevitable downfall of pro-Western regimes. While the Arab world must create 40 million jobs in the next 20 years, the US continues to sign multi-billion dollar arms deals that contribute to the militarization of the region, not the development of civil society and civic unity. The discord between Arab needs and Western approaches could not be brought into sharper relief. Let me give you some real, tangible examples of how US policy actually undermines US allies.

Ari Shavit: U.S."betrayed" Mubarak; its word now worthless [Haaretz]

How can it be that Bush's America understood the problem of repression in the Arab world, but Obama's America ignored it until last week? How can it be that in May 2009, Hosni Mubarak was an esteemed president whom Barack Obama respected, and in January 2011, Mubarak is a dictator whom even Obama is casting aside? How can it be that in June 2009, Obama didn't support the masses who came out against the zealot Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while now he stands by the masses who are coming out against the moderate Mubarak?

There is one answer: The West's position is not a moral one that reflects a real commitment to human rights. The West's position reflects the adoption of Jimmy Carter's worldview: kowtowing to benighted, strong tyrants while abandoning moderate, weak ones.

Carter's betrayal of the Shah brought us the ayatollahs, and will soon bring us ayatollahs with nuclear arms. The consequences of the West's betrayal of Mubarak will be no less severe. It's not only a betrayal of a leader who was loyal to the West, served stability and encouraged moderation. It's a betrayal of every ally of the West in the Middle East and the developing world. The message is sharp and clear: The West's word is no word at all; an alliance with the West is not an alliance. The West has lost it. The West has stopped being a leading and stabilizing force around the world.

Daniel Pipes: Egyptian revolt will"will not" empower Tehran

As Egypt's much-anticipated moment of crisis arrived and popular rebellions shook governments across the Middle East, Iran stands as never before at the center of the region. Its Islamist rulers are within sight of dominating the region. But revolutions are hard to pull off and I predict that Islamists will not achieve a Middle East-wide breakthrough and Tehran will not emerge as the key powerbroker. Some thoughts behind this conclusion:

An echo of the Iranian revolution: On reaching power in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini sought to spread Islamist insurrection to other countries but failed almost everywhere. Three decades had to go by, it appears, before the self-immolation of a vendor in an obscure Tunisia town could light the conflagration that Khomeini aspired to and Iranian authorities still seek.

Part of a Middle Eastern cold war: The Middle East has for years been divided into two large blocs engaged in a regional cold war for influence. The Iranian-led resistance bloc includes Turkey, Syria, Gaza, and Qatar. The Saudi-led status quo bloc includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, the West Bank, Jordan, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf emirates. Note that Lebanon these very days is moving to resistance from status quo and that unrest is taking place only in status quo places.


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Elliott Aron Green - 2/25/2011

Omar, do you forget the horrendous Arab invasions and conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries and so on? Those horrendous conquests changed the demographic makeup of many countries in the ME and North Africa. So how are the Arabs "indigenous"?


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/24/2011

Elliott
If that is ALL you have to say , then I am satisfied with your declaration of bankruptcy,
Specifically:
-whether 14 % pre WWI or less than 10 % post WWI does not challenge, nor change, the fact that pre British Mandate, and the forced demographic change it affected, Arabs were the overwhelming majority of the population of Palestine.
Which is only logical and expected being the indigenous population of the land.
The sequel ,of course, is that all other Jews than the 10 or 14 % were ALIEN colonialists.
Which is my point.

2-Whether US or Ukrainian born Golda Myerson was an Alien who chose to change her name for political reasons; which changes nothing.

3-Palestinians are not distinct from the Arabs except that they are the indigenous population of Palestine NOR are Texans distinct from Americans except that they are indigenous to Texas.
So what?
Another silly point in the offing??


Elliott Aron Green - 2/23/2011

Omar,
1-- In 1914, before WW One, Jews were about 14% of the population of what the international community was to call "Palestine" starting in 1920 at the San Remo Conference. About 1/3 of the Jews in the country were deported during the war by the Ottoman govt and that's why there were fewer Jews in the country after the war in 1918 than in 1914.
2-- Gold Meir was not born in the USA. She was born in the Ukraine, at that time part of the Tsarist Russian empire.

3-- on the "Palestinian people" notion, it seems that we agree these are not a people distinct from the Arabs.


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/23/2011

Back to the silly question, the issue of a name, with a sillier sequel:
1-It is NOT the name that creates facts it is facts that acquire a name!
The facts are: that the people, Arabs mostly Moslems and Christians (80% of total population up to 1918), dwelling for some 15 centuries in that part of Southern (Greater) Syria they call Palestine came to be invaded and conquered by an ALIEN horde of Jews( less than 10% of total population up to 1918) that with imperialist, GB then USA, assistance managed to establish a forward base for western imperialism, and Jewish racism, called Israel.
These are the facts of the issue that I dare you, Elliott, to challenge AS FACTS.
Whatever you, or others, chose to call them is immaterial to the facts( You yourself could be called Elliott Green, or the Son of X green, or the grandchild of Z Greenstein from his son X; how would that matter as long as it refers to the same person.)
More to the point Golda Myerson came to be known as Golda Meir when political, colonialist, considerations required, demanded, a more JEWISH name than Myerson!
Did that in any way change the facts of the, alien, American born person that became PM of "Israel", the Zionist/Jewish colony in Palestine!
Re Palestine, and Palestinians, whether you call them Palestinians or Southern Syrians or Arabs none of that would make any difference to the facts because all three appellations CORRECTLY refer to the same human community which is PALESTINIAN/Southern Syrian and ARAB at one and the same time!
To bring it closer to the feebler, and ill willed, minded: a Texan could be Correctly referred to as: Texan/South Western dweller of the USA or American.
Does being an American nullify his Texan identity or appellation??
2-The sillier sequel to the silly question is about “ethnicity”!
Here we are faced with two important and decisive aspects/features/idiocycrinasies of Zionism:
a- Its inborn inability to digest the fact that Arabism, unlike Zionism, is neither ETHNICALLY based nor RACIALLY derived.
b- Its insistence on ethnic/racial foundations in the formation of nations
Patently both aspects serve only to underline and high light Zionism’s innate, intrinsic, racism; presently and since 1948 in full display in Israeli policies and practices being the political manifestations of Israel’s RACIST founding doctrine : Zionism!


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/23/2011

Back to the silly question, the issue of a name, with a sillier sequel:
1-It is NOT the name that creates facts it is facts that acquire a name!

The facts are: that the people, Arabs mostly Moslems and Christians (80% of total population up to 1918), dwelling for some 15 centuries in that part of Southern (Greater) Syria they call Palestine came to be invaded and conquered by an ALIEN horde of Jews( less than 10% of total population up to 1918) that with imperialist, GB then USA, assistance managed to establish a forward base for western imperialism, and Jewish racism, called Israel.
These are the facts of the issue that I dare you, Elliott, to challenge AS FACTS.
Whatever you, or others, chose to call them is immaterial to the facts( You yourself could be called Elliott Green, or the Son of X green, or the grandchild of Z Greenstein from his son X; how would that matter as long as it refers to the same person.)
More to the point Golda Myerson came to be known as Golda Meir when political, colonialist, considerations required, demanded, a more JEWISH name than Myerson!
Did that in any way change the facts of the, alien, American born person that became PM of "Israel", the Zionist/Jewish colony in Palestine!
Re Palestine, and Palestinians, whether you call them Palestinians or Southern Syrians or Arabs none of that would make any difference to the facts because all three appellations CORRECTLY refer to the same human community which is PALESTINIAN/Southern Syrian and ARAB at one and the same time!
To bring it closer to the feebler, and ill willed, minded: a Texan could be Correctly referred to as: Texan/South Western dweller of the USA or American.
Does being an American nullify his Texan identity or appellation??

2-The sillier sequel to the silly question is about “ethnicity”!
Here we are faced with two important and decisive aspects/features/idiocycrinasies of Zionism:
a- Its inborn inability to digest the fact that Arabism, unlike Zionism, is neither ETHNICALLY based nor RACIALLY derived.
b- Its insistence on ethnic/racial foundations in the formation of nations
Patently both aspects serve only to underline and high light Zionism’s innate, intrinsic, racism; presently and since 1948 in full display in Israeli policies and practices being the political manifestations of Israel’s RACIST founding doctrine : Zionism!


Elliott Aron Green - 2/22/2011

Omar, which book in any language published before 1960 tells the history of a "Palestinian people", especially as an ethnic group distinct from Arabs?

Does the "Palestinian people" have a history under that name? Or were they just called Arabs or Syrians previously?

Arab expert witnesses testifying before the Anglo-American Commission of Inquiry in 1946 claimed that there was "No Palestine" in history. If there was no "Palestine," then obviously there was no "Palestinian people."


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/22/2011

Elliott
It is NOT what old books, of dubious authenticity, objectivity and historical exactitude have to say that matters.; there is more poetry, nostalgia and repressed desires, carnal, vengeful and otherwise, than indisputable FACTS in these old books
It is rather a question of which books modern politicians choose to high light and which books on which to base their claims.
With the Zionist movement, with the abundance of OLD JEWISH books, the choice is made easy with so many books to choose from to SUIT the policy in mind at the time.
When in an expansionist mood there is a “good book” to support that and when in a conciliatory mood there is another “good book” for that also
One thing though is unmistakable in that Zionism’s innate aggressiveness, lawlessness=ethicslessness self centeredness (exceptionalism) and racism will always find, among its old books, something to rely on


Elliott Aron Green - 2/20/2011

Omar, as I told you before, the Brook of Egypt mentioned in Genesis is the Wadi al-Arish. The Brook of Egypt [nahal misrayim] is the same as River of Egypt [nahar misrayim], which is not the Nile. The words nahal and nahar mean brook [or creek or stream] and river respectively. That is they have slightly different meanings. But scholars agree that in both cases the Wadi al-Arish is meant. This stream is at al-Arish, not very far west of Rafiah, that is, of the Gaza Strip.

David and Solomon's kingdom comprised much of Syria up to the west bank of the Euphrates where it is on the Syrian border. But I don't believe that this kingdom included Lebanon. In fact, Solomon and Hiram, king of Tyre, cooperated in various ways, as spelled out in the Book of Kings I.

Of course, if you don't approve of conquering the lands of others, then you must disapprove of much of Arab and Muslim history, considering the many Arab and Muslim conquests of vast territories.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/20/2011

Omar, as I told you before, the Brook of Egypt mentioned in Genesis is the Wadi al-Arish. The Brook of Egypt [nahal misrayim] is the same as River of Egypt [nahar misrayim], which is not the Nile. The words nahal and nahar mean brook [or creek or stream] and river respectively. That is they have slightly different meanings. But scholars agree that in both cases the Wadi al-Arish is meant. This stream is at al-Arish, not very far west of Rafiah, that is, of the Gaza Strip.

David and Solomon's kingdom comprised much of Syria up to the west bank of the Euphrates where it is on the Syrian border. But I don't believe that this kingdom included Lebanon. In fact, Solomon and Hiram, king of Tyre, cooperated in various ways, as spelled out in the Book of Kings I.

Of course, if you don't approve of conquering the lands of others, then you must disapprove of much of Arab and Muslim history, considering the many Arab and Muslim conquests of vast territories.


Neil Sapper - 2/17/2011

Madison, Wisconsin!


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/17/2011

Elliott
Some of the "humbler" delinations of the presumed "land of Israel"; according to Wikipedia.
More, ie the more zealous, are better concealed and less readily available.
I will forward it you soonest I can spare the time to locate it



the Promised Land (defined in Genesis 15:18-21) or to the Land of Israel, and is also called Complete Land of Israel or "Entire Land of Israel" (Hebrew: ארץ ישראל השלמה‎, Eretz Yisrael Hashlemah). This is a more accurate translation than "Greater" Israel, which is used in English but has no real counterpart in Hebrew.

The Bible contains three geographical definitions of the Land of Israel. The first, found in Genesis 15:18-21, is vague. It describes a large territory, "from the brook of Egypt to the Euphrates", comprising all of modern-day Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and Lebanon, as well as large parts of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. The proportion of current Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey included in this territory is debatable.

The other two definitions are found in Numbers 34:1-15 and Ezekiel 47:13-20 and describe a smaller territory (see the map included in this article).


XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Variability of the boundariesDeuteronomy 19:8 indicates a certain fluidity of the borders of the promised land when it refers to the possibility that God would "enlarge your borders." This expansion of territory means that Israel would receive "all the land he promised to give to your fathers," which implies that the settlement actually fell short of what was promised. According to Jacob Milgrom, Deuteronomy refers to a more utopian map of the promised land, whose eastern border is the wilderness rather than the Jordan.[8]

Paul R. Williamson notes that a "close examination of the relevant promissory texts" supports a "wider interpretation of the promised land" in which it is not "restricted absolutely to one geographical locale." He argues that "the map of the promised land was never seen permanently fixed, but was subject to at least some degree of expansion and redefinition."[9]


Elliott Aron Green - 2/17/2011

Omar, since you are so knowledgeable about "the more zealous Zionists," could you give us references to publications by such persons so that we might verify your claims?


omaribsn - 2/15/2011

Elliott
what you claim to be a "misunderstanding" of the meaning of "river" could well also be "misunderstood", or rather correctly understood, for what it really means....RIVER!
Old Jewish texts seem to lend themselves, admirably, selflessly and conveniently, to many "as ordered for" interpretations... a sort of a la carte approach.
I have seen, here at HNN, the unmistakably crystal clear words and meaning of many old texts quoted by the late honorable Israel Shahak reinterpreted to mean if not their opposite then something totally unrelated!
You must be aware, I expect, that some of the more zealous Zionists did include in their Greater Israel the Arabian Peninsula and stretched its Northern borders up to the Taurus mountains.
I believe that with Zionism and Israel words no longer have a concrete meaning and it is NOT words that would resolve the issue!


Elliott Aron Green - 2/15/2011

Omar, just for the record, let's correct what you claim is an ancient Jewish dream of Israel as stretching to the Nile River. This misconception arose as a misunderstanding of the term "river of Egypt" which appears in some ancient Jewish texts to indicate the southwestern border of the Land of Israel. The "River of Egypt" [in Hebrew נחל מצרים או נהר מצרים] refers to what Arabs call the Wadi al-Arish [at al-Arish], not to the Nile River. I know that many Arabs cherish the paranoid notion that the Jews have designs on the Nile. But facts are facts.


omar ibrahim baker - 2/14/2011

Israelis now , as Jews of old, look at Arabs as, simply, obstacles to historical Jewish dreams of a GREATER ISRAEL, from the Niles to the Euphrates, and for modern day Zionists ,i.e. Israelis, as their inherited sphere of influence and natural dominance domain to dominate and exploit and from which to prosper.
That however doe NOT exclude a humbler vision of a Greater Israel on both Banks of the Jordan River, i.e.in all of Palestine and in Jordan.
The downgrading of the wider vision may well be the difficulty of exterminating and/or domesticating all the people of the wider vision or the unavailability, the dearth, of enough Jews to populate it or, most probably, both factors.

Interestingly it is Jews whose sole relation to the land is “spiritual”, or very recent, that form the critical mass among the dreamers of old times and the schemers of modern times.
The dreamers will go on dreaming and the schemers will go on scheming and only HISTORY will decide the outcome.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/8/2011

To go on, Roger, about the lack of freedom in Arab lands. Magdi Allam, an Egyptian intellectual who immigrated to Italy and became one of the top journalists there, has a different explanation than you do. Allam writes: "In the Arab and Muslim countries liberty is lacking because of the ideological and political nature of the regimes in power [independently of their stance on Islam]. . ."
Nei paesi arabi e musulmani manca la liberta a causa della natura ideologica e politica dei regimi al potere. . . Magdi Allam, Vincere la Paura (Milano: Mondadori 2005), p48

So Roger, a knowledgeable Egyptian-Arab does not agree with your explanation of the lack of freedom in Arab lands.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/7/2011

Roger, you're going overboard. The US supported the Nasser regime in the 1950s and 1960s when Nasser was yelling over Radio Cairo that Israel was evil blah blah blah and would be destroyed by the valiant Arab warriors blah blah blah.

Carter pressured Israel to give into Sadat's demands and to keep the peace on its side. According to the Israel-Egypt treaty of 1979, Egypt was to stop all Judeophobic and Israelophobic incitement on the Egyptian media. Needless to say, Egypt never kept that commitment. So even if Egypt has not been shooting at Israel over the last 30 years, the state media and schools and state-controlled mosques have been indoctrinating future generations of haters of Israel and future jihad maniacs just dying to go to war with Israel. Just by the way, Mubarak's media/TV have been "reporting" that Israeli agents stirred up the protest movement against the regime in Egypt. Do you believe that too?

Your notion of a decent public opinion in Egypt held back from assaulting Israel for its alleged crimes is ridiculous. Do you know about the recent Pew opinion poll of Egyptians and what they want? By the way, have the Egyptians as a group ever demonstrated their "humanitarian concern" for the victims of Arab-Muslim genocide in southern Sudan? Do you think that building homes for Jews in the ancient Jewish homeland is a "war crime" comparable to the genocide practiced by Arab League member state, Sudan, against the Blacks of southern Sudan?

You sound yourself like you have been influenced by the kind of bs Judeophobic rants that Nasser was making over Radio Cairo in the 1950s & 1960s ["the aggressive and inhumane policies of Israel towards Gaza"]. Are you aware that tons of food are delivered to Gaza every day from Israel? Are you unaware of the Hamas charter and its Judeophobia, especially Article 7 and its medieval Muslim fable about Muslims killing the Jews on Judgment Day? Or maybe you don't care and think that Hamas' hatred of Jews is just what those "kikes" deserve?


Roger Lafontaine - 2/7/2011

The events in Egypt reveal at last that while US has been proclaiming 'democracy'j from the rooftops, it has instead been secretly building up a 'police state umbrella' (like the 'Nuclear Umbrella' presumably protecting western democracies and a few others, quite a few lately from attack). The 'Police State Umbrella' posits that 5 million Israelis can't be free unless 85 million Egyptians are kept in a cage. Free Egyptians might object to some of the aggressive and inhumane policies of Israel towards Gaza and the building of settlements etc. therefore in order to protect the 'only democracy in the ME' we need police states all around it, a bit like that wall they're building. Perhaps we should call it a 'tyranny wall' instead.


David Zohar - 2/7/2011

"Israel's understanding of the region, wherein the Arabs are constantly seen as "Islamists in waiting" and of course, by extension, as "terrorists."

So says Laith Saud and shows his total ignorance of how Israelis think.

Israel has two peace treaties: with Egypt and Jordan-and intends to abide by them.Israel enjoyed better relations for years with Mauritania,Morocco, Tunisia, Qatar and Oman,which could be resumed, and has been actively seeking good neighbourly relations with the Palestinians. Premier Olmert and President Abu Mazen almost concluded a deal and it is still doable.

The sort of effortless slander that Laith Saud uses is unhelpful to say the least and just betrays his prejudices.


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/6/2011

Good Elliott go on denying American largese to Israel ...that always warms my heart and your lack of gratitude to your major benefactor is typical and not unexpected.
The average American will eventually come to know about it.
Re USA subsidy to SA! Absurd contention whether documented in a book or everal books.
However, and these are the words of a non specialit, I guess the interest due on Saudi moneies, sadly but possibly forcedly , deposited in American banks and US notes more than cover any Saudi withdrawals.
That however is a side issue: keep denying American largesse and withholding your gratitude to your major benefactor in all life aspects.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/6/2011

Following up on my earlier mention of Obama/State Dept opposition to "Jewish settlements", it should be stressed that Jewish settlements are legal under international law. The US position, in contrast to the UK and EU position, is that the settlements are "illegitimate," "not helpful to peace," "an obstacle to peace," etc. Consider that Obama in his Cairo speech called the settlements "illegitimate," not illegal. See link:

http://theisraelisettlements.blogspot.com/p/settlements-legal-issues.html


Elliott Aron Green - 2/6/2011

the world’s recipient of the largest amount of USA official aid /capita

Omar, I'm delighted that you raise this issue. In fact, it's more reasonable and correct to say that Saudi Arabia has been "the world’s recipient of the largest amount of USA official aid /capita." Of course, the foreign aid for Saudi Arabia was rather surreptitious. Saudi royals were advised by USG in 1950-51 that if they wanted more $$ for their oil, they should charge ARAMCO a per barrel "oil income tax," not just royalties. ARAMCO in turn could deduct this "tax" [really royalties] dollar for dollar from its US corporate income tax under the Foreign Tax Credit law. So the US Treasury in effect subsidized oil payments to the kingdom of SA. [on this see, John Blair, Control of Oil; James Ridgway {or Ridgeway?}, New Energy, etc.]. This arrengement started in 1951, long before Israel started getting big money in 1974 as a kind of blood debt because the Nixon administration under Kissinger had pressured Israel not to attack Egypt pre-emptively when Israel knew that Egypt was getting into position for an attack on Israel.

Thus Nixon adminstration policy encouraged Egypt and Syria to attack Israel in October 1973. Sen. Eugene McCarthy used the word "emboldened" instead of "encouraged."

This last point about the Yom Kippur War answers Omar's claim that the USA . . . saved Israel in the 1973 war from total collapse. If it weren't for Nixon-Kissinger encouragement or emboldening of those Arab states, there probably would not have been a war.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/6/2011

Jonathan, US support for Israel was weak in 1948, although Truman was pro-Israel in words. but the State Dept, CIA and Defense Dept were really rather hostile [besides Radosh's book you could try Joseph Schechtman's The United States and the Jewish State Movement, et al].

Further, I did mention recent Obama administration/State Dept policy --not policy from 40 years ago-- particularly on Jews' rights to live in Judea-Samaria. Obama and Mrs Clinton merely restated in a much harsher, more hostile manner, what has been official US policy since the Rogers Plan of 1969. This plan by Nixon's sec'y of state called for no more than "insubstantial alterations" in the pre-1967 armistice lines. In my view, this contradicts the principle of Israeli-Arab peace in UN SC 242 that Israel should have "secure and recognized boundaries." Secure borders for Israel means that Israel should control the heights, the north-south mountain ridge dividing the country, as well as control over the Jordan River crossings, according to various Israeli and non-Israeli military experts. Again, I consider the opposition of the State Dept since Rogers, if not before, to Jews' right of settlement throughout the country, enshrined in the League of Nations mandate --for example-- and never revoked, to be racist and anti-Jewish apartheid. So support for Israel has hardly been "unqualified" as Laith Saud claims. This is not to mention many other data.


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/6/2011

It never fails to warm my heart to witness Israelis/Zionists voice their ingratitude re the USA and American bounty and support that has made of Israel what it is now.
Aside from being, for some sixty years now, the world’s recipient of the largest amount of USA official aid /capita it was the USA who saved Israel in the 1973 war from total collapse.

That both acts, among million others, fail to evoke some gratitude towards the USA warms my heart not only in that it is typical but in that it will eventually percolate to the poor long suffering American tax payer who on top of being saddled with Israel politically, economically and militarily for decades now was recently asked to pay the multimillion performance bonuses of the CEOs of bankrupt American corporations.

Preoccupied and busy as he is that poor American tax payer is NOT stupid though!


Jonathan Dresner - 2/6/2011

You're going to cite weak US support over four decades ago as proof that US policy now is somehow qualifed and restrained?

Pitiful.


Elliott Aron Green - 2/6/2011

Laith Saud makes the error commonplace among journalists and academics of claiming that the USA gives Israel "unqualified support." Thanks to slogan-mongering journalists, axe-grinding academics and typically hypocritical politicians, this claim has become what Max Nordau called "a conventional lie." The claim was never true and it is not true now.

How false it is can be easily demonstrated. For instance, in the summer of 1948, at the onset of the first Arab-Israeli truce, the Americn consul in Jerusalem on the Consular Truce Commission considered that only 2,800 calories per day per Jewish inhabitant of besieged Jerusalem should be allowed through the Arab blockade. On this issue, the French consul (and the Belgian) agreed with Dov Joseph, the Jewish Agency delegate to the Commission, that each Jewish inhabitant was entitled to 3,400 calories per day. Conversely, the US consul, John MacDonald, justified his position by pointing out that millions of Chinese were living on the verge of starvation. MacDonald's demand for only 2,800 calories per Jew per day won over the Frenchman and Belgian in the end. [see Dov Joseph and Menahem Kaufman]

In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel won with an air force made up of French planes. Israel did not have US combat aircraft in that war.

Now, Pres. Obama insists that Israel not allow Jews to move to and dwell in Judea and Samaria, formerly Jordanian-occupied areas of the internationally designated Jewish National Home, nor in formerly Jordanian-occupied parts of Jerusalem ["east Jerusalem"], a city that has had a Jewish majority since 1853. This racist, apartheid position against Jews has long been State Department policy. I don't see this as US "unqualified support" for Israel. Can Saud prove otherwise?

Now the reality of US policy towards Israel has long been obfuscated by the press, media, academia, pro-Arab lobbyists and many politicians.

It is high time to tell the truth. I have only skimmed Ronald Radosh's recent book on Pres. Truman's policy toward Israel, but what I read of it seems to be a truthful account.


Fahrettin Tahir - 2/6/2011

Omar,

the Economist ist rejoicing that the George W Bush master plan for democratizing the Arab world is being enacted.

It is interesting to note that the two regimes collapsing are the places where the West had greatest influence.

I understand that the Arab people hate these dictators but is is too early to say who is winning.


Omar Ibrahim Baker - 2/6/2011

The Middle East, particularly the Arab portion, had been subjected since the end of WWI to a conscious and deliberate Western ( West Europe & USA)policy aiming at the total frustration of Arab ambitions for unity and progress and meant to keep the Arabs divided, weak, underdeveloped and subordinate to IT!
That preemptive master plan was substantially implemented through two major tracks whose long term destructive effect still predominates the Arab world and poison Arab life.

-Track ONE:
The Sykes-Picot Anglo/French agreement to carve up the ME into separate spheres of influence , actually domination, of the two powers.
The USA acquiesced and followed suit then supplanted both.
The net output of that agreement was the emergence of several, perennially weak and West dependent, Arab states propped and sustained by their respective mentors thus blocking the way to eventual Arab unity: the only way forward in terms of national security, economic progress, modernization etc .

-Track TWO:
the implantation of Israel in Palestine ie the establishment of a Western colonialist/imperialist forward base at the crucial, and only, land connection between Al Mashreq and Al Maghreb.
Israel not only dislocated, dispossessed, subjugated and disfranchised the indigenous Arab population of Palestine by de Arabizing it BUT also constituted the major land bulwark/obstacle sustaining the land discontinuity of the Arab world.
It also came to be, as equally planned by the West, a source of constant threat to Arab national security in two aspects:
a-As an aggressively EXPANSIONIT nation/state with regional hegemony ambitions and deigns
b-As the West oriented and West serving regional forward base in charge of :
i-militarily assisting Western aggression as in the 1956 Suez war
and
ii-propping and maintaining the security of the corrupt and despotic pro West Arab regimes.
(Ponder the Israeli attitude to current events in Egypt.)
This state of affairs is BOUND to CHANGE and the Western, and now joint West/ Israeli/Zionist, Master plan shall be deactivated and frustrated.
The CHANGE has started!!


Fahrettin Tahir - 2/5/2011

A North African I knwo says all of the North African (MOrocco, Algeria, Tunesi, Egypt) regimes must go. The people would decide later what happens to the countries.

These are hated regimes.

Maybe they try to get Western support against their own people by dancing to foreigners' tune.

Supporting them makes the West hated.


Fahrettin Tahir - 2/5/2011

No Turk will accept that Turkey is in an Iranian led block.

In Turkey the AKP is attacked for being western stooges. Most of their policies follow Western instructions.

This is why the West supports them and helps make them popular by importing 100 bn + $ worth of goods.

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