The Bush administration seems to have stopped its offer of “democracy” in the Middle East in the favour of a lucrative business of weapons sales.
The unprecedented weapons deal, announced two weeks ago, spread over 10 years, aims to provide Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates with sophisticated armaments, including advanced satellite-guided bombs, new navy ships, upgrade of fleet of fighter jets and new naval vessels. A further $13 billion will be pledged to Egypt.
Anyone who believes an arms race in the Middle East is a clever strategy for maintaining peace must have given up on alternative strategies
Bush Administration now found a way to massively fill in both Israeli and Arab arsenals with destructive arms. Anyone who believes an arms race in the Middle East is a clever strategy for maintaining peace must have given up on alternative strategies. It's the same kind of logic as trying to put out a fire by pouring oil over it, as this proposal would provoke a new military race in a region which is already full of tension
The plan actually predicts a 25 percent rise in US military defence aid to Israel to assure Israel's concerns about the deal, with Washington increasing its aid to Israel with $ 30. So, thanks to this plan, the Middle East will become more explosive, while the region needs to be disarmed, not further armed.
The plan is allegedly to keep the Islamic Republic of Iran in perpetual check, but the 10-year business of weapons explains rather a more lucrative goal than an immediate US aim of regime change in Iran. The business can however be a demonstrative support for US Arab partners; even to silence the defiant IRI in the Middle East, but does not seem to be for a military attack on Iran.
No wonder that IRI’s authorities in Iran are not let down with it, they are glad to have US weapons but without troops in the region. For them, any arm can be sooner or later pointed at “enemy of Islam”.
IRI’s authorities expressed their satisfaction through their state media. “ One must consider the sale of American weapons to the Arab countries as a good omen, a divine gift offered to the Muslim fundamentalists by their enemies”, wrote Mr. Hussein Shari’atmadari, a high-ranking intelligence officer appointed by the leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran as Chief Editor of the radical daily “Keyhan”, quoted by Iran Press Service.
What concerns the previous rhetoric of democracy in the region, Bush administration has been considerably quiet for a long time about it, which used to be its miracle weapon against the malaise of an Islamic Arab world in which militant Islamism is fermenting. Delivery of weapons contradicts any “democracy” in the region.
Bush administration prefers to recognise that the term “democracy” is not an attractive word for the house of Saudi Wahhabi or the rich Sheiks of the Persian Gulf states. In this region, both US allies and enemies are doing nothing to promote democracy. Furthermore, most of them play destabilizing policies in Iraq by helping sectarian wars.
After having toppled the Taleban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Bush administration is now trying to control the rest of “moderate” Islamic world in the region. This is somehow to maintain links with allies while keeping the status quo in the region. Therefore for the administration, business of weapons has at the same time several geopolitical purposes:
- It increases Israel’s security-- though Israel is not directly in conflict with Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf countries, it is the biggest beneficial of the plan.
- It establishes long military race between oil Arab countries from one side and the IRI from the other side.
- It reinforces US hegemony by reducing the influence of the concurrent powers of China, Russia, and the EU in the region.
Under Bush administration, political Islam, with its various forms and origins, has emerged stronger and more dangerous
For Bush administration, the above mentioned points seem to be the main priorities. Therefore, this new military cooperation with a series of countries of the region must guarantee both economic and geopolitical interests of the US-- even if these create more conflicts in the region.
"This is just the same political approach the US used after the Iranian revolution in 1979 when they armed Saddam Hussein. This rearming didn't only lead to a long and horrifying war with countless victims on both sides, but also made the dictator Saddam feel strong enough in 1991 to march into Kuwait and oppose US interests. Bush surely must have learned this lesson: The autocrats ruling the rich oil states can't be bossed around like the coup generals Washington used to back in Latin America", wrote Berliner Zeitung.
Under Bush administration, political Islam, with its various forms and origins, has emerged stronger and more dangerous. If under public pressure, Bush administration has pretended to implement an "agenda of freedom" for the Arab world following the terrorist attacks of Sept.11, 2001, today, the priorities have taken over in the meantime. Indeed, Washington has not even bothered to mention on the clear the lack of democracy in the Islamic world. ENDS US ARMING M.E. 15807
Editor’s note: Mr. Jahanshah Rashidian is a political activist and commentator living in Germany. Author of several books and articles, including “M.E Youth Thinking Ahead”, in English and “Dis-moi”, in French, he is published by several Iranian internet sites, including IPS.