Washington’s power over the Middle East (and everywhere else for that matter) rests upon the collaboration of local regimes. Such collaboration, of course, is difficult in a region where a history of western domination – both overt and covert – has bred deep distrust amongst the masses there, leading to the rise of nationalist, communist and Islamic fundamentalist movements.
For the most part, regimes that either were established by Western powers – like Saudi Arabia – or regimes that once rejected the West, but then were co-opted – like Egypt.
So how do you maintain power and carry out policies that are deeply unpopular? Like collaborating with Israel against the so-called “Iranian nuclear threat?”
The answer is – lie. Through your teeth.
An article appeared in the London Sunday Times detailing Saudi Arabia providing an air corridor for Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities:
“Sources in Saudi Arabia say it is common knowledge within defense circles in the kingdom that an arrangement is in place if Israel decides to launch the raid. Despite the tension between the two governments, they share a mutual loathing of the regime in Tehran and a common fear of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
Israel hates Tehran because of its support for Hezbollah and Hamas – especially Hezbollah’s success at defeating the Israeli occupation of Lebanon in 2000 and its success for withstanding Israel’s assault in 2006. Saudi Arabia fears Iran as a powerful presence in the Persian Gulf for several reasons, not least of which is the fear of insurrection:
“The concentration of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite population close to the country’s crucial oil-producing regions, where any revolt would cause maximum damage to the Saudi economy, has only added to the anxiety felt at times by the ruling family,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald back in February.
This common interest contrasts deeply with the official animosity the Kingdom supposedly has for the Jewish state. The country has barred in the recent past anyone with Israeli stamps in their passports or even with Jewish names. (In all likelihood, this is still official policy.) Saudi Arabia is traditionally one of the biggest financial backers of Hamas; its Wahhabi religious elite regularly incites against Israel and Jews:
“According to the Wahhabi world perspective, the Jews are a wicked nation, characterized by bribery, slyness, deception, betrayal, aggressiveness and haughtiness.” (“The Wahhabi Invasion of America” by Mark Silverberg) Saudi-run media does this as well.
None of this has stopped both sides from secretly collaboration. During the 2006 Israel attack on Lebanon, Saudi Arabia conducted secret negotiations with a country that was bombarding its fellow Arabs and which it officially considers an enemy. But according to Yedioth Ahranoth, then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was “very impressed with various acts and statements connected with Saudi Arabia, both those that were made publicly and others as well.”
Does that include the first Saudi King Ibn Saud, who told British Colonel H.R.P. Dickson in Nov. 23, 1937:
“Our hatred for the Jews dates from God’s condemnation of them for their persecution and rejection of Isa (Jesus) and their subsequent rejection of His chosen Prophet.”
In response to the those secret negotiations, the Kingdom responded by claiming the Israeli and Qatari press fabricated it, and actually claimed – with a straight face – “The kingdom is carrying out its nationalist role transparently and does not have declared and undeclared policies.” They performed that role admirably – if performing that role meant condemning the one group that successfully defeated Israel in a sectarian tone.
So it’s obvious they were lying then; which means they’re probably lying now about the air corridor.
Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf, the Saudi envoy to the U.K., said it’s “illogical to allow the Israeli occupying force, with whom Saudi Arabia has no relations whatsoever, to use its land and airspace.”
The Saudis aren’t the only ones. The American-backed Palestinian Authority engages in double speak as well, pretending to be against Israel while collaborating with it against Hamas.
Ha’aretz reported on June 13 President Mahmoud Abbas:
“told Obama that actions easing the blockage should be done with care and undertaken gradually so it will not be construed as a victory for Hamas” but that this “aid can be done by opening land crossings and other steps that do not include the lifting of the naval blockade.”
In other words, the leader of the Palestinians is ensuring the continued Israeli control over Palestinian territory in order to eliminate a local rival. Not exactly a popular thing among Palestinians – collaborating with the enemy that displaced and occupied you in the first place.
So what’s a leader to do? The answer is simple – lie.
Abbas denied making the comments, which his aide Nabil Abu Rudaina claimed “the president [Abbas] has raised the demand to lift the blockade in all his meetings with world leaders.”
Of course, we should believe this because Fatah was aided by Israel, the U.S. and other Arab countries during the brief civil war with Hamas. We should also believe this because Abbas supported the Israel war on Gaza, secretly calling on Israel to topple Hamas; he may have petitioned Israel to attack Gaza since “The campaign from Abbas for us to attack Hamas in Gaza has been intensive.” (I apologize for the WND link) He also recognized ancient Jewish claims to Palestine in a clear gesture to his benefactors. (For a more background, go here)
Of course, it should be remembered that Hamas also once collaborated with the Israelis and its fundamentalist groups like them that benefit from the cowardice and double-dealing that characterizes American-Mideast client relations and form the cornerstone of neocolonial rule in that region.
UPDATE: July 4
Electronic Intifada has reported that secret documents leaked to the website reveal “the Palestinian Authority attempted to neutralize a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel’s deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.” In other words, the PA – once again – has placed its rival w/Hamas above the struggle against Zionist enemy. Yet again, it chooses the opportunistic route to achieve political power, furthering the Washington/Tel Aviv strategy of divide and conquer.
Islamic fundamentalism poses many challenges, not least of which is the problem of liberation from colonialism. Fundamentalism must be confronted and eradicated – but not at the expense of leaving the neocolonial status quo securely in place. It seems the PA is more concerned with achieving power and privilege at the expense of the Palestinian people’s interests.
Maybe that’s why Palestinians voted for Hamas in the first place.
UPDATE: July 5
Haaretz reported today that “Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad urged Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday to grant Palestinian security forces a wider mandate in the West Bank.”
The reason? (all italics are mine)
“Fayyad told Barak that the Palestinian forces – which have been retrained in the last three years with financial and technical support from the United States and the European Union – must be allowed to operate in wider areas of the West Bank, most of which falls under complete Israeli control. Likewise, Fayyad said, Israeli forces must halt raids into Palestinian towns and cities.”
Hmm. It appears the PA isn’t even trying to hide their collaboration anymore. They’re openly begging their masters; er, I mean “partners” to be allowed to “operate” – not control – more areas of the West Bank in exchange for their “partners” halting the kind of actions that breeds the resistance that led to the formation of groups like Fatah and the PLO in the first place.
Since the formation of the PA, they sold out their people in exchange for privilege and power, inevitable given their nationalist – as opposed to revolutionary – politics. Their willingness to negotiate with world powers as a government-in-waiting while receiving funding from rich Gulf nations and later the U.S./Israel/EU axis of evil just meant they’re a bourgeois elite.
So when Fayyad speaks of a “quick resolution of both issues is very important in order for there to begin to develop a sense of a state in the making,” he’s not speaking terms of liberation, but in terms of gaining state power. He wants Israeli raids to stop so Fatah can appear as legitimate in the eyes of Palestinians, the same ones that voted for Hamas. Fatah is more concerned with defeating its chief rivals for political power than the interests of the people they represent, a fact that its leadership aren’t trying very hard to deny anymore.