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A new vision for the Middle East

By Alice Aslan - posted Friday, 9 July 2010


Lawlessness is the greatest challenge of our times. The US has been the leader in spreading this lawlessness for many decades across the world. In the previous century, the capitalist US was in constant competition with the communist Soviet Union for the exclusive hegemony of the world.

Back then the US distinguished its friends from its foes depending on their ideological affiliation. Those countries that belonged to or flirted with the communist bloc deserved to be crushed by the US, using Machiavellian methods.

During the Cold War, the US preferred spreading lawlessness to contain the spread of communism in the world. It manipulated and encouraged non-state terrorism by co-operating with terror organisations in order to overthrow communist governments in Asia, Africa and South America. And it financed its proxy wars by engaging in the drug trade.

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Moreover, the US supported the Islamist movements against the Godless communists, a common enemy, in Muslim countries. Afghanistan became the greatest casualty in this American holy war against communism. With the defeat of the Soviet Union, a civil war broke out between different Islamist groups, and finally the Taliban came to power.

The long term war on communism in Afghanistan culminated in 1 million dead out of a population of about 20 million; 1.5 million maimed; 5 million refugees and internal displacement of almost everyone (Mahmood Mamdani, 2005, Three Leaves Press, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror).

The US brewed terrorism, creating Muslim terrorists like Osama bin Laden for the sake of fighting communism. When the Cold War came to an end some Muslim jihadists turned against the US, which they considered an evil oppressor.

Eventually terrorism hit the world’s sole superpower like a boomerang with the 9-11 terror attacks. In response, the US kept spreading lawlessness and, instead of targeting only those responsible, it invaded Iraq and Afghanistan, punishing these nations by destroying their countries.

Now the US government is plotting against Iran, a nuisance for American interests in the Middle East, on the grounds that it poses a threat for this strategic region, despite research showing that Iran does not have enough military power to be a threat.

The US also exacerbates the current lawlessness by turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the atrocities of Israel, the protector of American interests in the Middle East. As Sydney journalist Antony Loewenstein - a dissenting Jew - chronicles, Israeli forces recently opened fire on peace and humanitarian activists aboard a six-ship aid flotilla in international waters, which was aiming to break the Israeli siege on Gaza, and killed nine Turkish activists.

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The Israeli government, as usual, tried to explain away the murders with the self-righteous claim that those aboard the aid flotilla were violent terrorists and Israel was exercising its right to self-defence.

After the 9-11 attacks, such terrorism claims have been widely used by Western countries as a pretext to defend their unlawful acts. But how can a group of peace activists pose such a threat to Israel, a country with one of the most advanced military in the world?

Besides occupying the Palestinian lands for decades, constant appropriation of more Palestinian territory for Jewish settlement, and suffocating and oppressing Palestinians by demolishing their houses and destroying their livelihoods, the recent flotilla attack is only one of the latest items in the long list of Israeli crimes.

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About the Author

Alice Aslan is a Turkish-Australian anthropologist, writer and activist based in Sydney. She is passionate about the arts, ideas and justice. She is the author of "Islamophobia in Australia". She can be contacted at alice.aslan@gmail.com

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