Beyond Words

The Blog Formerly Known as "Nagoftaniha"

Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, March 27, 2005

An Extreme Makeover for Uncle Sam

The second anniversary of the Iraq invasion passed by without much fanfare. The two main invading partners tried to keep a lid on the events. One might have expected George Bush would do one of his stunts and put on some sort of military outfit, the same ones he tried to avoid during his time in the National Guard. Not much bravado about the wave of democracy that is sweeping the region either. Even when an interviewer gave Tony Blair a chance to gloat, he decided to pass on this opportunity since he is quite aware of the uncertainty of the situation. And with the parliamentary elections in Britain fast approaching, he has more important issues on his mind. He does not want to offend the anti-war crowd unnecessarily. His new motto is "let’s forgive and forget, just like that." In the meantime, there were more suicide attacks, which demonstrate the fact that the situation is far from ideal.

In the anti-war camp, the feeling was subdued. There were some demonstrations around the world, but only the hardcore crowd showed up. With the war in Iraq all but over, many people did not see any incentive for more demonstrations. The pre-war demonstrators had a distinct purpose, which was to stop a war. Despite all the demonstrations and all the objections to this illegal war, the two evil empires (one from the past, the other from the present/future) decided to go ahead, and ignore the will of the people. There have been calls for Blair to resign, but in this post-war atmosphere, they only feel like a distant memory.

There are calls coming out of Washington, and to a lesser extent out of London, for a more democratic Middle East. They want to convey the impression that what is happening in the region has some direct correlation with the Iraq invasion and the subsequent elections there. The spin doctors in the Bush administration have been putting in a lot of overtime lately. They take credit for every so-called democratic movement in the world. If there has been a "velvet" revolution in Ukraine, they take credit for it, even though Ukraine is far from the Middle Eastern region and the movement was against a corrupt government, and no regime change was in the cards. They take credit for the elections in the occupied Palestine, even though it was not the first time there has been an election there, and, if it were not for the criminal actions of the Sharon government, there could be an election much earlier, even when Arafat was still alive. They talk about the reform movements in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, no matter how superficial and meaningless these top-down reforms are. Even if one considers these reforms as something positive, one cannot see any direct correlation between them and what happened in Iraq. A couple of phone calls from White House and withdrawal of the economic and military aid could very well have had the same effect a long time ago.

Back in the Middle East, resentment against US policies is not diminishing. That is one of the few positive aspects of living under totalitarian regimes. It makes people more skeptical of their governments, and when they see something on CNN or Fox News, they do not take it as gospel. In other words, they see through Bush and his partners in the region. They are conscious of the fact that uncle Sam is not on their side. The spin doctors got busy again. They re-invented a new and improved Bush who "cares" about the plight of the Arab populations. By creating an imaginary push for democracy in the region, they try to win the hearts and minds of the people in Arab streets.

Only future will tell how this new campaign will progress and whether the Arab populations are so gullible as to fall into this new trap. They very well might. After all desperate people do desperate things, and anything is better than what they have today.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Happy Norouz! (Spring Equinox)

Although Norouz is Iranian (Persian) new year, but it's celebrated in many countries of the region with different nationalities.
To all of them, from all of us: "Norouz Mobarak!"

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Ripple Effect

There is a new perception that the fight over Iraq was not about oil. Apparently, we are to believe that the recent developments in Iraq point to the fact that the fight was about democracy. Based on this perception, the Bush administration intentionally misled the world in order to start the process of democratization in Iraq and ultimately in the whole region. Furthermore, the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq are seen as a turning point which will change the geo-political situation of the region.

This new spin on the events has ramifications that are more dangerous than the concept of pre-emptive strike. If up until now the US administration had changed the rules of warfare and made pre-emptive strike against potential enemies a reality, now they present us with a new way of thinking that legitimizes misleading the world.

The major issue everybody tends to overlook is the fact that the US did not invade Iraq in the first place to start a process of democratization for the region. The main reason the US invaded Iraq was based on a sham story about Iraq's military capabilities and its unproven WMD program. None of the resolutions that were passed in the UN had authorized the US to invade another country in order to spread democracy. The same analysts tend to forget the destruction and humiliation that the American invasion has created for a sovereign nation.

Proponents of Bush’s neo-conservative doctrine claim the rest of the Arab world will see how liberated the Iraqis are and this alleged freedom will have a ripple effect on the rest of the region. Where would that leave us? Are we to believe the US is now set against its own client states and tries to bring down repressive regimes throughout the region? If the same repressive regimes in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other client states are still in power and are supported by the US government, how in the world are their people supposed to attain freedom?

Based on what we have learned over the years about US intentions and strategy, can we expect a change of heart in its worldview and fool ourselves into believing that from this time forth they are in the business of promoting democracy and freedom throughout the world? Are we to begin believing in Bush and his neo-con friends who claim there is a new dawn for democracy and freedom in the region?

It seems like the spin doctors in the Bush administration have succeeded in not only fooling the American people, but this time around, the whole world has fallen prey to their twisted logic.

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