'The beads have broken' in Arab world

Category: World Affairs Topics: Arab World Views: 810

Article by Mr. Khaled Al-Maeena When an American friend asked me about the events going on in our part of the world, my answer to him was: "What events? They are all being conducted by Clinton, and the U.S. media can give you a better picture than anyone else can." His question set my mind thinking. What is happening and what will be the final result of this cat and mouse game between Clinton and the Iraqi dictator Saddam. I am not a betting man but the outcome would be difficult to predict. After all, these are trying times which are testing our patience. No one seems to know why this element of high drama is being injected in to an already volatile region. We read and hear of U.S. readiness to make a "massive" attack on Iraq. We see the U.S. armada growing. Young airwomen, their faces pale, are seen bowing their heads in prayer before embarking on their seventeen hour journey to Kuwait. We then read of possible U.S. withdrawal because the Iraqis appear to be backing away from a confrontation. However, the Americans and Iraqis are not the only two actors in this melodrama - if you can call it that. The Kurds - these poor souls who have experienced the battering rams of Saddam should have a say too. However, right now they have been side-lined and dealt a serious blow by the adoption of a Clinton flip-flop policy. Why did Clinton chose to attack when, and as, he did? To say that he needed to bolster his lead in the presidential campaign is an oversimplification. He already has a 24 point lead over his Republican rival Bob Dole who agrees with him that Iraq should be punished and its installations in and around Baghdad should suffer the same fate as those in the South did. If point-gaining is not the goal what does he expect to gain. Only Clinton knows. He may have also told his partner in this bombing - Major who supported him while other U.S. allies behaved like sovereign states. The French, Germans, smaller European Union states and even the Irish, as someone remarked, thought and acted for themselves. The truth is that the U.S. expected Britain to rein in the dissenters in the EU camp. However, it could not muster enough support among the five permanent U.N. Security Council members who refused to endorse these questionable actions, and who did not even condemn Iraq. Many ask the relevance in a tactic that aims at relieving the oppression of the Kurds in the North by attacking strategic defense bases in the South. Has this in any way alleviated the sufferings of the Kurds who themselves have been engaged in an internecine war with one group favoring cooperating with Baghdad and the other preferring ties with Iran. Iraq, therefore, believes that it is acting within its sovereign rights to quell unrest. Nobody is rooting for Saddam. His long and bloody rule is too well known. What is now upsetting many Arabs are the revelations of clandestine CIA backed operations. It is reported that hundreds of Kurdish lives are at stake following these disclosures. While Bill Clinton said he would like to help the Kurds, his Secretary of State William Perry seems to have given up on them. He states: "We should not be involved in civil war in the north. We should focus our actions where our interests lie." This then is the real truth. The Americans used the commotion inside Iraq to step in and take advantage of the situation. It was therefore a political and military expediency of the first order. The whole action is callous and devoid of any moral principles. If the Macerena-loving President was so concerned about the loss of human lives he would have thought of Bosnia. There it was clear that the assault on the Muslims was being masterminded by Serbia - an outside power. The Americans could easily have thrown a few cruise or tomahawk missiles and knocked out the Serb batteries which were spewing death and destruction from hills overlooking Sarajevo. The Western, especially the British, reluctance to intervene in Bosnia while being trigger happy here boosts the suspicion about their intentions and confirms their bigotry. Some might say: "There he goes again." While expressing outrage at the West, right-thinking Arabs do not condone the actions of Arab leaders like Saddam who have caused so much agony amongst them. It is leaders like Saddam who are responsible for the plight of their people. However, in all honesty it is the silence of the majority in the Arab world to his bloody shenanigans that has resulted in this mayhem. To write about that subject would need another article. Criticism of the loathsome Saddam will not help alleviate the sufferings of the poor Iraqis and the hapless Kurds. The question is: Who will take action to end this drama? NATO, the European Union, a defanged Arab League or the self appointed policeman of the world, the U.S.? As I mentioned earlier, I am not a betting man but I am convinced it is the Arabs who have been marginalized and are silent spectators to this macabre drama. As a disheartened Arab remarked: "Anfartat Alsubha". The beads have broken. It is impossible to put them together. Such is the sorry state of the Arab world.


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