Instead of a peaceful, united Arab world, we have a handful of the most powerful states using proxy warfare, covert actions, and economic subterfuge to control their own fiefdoms
The US leaders assert they invaded Iraq for freedom and were going to make the Middle East safe for democracy. This sort of hypocrisy continues unabated to this day, as Syrians, Iraqis, Libyans and Afghanis are still trying to understand what is happening in war-torn nations where the global world powers have been meddling, killing, and intervening for decades. After the expected failure in Afghanistan, and shattering Iraqi society in 2003 and killing over 500,000 civilians, today the US still gets a free hand, even as NATO and Saudi Arabia-coalition nations support terrorists threatening the Syrian government, and the policies of Iran and Russia.
After about six years of civil war in Syria, and over 13 years since the immoral and atrocious coalition invasion of Iraq, the US standpoint of events in Syria and Iraq continues to be lamentable. Even when 10 and 30 million people around the world demonstrated against the Iraq war in February 2003, the US and the UK governments continued to pressure and threaten potential coalition governments, using media mouthpieces as their minions. As the democratic will of the free world was standing in unanimity, US leaders were busy shedding whatever remained of their consciences as they sat down on their heels planning mass transgression and crimes against humanity.
While wider issues, however, are still unresolved as Russia’s priorities are simply to stop ISIS in Syria, and to give support to Assad, the US will have to review its wish to eject Syria’s President Bashar al Assad to help counter ISIS. Russia is wounded and has legitimate security threats within its own territory as well as in some former republics, specifically the Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan, and Ingushetia) and the Central Asian states mostly in Tajikistan. The bitter truth is that the entire strategy of the US in the wider region is an illusion and a tragedy.
Whether this would be a strategic US Middle East policy or hypocrisy the US supports Saudi Arabia, a rigid, parochial royal regime with comprehensive military technology, political alliances, and even contracted mercenaries in its illegal war against Yemen. In Israel, the US supports Netanyahu’s bigoted, supremacist attitude with billions of dollars a year, and Egypt’s military dictatorship of General Abdel Fattah Al Sisi with eyes closed.
No doubt, one of the major problems for the US in its Middle East policy is the interference from Iran. Its main thrust is their nuclear programme, and that the covert programme existed until 2009 even when Gareth Porter wrote in a Middle East Policy Council essay that the US National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 confirmed the 2003 programme shutdown. Furthermore, former International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director El-Baradei himself considered the post-2003 weapons documents as forgeries. The US and Israel continued with their anti-Iran policy and targeted Iran’s nuclear scientists, propagated harmful economic sanctions, fabricated nuclear documents, and even supported hard-core terrorist groups to bring down the regime, which adversely affected innocent Iranian citizens. So much for progress and democracy, but that is what Iranians came to expect from US policies and indoctrinated war.
The December 2015 talks between the US and Russia, spearheaded by John Kerry and Sergei Lavrov, repeated the dubious party line that Russia is unfairly targeting pro-US, anti-Assad rebels rather than ISIS itself. The US reiterated that ISIS will be defeated but for now the plan is to contain them. While western countries are not in fact almost totally safe from terrorism, the threats to civilians in the Middle East and North Africa from the diverse array of radical movements and terrorists do not seem to be contained at all. What is actually, instead, being seen are simply areas neglected and exploited by global capitalism, where disorder and violence rule, and warlords are in charge. Instead of a peaceful, united Arab world, we have a handful of the most powerful states using proxy warfare, covert actions, and economic subterfuge to control their own fiefdoms.
If a united solidarity movement for human rights in the Arab world is formed, it might be possible for the US and other superpowers to cut out their archaic and tyrannical oppression towards the divided Muslim ummah, which they should have done years ago. By treating the delusion of regional power supremacy and the epidemic of sectarian conflict, and working in unity with those who endure and survive under tremendous hardship, Muslims living in the Arab world can improve and become less torn apart. By understanding ordinary people’s problems, hopes, and concerns, it may not be too late for Muslim leaders to salvage its function and its dignity. By listening to those without power, and rejecting the US influence that uses regional conflict in reaction to their own vested political interests, a brighter future can be created.
However, this can only be done with the help of sincere leadership, focusing on the structural imbalances of regional security and rejecting the destructive paths of misguided leaders and nations that are wreaking havoc in Syria, Iraq, and worldwide.
The writer is a professor of psychiatry and consultant forensic psychiatrist in the UK. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org