Sunday, August 13, 2006

Samir Amin: The Front Line

Derailing the USA, Israel, and their allied countries in the front line (Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran

The USA project, supported by its allied subordinates from Europe and by Israel, consists in establishing its military control all over the world. The «Middle East» has been chosen as the «first impact» target for four reasons:
(I) there are the most plentiful oil resources in the world, and its direct control by the USA army would grant Washington a privileged situation and would make its allies -Europe and Japan- and its possible rivals (China) depend on them in terms of oil supplies;
(II) it is located in the heart of the ancient world and would be suitable for a permanent military menace against China, India and Russia;
(III) it is undergoing a stage of weakness and confusion which assures the aggressor at least an easy short-term success;
(IV) in that region there is a USA unconditional ally, Israel, which has nuclear weapons.

To the countries in the front line (Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Iran) the aggression brings about a situation of destruction (the first three countries) or menace (Iran).

Afghanistan reached its best in modern history during the so-called «communist» Republic. It was a modern enlighten despotism regime, which favored education for children of both sexes, against obscurantism, thus strengthening the decisive basis of the society. Its «agrarian reform» was essentially a set of measures aiming the reduction of the tyrannical power of the tribal chiefs. The support -at least implicit- by the majority of the citizenship granted a possible success of that already oncoming evolution. The propaganda conveyed both by the Western media and the politic Islam presented that experience as a «communist atheist totalitarism» rejected by the Afghan people. Indeed, just as that of Ataturk in his times, the regime was far from «unpopularity».

It is not surprising at all that its supporters, at least in its larger fractions (Khalq and Parcham) called themselves Communists. The paradigm of the achievements by the Soviet peoples of Central Asia (despite any criticism and the autocratic practices by that system), in contrast to the permanent British imperialism social disaster in the neighbor countries (India and Pakistan), had lead the patriots here and in many other regions to an acknowledgement of what a big obstacle imperialism was to any attempt of modernization. The invitation to an intervention, sent by some fractions to the Soviets, as an attempt to get rid of the others, has really had a negative impact and mortgaged the possibilities of the national-popular-modern project.

Specially, the USA, and generally speaking, its allies of the triad have been the stubborn adversaries of the Afghan parties of modernization, communist or not. They are the ones who have mobilized the obscurantist forces of the political Islam, the Pakistani (Taliban) and the war lords (the chiefs of tribes, neutralized by the so-called «communist regime»), and have given them training and weapons. Even after the Soviet withdrawal, the resistance of the government of Najibullah to the assaults of the obsucantist forces would have probably not been defeated without the military Pakistani offensive which came to support the Taliban, stimulating chaos, and the reconstitution of the forces of the war lords.

Afghanistan is devastated by the military intervention by the USA, its allies and agents, particularly the Islamite. A reconstruction will not be possible as directed by these actors, a power hardly concealed by a clown with no roots in the country, encouraged by the Texan transnational where he had been an employee. The salvation of the fake «democracy» claimed by Washington, NATO and UN, is nothing but an attempt to legitimate their «presence» (occupation, indeed). It had always been a white lie; it has become a mean farce.

There is only one solution to the Afghan problem: that the foreign forces leave the country and that all the powers are forced not to give financial support and weapons to their «allies». To those good souls showing their fear that the Afghan tolerate a Taliban dictatorship (or a war lords' dictatorship), I would answer that the foreign presence was and still is the best support for such dictatorship! Also, the Afghan people went on a different direction - may be the best one - in the times when «the West» did not participate in their issues. The civilized West prefers the obscurantist despotism, rather than the enlighten autocracy, as it is less dangerous for their own interests!

The US armed diplomacy aimed at the goal of literally destroying Iraq, long before finding an excuse. First when Kuwait was invaded in 1990, and then after September 11, an event cynically and hypocritically manipulated by Bush junior following the Goebbels' principle («repeating a lie enough times, causes it to become true»). The reason is simple and has nothing to do with the discourse that claims the «freedom» of the Iraqi people from the (real) bloody dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. A major part of the world oil resources in under the Iraqi soil. Besides, Iraq would qualify scientific and technical cadres capable, due to their critical mass, to keep a consistent national project. This «danger» had to be eliminated by a «preventive war», something the USA has given itself the right to start whenever and wherever it finds it suitable, with no respect for the international «law».

Beyond this sample of common evidences, there are still some series of questions: (I) How could the plan of Washington show so easily the façade of a brilliant success? (II) What is the new situation created for the Iraqi nation ? (III) How do the different components of the Iraqi people face this challenge? (IV) What solutions can the Iraqi, Arab and international democratic and progressist forces provide?

It was possible to foretell the defeat of Saddam Hussein. Facing an enemy whose basic strength is that of exercising genocide by means of unpunished air bombing (expecting the use of nuclear bombing) there is only one effective answer the peoples can give: displaying resistance on their invaded place. Well, Saddam's regime devoted its effort to eliminate the means of defense the people could reach, by exterminating systematically every organization or political party (beginning by the communist) that had taken part in the modern history of Iraq, including the Baas itself, one of the main actors in such history. Therefore one might not be surprised by the fact that the «Iraqi people» has allowed the invasion in without fighting, or by certain behaviors (such as the supposed participation in the elections summoned by the invaders, or the upsurge of fratricide struggles between Kurds, Sunnite Arabs, and Shiite Arabs) which appear to indicate the acceptation of the defeat (calculated by Washington), but rather by the fact that the resistances on the battlefield go stronger everyday (in spite of the serious weaknesses these resistances have), that they have made impossible the establishment of a servile regime with a facade of «order», and that to some extent they have shown the failure of the Washington project. The fact that the tamed United Nations have recognised such a fake government does not change the truth; it is neither legitimate nor acceptable.

However, the military occupation creates a new situation. The Iraqi nation is really threatened. The project of Washington, unable to keep its control over the country (and plunder its oil resources, which is its main priority) by means of a «national» - looking government as an intermediary, could not be attained but by destroying the country. The division of the country into at least three «States» (Kurd, Sunnite Arab y Shiite Arab) could have been from the very beginning an objective of Washington, together with Israel (in the future the archives may reveal that). At present, «civil war» is always the card played by Washington when trying to legitimize keeping its occupation. Permanent occupation was - and still is - the objective: it is the only means for Washington to guarantee the control of oil. For sure one should not believe Washington «declarations» of will like «we will leave the country once order is restored». Let's remember the British said nothing since 1882 but that their occupation of Egypt was «provisional» (it lasted until 1956!). Meanwhile, everyday the USA destroys a bit more by all means, including the most criminal, the country, its schools, its factories, its scientific capacities.

The answer given by the Iraqi people as a response to this challenge does no seem - at least, up to now - suitable to the extreme severity of the circumstances. That is the least we could say. Why? The Western media repeat again and again that Iraq is an «artificial» country, and that the oppressive domination of the «Sunnite» regime of Saddam over Shiites and Kurds is the origin of the inevitable war (that the duration of the foreign occupation could maybe stop). The «resistance» in that case would be limited to some Islamist pro Saddam cells of the Sunnite «triangle». One could hardly be able to put so many lies together.

After World War I, it was difficult for the British colonization to face the Iraqi people's resistance. According to their imperial tradition, in order to keep their power, the British created an imported monarchy and a class of land owners, and gave Sunnite Islam a privileged position. The Communist party and the Baas were the main organized political forces which undermined the power of the «Sunnite» monarchy hated by everyone, Sunnites, Shiites and Kurds. The violent confrontation between both forces, being the focus of attention between 1958 and 1963, ended up with the victory of Baas, which the Western powers celebrated with relief. The communist project potentially implied a democratic evolution, not at all included by Baas. Baas was a nationalist pan Arab and unitarian party, admirer of the Prussian model of construction of the German unity, willing to summon the small modern laicisizing bourgeoisie, hostile to the obscurantist trends of religion. It became, as it was possible to expect, a dictatorship only half anti imperialist, in the sense that, according to the conditions and circumstances, it was possible to reach a compromise between both parts (the Baas power in Iraq, and the American imperialism in the region). Such «compromise» encouraged the megalomaniac hopes of the leader, who believed Washington would accept becoming its main ally in the region. Washington support to Baghdad (also, with a provision of chemical weapons) during the criminal and absurd war against Iran between 1980 and 1989 seemed to make that believable. Saddam had not imagined that Washington was lying, that the modernization of Iraq was unacceptable to imperialism, and destroying the country was already a decision. Once in the trap (Saddam had been allowed to annex Kuwait, indeed an Iraqi province that the British imperialists had detached in order to make it one of its oil producing colonies) Iraq suffered for ten years sanctions designed to weaken the country and pave the way to an easy "glorious conquer" by the American troops.

We could impute the successive Baas regimes, even that of the last stage of its decay under the «direction » of Saddam, for everything but having stimulated the religious conflict between Sunnites and Shiites. Then, who is responsible for the wounds that today make an opposition between the two communities? For sure one day we will know how the CIA (and undoubtedly the Mossad) organized many of these massacres. Yet it is true that the political desert created by Saddam's regime and his example in terms of opportunistic methods without principles «stimulated» the candidates in power to follow the same way, often protected by the occupants, sometimes maybe naïve enough to believe they could «use» the occupants. The candidates, «religious» chiefs (Shiites or Sunnites), paratribals headmen, or «business men» outstandingly corrupted and exported from the USA, never had real roots in the country. The same can be said about the religious chiefs respected by the believers, they had not had any political activity acceptable to the Iraqi people. Were it not for the void left by Saddam, their names would have never been mentioned. In the context of this new «political world» built by the liberal globalization imperialism, will the other political forces, authentically popular and national, eventually democratic, have the means for a reconstitution?

There was a time when the Communist Party was the space for the best produced by the Iraqi society. The Communist Party was based all over the country, was the most widespread among the intellectuals, particularly those of Shiite origin (in my opinion Shiism produces revolutionaries and religious leaders, and seldom bureaucrats or compradores!). The Communist Party was authentically popular and anti imperialist, hardly inclined to demagogy, potentially democratic. Is it now doomed to definitely disappear from history, after the Baas dictatorships massacred thousands of its best militants, the USSR collapsed (something it was not prepared for), and some intellectuals thought it was acceptable to come back from exile in the vans of the American troops? That is not impossible, yet it is not «inevitable». It is far from being so.

The «Kurd» problem is a real one, in Iraq, Iran, and in Turkey. But on this issue we should remember that the Western powers have always put into practice, with the same cynicism, the rule of double standard. In Iraq or Iran, the repression to the Kurds' claims has never reached the degree of violence (military or by the police) than that of Ankara. Neither Iran nor Iraq has denied the existence of the Kurds as Ankara did. However, Turkey has been forgiven, a member of NATO - an organization of democratic nations, as the mass media remind us, in which that outstanding democrat, Salazar, got involved as a founder member, the same as those no less unconditional supporters of democracy, the Greek colonels and the Turkish generals!

The Iraqi popular fronts constituted around the Communist Party and the Baas in the best stage of their history, every time they exercised responsibilities of power did found a place for understanding with the main Kurd parties, which have always been their allies.

The «anti Shiite» and the «anti Kurd» acts of Saddam regime are a truth: Saddam's army bombed the region of Basorah after their defeat in Kuwait in 1990; gas has been used against the Kurds. Yet these actions came in «response» to the moves by Washington armed democracy, which had mobilized the wizard apprentices eager to take the chance. Nonetheless they were stupid and criminal choices since the appeals of Washington had a limited force. But, is there anything else we could expect from a dictator as Saddam?

At the same time the powerful image of the resistance against the foreign occupation, is something «unexpected» in these conditions, almost a "miracle". That is not the case. The elementary reality is simply that the Iraqi people as a whole (Arab and Kurd, Sunnite and Shiite) hates the occupants and has been aware of their everyday crimes (murders, bombing, massacres, tortures). We should then expect a Resistance United Front (call it as you please), self defined as such, that publishes the names, lists of organizations and parties involved, and their common program. Up to now, there is no such thing. Especially because of all those reasons brought about by the social and political destruction caused by the occupants and by Saddam's earlier dictatorship. But whatever the reasons, such lack is a severe shortage, which favors division, encourages the opportunists, and stimulates confusion in the objectives of liberation.

Who will overcome these weaknesses? Communists must be willing to make it happen. Militants -already present at the field- make their difference as opposed to those «leaders» (the only ones the mass media seem to know!) who do not really know what way to take and attempt to give an appearance of legitimacy to their «alignment» to the collaboration government, pretending to be a complement to the actions by the armed resistance!! However, many other political forces, according to the circumstance, could take initiatives aimed at the creation of that front.

Still, despite its «weaknesses» the Iraqi resistance has already derailed (politically speaking, not militarily speaking yet) Washington project. This is precisely what worries the Atlantists of the European Union, its faithful allies. Washington subordinated associates fear the defeat of the USA because that would strengthen the capacity of the peoples of the South to have the globalized transnational capital of the imperialist triad ( US, Europe and Japan) respect the interests of the nations and peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Iraqi resistance has made proposals that could avoid the dead end and encourage the USA to leave the wasps nest. It proposes: (I) the constitution of a transitional administrative authority supported by the Security Council; (II) the immediate cease of the actions by the resistance, and of the interventions (military and by the police) by the occupation troops; (III) that all the military and civil foreign authorities leave the country within 6 months. The details of these proposals appeared in the prestigious Arab magazine Al Mustaqbal Al Arabi, published in Beirut, January 2006.

The European mass media total silence about the message shows, from this outlook, solidarity among imperialists. The European democratic and progressist forces should oppose this strategy of the imperialist triad and support the proposals by the Iraqi resistance. Leaving the Iraqi people alone, as it faces its enemy, is not an acceptable choice: it entails the dangerous idea that there is nothing to expect from the West and its countries and, in term, stimulates unacceptable trends -criminal, indeed- in the practices by certain resistance movements.

The stronger the support to the Iraqi people by the democratic forces from Europe and the world, the sooner the occupation troops will leave the country; the stronger will be the possibilities of a better future for that martyr people. The more the occupation remains, the darker will be the future after its inevitable end.

Since the famous declaration of Balfour, during world war one, the Palestinian people is a victim of a foreign colonial project, experiencing the fate of the «red skins», something as ignored as recognized. Such project has always been supported unconditionally by the imperialist power dominating in the region (first Great Britain, then the USA); since the creation of a country foreign to the region could be nothing other than the creation of an unconditional supporter of the continuous interventions aiming the submission of the Arab Middle East to the imperialist capitalist domination.

Understanding that is commonplace to all the peoples of Africa and Asia for whom the defense of the rights of the Palestinian people is spontaneous. In contrast, in Europe the «Palestinian problem» brings about a division caused by the confusion encouraged by the Zionist ideology, which usually finds here favorable echoes.

More than never before, the display of the American project of the «great Middle East» entailed the abolishment of the Palestine people's rights. Meanwhile, the PLO had accepted the plans of Oslo and Madrid, and the route designed by Washington. It was Israel who openly rejected to sign, and put into practice an expansion plan even more ambitious! The PLO was in turn weakened: it would be fair saying it naively believed in its adversaries' honesty. The support given to the Islamic adversary (Hamas) by the israeli authorities - at least, at first -, the chain of corrupted practices performed by the Palestinian administration (obviated by the «financial donors" -the World Bank, Europe, many NGOs) would lead - it could be foretold (and it was possibly desired) - to the electoral success of Hamas, a complementary excuse immediately used to justify the unconditional support to Israeli politics «whatever they were»!

The Zionist colonial project has always been a threat, both for Palestine and for the Arab neighbor countries. Some proofs are its interest in annexing the Egyptian Sinai, and its effective annexation of the Syrian Golan. In the «great Middle East» project, there is a special place for Israel, the regional monopoly of its military nuclear equipment, and its role as «obligatory partner», using the excuse that Israel had «technological capacities», something no Arab country is able to achieve! ( an evidence of the spontaneous racism of the imperialist ideologues).Our intention here is not to suggest analyses concerning the complex interactions between the struggles against the Zionist colonial expansion and the conflicts and political choices in Lebanon and Syria. The regimes of Baas in Syria resisted in their way the demands of the political powers and Israel. That this resistance had equally been useful to legitimize the most questionable ambitions (the control of Lebanon) is not questionable. On the other hand Syria carefully chose its «allies» among the «less dangerous» in Lebanon. It is known that the resistance to Israeli moves in South Lebanon (including the deviation of water) had been lead by the Lebanese Communist Party. The Syrian, Lebanese and Iranian powers collaborated in order to destroy this «dangerous basis» and substitute that of Hezbollah. The murder of Rafic el Harriri - far from being clear - apparently gave the imperialist powers (United States in the front, France back) the chance for an intervention with two objectives: making Damas accept a definite alignment to the group of servile Arab Estates (Egypt, Saudi Arabia) -or, at least, eradicate the remains of degenerated Baas power -, eliminate the remains of the capacity to resist the Israeli moves (demanding the «disarmament» of Hezbollah). The speech about «democracy» can be quoted, in this context, in case it is useful.

At present, defending the legitimate rights of the Palestine people is a main duty to all democrats worldwide. Palestine is at the center of the greatest conflicts of our times. Accepting the Israeli plan of destroying the whole Palestine and its people would be the same as denying the peoples their first right: the right to exist. Accusing of «anti Semitism» those against the completion of such project is unacceptable.

It is not our objective to make the analysis the «Islamic revolution» suggests. Being the way it defines itself and how it is usually seen by political Islam, or by «foreign observers», i.e. the announcement and starting point for an evolution that in the end should comprise the whole region, in fact, the whole «Muslim world», then rebaptized as « the umma » («nation», what it has never been). Or was it a special event, particularly because it is suitable for the combination of interpretations of the Shiite Islam and that of the expression of Iranian nationalism?

From the point of view we are interested in, I will only make a couple of comments. First, the political Islam regime in Iran is not in its roots incompatible with the integration of the country to the world capitalist system as such (the principles on which it relies find their way in a vision of a «liberal» management of economy). Second, Iran is a «strong nation»; in other words, its best components, if not all of them - popular classes and leaders - do not accept the integration of the country as a dominated nation within the world System. There is an obvious contradiction between these two dimensions of the Iranian reality and the second explains those trends of the foreign policy of Teheran showing a will to reject the foreign commands. It is Iranian nationalism -strong and, in my opinion, historically positive- what explains the success of the «modernization» of the scientific, industrial, technological and military capacities, started up by the successive regimes of Shah and khomenism. Iran is one of those rare States of the South (together with China, India, Korea, Brazil, and maybe some others, but not many more!) which enjoys the conditions to have a «national bourgeois» project. Whether the completion of that project is, in the long run, possible or not (and this is my opinion) is not the focus of this presentation. Today such project exists; it is there.

Because Iran constitutes a critical mass capable of an attempt to impose itself as an independent parner, the USA decided to destroy the country by means of a new «preventive war». As we know, the «conflict» takes place in the area of the nuclear capacities Iran has been developing. Will not this country, the same as any other, have the right to become a military nuclear power? Is there any right for the imperialist powers, and its puppet Israel, to aim at controlling the monopoly of the massive destruction weapons? Can we believe the speech according to which the «democratic» nations will not use such weapons as the «criminal states» could? When will we hear that such «democratic» nations are responsible for the bigger genocide of modern times, including that of the Jews, and that the USA already used the atomic weapon and reject the general and absolute prohibition to use it? Unfortunately, the European are aligned to the Washington project for aggressing Iran.

As a conclusion
At present, three groups of forces are involved in the «political conflicts" operating in the area: those that claim a nationalist past (but are nothing but the corrupted and degenerated heirs of the bureaucracies of the nationalist-populist earlier stage), those who belong to the political Islam family, those that tend to emerge as related to «democratic» demands compatible with the liberal management of economy. The power of none of these forces is acceptable for a left thought aware of the interests of the nation and the popular classes. In fact, the interests of the compradore classes dominate in these three «families». Trying to «get involved» in their internal conflicts, searching for the alliances with this one here or that one there (preferring the established regimes so as to avoid the political Islam alternative; or looking for an alliance with some Islamic movements so as to get rid of the regimes) is doomed. The left should keep on supporting the struggles in those areas where it finds its own place: in defending the economic and social interests of the popular classes, democracy, and the consolidation of a national sovereignty, as inseparable targets. All democrats of the world should support the chances of the progressive forces and, in the same spirit, condemn without limits any intervention by the USA, NATO, Israel, the tamed United Nations, and their allies in the region.

The «Great Middle East» is nowadays essential in the conflict that opposes the imperialist Center and all the peoples of the world. Derailing Washington project there is a condition to encourage the possibilities of all the avant-gardes worldwide. Without this the avant-gardes would be extremely vulnerable. That does not mean under estimating the importance of other struggles in other parts of the world -Europe, Latin America. It just means that these struggles should be inserted into a global perspective, contributing to derail Washington interests in the region chosen as its criminal target number one. June 2006This paper was written before the agression of Israel on Lebanon, which simply reminds us that the US is pursuing its criminal project for the whole region.

June 2006


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