Saturday, March 27, 2010

The tension between being a US colony and being humiliated by Israel

I really do not see a substantive difference between today's rulers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and others in the region and the late 1800s indirect rulers of the British Raj in what is now India and its neighboring countries. Eric Margolis, I believe, coined the term "American Raj" which strikes me as fitting.

But the Arab League, in reaction to Israel's refusal to make significant symbolic concessions to the Palestinians, feels pressure to respond, at least symbolicly.
"We have to study the possibility that the peace process will be a complete failure," Moussa said. "It's time to face Israel. We have to have alternative plans because the situation has reached a turning point," he said.

"The peace process has entered a new stage, perhaps the last stage. We have accepted the efforts of mediators. We have accepted an open-ended peace process but that resulted in a loss of time and we did not achieve anything and allowed Israel to practice its policy for 20 years."
The whole point of indirect rule, whether practiced by the British or the Americans, is symbolism. A native face of the ruler provokes less intense feelings of rebellion among, especially, the young, educated and idealistic portions of the ruled population who play an important role in organizing and orchestrating changes of leaderships.

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has a better feel than a direct US governor would for which symbolic measures would be counter-productive affronts against local sensibilities and which measures can be quietly acquiesced to. In return for the service of preventing revolt against US rule, Abdullah lives a comfortable life aided by imported Western luxury items. He also trains his children to accept the US as the masters of his family and the country to extend the relationship into the future.

However, in no sense can Saudi Arabia, led by colonial King Abdullah, "face Israel". Instead he can coordinate with the US State Department symbolic displays of displeasure which is what we are going to see over the next year from the US-controlled countries of the region.


Lysander said...

You are quite correct about today's Arab rulers, but I do think Amr Mousa's statements today have more than simply symbolic significance. The Iran-Syria-Hizbullah alliance has been successful. They are defying the west and yet the sky isn't falling. In fact Iran is making scientific progress that surpass Saudi Arabia and Egypt even though both have access to western markets and wealth/financial aid. Even Turkey seems to be growing weary of western domination. More strangely, Even Lula DaSilva of Brazil refused to visit Herzl's grave.

It may appear to Arab rulers that the balance of power is changing. That total obedience to US/Israeli wishes may not be the best guarantee of continued rule. There is no percentage to being on the loosing side.

In that context is how I see Amr Mousa's statement regarding improving Arab relations with Iran. Granted, it was a timid statement and "considering the ****possibility**** that the 'peace process' will be(!!) a failure" is very weak. But I view it as a baby step away from the western cocoon.

The statement with Iran is particularly important given the current push for sanctions and demands to "isolate" Iran.

lidia said...

Lysander, I would not expext much from AL, but you are rigth that their words about Iran were significant. Israel propaganda is doing its best to explain how "Arabs" hate and fear Iran (or that they must), and how "Arabs" could find a friend in Israel against Iran (sometimes they use Shia-Sunni division as a pretext)