Friday, October 15, 2004

ISR Online: "U.S. Intervention in the Middle East: Blood for Oil"

Pretty mind-blowing historical review I just came across by Paul D'Amato at the International Socialist Review entitled "U.S. Intervention in the Middle East: Blood for Oil."

Quite impressive in its sourcing, its scope and in its implications for US geopolitical policy for the Middle East; it's a fairly quick read and I would argue it is worth the time investment.

If you are not going to read the article, however, here is the conclusion:

Hypocrisy has always permeated U.S. policy in the Middle East. While some regimes, such as those in Iraq, Iran, and Libya, are dubbed "rogue states," this has absolutely nothing to do with whether these regimes are repressive or invade their neighbors. When Israel--the only nuclear power in the region--invaded Lebanon in 1982 and killed 40,000 people in its efforts to smash the PLO, it had the backing of Washington. Though lip service is paid to helping the oppressed Kurds in Iraq, U.S. ally Turkey is given weapons to attack its own Kurdish minority. While Saddam Hussein is certainly a tyrant, he was every bit as much of a tyrant when he was Washington's friend. While his invasion of Kuwait was condemned, the U.S. supports Israel's occupation of Palestinian land. The coalition lined up against Iraq in 1991 consisted of countries such as Kuwait, a monarchy that still does not grant women the right to vote; Saudi Arabia, which publicly executes its critics; and Egypt, which outlaws opposition parties, and sometimes murders them when they protest.

U.S. imperialism in the Middle East has always been naked and brutal. It is primarily responsible for upholding backward, dictatorial regimes that, without its help, would have been overthrown long ago. Middle East specialist Dilip Hiro spelled it out: "It is much simpler to manipulate a few ruling families (and to secure fat orders for arms and ensure that oil prices remain low) than a wide variety of personalities and policies bound to be thrown up by a democratic system." But such brutality always provokes a reaction--as the new Intifada shows. "If history is any guide," writes Michael Hudson, "hegemony by the United States or any other party in the Middle East tends to produce resistance."

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