February 8, 2007

"Moderate" allies of America in the Middle East.

The double standards of the West in its holier than thou assertions about freedom, democracy, tolerance etc are often clear. There are numerous examples. For instance, take the shrill claims by Bush regarding democracy promotion as an American virtue. A casual look at the history of the later half of the last century puts that myth to rest. As Gaurav writes, Britain and America were deliberate causes for the overthrow in 1953 of a democratic government in Iran. That was only the beginning. Much more followed. Guatemala, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Indonesia, Greece, Chile. The list goes on.

Another, more contemporary, illustration is the American support of the so-called "moderate" regimes in the Middle East. This Guardian piece talks about this. The prominent moderate allies of the US are Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Most people reckon that these two countries practice worst forms of political suppression, authoritarianism and intolerance. Regardless, they remain trusted allies of the US, no doubt because of their willingness to cooperate against the wishes of the local population.

Whatever it's tactical advantages, this support of dictators is a strategic disaster for the United States. It makes these countries fertile breeding grounds for anti-Americanism. During the 80s and 90s, organized terror groups began to take shape in these countries, especially in Egypt. Many of these terrorists began their Jihadi careers after being tortured in Egyptian prisons. Jihad in Afghanistan against Soviet invasion was an extremely important unifying experience, but the Egyptian and Saudi dictatorships can't be discounted. The core of Al-Qaeda leadership comes predominantly from Egypt and Saudi Arabia (Ayman al-Zawahiri who is number two to bin Laden in al-Qaeda was tortured in Egypt and led several Jihadi groups there before joining bin Laden).

The reason why it is a strategic debacle for the US is because most of these terrorists were initially content to fight the "local infidels" and the "Zionist invaders". But American friendship toward these local infidels and Israel convinced them that they should in fact fight the "distant infidel" first.


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