Thursday, February 10, 2011

The American golem

The U.S. isn't interested in Mideast peace
Washington wants the region engulfed in flames; it just wants to control their height.
Salman Masalha

The American golem

It should be said explicitly: The United States is not interested in attaining peace in the Middle East. Peace in the region is not its top priority, and it has never corresponded with its interests.

These things might sound strange to anyone who is not sensitive to the mood in the region. Whoever believes the Arabic television station Al Jazeera is a mouthpiece of radical Islam, which endangers American interests, is invited to refresh his memory and update his imagination, because this radical Islam has actually been fostered by various American administrations.

A simple question should be answered: How did the populist channel find a home in the small emirate of Qatar, of all places? It is well known that the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East is located in Qatar. The WikiLeaks documents revealed that Qatar was a base from which American bombers took off for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that it is now offering itself to the United States as a base for an attack on Iran - and even expressed its wish to take part in a war against Iran and bear most of the costs of maintaining the base.

What's more, the ruler of Qatar, in a meeting with U.S. Senator John Kerry in early 2010, even expressed understanding for the Israeli position and the feelings of the Israelis - saying the people of Israel cannot be blamed for not trusting the Arabs, as their country has lived under threat for a long time. This is the same Qatar that gave a royal welcome to President Shimon Peres, opposition leader Tzipi Livni and other Israeli officials.

These stories, along with the emir's ties with Israel, are not reported by Al Jazeera. But at the same time, this populist channel continues to smear other Arab regimes for their ties with Israel. Sound fantastic? Not necessarily.

All the Bin Laden videos somehow find their way to Al Jazeera. This is because this station has another designated role: undermining the Arab regimes and creating a state of chaos. The chaos is what corresponds with American policy, because Washington wants the region engulfed in flames; it just wants to control their height.

The flames in the Middle East serve the American economy. In this context, it is enough to mention the $60 billion arms deal signed with Saudi Arabia last year - the largest in U.S. history. The deal will provide tens of thousands of jobs within American industries.

Given this background, it is easy to understand Washington's interest in continued tension in the Middle East. The tension pushes countries to sign large arms deals, which produce tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. As such, the American interest lies in its continued policy of inflaming passions - through Al Jazeera as well - to perpetuate concern within the Arab regimes, whose existence depends on American support. Thus the United States can continue claiming that promoting arms deals with the wealthy countries of the Mideast stems from concern for the region.

That is why the White House is not making any effort to press Israel or promote Israeli-Palestinian peace, because this could advance peace throughout the region. Such a peace, from the perspective of the arms dealers, could leave industries idle and cause the layoffs of tens of thousands of American workers. This is how Al Jazeera actually serves as a tool in the service of the American pyromaniacs.

That is the entire U.S. doctrine in a nutshell. The problem with the doctrine is that the American golem may again turn on its maker. There is already evidence of this on the ground.
Published: OP-Ed, Haaretz, Feb. 10, 2011

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