May 06 2004

Blank Crushing Arab Nationalism Is the Real reason for War against Iraq

Published by at 12:00 am under Articles,US-Middle East

Politicians and commentators have filled newspapers and airwaves with criticism against the Bush administration’s publicly stated motivation for going to war against Iraq. In most of the attacks blame has been made to the administration’s neo conservative officials as being the ones who were actively behind the war decision. These commentators, however, have failed to present a logical explanation as to what they believe was the real motive for George Bush’s war that has left American occupying 25 million Iraqis.

Some have referred to oil, but the claim that this war was really motivated by oil seems to have evaporated in recent months with the record rise in the price of oil. The latest torture evidence in the Abu Ghraib prison make the argument that the US wants to instill democracy and human rights in the Arab region rather weak.

So why did President Bush and his top aides invade Iraq.

Events in the Middle East are showing every day that the reason that the president’s neocon aides pushed for this war is that they wanted to crush Arab nationalism rather than finding weapons of mass destruction or destroying terrorism. While many true Arab nationalists will have little argument with President Bush in his description of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorial regime, they would argue that the former Iraqi leader betrayed true Baathism which is based on the desire of all patriotic Arabs for unity.

Evidence in this regard has become clear with the recent unveiling of the Iraqi flag. For the first time in modern Arab history, an Arab country has chosen to create a flag a yellow and blue flag that avoids like a plague the red, white, green and black colors of the Arab revolt. The flag which has two blue lines representing the Iraqi rivers with a yellow strip representing Kurds and a crescent representing Muslims seems to emphasize Iraq on the account of its Arab nationality.

There are other clear signs of this US anti Arab nationalism position. Take the recent US moves against Syria which has no real logic. The Syrians have been begging the US to work together with them on the borders with Iraq including the possibility of launching joint patrols but Washington has rejected these offers. Interestingly the Bush administration is apparently not speaking in unison regarding Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assaad told Al Jazzera TV that they are getting mixed signals from Washington.

This can also explain the attacks against the pan Arab television station Al Jazzera. How else can we understand this sudden attack against the Arab world’s most independent television station. The Bush administration which must understand the importance of independent media in democratic reform has not spoken a word against any of the government run TV stations in the 23 Arab countries while it has repeatedly attacked the pan Arab al Jazzera. Ironically while the US is pushing for reform in the Arab world, they have joined forces with most Arab dictators in their attack against Al Jazzera TV. If any organization can be credited for reviving Arab nationalism, the new satellite stations are it. It is interesting to know that the key journalists and producers of Al Jazzera were greatly influenced by the rise of Arab nationalism in the 60s. These journalists many of whom worked for the BBC, found in their new media source an opportunity to reflect secular Arab nationalism which certainly sees the occupation of Palestine and now Iraq as a stumbling block in the way of the independence and unity of the Arab world.

This attempt to crush Arab nationalism is certainly not new. In the1956 Britain, France and Israel conspired against the hero of Arab nationalism Egypt’s Jamal Abdel Nasser in the Sinai offensive. Many see the continued support for Israel within this context. Similarly many believe that America’s objective of sponsoring a separate Israel-Egypt deal was mostly meant to weaken Arab unity.

Opposition to Arab nationalism was not limited to a certain ideological wing in the United States. While it was possible to detect different variations of a split within Europe and the US regarding the war on Iraq, there was absolute unanimity in one country. Both the government, the people and opposition in Israel were squarely behind the war on Iraq and are said to have played an active role in Washington’s decision to go to war. American neoconservatives and the main Israeli political forces oppose Arab nationalism.

At a time that former European enemies are putting aside their differences in favor of a 25 country unified Europe, many in the Arab world feel that the true aspirations of the 23 Arab countries towards unity have been repeatedly foiled by external efforts. If the US is serious about its fight against radical Islamic terror, it needs to make allies with moderate Arabs. The fastest way to the hearts and minds of Arabs today needs to go through legitimate Arab leaders. No credible Arab leader can survive without being genuinely supportive of the yearning for Arab unity. Arab nationalism has had a bad rap for some time, this means that moderate Arab leaders must adopt a more compassionate Arab nationalist ideology, but for improved US-Arab relations the US must show in words and deeds that it is not opposed to Arab nationalism.

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