Archive for the ‘Iraq’ Category

Daniele Ranieri, Italian journalist, writes: Updates on the death of Iranian general Soleimani


Did the American Reaper drone that killed Suleimani depart from the Sigonella base in Sicily? The Reaper can fly for 1,900 km and the distance to Baghdad is 2,700 km, so this theory is to be excluded. It’s is like there are no nearby slopes in the Middle East where it could have been launched from. Half of Baghdad airport is a giant American base, and Soleimani’s car skirted the wall.

The Iraqi Parliament did not “vote for the ousting of the Americans.” It met to approve a non-binding letter to the Prime Minister calling for an end to military missions in Iraq and the dissolution of the militias. “Reunited” is a big word because there were 170 out of 328 MPs, the other 158 deserted the chamber because they opposed the motion.

The Americans are in Iraq because there is a letter of invitation from the Iraqi Prime Minister and he can theoretically withdraw it. But he hasn’t done it yet. He called for foreign soldiers to remain in Iraq so that they would train Iraqi soldiers, but this is a request that will not be heeded: the trainers will not remain in Iraq without all the other soldiers who guarantee them a minimum of protection.

In short: Iraqi politicians had to save face in the face of the Iranian regime with a “vote”. It is very likely that the presence of the International Coalition in Iraq will end soon anyway, because it makes no sense to continue operations against the Islamic State and to stay in bases that will be bombed by pro-Iranian militias with rockets and mortars.

There are no “American bases” in Iraq, there are Iraqi military bases that contain compounds where Americans (and soldiers of other nationalities, Italians included) are staying. And every time Soleimani’s militias fire rockets and mortars at the bases, they injure and kill Iraqi soldiers.

In mid-October, Soleimani met with militia commanders in Baghdad to create a new militia unknown to the Americans that would increase attacks on the bases. The Iranian general had also coordinated the arrival of other weapons from Iran, including anti-aircraft missiles to shoot down Coalition helicopters, according to a piece published yesterday by Reuters, which interviewed two militia commanders present at the meeting.

So, Soleimani alive or Soleimani dead, Iran’s campaign to end the Coalition’s presence in Iraq was already underway. Thirteen attacks in the last two months of the year are the proof.

Did Trump order Soleimani’s killing to distract America from impeachment? Republicans have 20 seats that should change their minds in the Senate but will never vote to remove Trump. The impeachment was born dead and in fact the TV rating was rather uninspiring.

Why drive out of Iraq the soldiers of the international mission who are carrying out operations against the Islamic State and who have at their disposal very advanced and valuable technology and intelligence against terrorists and who sooner or later would have left anyway? Because for three months there has been a stalemate in the country: the center of the capital is occupied by thousands of protesters who peacefully demand an end to Iranian interference in the country. Soleimani’s militias have killed no less than five hundred, but that’s not enough. The government is comatose, the Prime Minister has resigned but no one has yet replaced him. Tension against an external enemy has the potential of extinguishing protests. And in fact, in three days the coverage of the “war” between America and Iran was a thousand times greater than that of the protests. This is an explanation that holds up far more as a theory than “there was a need for a distraction against impeachment.”

Soleimani’s death sparked a wave of relief and joy in the Middle East. His militias – also made up of teenagers recruited in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, sent to war for Iranian interests – have kidnapped, tortured and made thousands of people disappear, have besieged some cities until death by starvation of the civilians and destabilised the region for years.

The Iranian Soleimani wanted to appoint the prime minister of Iraq, had Iraqi soldiers killed at their bases, kidnapped and killed 20-year-old Iraqi protesters. It was the textbook definition of military butcher and imperialist arrogance.

Have the Iranians withdrawn from the nuclear agreement? No, the Iranians after Trump suddenly abandoned the agreement, had also announced a gradual and progressive withdrawal. The announcement made yesterday does not accelerate the withdrawal that was already underway and does not touch on one of the most important principles: the possibility for the International Atomic Agency to carry out inspections at sites in Iran. In short: it is very likely that the Iranian regime will turn the nuclear issue into a tug of war, into a permanent crisis to make Western governments pay for it, but for now, the drama is in the headlines, not in the facts.

The Trump Administration does not want to wage war and yet it continues to make a fuss and to cite the invasion of Iraq in 2003 or the conflict in Vietnam. The American Administration has established a principle of deterrence: if the Iranians send a bomb truck against an American embassy, the Americans bomb Iranian targets (this is just is an example). I understand that if the Administration wanted to occupy Tehran, it would be a disintegration, but it is not. Deterrence, not war, is what is actually happening.

Soleimani’s militias yesterday released a video with faces covered in balaclavas, weapons and black clothes in which they announce suicide attacks.

Original in Italian: aWbbRugu05EwbahkYM2PCdp3E9Bg1uKB0DUlyFdy9RSz03p3atjm4smEWdm_S4ahC0e3xlOwOc1z07n0pvteelJvn5EsEKsNvmRrvu4JVCEVTbvUSkLFm5a9OXJD1fp8QPkAIMM3QA8sJ0gVhWDv13f1vNndspWtdqqpCi __xts__ CaMfUcUCZAPNcF9Y3Ea6h1QZCW7UjjB3MULJrebzZo0IdCGTY-91Tib9bX-b2Uo5GCof2bLYk7WG8LT6VjJI8Y5drE&__tn__-R

This text was written by Dyab Abu Jahjah in 2012. This is his site.
Relative to revolutions all around the world, the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions are historical miracles and a shining example of non-violent, civilized uprisings. The Yemeni revolution, in its insistence on non-violence and its discipline, is truly amazing, as is the revolution in Bahrain. The Syrian revolution, in its enormous sacrifices in the face of a ruthless killing machine, is a historical epic. The revolutions in Libya is an epitome of effectiveness.
We cannot just mention Libya in passing because the Libyan case has become the favorite example for conspiracy theorists and doubters in the revolution. It is true that the intervention by NATO is complicated and is definitely not innocent. But it is also true that the agenda of the Libyan revolutionaries is not identical to NATO’s agenda. This divergence will emerge slowly but surely because the relationship between the Libyan revolution and NATO is not one of submission. European powers wanted to secure the oil contracts that they had signed with Kaddafi and at the same time appear to support the Arab revolution after their shameful support for Ben-Ali and Mubarak to the very end. The Libyan revolutionaries wanted air cover in their confrontation with Kaddafi’s barbaric killing machine. and unfortunately no Arab or Islamic country was able to provide such a cover. Hence, a deal was struck, and we must look at this deal from the point of view of shared interests. In the end, Libya has been liberated and there are no occupation forces and no NATO mandate on Libya. As for the oil contracts, they are a matter of commerce because oil is nothing more than a commodity that is sold by the state based on the people’s interests; it does not represent our dignity or our honor. Isn’t it better for a free Libyan people to trade and cooperate with foreign countries to benefit itself rather than for a dictator like Kaddafi to do the same thing while oppressing his people for the benefit of himself and his sons with their many lovers?

A free people determines its path by itself and no one can claim any longer that a deranged tyrant knows his people’s interests better than the people. The alternative, for those who are always asking about alternatives, as if we were replacing one totalitarian government with another, is always the ballot box. What’s more important, and what is true in any region in the Arab World, is that foreign intervention is a small detail in the midst of the massive historical movement that the Arab revolution represents, which neither the reactionary oil oligarchies nor Western imperialism will be able to co-opt no matter how hard they try. The old regimes and their remnants will fail in their attempt to paint the Arab revolution as a western conspiracy to dethrone them because of their achievements in pursuing the interests of the people. The people know that the historical trend in our region is one of revolution, and they are aware of the West’s attempts to intervene and co-opt the revolution, but they are also capable of thwarting these attempts. In Syria, for example, the revolutionary forces have rejected military intervention and instead called for international protection and observers, and some insist on most being Arab, in spite of the enormous oppression and killing. Those who accuse the Syrian revolutionaries of being traitors are similar to someone who denies a seriously ill patient medicine because that medicine is made in Paris or London and is being distributed by United Nations agencies.

_87939070_87939069Written by Rahim Hamid, Ahwazi Arab writer 

It seems the Italian authorities thought they had to cover up all the nudes in a museum for President Rouhani’s visit. Europe allegedly despises the veiling of ordinary Muslim women, but hypocritically covers up statues to appease the Iranian Islamic leaders – censoring classical art is all about oil.

The West’s silence with respect to Iranian terrorism and Tehran’s interference in the affairs of others is a strong contributing reason for all that is happening and will happen in this region. The West’s double standards in defining terrorism and what it means to counter it have now become overt to all.

Khamenei, the main backer of Assad, continues to support the Syrian dictator, responsible for a war that has killed over 250,000 people and displaced more than half of the country’s population.

The major powers, especially the United States, look to the region through a different lens than the Arabs and other regional nations do. It appears that immediate economic, political and military interests are the main drives for the involvement of the Western countries in the Middle East, and no other considerations, such as human rights and long-term implications seem to be of any importance at the current juncture.

Iran rejoiced and welcomed Barack Obama’s victory in the presidential election in 2009. The Iranian pro regime masses at that time translated Obama’s name into Persian to read; “He is with us.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2nd L), Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) wait with others ahead of a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 26, 2015 during negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool - RTR4UXKJ

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L), U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (2nd L), Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (R) wait with others ahead of a meeting at the Beau Rivage Palace Hotel in Lausanne on March 26, 2015 during negotiations on the Iranian nuclear programme. REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool – RTR4UXKJ

Many remained heedless towards the Iranian political readability. But with the progress of time and Obama’s focus on the Iranian nuclear program after failing in all other areas in the region, some began talking about the wager of “Obama” on Iran in the hope that history preserves his legacy after he leaves the presidency in early 2017. In fact, the intent of the Obama administration, all along, has been to empower the Islamic Republic regionally – and they’ve certainly succeeded.

Based on his actions, Obama clearly doesn’t care about the fate of Iran and ordinary citizens who are oppressed by the regime any more than Bush did; he’s better at PR speeches and paying lip service to human rights. He’s naive in that he managed to convince himself and others in his administration that it would be in the interests of the United States to have Tehran as a regional policeman, rather than the United States, and a “partner for peace” for the West, via controlling the region.

Iran’s involvement in the region would enable the US to “pivot to Asia” or otherwise focus on whatever the latest foreign policy trend the policy wonks are recommending. In reality, allowing Iran’s expansionist ambitions is a recipe for endless war. Despite his seemingly idealistic vision, Obama is certainly no anti-establishment guy.

Obama’s primary ‘legacy’ has been to empower fascist demagogues, dictators and totalitarians domestically – such as Trump, who probably genuinely could shoot people and still get more votes, as he claimed – and globally. Proof is his support for the political descendant of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, the Castro regime in Cuba, the brutal Islamic State regime, Bashir al-Assad. Obama’s policies have also led to Putin’s Russia increasing their interference and influence around the world.

George W. Bush considered Iran part of the “axis of evil”, and Iran calls the United States “the Great Satan”, today we witness a temporary marriage between “the evil” and “the great Satan”.

Protests against Rouhani's visit in Rome

Protests against Rouhani’s visit in Rome

What brought the region and the world to this point?  How will the face of the region change after Tehran feels emboldened by the loosening of Washington’s grip on the region, giving the green light to the Islamic Republic’s interventions in the internal affairs of Arab countries, and continuous strengthening  of sleeper cells and spy networks, agents of influence, support for terrorism, and instigation of sectarian strife in the region?

The Western States, on the one hand, shake hands with state sponsors of terrorism, and secretly strengthen those bonds with multiple partnerships on various levels, and on the other, these Western states demand that Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia,   fight terrorism and freeze the financing of terrorist organizations, root out support for terrorism in all forms. Hypocritically, these states simultaneously slam and condemn Saudi Arabia for executing terrorists, so long as such condemnations play into the hands of the Islamic Republic.

These two contradictory stands do not mix well. They can work only in the baseless fantasy of Obama’s projected entente with Iran, allegedly aimed at providing the region with security, stability and integrity.

12650191_1529432960690476_931880828_nWith honesty that suits the political landscape and developments around us, we should say without hesitation or shame: the Iranian aggression and projected expansion that targets our nations with the tacit complicity, and the terrible silence of the West cannot be met only with a similar response.

This is the time to respond with firmness and determination in a world that tolerates no weakness or hesitation. Iran has spread its arms and military cells in our countries; it seeks to resuscitate a sinister version of the Persian Empire, create a Shiite Crescent and under the umbrella of Mahdism and other nationalist auspices while harping on the glories of the Sassanid past.

The current regime only understands the language of force. Therefore, we are forced to respond with the same methods. However, no strong response to the Islamic Republic’s expansionist ambitions can be made successfully taking a fitting strategic agenda and a thoughtful decision-making process.

The Islamic Republic correctly reads the West’s capitulatory policy the region as its inability to confront Iranian arrogance. The West’s perceived weakness emboldens the Mullahs to continue in their interventions and to grow and multiply their wicked plans.

The West forgets that the actual power in Iran lies not with Rouhani but with its Supreme Leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei, who is directly responsible for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Iran’s counterpart of the former Soviet KGB, imposing oppressive measures at home and promoting terror across the Middle East.

ShowImageIt is this regime, controlled by the Supreme Leader and the mullahs, that continues to contribute heavily to terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and funding Shi’a militias and individual despots such as Assad who have committed mass atrocities against his own citizens.

One could (and should) criticize the mullah regime for being racist and utilizing racism and scapegoating to support centralized power and keep their subjects away from heretical thoughts. Iran has a long history of conquering and subjugating its ethnic and religious minorities.

Ethnic subjugation and oppression precede the Islamic Republic — we need only to take a look at the history of Al-Ahwaz, Iranian Kurdistan, and Baluchistan, not to mention South Azerbaijan. There is no shortage of horrifying stories about activists who have been imprisoned, raped, beaten or tortured.

The hostilities of the Iranian Mullahs towards the Arab Gulf countries is not born of the moment, and the burning of embassies is an accurate reflection of the nature of the Iranian regime. It is an aggressive theocratic Persian cult worship which underlies the structure of the regimes’ ideology.

This doctrine survives only as long as exporting violence can be perpetuated, which itself is achieved via claiming all Arab Shiites as Iranian subjects and their land as Iranian land.

This Iranian exportation of sectarian violence among Arabs and in Arab lands is affected in order to avoid solving Iran’s unsolvable internal problems and to export them outside its borders.

Since 1979, Iran started applying its provocative policies which were vigorously and successfully responded to by Iraq and Iran was forced to retreat inside its borders. With the American destruction of Iraq, however, the Arab world was left wide open to Iranian aggression. Iranian purposes cannot be achieved in a quiet area away from escalation due to its interior economic and political and social problems.

The Iranian people, including ethnic groups, have long suffered and experienced harsh suppression at the hands of the Iranians in power. In order to cover up for Iran’s chronic unsolvable problems, the peculiar Persian cult worship type of Shiism was developed, and exporting it gives the Mullahs respite in their tenuous hold on power inside Iran.

Thus, Iran’s policy was built on interference in Arab affairs and continues to interfere in the internal affairs of the Arabs in the era of monarchists as well as during the revolutionary period of the Mullahs. Both under the Shah and Khomeini, wherever Shiism exists the land is claimed Persian one way or another!!!

This shows that Persian expansion has always come at the expense of the Arab countries and interference in their internal affairs. Most important though is that this aggressive Iranian policy is not the result of a particular system, but is thought rooted in the very foundations of the Persian state that sometimes shows itself in Monarchy apparel and other times dressed in the Islamic Republic guise.

For both the Shah and Khomeini intentionally created an arch and historical enemy for the Persian State, which permeates both old and new Iranian doctrine.

A psychological hostility was established in the center of Iran towards the Arabs which led to the arrogant racist view of the Iranian community members who make up the political and social system and the rest of civil institutions and non-civilian organizations.

img_0045If we investigate a little bit, the monarchic Iranian or Republican culture both rely on racist approaches. Both insist on focusing Iranian education on mobilizing Persians via arrogant racist socially constructed myths in favor of bullying the Arab region, intending to building generations who harbor hatred towards Arabs even among opponents of the regime living in European countries, where we find that the hatred of the Arabs is rooted and ingrained. However, they endured the oppression from their rulers in the Royal era.

Iran is not a state of institutions as it claims, but a state of the militia. Charters and international laws will not deter it but it can be hindered by firm force as Iraq did in 1980 and Saudi Arabia in 2011 in Bahrain, as well as the Gulf-Arab alliance in a decisive storm in 2015, and add to this it is the right time for Arab countries to activate the cause of oppressed peoples in Iran such as Ahwazi Arab people under Iranian occupation and through supporting those people in their claim of right to self-determination.

I am well aware that the decisions to be made are difficult, but the most difficult is the fact that the world respects only those with power, regardless of moral imperative. Thus, we are forced into a Solomonic dilemma of having to launch a decisive storm in alliance with some Arab countries, against a much greater evil in the face of the Iranian regime.

The world has tolerated the status quo for military action approved by the Security Council; this approval would not have been possible if the operations did not originate on the ground and the Arab states did not prove they can take crucial decisions on their own without waiting for the approval of Western or Eastern states. Perhaps this successful model can lead the Iranian regime to shift from an offensive to a defensive position and to retreat to the inside, where it will be forced to face the long overdue retribution in the hands of its own citizens.

That is when the Iranian people will take their stand for freedom from tyranny and religious fundamentalism.  And thus, the region can finally achieve the release from the evil of the Iranian regime. Revolution has not yet come to Iran. Therefore, Iran will be the major root of instability and violence all across the region.

Now the time has come when Arab nations, in order to rid themselves of terrorism, need to set aside their differences and act as a united force to confront Iranian hegemony.

In addition, the Western powers need to reconsider their view of the Middle East and not contribute to conflicts that may be difficult to contain later. The silence of the West to Iranian terrorism and intervention in the affairs of others is the primary reason for the growing instability and violence in the region.

When will the great powers take the actions of which they are capable and prevent the spread of violence in the region?

Written by NOT George Sabra. [Submitted this to any number of publications, none picked it up. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone after Rania Masri…]

The anti-war movement in the West got what it wanted: the war in Syria grinds on without the involvement of the only force capable of ending the bloody stalemate, the U.S. military.

The anti-war movement in the West accomplished what it set out to do: American F-16s remained grounded while the Assad regime’s MiGs returned to the skies to bomb hospitals for the first time since Bashar al-Assad crossed President Obama’s “red line” on August 21.

The anti-war movement in the West succeeded: the big guns aboard America’s battleships parked off the Syrian coast remained silent as the regime’s big guns opened fire once more on defenseless civilian neighborhoods.

The anti-war movement in the West won a great victory: while the war-making regime in Damascus enjoys the unlimited and unconditional financial, military, and diplomatic support of Iran and Russia, the popular uprising still stands alone as the red-headed stepchild of the Arab Spring, without a steady source for the heavy weapons it needs to survive.

These are the bloody real-world consequences of this so-called anti-war movement’s triumph in the West.

This movement that arose on the basis of Sarah Palin-style concern for Syrian lives – “so we’re bombing Syria because Syria is bombing Syria?” – is nowhere to be found now that the regime’s savage campaign to end their lives has resumed in earnest. This movement that was so worried about the fate of innocent Syrians in the face of American bombs has not uttered a single word, not called a single Congressman, nor organized a single demonstration to demand the Obama administration send Syrians gas masks, something the administration has steadfastly refused to do despite its talk about basic human decency and the sanctity of children’s lives. Thus, the administration and its anti-war critics are united as one in treating Syrian lives as fodder for their political agendas, as a rhetorical device in finely-worded speeches about high-minded principles and universal ethics.

Leading figures of this movement like Rania Masri (who should know better because of her workaround Israel-Palestine) continually draw a false equivalence between the infrequent atrocities committed by a poorly armed, untrained, undisciplined, disorganized rag-tag opposition desperate to save themselves and their families from an oppressive dictatorial regime that uses sarin, tanks, jets, scud missiles, and artillery against them daily. Imagine blaming “both sides” for the carnage of the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising and you get an idea of how monstrous this is.

What is worse than this “anti-war” movement’s highly selective faux outrage over the plight of the Syrian people are the bald-faced lies it continually spreads to substantiate its position.

In the run up to the 2003 Iraq war, the anti-war movement fought the Bush administration’s lies with pure, unadulterated truth. Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter declared that Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed by the U.N. in the 1990s and pointed out that Iraq was a basket case militarily thanks to a decade of crippling U.N. sanctions. For his trouble, Ritter was shut out of the halls of power as lawmakers in Washington, D.C. authorized President Bush to disarm a disarmed Iraq by invading and forcibly occupying it.

In the run up to the 2013 Syria war that wasn’t, the anti-war movement fought the Obama administration’s truths with pure, unadulterated lies. founder Justin Raimando saidthe Assad regime’s sarin gas attack in Ghouta on August 21 was a “hoax” and referred to it sarcastically as a massacre – in quotation marks. Retired CIA officer Ray McGovern and his Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) claimed that the Ghouta gassacre was a false-flag attack staged by the opposition in a bogus, unsourced Curveball-style “report” that VIPS plagiarized from Global Research, a conspiracy theory website founded by a man withdirect ties to the Assad dynasty.

“Bush lied, people died” is what the anti-war movement said when the Downing Street memo revealed that the Bush administration fixed the facts and the intelligence around their policy of regime change in Iraq. This time, the movement lied, Syrians died as anti-war activists went into overdrive to spin the facts and intelligence coming out of Syria in 2013 to fit the Iraq template of 2003. U.S. politician Dennis Kucinich even recapitulated in his own way Donald Rumsfeld’s infamous handshake with the Butcher of Baghdad as he was gassing Kurds and Iranians by having friendly sit down with Bashar al-Assad in the middle of his killing fields.

The movement to stop U.S. military action failed in 2003 and succeeded in 2013. In both cases, the result was needless bloodshed and brutality borne by people far from our shores.

By Khalil Bendib

By Khalil Bendib

Translated by: Adib S. Kawar and revised by Mary Rizzo

originally printed 12/5/2010 in PTT
The definition of despotism or oppression is very simple.

Despotism in the Greek language was equal to one man rule, a Greek citizen – whether he was a simple man or a member of the elite – did not make any differentiation between one man ruling in a magnanimous and open-minded way or not.

Now the word despotism is almost considered as out of use among the common public in the Western world – America and Europe – where they believe that democracy has spread and imposed its rule… and the one-man rule is out of existence in these countries.

But in spite of that we find in Europe and the United Sates, there are some who insist that despotism represents the overwhelming movement in these countries… Some writers demonstrate it with the fact that most people who live in these democracies do not contribute to democracy more than sometimes going to voting boxes to participate in elections. Other writers demonstrate the absence of actual democracy in these democracies by proving that most people – citizens in a more political expression – spend more of their time in playing cards than giving time thinking about state affairs.

Why should we go so far as to call the situation one of despotism? Isn’t it true that hundreds of thousands of citizens in these democracies organize demonstrations during certain crises to express their opposition to their democratic governments’ policies? After a few days or even weeks demonstrations stop – but the policies they demonstrated against and condemned continue to be implemented. How many hundreds of thousands march in American and European cities against waging war on Iraq before a single bullet had been fired, but the war was waged and continued during which all these tragedies were committed… and it was proved that it was not based on any legal basis even the claim of weapons of mass destruction that were never found, as well as the war that is still officially going on up till today’s date. Demonstrations could march here and there, but governments of democracies do not respond to these demonstrations protesting against their policies. On the contrary, they abide to the decisions of the orders of the chiefs of staffs of the armed forces, and those of the NATO. In spite of that, the general opinion is that these democracies execute the will of citizens who go to the ballot boxes.

The group that executed the war on Iraq and played within the press and outside it fell to an extent that made American voters who – the maximum sign of their rejection – go only as far as electing “a black man” for the first time in history for the presidency of the United States of America. George W. Bush who pushed America to wage the war on Iraq, and his successor did not come out of the neo-cons, but in spite of that, the “black man” chosen by the Americans continued with executing orders of the chiefs of staff, and decided on proceeding with the Afghanistan war, and threatens to wage a more fierce war against Iran.

Then when would the citizens of these democracies execute their own will?!

It seems that this opportunity shall never offer itself under the two party political system in existence in the United States. And U.S. citizens shall proceed with their ordinary social life and their private personal social affairs… while the governing elite continues with imposing their policies in disregard of the extent the citizens may show opposition to them – including opposition to wars – the expenses of which are born by citizens and not by the political elites.

Thus the difference is not enormous, it’s not even felt between these democracies and despotic regimes found outside the United States and Europe. This is what we see. But the fact is proved when you try to compare internal and external policies, then one would discover that the share of foreign policies is small, it is even almost not available, in comparison with internal policies.

American and European citizens similarly – do not see that the distance between them and the influence on the trend of foreign policy of their country is so great to an extent that they cannot be overpassed, neither through street demonstrations no matter how vast they may be, nor from the side of freedom of thought, however well expressed in the media they may be. Up till now there is no logical explanation or convincing argument for the continuity of the alliance with “Israel”, not even America’s and Europe’s interests with Arabs. There is no logical or convincing explanation for the ability of American rulers, from the extreme right to the current president, Barack Obama, who is accused of leftism and socialism by his political racist foes, to swallow the Zionist entity’s challenges not only against American interests but also against America’s strategies, and the continuation in giving its unlimited support and the means to implement this entity’s security and foreign policy… including its ownership of nuclear weapons arsenal and refusal to sign the treaty to ban them.

Foreign policy became a private privilege for the ruling elite in the ruling democracies… Tomorrow, the British could elect the conservatives (which they already did / the translator), because the Labour policy was not by any means for the labuorer, but what is certain is that the conservative government when it comes shall adopt the Labour government’s position in relation to foreign policy. And the democratic British citizens should know that their country’s participation in the Afghani war and the Zionist entity’s security, strategic and colonization options are not the matters they can alter.

And we are in no better condition in the Arab homeland.

But with one important difference, which is that these Arab despotic regimes that are in power in this homeland and who are keeping it divided are not allowing large mass demonstrations in our cities’ streets to declare their opinions concerning our rulers’ internal and foreign policies.

We in the Arab homeland are in a much worse position, though we, as citizens and masses, have no influence with regard to foreign policies (Arab policies too are similar and equal to international policies) as we, to start with, lack the privilege of having the right to approach and interfere the authority’s decisions related to both foreign and local policies.

The ability of oppression Arab governments have in relation to foreign policies greatly exceeds what Western democracies have in hand, in later years clear double standards prevailed in the policies followed by most Arab governments. Arab thinkers, public policy makers and writers in general can express their opinions with almost unlimited freedom. There is liberty of expression at the time when these Arab governments granted themselves the right of ignoring what is said… especially if what is said contains specific demands. The general rule is now that you can say whatever you want concerning conditions that you reject, and I can “do” what I want concerning conditions both you accept and you reject.

With the exception of when a thinker, writer or journalist is not threatened with imprisonment, arrest or trial as we understand them and is permitted to express himself by the ruling elites. This is while the right of free expression went to the extent to include various forms complaints that were not in the past included through demonstrations and sit ins, while authorities reserved for themselves the right of confronting protests with tear gas bombs, water cannons, overhead firing, taking some of the protesters for private investigations.

The issue of “Despotic Tolerance” – if we permit ourselves to borrow this expression from the American philosopher of German descent, Herbert Marcuse, the thinker whose name was connected with the student revolution of the sixties and seventies of the twentieth century – that was considered by some of the ruling elite a “danger” that threatens the “homeland”… which actually means a danger against the authority. And we have seen how a group of the Egyptian ruling party members had requested the “People’s Council” (The parliament) to fire with live bullets at the demonstrators because “they exceeded the allowed limits…”. From one side they don’t deserve the mercy that security forces show them, and from the other they are “communists”, “mercenaries” and “thieves”, and this demand to open fire at them with the aim of killing them is a splendid opportunity for the ruling elite to provoke their zealot children to prove their tolerance is wide enough for demonstrations, but doesn’t accept those participating in them, but just to disperse them and force them to retreat by force!

In spite of that, ruling regimes consider foreign policies a taboo domain for citizens to cross to… They can complain about the high cost of living, corruption and in general the downfall of health, human and educational services, but it shall always be a taboo to approach the conditions and the melancholies of foreign policies.

It is a taboo for Arab citizens to demonstrate against Zionist threats to wage a war against Syria, Lebanon or Gaza, it is forbidden for them to reach Zionist embassies in Cairo and/or Amman to protest against the Zionist entity’s decision to expel 75,000 Palestinian Arabs from the West Bank (the land of the anticipated Palestinian state) to Gaza (the big prisons of Palestinians in which they live under siege from all sides). They are not allowed to negatively demonstrate against the policies of Arab summit meetings and their effeteness whenever they meet in ordinary or extraordinary meetings, and their everlasting submission to the American/”Israeli” demands.

Arab authorities curbing in relation to Arab foreign policies is more dangerous than that in local affairs.

All Arab governments that concluded peace with the Zionist entities – whether they signed treaties or not yet – are interested in showing that they can pay the price internally. This is what is demanded by America before being demanded by the Zionist entity. They are asked (not to say ordered) to prove that they are able to crush any opposition to peace with “Israel”, and any support to resistance against it. And within the framework of proving this ability, meetings are taking place with the “Israeli” prime minister, his minister of defense or whoever “Israel” wishes to delegate.

How would Barack Obama’s policies in relation to “Israel” and Palestinians become bearable if they are not approved by the rulers of Egypt, Jordan and the “Palestinian Authority”. If Benjamin Netanyahu is not welcomed in Cairo (Sharm EL-Sheikh is better for weather and security wise) whenever he wishes?! Is this not alone proof that the peace process is “passing” without stopping?

We don’t hear about a demonstration against a visit by Netanyahu because this falls within the framework of the outlawed.

Arab citizens in Egypt can demonstrate against the high cost of living, corruption and even against the possibility of president Mubarak to bequest the presidency to his son… but they cannot demonstrate against a visit by Netanyahu, or the steel wall on the Egyptian border with the Gaza Strip under siege, or be a supporter of Hezbollah or Hamas in confronting “Israel’s” threats with a devastating war.

This is the despotism of foreign policy during the era of “despotic tolerance” with matters of internal policies..

This could be a reflection of an involuntary perception within the Arab despotic regimes concerning Arab policies are not within the affairs of foreign “policy”…. On the contrary it is an integral part of the internal policy. But the ruling elite categorizes it as foreign to keep it outside the framework of “despotic tolerance”?!

Didn’t we say that matters were simpler during the old days of Greece while defining despotism?

وراء التسامح الاستبدادي 


سمير كرم

كان تعريف الطغيان أو الاستبداد بسيطا للغاية.
كان الاستبداد معادلا في اللغة اليونانية لحكم الرجل الواحد. ولم يكن المواطن اليوناني ـ سواء كان إنسانا بسيطا أو عضواً في النخبة العليا ـ يفرق في هذا بين رجل واحد يحكم بعقل مستنير أو رجل يحكم بعقل منغلق.
والآن تكاد كلمة استبداد أن تختفي من الاستخدام العام بين جماهير الناس في العالم الغربي ـ أميركا وأوروبا ـ حيث يسود الاعتقاد أن الديموقراطية قد حلت وفرضت أحكامها… وانه لم يعد وجود في هذه الدول لنظام حكم الرجل الواحد.
مع ذلك ستجد في أوروبا وفي الولايات المتحدة الأميركية من يؤكد أن الاستبداد يمثل التيار السائد حتى في هذه الدول… ويدلل بعض الكتاب على ذلك بأن معظم الناس الذين يعيشون في هذه الديموقراطيات لا يفعلون للديموقراطية أكثر من انهم يذهبون الى صناديق الاقتراع أحيانا. ويدلل كتاب آخرون على غياب الديموقراطية فعلا في هذه الديموقراطيات بأن معظم الناس ـ المواطنين بتعبير سياسي أكثر ـ يعطون وقتهم للعب الورق أكثر مما يعطون للتفكير في شؤون الدولة.

ولماذا نذهب بعيدا؟ أليس صحيحا أن مئات الآلاف من مواطني هذه الديموقراطيات ينظمون التظاهرات في أوقات أزمات معينة لتسجيل اعتراضهم على سياسات حكوماتهم الديموقراطية، وتنقضي التظاهرات ـ بعد أيام أو حتى أسابيع ـ ولكن السياسات التي يعترضون عليها تستمر؟ كم تظاهر مئات الآلاف في المدن الكبرى الأميركية والأوروبية ضد شن الحرب على العراق قبل أن تطلق فيه رصاصة واحدة ولكن الحرب وقعت واستمرت وارتكبت فيها كل المآسي… بل تبين أنها لم تستند إلى أي أساس قانوني وحتى أسلحة الدمار الشامل لم يظهر لها أثر. ولا تزال هذه الحرب ـ رسميا ـ مستمرة حتى اليوم. وقد تقع تظاهرات هنا أو هناك ولكن حكومات الديموقراطيات لا تستجيب للمظاهرات، بل تستجيب لقرارات رئاسات أركان القوات المسلحة وقيادات حلف الأطلسي.
ويسود الظن مع ذلك بأن هذه الديموقراطيات تنفذ بالنهاية إرادة المواطنين يوم يذهب هؤلاء إلى صناديق الاقتراع. ولقد سقطت المجموعة السياسية التي صنعت حرب العراق ولعنت في الإعلام وخارج الإعلام… سقطت إلى حد دفع بالناخبين الأميركيين ـ لتأكيد مدى رفضهم ـ إلى انتخاب «رجل أسود» لأول مرة ليكون رئيسا لهم. راح جورج بوش الرجل الذي دفع بأميركا إلى حرب العراق ولم يأت خليفة له من مجموعة المحافظين الجدد. مع ذلك فإن «الرجل الأسود» الذي اختاره الأميركيون رئيسا يواصل الاستجابة لقرارات رؤساء الأركان ويقرر أن يواصل حرب أفغانستان وان يهدد بحرب أعنف وأوسع ضد إيران.
متى ينفذ سكان الديموقراطيات إذاً إراداتهم؟
يبدو أن مثل هذه الفرصة لا تسنح أبدا في ظل نظام الحزبين القائم في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. ويواصل المواطنون حياتهم المعتادة الاجتماعية وحرياتهم الفردية والجماعية… بينما تواصل النخب الحاكمة فرض سياساتها مهما كانت درجة معارضة المواطنين لها. ومع أن نفقات هذه السياسات ـ بما فيها الحروب ـ تقع على عاتق المواطنين لا على عاتق النخب(…)

الفرق إذا ليس هائلا، بل ليس حتى ملموسا بين تلك الديموقراطيات والنظم الاستبدادية الموجودة غالبا خارج الإطار الأميركي ـ الأوروبي. هكذا يبدو. إنما تتأكد هذه الحقيقة عندما نحاول أن نفرق بين السياسات الداخلية والخارجية هنا وهناك. عندئذ نكتشف أن نصيب السياسات الخارجية ضئيل، بل لا يكاد يكون له وجود، بالمقارنة مع نصيب السياسات الداخلية.
ان المواطن الاميركي ـ والمواطن الاوروبي بالمثل ـ لا يدرك ان المسافة بينه وبين التأثير على توجهات السياسة الخارجية لبلاده شاسعة الى حد انه لا يستطيع أن يجتازها، لا من خلال تظاهرات الشوارع مهما بلغت ضخامتها، ولا من خلال حرية الرأي مهما اتضحت في وسائط الإعلام. وحتى الآن ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لاستمرار سياسة التحالف مع إسرائيل حتى ومصالح أميركا وأوروبا مع العرب. ليس هناك تفسير منطقي أو مقنع لقدرة الحكام الأميركيين، من أقصى اليمين الى الرئيس الحالي باراك أوباما، المتهم باليسارية والاشتراكية من قبل خصومه السياسيين والعنصريين، على ابتلاع تحديات اسرائيل لمصالح أميركا بل تحدي الاستراتيجية الاميركية، والاستمرار في تقديم كل الدعم بلا تردد لأمن اسرائيل واستراتيجيتها وسياستها الخارجية… بما في ذلك امتلاكها ترسانة من الاسلحة النووية ورفضها التوقيع على معاهدة حظرها.
لقد أصبحت السياسة الخارجية امتيازا خاصا بالنخب الحاكمة في الديموقراطيات الحاكمة… وغدا، قد ينتخب البريطانيون حكومة من المحافظين، لان سياسة حزب العمال لم تكن عمالية بأي حال، ولكن الامر المؤكد أن حكومة المحافظين البريطانية عندما تأتي ستنتهج سياسة حكومة العمال البريطانية في المجالات الخارجية. وسيتعين على مواطني الديموقراطية البريطانية أن يعرفوا أن مشاركة بلادهم في حرب أفغانستان وفي خيارات إسرائيل الامنية والاستراتيجية والاستيطانية ليست أبدا من الامور التي يمكنهم تغييرها.

ولسنا أحسن حالا في الوطن العربي.
لكن مع فارق مهم هو أن النظم الاستبدادية العربية التي تحكم هذا الوطن وتبقي عليه مجزأً لا تسمح بتظاهرات جماهيرية واسعة النطاق لتخرج الى شوارع المدن تعلن رأيها بسياسات الحكام الداخلية والخارجية.
نحن في الوطن العربي أسوأ حالا بكثير. وان كنا لا نملك أي تأثير ـ كمواطنين أو كجماهير ـ على السياسات الخارجية (العربية ايضا سياسات خارجية مثلها مثل العالمية)، فإننا لا نملك أصلا ميزة الاقتراب من قرارات السلطات المتعلقة بالسياسات الخارجية أو السياسات الداخلية.
قدرة القمع التي تملكها الحكومات العربية في ما يتعلق بالسياسات الخارجية التي تنتهجها تفوق كثيرا تلك التي تملكها حكومات الديموقراطيات الغربية.
ولقد سادت في السنوات الأخيرة ازدواجية واضحة في السياسات التي تنتهجها الحكومات العربية في معظمها. أصبح بإمكان المفكرين والكتاب، وصانعي الرأي العام بصورة عامة، ان يعبروا عن آرائهم بقدر كبير من الحرية. اتسع نطاق حرية الرأي في الوقت الذي منحت هذه الحكومات العربية لنفسها حق تجاهل ما يقال … خاصة اذا تضمن مطالب محددة. أصبحت القاعدة السائدة ان بإمكانك ان «تقول» ما تشاء عن الأوضاع التي ترفضها وبإمكاني أن «أفعل» ما أشاء بشأن كل الأوضاع ما تقبله وما ترفضه على السواء.
إلا في حالات قليلة لا يكون المفكر أو الكاتب أو الصحافي مهددا بالسجن أو الاعتقال أو المحاكمة اذا استخدم حرية الرأي كما تفهمها وتسمح بها النخبة الحاكمة. بل ان حرية التعبير امتدت لتشمل أشكالا لم تكن تشملها من قبل من الاحتجاج عن طريق التظاهرات والاعتصامات، فيما احتفظت السلطات بحق التصدي لهذه الاحتجاجات بقنابل الغاز المسيلة للدموع وخراطيم المياه وإطلاق الرصاص في الهواء فوق الرؤوس.. وسحب عدد من الأفراد الى تحقيقات خاصة بعيدا عن الأعين.

وصل أمر «التسامح الاستبدادي» ـ اذا سمحنا لأنفسنا باستعارة هذا التعبير من الفيلسوف الاميركي الالماني المولد هربرت ماركيوز، المفكر الذي ارتبط اسمه بالثورة الطلابية في ستينيات القرن العشرين وسبعينياته ـ الى حدود اعتبرها بعض من أعضاء النخبة الحاكمة خطرا على «الوطن»… والمقصود هو بالتحديد خطر على الحكم. وقد رأينا كيف أن مجموعة من أعضاء الحزب الوطني الحاكم في مصر طالبت في مجلس الشعب بإطلاق الرصاص الحي على المتظاهرين المحتجين لأنهم تجاوزوا حدود المسموح من ناحية .. ولأنهم لا يستحقون الرأفة التي تظهرها معهم قوات الأمن، فهم «شيوعيون» و«مأجورون» و«لصوص». وكانت هذه المطالبة بإطلاق النار على المتظاهرين بهدف قتلهم فرصة ما أروعها للنخبة الحاكمة لتخاصم أبناءها الغيورين فتثبت أن تسامحها يتسع للتظاهرات ولا يقتل المشتركين فيها بل يشتتهم ويجبرهم على التراجع بالقوة.
مع ذلك فإن استبداد النظم الحاكمة تعتبر قرارات السياسة الخارجية مجالا محظورا على المواطنين… هؤلاء يمكنهم أن يحتجوا على الغلاء، وعلى الفساد، وعلى انهيار الخدمات الصحية والتعليمية والإنسانية بوجه عام، لكن يبقى ـ وسيبقى ـ محظوراً عليهم الاقتراب من أمور السياسة الخارجية وشؤونها وشجونها.
محظر على المواطنين العرب التظاهر ضد تهديدات إسرائيل بشن حرب على سوريا أو على لبنان أو على غزة. محظور عليهم الوصول الى السفارة الاسرائيلية في القاهرة أو في عمان للاحتجاج على قرار إسرائيل بطرد 75 الف فلسطيني من الضفة الغربية (ارض الدولة الفلسطينية المأمولة) الى غزة (سجن الفلسطينيين الكبير الذي يعيشون فيه تحت الحصار من كل اتجاه). محظور عليهم التظاهر ضد سلبية القمم العربية وتخاذلها كلما اجتمعت ـ في دورة عادية أو استثنائية ـ واستعدادها الدائم للرضوخ لمطالب أميركا/اسرائيل.

القمع السلطوي العربي في شؤون السياسة الخارجية العربية أخطر منه في شؤون السياسة الداخلية.
ان كل حكومة عربية أقامت سلاما مع اسرائيل ـ سواء وقعت معاهدة أو ليس بعد ـ يهمها أن تبدو قادرة على تحمل دفع هذا الثمن داخليا. فهذا مطلوب منها أميركيا قبل ان يكون اسرائيليا. مطلوب منها أن تظهر قادرة على سحق أي معارضة للسلام مع اسرائيل وسحق أي تأييد للمقاومة ضد اسرائيل. وفي إطار إثبات هذه القدرة تتم اللقاءات مع رئيس الوزراء الاسرائيلي أو مع وزير دفاعه أو مع من تشاء اسرائيل إيفاده.
كيف تصبح سياسات باراك أوباما تجاه اسرائيل والفلسطينيين محتملة اذا لم تكن تحظى بالتأييد من جانب حكام مصر والاردن والسلطة الفلسطينية. اذا لم يكن بنيامين نتنياهو يستقبل في القاهرة (شرم الشيخ أفضل مناخيا وأمنيا) في أي وقت يشاء؟ أليس هذا دليلا وحده على ان عملية السلام «ماشية» لم تتوقف؟
ولا نسمع عن تظاهرة ضد زيارة نتنياهو لان هذا يدخل في إطار المحظور.
يستطيع المواطن العربي في مصر أن يتظاهر ضد الغلاء والفساد وحتى ضد التوريث… لكنه لا يستطيع أن يتظاهر ضد زيارة نتنياهو، أو ضد الحاجز الفولاذي على حدود مصر مع غزة المحاصرة، أو يكون مؤيدا لحزب الله أو حماس في مواجهة التهديدات الاسرائيلية بحرب مدمرة.
هذا هو استبداد السياسة الخارجية في عهد التسامح الاستبدادي مع قضايا السياسة الداخلية.
ربما يكون هذا انعكاسا لإدراك لا شعوري داخل نظم الاستبداد العربية بأن ما يتعلق بالسياسات العربية ليس من شؤون السياسة “الخارجية”… بل هو من صميم السياسة الداخلية. لكن النخبة الحاكمة تصنفها خارجية لتبقيها خارج إطار التسامح الاستبدادي؟
ألم نقل كانت الأمور أبسط كثيرا في أيام اليونان القديمة في تعريف الاستبداد؟