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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

March 01, 2003

Calling it like it is

Walid Phares, a Professor of Middle East Studies and a Terrorism analyst and contributor to MEF, points out in a speech what has been obvious to the informed observer, but what the admisnistration has not acknowledged, until now.

This article points out that Bush's most recent speech makes it clear that the war to come is not about WMD's or UN Resolutions- it is about regime change, and freeing a people. HE has thus give the marchers something righteous to march about if they can get by their anti-American prejudices. And he has given the American people a valid reason to fight this war. (M. Diamond)
As I was listening to President Bush's speech tonight, I was projecting his words into the ears of the Middle East. At first hearing, it sounded as if he finally reached the destination into the heart of the matter and of the region's civil societies. Indeed, the road map to Iraq unfolded the global mapping of the area. So, in a sum, it is not just about inspections, nor just about disarming, not even about solely removing Saddam from power. It is not simply about Oil nor about a strict link with al-Qaida. It is about the whole thing. Read that as the regional system which oppresses, suppresses and crushes peoples and Peace.

And this is precisely, and I keep repeating it since the State of the Union address of last year, what has created the mass obstruction to Washington's designs. In simple words, M Bush -willingly or unwillingly is the first President since Woodrow Wilson who granted the peoples of the Middle East at least the benefit of the doubt that not only they can Govern themselves democratically, but they also deserve that choice. Shouldn't that alone ignite the concerns of the Hukkam (rulers) of the region? Of at least those who live off the one party, the dominant party or the no party systems? These anzima (regimes) have rushed to shield brother Saddam -even if they hate him from regime change. It was clear since day one. Not only the Syrian-Saudi inspired Arab League voiced its concerns in the Security Council via Damascus' representative, but dragged the oil-driven political establishments in Paris and Berlin to double the shielding of Baghdad.

It was a strange situation where all knew what the stakes were about, except the American public, and hence the international public opinion. The remarkable presentation by Secretary Powell at the United Nations indicted Saddam on two major counts, weapons of mass destruction and ties to al-Qaida. The international anti-American camp rejected both accounts on the ground of insufficient evidence. That rejection had no chance of flexibility. It was based on geopolitical interests. To each shred of evidence presented by the US, Chirac, Shroeder, Assad and the Wahabis would have unleashed their consulting firms to invent the next counter motion. It was going no where, or actually it was stretching Saddam's time till the summer and eventually beyond.

Had the US stressed the third count of indictment in New York, the "shield" would have been deactivated. Had Washington spoke of Halabja's chemical massacres in 1988, with its thousands of gassed Kurds. Had the US opened the files of ethnic cleansing of half a million Iraqis from all backgrounds and of the dark ages torture of citizens by the Baathist regime, it would have silenced the Petro-elites across the Mediterranean. Had our argumentation mirrored the drama of the Balkans, we would have moved forward earlier, with the coalition of the comfortable willing.

Put it that way. Had we told the world, and particularly the peoples of Iraq and the Arab world, that the United States was coming to liberate civil societies from dictators, the marchers for Peace would have walked to the Iraqi embassies and burned Saddam's portraits instead of George W's. The Jihadists would have continued to vilify America no matter how legitimate is the presentation. The war of al-Qaida against Dar el-Harb is just that. It has nothing to do with our intellectual sophistication. Bin Laden wants to establish the Caliphate despite if the US would call back its troops from the Peninsula. Watch al-jazeera. You'll get that straight -in Arabic of course. But let's admit it as of tonight. Washington was shy and hesitant for too long. The President's speech ended the uncertainties.

From there on, let it be two camps: The one for change, and the one for the status quo. Let the marchers make their choice, and let each one chose a symbol. If it is about regime change, and a regional revolution to follow, I can guarantee you what the peoples of the Middle East would want to see: Certainly not to fight for Saddam, nor for the other brothers-dictators. Let the bourgeois of Europe demonstrate for fear of losing their comfortable life style, and let the oppressed from Morocco to Iran demonstrate for a life they never had since independence.

The President spoke of liberating Iraq from its own Terror. He assured the masses of Mesopotamia that their rights on their resources are sacred, and told the minorities not to fear the future. He warned the other sister-regimes of Perestroika. Those words may not be understood by a number of politicians at home and overseas. They are not to be blamed for they have not been liberated from the Oil-funded education they have received for decades. They will hear other voices soon, louder then the planes-missiles sent by Bin Laden on 9/11: The voices of post Saddam civil societies in the region. But Bush's speech was obviously well captured by the brotherhood of oppression from Damascus to Tehran. There will be no sleep in those quarters after tonight. That is a fact.

M. Wolfowitz spoke to the Iraqi Americans last Sunday. Mr. Bush spoke to the Arab and Muslim streets tonight. The President aimed at laying the ground for the case of the liberation of Iraq: A case that was long awaited by most Iraqis, many Arabs, and most Middle Eastern peoples for so long. However, it seems that the first to be liberated by this speech was America itself. For going to war without a cause is as marching to battle without a reason. Now, Americans are free to see why they may be marching and for whom. Let the choice be made.