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As Dangerous as It Gets


If The New York Times is capable of printing on its pages such a sinister, undiplomatic and uncivilized piece of writing, where do you go to get your news and reach your assessment of today’s world? I am referring to Thomas Friedman’s article “As Ugly as It Gets” that was published on May 25, one day after the announcement of the U.S its new plans to expand “secret Military Acts in Mideast Region” which claims to give up the term “war on terror” only to give the Pentagon and CIA a free hand to use Blackwater contractors “to both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa to gather intelligence and build ties with local forces. Officials said the order also permits reconnaissance that could pave the way for possible military strikes in Iran if tensions over its nuclear ambitions escalate” (see NYT, May 24, by Mark Mazzetti).

Friedman accused the Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, of being a deep moral disappointment. Appointing himself as the judge of “proper” democracy, Friedman duly  classified Iran, Venezuela, Brazil and Turkey, as not fit to be included in the democratic roster.  Moreover, he hopes to incite a “green revolution” in Iran, similar to the “orange revolution” of a few years ago in the Ukraine.

On the other hand,  Friedman had nothing to say about the nuclear warheads that Israel wanted to sell to the South African apartheid regime since the 1970s. He preferred to he highlight the vague estimate of his expert sources that “it would only take months for Iran to again amass a sufficient quantity for a nuclear weapon”. Iran, which is unable to enrich uranium to 20 per cent, while a nuclear weapon needs 90 per cent; Iran which is a signatory of the NPT, while Israel is not.

Had Iran, Turkey, Brazil and Venezuela supported Israel’s crimes today and declared that they do not support the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, contributed to blockading Gaza rather than lifting that blockade, we would have heard that Iran is democratic and that these countries have become “friends” and “allies”.  The Western criterion for democracy in the Middle East is insuring Israel’s security.

The newly announced clandestine military activity agreed by the Pentagon and the CIA for the Middle East and beyond warns of a new era of instability. The world is again divided into those with us and those against us, but with the efforts to recruit some of the indigenous local people to give “orange revolutions” and “green revolutions” a legitimate cover. We are heading towards a more dangerous future.

BOUTHAINA SHAABAN is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through




Bouthaina Shaaban is Political and Media Advisor at the Syrian Presidency, and former Minister of Expatriates. She is also a writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. She has been the spokesperson for Syria and was nominated for Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She can be reached through

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