Desperately Seeking Sea Island

Category: Americas, World Affairs Topics: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Middle East Views: 4480
4480

Protesters are stopped by police in riot gear in Brunswick, Georgia which is closest mainland city to the exclusive Sea Island resort where the G8 Summit is taking place.

How do you express your reservations about a seemingly worthy initiative meant to promote democracy, human rights and free markets in the Arab world? You do so cautiously and, well, politely.

The G-8 Summit, held this week in Sea Island, Georgia, is discussing a wide range of economic, political and security issues, paramount among them the Greater Middle East Initiative, the American proposal to promote reform in Middle Eastern countries.

On the face of it, the initiative has great appeal - free participation by Arab citizens in the public debate, via a free media, and transparent elections; harnessing economic growth to accommodate roughly 5 million youngsters entering the job market each year; enhancing the role of women in the social and political spheres; and providing educational opportunities for all young Arabs who seek them. 

The emphasis now is on a new draft, closer to the European version, that seeks to "support" reform movements within the various Middle Eastern countries. Allan Larson, undersecretary for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, quick to assure legislators on the Hill, and through them the Arab public, that the US has no sinister designs on the region, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on June 2 that "the impetus" for reform must come from the region and that "we have no interest in forcing a set of proposals on the people of the Middle East, nor could we do so if we wished."

Reassuring, I'm sure.

But Sea Island, a name in the US that conjures images of wealth and privilege in southern Georgia, a plush place for celebrities to retreat to, is a long way from, say, Fallujah and Rafah. Do we trust the US in Iraq and Palestine, not to mention the broader Middle East anymore?

In Iraq, UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spoke last Thursday of the "terrible pressure" he faced in forming the country's interim government. He suggested that the occupation authority, particularly US administrator Paul L. Bremer, wielded significant influence over the process. "I sometimes say - I'm sure he doesn't mind me saying that - that Bremer is the dictator of Iraq," he said. And the American media was abuzz with reports last week about how Bremer and White House envoy Robert D. Blackwill backed Iyad Allawi for prime minister over other candidates because Allawi was regarded as sympathetic to the Bush administration's views on "rebuilding" Iraq.

And in Palestine, well, look, the less said about that the better - except for one thing, where the devil is America's respect for human rights in that sad land, the very human rights it now wants to introduce to the region? Moreover, the US has long sought to avoid a central question: In its quest to build a partnership for social reform in the Arab world, who will be its partners? And will its partners, in the quest for economic reform, be the market-dominant elite in Arab countries that it has traditionally befriended and empowered, at the cost of alienating the impoverished majority?

The folks meeting at Sea Island, originally known the G-7, have historically worked well together as a forum in which the wealthiest nations coordinated their policies till, after the demise of the Soviet Union, the United States gave Russia a seat at the table and changed the name to the G-8, another international body, like the IMF, NATO, the Security Council, and the like, in which it has a commanding position.

The US is missing the problem because it is the problem. President Bush will close the Sea Island summit today by calling for democracy, human rights and social justice in the Middle East (practices that, believe me, all of us will give an arm and a leg to see promoted in, introduced to, even imposed on our part of the world), yet he will continue to support Israeli policies that are inimical to those very values.

So one wonders: Would you buy a used car from this man? 

Fawaz Turki can be reached at [email protected]

Source: Arab News


  Category: Americas, World Affairs
  Topics: Foreign Policy, Human Rights, Middle East
Views: 4480

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Older Comments:
HUDD D'ALHAMD FROM CANADA said:
As-Salamu'Alaikum, Br Akbar Khan,BNAK,Ahmed(UK) and all those that gard our faith and precincts of Islam. May Allah shower you with His favours for lending me your generous hand to pull me out from the mountain of stones the pro-Zionists threw at me. They even called me racist?! Not for the first time, remember the former artist,Nick Cameron? The Israelis kill the Palestinians in the thousands and they call the Palestinians killers! The whiteman's world believe them, discarding the cries of the mourning mothers and wives! The whiteman brought the blackman from Africa in chains and denied him the basic rights he gave to his dog! Years later, today, the whitman claims racial discrimination in USA and a favouritism towards blacks by an all-white government! Isn't this pathetic? Myself, a Muslim of Palestinian ancestry, orphaned by the Israelis at the age of six months, underwent one of the most ruthless racial segregation in modern times in South Africa, by our "whiteman", denied citizenship rights on bases that I was not of European origin and Christian and was not brought there by British decree(like the coolies), nor was I an indigenious African ethnicity, but my ancestry were Saracen invaders in to South Africa, I could change that only by conversion to Christianity and taking up a civilized proper name! From the age of 11, when I lost my last relative, my maternal grandmother, I was taken in to state care and put in a Methodist orphanage. Ash-Shukr lillah, by that age I was a very determined convinced Muslim and any attept from the side of the Methodist orphanage failed! I could tell you horror stories of things were done to me,11 years old,in order to get to food I needed to beg Jesus to give me food, if I wanted to live. After about three days,I was merely a child, I begged Jesus for food! So they let me out from the pitch dark seclusion room and fed me. I was taught that the whiteman was the perfection of human creation, physically, mentally and spiritually.
2004-06-15

BNAK FROM USA said:
Mr. Tony S, Your kind of comments as posted in #24866 will inevitably attract the wrath of Muslims here on this site. Br Hudd is no exception, it's just that he's probably more indignant than average humans. Taking out his improper words spoken in anger generated by your comments, every word should make sense to an average human being.
You say Why do we have to always link the Palestinian issue with all other issues? Don't you see that Palestinian problem is the crux of all the so called Terrorist problems happening in the world today? Can't you see that the US Policy of expanding permanently their military bases in the ME with the help of the Unjust and Killer nation of Israel, just to get control of it's resources being the single most cause of the current strife in the world? And yet, you ask the silliest of questions of why should it be linked with other issues?
You say the Arab world has to make compromises? It already has, inspite of their land being occupied illegally, they have agreed to go back to the 1967 borders, what better compromise can a people make? They have agreed to give in to Israel, a major part of their own motherland where they have been living for generations that too inspite of being in majority themselves. Are you not sane enough to see this?
Who's being militant? Israel KILLING with their modern weaponry and bulldozers, destroying thousands of homes making 10s and 1000s homeless? or the poor Palestinians who are being killed and crushed like ants and are adopting the desperate means and the only means left to fight back?
Only a inhuman and a bigotted person cannot see the obvious. It's sad that you are one of such people. You want to seek healthy debate here? then go and get some sense first man, this site is not
a free site to post some nonsense and get away with it. You see, there are number of sane, humane and just people like Br.Hudd here who know how to respond any piece of garbage posted here. U see ur in minority here. U
2004-06-13

AKBAR KHAN FROM CANADA said:
I'm not finished with your comment Tony S..
I am a Canadian citizen, born here in Canada, but guess what, Canada is my adopted country, because my ancestry is from what is currently known as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. I am mixed amongst those ethnicities. You could simply say that they are called, Khurasaan, Isfahan, and Al-Hind. just because I was born here, I have, Alhumdulillah, a deep enough understanding to realize that my heritage, just like the rest of Canada's population, comes from everywhere outside of Canada. So that includes you, whether your ancestors are from Italy, Uganda, Mongolia, Indonesia, Nepal, or wherever. If you don't think this is right, then explain to me what Australian caucasians are, are they not people who have taken Australia as their adopted country, or do you think they are native to that land? What can I say...may Allah guide you brother.

The next time you start accusing others and saying silly things like trying to justify the Iraq war, while not knowing much of North America's history, from your obvious statements, I suggest you think twice before accusing someone else of not being a "genuine Muslim," or of telling someone that if it were not for American rebels who have controlled America for 400 years, that br. Hudd D'Alhamd could not have been flown in a plane to Canada.??? Ever heard of the US Civil War? Man even an American red neck historian will tell you that American rebels fought British loyalists, who, either died in battle, sought refuge in Canada, or went back to England. Now I suggest you come out from being "emersed" - by the way it's spelled immersed, "in obscurantism and complete darkness" as you put it. Take a dose of your own medicine, please? Many thanks...and by the way, there's a dictatorship/oligarchy currently operating in the White House, and its public and classified branches of administration/new world order'ization.

Wassalaamu'Alaiykum.
2004-06-13

AKBAR KHAN FROM CANADA said:
Assalaamu'Alaiykum to all,

Br. Tony S., how can you say that Saddam Hussain would have done this or that to br. Hudd D'Alhamd's family if America did not intervene and remove Saddam Hussain? You yourself are buying into propaganda as br. Hudd D'Alhamd stated, and you have verified with your comment. "America's had work and sense of innovation" ?????? Where are you coming up with these silly one-liners? Charity starts at home, how can you buy into this US media brainwashing and sit back and let American forces murder YOUR Muslim bro's and sisters? Will you not stand up in defiance to such crimes, is it not your right as an American to do this, or are you just so compliant to be care free and say, bull come hit me? I would say the latter because you seem comfortable with no activism in your actions. And don't give me the whole 9/11 nonsense of they attacked us so we had to defend ourselves, because frankly, you have no ground to defend yourself agaisnt Iraq which has no relationship to the sept. 11th attacks. You're sounding like what comes from the mouths of neo-cons,armageddonists, and all other Zionist affiliated propagandanists.

Let me tell you a story Tony...when the British were in India, a general went up to a Muslim man and demand that he give him his money, and when the Muslim man refused, the general slapped him, so the Muslim slapped him back and defended himself. So the general went to his superior officer and told him how hte Muslim slapped him and didn't give him the money, and said, go back to him, buy him a house, car, and give him this much money. The general was confused and couldn't believe his superior officer told him to do this, but obeyed orders nonetheless. So the Muslim man was grateful and thankful for all that this "generous" general did for him. Exactly one year later, on the same day as the previous year, the general's superior officer summoned the general to his office and told him
(continued)
2004-06-13

BOHARI BIN MASHLI FROM MALAYSIA said:
Bush will get his reward soon, insya Allah.
2004-06-13

AHMED FROM UK said:
Hudd, your comments are gold, man. Keep up the good work.
2004-06-12

H.A. FROM TORA BORA said:
The the 8 GRAND thugs of the World know how stupid they are. That's why they only meet in far off islands where no humans have ever set foot before. We should reward with them for their adventures.

They know they will be stoned for stealing worldy resources, if they have their meetings near populated areas.
2004-06-11

TONY S. FROM USA said:
Hudd D'Alhamd,

What can I say? You have shown your weakest spot and that is exactly what keeps the likes of you where they are until the Day of Reckoning. You sound very militant, and people of logic will never negotiate with militants like you. Your statements under your tone of voice will be null and void in any court of law, Islamic or otherwise.

I can sense that you have never been to school where they teach the art of dialectics. If you so choose and desire to live under the dictatorships of your ancestoral home, then that is your choice and not the choice of the Muslim masses. But again, those who were raised under oppression will only contribute to it or give birth to it.

If America did not go to Iraq, Saddam would have gotten "your family" and would have put you in Abou Ghraib prision to rot forever. Well, let me tell you that without America's hard work and sense of innovation, you could have never flown a plane to Canada, your adopted country.

Be realisitic! Let me tell you that your tone of voice disqualifies you to be a genuine Muslim, one of reason and logic. You are the very people who have kept the Ummah emersed in obscurantism and complete darkness. Go figure? I forgot to mention that calling names is a trait of the four-legged. Debate is an attribute to humans only.
2004-06-11

HUDD D'ALHAMD FROM CANADA said:
Tony S. It is sad to see Muslims buying in to the anti-Arab propaganda and the Western policies of "promoting democracy". Some so-called Muslim would expect the Ummah to give in to the American life-style and social values. Not far the idea to have gay Imams and alcoholic drinks sold by our halal food! What kind of severe cretinism are you suffering of? If you happen to have been born in a Muslim family, but no longer share in the Ummah's values, do not introduce yourself as a Muslim by greeting,'Salamu Alaikum' It's improper and offensive to have it associated with people like yourself. The Palestinian problem is the PROBLEM, no matter how bastards across nations would like to play down or deter the focus from. As long as US supports unconditionally the Zionist state, she'll have enemies all over the region and beyond. And this, amigo, is a big problem. US solves the Palestinian conflict in an acceptable deal to all parties involved, showing her exquisite superiority in negotiating and leadership, we have a great commencement to an era of stabil peace for the region and the world! Savvy? Now mate, if those conditions are met only if both the Arab world & Muslims acquiesce in complying with Western values and systems then what would be the difference between Israel, Syria or Pakistan? Do you really suggest that the Muslim countries should lose their identity and follow blindly an American system and democracy model? You .. suggest that they should bend over to the invadors and occupiers and welcome their acts of sodomy, rape, torture, taking over the country's wealth(in Iraq they want to sell out the oild fields to contractors like,Texaco,Total,Shell,etc.). Well Tony .. do not suggest to the Muslims that they should pick up whoredom in exchange for Islam. That Gemany & Japan did it? Muslim are the last witnesses of Allah, we will not sell God's signs for a miserable price!
Peace!
2004-06-11

ADAM IBRAHIM MUHAMMAD FROM NIGERIA said:
Tony S; Upto the end of this world(ie if you believe the world has an end!) the blamable would continue to be blame, until he/she rectifies his/her mistakes. Having giving you these words of wisdom. Let me ask, Who created and imposed the dictatorships in the ME? US. Who sponsored them and sell arms to them to fight each other? US. etc. Why should US support Israel in the occupation of Palestine and expelling its citizens? Can you see? Now what moral rights has US, to be phsically present in the ME? To do what? The peolple there say they want their leaders even though they are what they are. Why should anybody under the guise of a forbidden war enters ME to "liberate" the people? The questions are numerous, Tony. And these questions need answers. Until they are answered there can be no peace, not only in the ME but all over the world. This I can assure you. Cos the people of the world are not that dumb not to see that the US, unless you are blind, Tony is not stopping at the ME, their or rather your;since you are part of the US even though you may not be averse to your governments' phiosophies, aim is to expand the "empire" to include everythin and everyone. A monstrous idea that only a mad and blind also total illiterate will even think of, not to talk of beginning to implement.

You know what? May be you start that "diologue" with your government first. But I wonder if the dumbs will even give you a second look. That is how bad it is, if you can't see the writing on the wall, buddy.

Peace.
2004-06-11

TONY S. FROM USA said:
Salamu Alaikum,

Thank you for the article. It has some good points, yet I should point out that we all have to see things through a different lens. Why do we have to always attach the Palestinian issue to the rest of the issues? The Palestinian leadership is rotten to the core. It is not willing to make peace, and it is bent on creating havoc. The Sharon leadership is equally rotten, so if they do not want to seek peace, then we are to move on. I am just sick and tired of the same old scenario! Why do we have to hold hostage a population of about 300 million for the sake of two leaderships which do not make sense? Can we have some reasoning here, people? Enough of blood and enough of aversion to dialogue and evolution!

The Arab world has to make compromises and stop being militant. It has to reform and embed the principles of justice and the rule of law for all its citizens. How in the world can Arabs or Muslims in general negotiate anything when they are for the most part ruled by a bunch of dictators. Everyone knows this fact! All Websites including Aljazeera do testify to this fact. America is trying to mend the situation, so why can't we give it the benefit of the doubt? After all, most Muslim leaders do not give a damn, and of course their masses are so dormant that they have become so hefty to the point of lack of mobility. They are sound asleep! Germans did not cry foul after WWII. Although they were defeated and invaded and occupied, they still cooperated. The key here is that the Germans and of course the Japanese worked hard to earn what they have today. I mean their masses and leaderships together. Can anyone see they are the strongest economies after that of the US in the whole world? Enough is enough! After all, it all goes back to the Iraqis who did not do anything about their dictator. We love the game of blame, don't we?
2004-06-10

MEBROCKY FROM USA said:
Good article - sad, but true.
2004-06-10

AILIA FROM IRAN said:
Big words like hollow blocks.these empty vessels made hell of music after afganistan war also. And now looking at the form of afghanistan they expect us to believe a "reform" in IRAQ!!!
2004-06-10