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Changing the ME map — Bush style
By Karamatullah K. Ghori

Toronto: Those who think George W. Bush is only after Saddam Hussain and will be done with his fatuous phobia once Saddam is vanquished must think things over. Bush, who did not come to the White House democratically, has other vaulting and aggrandising ambitions. He wants to be the empire builder of America’s 21st century, and ME is intended to be a prime building block for it.

The Christian rightists, the Zionists hawking Jewish pressure groups and other ultra-hawks that surround Bush have been egging him on since September 11 that he has been given chance of a life-time to re-arrange the map of the Middle East in favour of America. The powerful military-industrial complex which pulled all levers to steamroll Bush into office is lending its full weight to the military juggernaut being primed at the Pentagon to translate this dream into reality. Much as the White House spin doctors laboured to deny it, there is ample evidence available that a special hush-hush meeting at the Bush ranch at Crawford, Texas—at which Donald Rumsfeld and his Pentagon hawks were in full attendance—put the final touches on the military plans against Iraq.

However, Iraq is intended to be just the opening gambit on the chessboard that Bush is laying for the Middle East. The net he and his ‘empire dreamers’ are planning to cast around their target area would eventually cover Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt.

Ample evidence to this effect was provided recently when the details of a highly classified briefing given to the top-notch Defence Policy Board at the Pentagon last July 10 was ‘leaked’ to the press. The sensational story about Saudi Arabia, the most formidable ally of U.S. in the Middle East, being described to defence policy planners as an ‘enemy state’, was broken by the Washington Post on August 6. Both the choice of the recipient paper and the date of the story’s publication had significance of their own. The Washington Post is known for its hostility to the Arabs and its closeness to the Washington establishment, especially its proponents of an aggressive defence posture. August 6 happened to be the anniversary of Hiroshima bombing of 1945 when atomic scourge was unleashed against an enemy—hapless civilians in this case—for the first time in human history.

It is inconceivable that a high-security defence-oriented briefing could be ferreted out from the bowels of the Pentagon, and leaked in all its sordid details, to the press unless it was intended to be made public. The motive could be none other than serve a warning on Saudi Arabia and provide a peek to its leaders into the new mindset taking hold of the Bush administration. Incidentally, the leak became public only a day after the Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal had categorically informed the world, via Al-Jazeera tv, that his country will never allow its territory to be used against Iraq.

The Pentagon briefing was conducted, on behalf of the notorious Rand Corporation—a right wing think tank known to be funded by C.I.A.—by an unknown intellectual entity, Laurent Murawiec. The inspiration behind the whole exercise was none other than Richard Perle, Chairman of the Defence Policy Board, who is an inveterate enemy of the Muslims and the Arabs, and one of the staunchest supporters of Israel in the Washington mafia surrounding Bush. Most political pundits, who were taken by surprise by the ‘leak’ and the virulence of the briefing against a faithful Washington friend and ally like Saudi Arabia, have since come to the conclusion that Perle not only commissioned the study but also dictated its contours; he also, then, leaked it to his favourite paper to create the stir he always wanted to.

Murawiec spewed all those virulent words that had been put in his mouth against Saudi Arabia at the select gathering presided over by Rumsfeld. He described Saudi Arabia as the " kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent" ( of U.S. and Israel ) in the Middle East. This was an echo of George W. Bush calling Iran and Iraq as the "axis of evil." He called for a revamped policy vis-à-vis Riyadh which should warn the Saudi rulers to ban all religious charities ( because they raised funds for "terrorism" ) and crack down on all "propaganda" against U.S. and Israel.

Having diagnosed the problem , Murawiec went on to prescribe a remedy for it. Tell the Saudis to behave, i.e. sign on the Washington dotted-lines, and act as America’s Trojan horse in the region. Failing that, he recommended to his interlocutors, that the Saudi assets in U.S.—there are hundreds of billions of Saudi funds invested in U.S. securities and industrial ventures—be seized and Saudi oil fields occupied by force.
Murawiec was recommending this obvious blackmail of the Saudis to an audience that also included, among others, Henry Kissinger, the high pope of power politics in the American intellectual community. Kissinger was Secretary of State in 1973 when Saudi Arabia’s King Faisal had imposed the firstever oil embargo against the west for its patronage of Israel. Kissinger, then, like Maurawiec,now, had recommended the seizure of Saudi oil fields if what he described as " this blackmail" was not called off by OPEC and Saudi Arabia. Faisal was soon made a horrible example for his temerity when he was assassinated by a Saudi mole within the royal clan within less than two years of the embargo.

Incidentally, after the leakage of the briefing, Kissinger was the only member of the Defence Policy Board who publicly disowned and decried its findings and recommendations. In the twilight of his years, he is perhaps keen to keep his slate clean for history. But, then, history already has too much of his dubious record to accord him a clean bill in its annals.

But a more jarring and mystifying of Maurawiec’s putrid tirade against the Arabs was reserved, in its finale, for Egypt which, under a loyalist Hosni Mubarak, has been a pillar of strength to U.S. in the Arab camp. Outlining his " Grand Strategy for the Middle East" Murawiec concluded that it was a three-pronged thrust which had:
1. Iraq as the tactical pivot
2. Saudi Arabia as the strategic pivot
3. Egypt as the prize.

His ludicrous notion of Egypt being the grand prize of whatever long time military adventures Bush and company are planning on their drawing boards for ME has since had political pundits in a spin. What, exactly, did he have in mind describing Egypt, which has been a facilitator of the highest order for much of the U.S. diplomatic thrust in the Arab world since Anwer Sadat’s historic journey to Israel in 1977? Which forces most unbiased and objective analysts to conclude that Murawiec has recommended to his paymasters and patrons to declare war on all the Arab countries, large or small. Obviously, he feels brazenly confident that once the three biggest and most powerful of Arab countries, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are forced to become U.S. satellites, a la post-Taliban Afghanistan, all others in the Arab camp will follow suit.

The fact that apart from Kissinger—who is still a guru to dispensers of power politics in America—no other member of the Board has deemed it essential to distance himself from Murawiec’s provocative jingoism, proves the point that the hawks ensconced under Bush’s wings subscribe, at heart, to these recommendations. 

The dogs of war in today’s Washington are convinced that U.S. has a historic opportunity to redraw the political map of ME to suit its agenda for the 21st century. They are frenetic that this opportunity must not be squandered. They are the ones determined that nothing, absolutely nothing—legal, moral or any other kind of argument—should be allowed to thwart America’s military designs to topple Saddam Hussain as the first move of the 21st century Pax Americana to dominate the world. The dogs of war are being wagged by a number of tails.

First amongst these are the imperialist-minded hawks who want to stamp out any challenge, real or perceived, to America’s total domination of the world. Saddam, in their view, has teased and taunted the U.S. far too long and thumbed his nose at Washington. He is a nuisance whose demise would knock Washington’s fear in so many other hearts. They are practitioners of what Samuel Huntington perceived as the clash of civilisations in the 21st century. They think they have a fellow-traveller in G W Bush and would be loath to give up this throw of the dice in their favour. 

The second tail wagging the dog is that of the powerful military-industrial complex which sees gold for itself in the prospect of Washington being endlessly engaged in overseas military adventures.

The third is the equally powerful and influential oil lobby which feels a kinship with Bush on the basis of long association. They have invested heavily in Bush and want a befitting pay-back. Oil is power because of its being the single most essential natural resource in our industrial world. The global strategy of U.S. rests entirely on the premise that it must not be deprived of unhindered access to the sources of oil production in the world. The Middle East has two-thirds of the world’s proven oil reserves; Iraq is believed to have much more in potential reserves than known to date. The world’s dependence on oil from ME is calculated to be doubled in the next twenty years. The two biggest suppliers could only be Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iraq, under Saddam, has been troublesome. Saudi Arabia, under the ruling Al-Saud clan has been most helpful. But discontent against U.S. has been on an increase there for years; a definitive proof of it was given last September 11. 15 of the 17 alleged perpetrators of the " crime against humanity’ were Saudis. The bottom line is that the political geography and culture of both these largest oil producers must be so changed as to ensure U.S. domination over their huge oil resource. This is a bottom line for U.S. that must not be traded.

The fourth, and perhaps the most decisive in the present political alignments in the Bush administration, is the ‘imperative’ for friends of Israel hogging sensitive positions under Bush, to ensure the long term security of Israel. This is an euphemism for an expansionist Israel whose model has been cast by a war-monger like Ariel Sharon. His votaries in the Bush administration, including Bush himself, are sworn to uprooting every opposition to Israel in its neighbour hood and make it the undisputed, and unchallenged, master of the region. Saddam Hussain’s Iraq has long been a thorn in Israel’s and American zionists’ side. Because of its huge resources, size and potential Iraq, in its present form and culture, will remain a danger to Israel. Therefore, this cancer must be removed in order to make Israel feel absolutely secure. It does not matter whether Iraq remains integrated or becomes divided. 

Likewise, Saudi Arabia, is becoming a hotbed of opposition to Israeli expansionism. Therefore, it must be brought in line behind U.S. or dealt with in other ways to root out any element of danger or opposition to Israel. So,too, Egypt which formally helped bring Israel out of its quarantine in the region by entering into diplomatic relations with the Jewish entity. However, these relations have remained nearly frozen since the second Palestinian intifada. Egypt ,too is suspected of nurturing Islamist forces, which is taboo and unpardonable in the post- September 11 American lexicon.

Warmongers in Washington are convinced that once they succeed in re-arranging the political map of the Arab part of the Middle East, Iran, the other half of the " axis of evil" in Bush’s book, will feel encircled by U.S. satellites and compelled to fall in line. With Pakistan firmly hooked to the American apron-strings, and Afghanistan occupied by America for good, Iran will feel constrained for political space to keep its independence from Washington uncompromised.

The architects of Pax Americana under Bush feel emboldened that theirs is a plan whose time of implementation has come. 

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