FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How We Denied Democracy to the Middle East

by ROBERT FISK The Independent

The Brits created all those worthy sheikhdoms in the Gulf. Kuwait was our doing; Saudi Arabia was ultimately a joint Anglo-US project, the United Arab Emirates (formerly the Trucial State) etc. But when Iran decided in the 1950s that it preferred Mohammed Mossadeq’s democratic rule to the Shah’s, the CIA’s Kim Roosevelt, with Colonel “Monty” Woodhouse of MI6, overthrew democracy in Iran. Now President Bush demands the same “democracy” in present-day Iran and says we merely “excused and accommodated” the loathsome US-supported Shah’s regime.

Now let’s have another linguistic analysis of Mr Bush’s words. “The failure of Iraqi democracy,” he told us two days ago, “would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region.” Here’s another take: the failure of the Bush administration to control Israel’s settlement-building on Arab land would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Now that would be more like it. But no. President Bush thinks Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is “a man of peace”.

And then there’s that intriguing Bush demand for a revolution in undemocratic Iran. Sure, Iran is a theocratic state (a necrocracy, I suspect), but the morally impressive President Mohamed Khatami, repeatedly thwarted by the dictatorial old divines, was democratically elected–and by a far more convincing majority than President George Bush Jr in the last US presidential elections.

Yes, “democracy can be the future of every nation”, Bush tells us. So why did his country support Saddam’s viciousness and war crimes for so many years? Why did Washington give its blessing, at various stages, to Colonel Ghaddafi, Hafez Assad of Syria, the Turkish generals, Hassan of Morocco, the Shah, the sleek Ben Ali of Tunisia, the creepy generals of Algeria, the plucky little King of Jordan and even–breathe in because the UNOCAL boys wanted a gas pipeline through Afghanistan–the Taliban?

A break here. Fouad Siniora is the finance minister of Lebanon. He is a believer in the American way of life, a graduate of the American University of Beirut and a former lecturer there, an ex-executive of Citibank. He has a valid American visa in his passport. Yet he has been telephoned by the American embassy in Beirut to be told he will not be permitted entry to the US.

Why? Because last year he gave $660 at a Ramadan fast-breaking iftah to a charity that runs educational projects and orphanages in Lebanon. The organisation is run by Sayed Mohamed Fadlallah–once described by the Western press as the “spiritual adviser” to Hizbollah. CIA sources long ago revealed that they tried to kill Fadlallah–they failed, but their Saudi-prepared car bomb killed 75 civilians–so Siniora, an Americanophile to his fingertips, is persona non grata in the US. Fadlallah is not Hizbollah’s “spiritual adviser”–so he could hardly withdraw his support for its victory over the Israeli army in Lebanon three years ago–but the looney-toon “security” legislation in the US has deprived Siniora of any further contact with a country he admires.

Yes, roll on democracy. Bring ’em on. The new “Rummyworld” war on terror is in Iraq. Ban the press from filming the return of dead American soldiers to the US. Liberty is what it’s about, democracy. “Accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East”, indeed. We created this place, drew its borders, weaned their grotesque dictators. And we expect the Arabs to trust Mr Bush’s promise?

Robert Fisk is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch’s hot new book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail