The Paradox Which Has Enslaved US in the Region

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ali Montazeri 

It is very difficult and even impossible to differentiate between US and Israeli policies in the Middle East region. Therefore, every country seeking to improve its political and economic relations with the United States should always be mindful of Washington’s relations with Tel Aviv. This has caused the United States to pay heavy costs in the Middle East region, though it has always tried to make regional countries take the bill.

Since regional policies of the United States and Israel are intertwined, a major part of US regional policy in this strategic region is based on relative shakiness of political regimes in the Middle East and this has caused central governments of these countries to be always struggling with regional and sometimes, domestic instabilities. Although the present government in Turkey is run by Islamist elements, however, during the past 10 years, due to challenges from Turkish military and laic parties, Islamist governments have always been struggling to survive in the political arena of the country and this is apart from armed conflicts in southeast Turkey with which the Turkish government has always had to deal.

Although the government of Saudi Arabia seems to be a stable traditional political system, due to US policies to fight terrorism and covert support of Washington for non-traditional technocrats in Saudi Arabia who are not liked by the Saudi king, the country has been constantly grappling with undercover developments. This is evident in the way that the government deals with its neighbors like Iran and Iraq. These conditions have deprived that country from independent decision-making on regional developments, which in turn, would lead to domestic and foreign problems, so that, Saudi Arabia cannot adopt a constant policy toward such countries like Iran or such political developments as the issue of Palestine and developments in Lebanon.

As for Iran, the United States has always tried to destabilize the political system in our country in order to keep up the possibility of a face-off. Of course, since Iran’s domestic and foreign policies have been formulated independent of the United States during the past 28 years, the US policy has been futile, though Washington has been witnessing the impact of that policy in the Middle East region.

On the other hand, the United States has never intended to see a stable and powerful central government in Lebanon because such a government can only evolve through sharing of political power by different political tendencies and this would not be in line with US policies because it would have to recognize such political forces as the Lebanese Hezbollah. Intertwinement between US and Israeli policies in Lebanon has been a major manifestation of US foreign policy in the Middle East.

Undoubtedly, lack of a powerful central government in Lebanon will not be in US benefit. On the other hand, such a government would have to pave the way for all Lebanese tribes and political tendencies to have a share in power. They cannot talk about a central government in Lebanon without taking the popular and politically powerful Hezbollah into consideration just in the same way that they cannot exclude the powerful Sunni groups that are not inclined toward the United States. Of course, there are strongly pro-West political currents too.

The United States should be well aware that a powerful government in Lebanon would be able to deal clearly with all negotiating sides provided that its rights are respected by those sides, especially the United States. However, it is quite clear that due to relations between Washington and Tel Aviv, the United States government is hardly able to reach such a strategic decision on countries like Iran and Lebanon and this will cost dearly for the American nation.

George Bush’s remarks at the Israeli parliament were clear proof to absolute unilateralism of the United States. Although Bush’s regional tour was a good-bye party for a lame duck president, he did his best to show US support for Israel. He summarized his whole presidential policies in the address to the Israeli parliament and his positions are sure to lead to more tension and military confrontations in the region. His serious verbal attacks against Iran, the Hezbollah and Hamas once more showed that the US government was ignoring an important and undeniable reality in the Middle East; a reality which cannot be ignored by any foreign military power in the region.

During his regional trip, Bush presented a reverse picture of the history and assessed the future with blinkered eyes. It seems that his remarks will bring nothing to the Middle East, but instability. At present, Bush’s positions have proven the fact that the United States and Israel do not want to see any stable country or government in the region. However, Washington is playing in a region on which the very stability of the Israeli government also depends.

There is no doubt that the US policy in the region will never bear fruit and it will bring nothing to the Middle East but insecurity, tension and instability for its governments and nations. This is where the US foreign policy should pay an exorbitant price.


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