Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Birth Pangs of a new Middle-East?

What was the point of having a Lebanon peace summit in Rome without Iran and Syria? Well, that's precisely it - there was no point other than the pretense of action and care.
It is pretty clears that there was no desire on the part of the US to see the summit break a deal. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice was pretty clear, no cease-fire before conditions had been created for a "sustainable" peace." But how do you create those conditions if you don't engage in direct talk with the countries most involved in the conflict (even if it is by proxy)?
The Iranian foreign ministry spokesman was for once quite right when he said the obvious:
"They should have invited all the countries of the region, including Syria and Iran, if they want peace. How can you tackle these important issues without having representatives of all countries in the region?"
The Bush administration is playing a very dangerous game. Not only is the US alone on this, but it is now perceived as the ultimate villain in the Arab world. No doubt that Rice is really working hard at making America's image in the Arab world even worse than it already is when she comments that the war on Lebanon was part of 'birth pangs of a new Middle East'. Of course the Arab street is going to get angry:
Lebanese and Arab commentators saw the top U.S. diplomat as attempting to give birth to a new Zionist-dominated Middle East at the expense of Lebanese 'children`s corpses.' (here)
It seems to me that the cost of this war - particularly the picture of dead civilians, including many children on TV - is greater politically than whatever is to gain from a 'potential' end of Hezbollah presence in southern Lebanon.
Marc Lynch has on his blog some very fascinating comments on how Arab tv is now presenting the "sixth [Arab-Israeli] war" and why Rice's comment has infuriated so many Arabs.

NOTE: By the way, the anger is not just felt in the Arab world as you can read here.
(this picture was taken in Greece)

1 Comments:

At 21:20, Blogger DMcKeon said...

It is a bit more than just inviting Iran and Syria to talks. The anger in Muslim world is in reality bittersweet (if that makes sense). Yes, the Arabs do not like the U.S. Yet, if you gave them and each individual who claims to hate the U.S. the opportunity to come here they would do so in a heart beat.

Identification with one's "peeps" is not easily overcome. So nobody is going to tell you "we're the problem." There going to tell you they hate the others. Blame deflection is human nature. Not all Arabs hate America. Most are victims to be honest. They hate their conditions and they probably recognize the fanatics who are destroying their society are using Orwellian techniques to deflect criticism from their own incompetent regimes from Cairo to Tehran and so on... I'd probably feel the same way if I lived there. Yet, I wouldn't be stupid enough to really believe the cheesey propoganda. So you have a dualistic reality in the middle east. They say one thing (and may even mean it) yet they don't really hate America in that they wouldn't do anything they could to be a part of it. On the other hand, most American would never willingly trade places with them. There's a certain humiliation that comes with that. My sense is that humiliation and embarassment over their peeps is what is really driving that.

 

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