The past two years have seen enormous upheavals in countries from Algeria, Morocco, through Libya, Gaza, Syria and Egypt for a second time. The loss of civilian life is unconscionable, but it seems that in the USA little thought is given to the causes of the rebellions, except to cheer because of the mistaken belief that they are about Freedom and Democracy.
The big problem is that historically, The USA has been culpable in creating dictatorships and murderous regimes in the region for many decades, and the results are coming home to roost at a time when this country cannot commit to another major conflict. So the outcome in Egypt and Syria once again falls into the hands of the CIA in the USA, MI6 in UK and other covert operations groups in other European countries, not to mention Israel’s Mossad.
For generations, the oil exploration and producing companies in the USA and Europe have plundered the Middle East, growing extremely wealthy in the process at the expense of the indigenous people. Having grown up in the Middle East and worked for an oil exploration seismic survey company, GSI, in Libya, I have, most of my life, been fully aware of the cynical abuse of national sovereignty that oil companies, and the Governments that they control, have exercised in the region.
Let me be very clear. The War in Iraq was not about the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, nor was it about weapons of mass destruction. It was firstly about oil, hence the securing of the Oil Ministry in Baghdad as the first priority of US troops entering the city, and secondly it was about creating a buffer zone between Iran and Israel. However the result has been that the Iraqi Government is politically closer to Iran that it is to the US.
I felt so strongly about the issues in the Middle East that I wrote AN UNQUIET AMERICAN, and I’m sure those who read my blog regularly will be tired of me mentioning it, but I still feel that ignorance of the underlying causes of conflict, genocide and wholesale destruction, is not an excuse to grumble at the price of oil every time we have to fill up the fuel tank and spew more greenhouse gases into the air in order that oil executives can buy another 600 foot yacht.
In the early 1950s Britain, France and the newly formed State of Israel, went to war with Egypt when Gamel Abdel Nasser annexed the Suez Canal, which had been built with British and French money. The USA threatened to destroy Britain’s economy if they didn’t get out of Egypt. What has ensued over the years is a politically unstable country, where we now see yet another would-be dictator, Morsi, trying to grab total power at the expense of the people. By 1958 Egypt and Syria join the United Arab Republic, Nasser then wrests control of the UAR and disbands all Syrian political parties. In 1961 Syrian army officers, helped by the USA and UK, rebel against the Nasser controlled government and take over control of Syria and dissolve the Union with Egypt.
Whenever a vacuum of power and stability has been created by western interference in the Middle East, radicals have rushed in to fill the void. The notion that the ‘West Knows Best’, is truly a dangerous philosophy. President George Bush blocked proposed peace talks between Syria and Israel, talks that Israel were willing and prepared to have. The resulting chaos has further destabilised the Middle East. And even yesterday Secretary of State Clinton listed one of the Syrian rebel groups fighting Assad ‘a terrorist organisation’ for having ties to Al Qaeda.
Our western interference in the past has come back to haunt us.
Our greed for oil has become a security nightmare, and our ignorance and indifference to the people of the Middle East has created an economic and humanitarian powder keg.
Perhaps somewhere along the line we will, as a species, grow up and realise just what we are doing to the world.