Friday, May 11, 2012

The Middle East: 5 ‘US’ years later!

It is useful for writers to take a break every now and then, and come back with fresher outlook and perception.  
My break was not volunteered, however. Since mid 2007, I was advised, by wise heads, to take back seat in the political arena and keep my critical mouth shut.  Now, Khaled Almaena, the new Editor in Chief of Saudi Gazzette, is telling me: open up .. your opinion is requested.

It's amazing how much things have changed .. and not .. in the past five years. Take Iraq, for instance. Five years ago, it was still debated weather US meant what it said, and said what it meant, regarding the future of Iraq. 

Today, it is obvious the US failed in all tests of sincerity and competence. Iraq was obediently delivered in a silver plate to Iran and its Iraqi stooges. It's no longer united, stable or safe. The promise of freedom, prosperity and democracy is almost forgotten. The immediate and foremost concern, now, is security. 

My Iraqi friend, Ibtehal, was telling me in "Whatsapp" chat today about her trip to the Kurdish north, and how different it was from the rest of the country: secured, stable, prosperous .. and well governed. She is looking for investment opprtunity among waves of multinational investors. Good for her, I said, but what about the rest of the country? Her answer was prompt and heartbreaking: What country? I don't have one! 

America's foot soldiers are finally leaving, its footprints are not. For obscured political and economic reasons, US decision makers still shoot themselves in the foot. They brought Nori Al Malki back from Iran, together with his exiled Aldawa party comrades. Knowing their slave attachment to Iran's mullas, vandeta against the Sunnis, and ideological entrenchment, US still gave them the reins and supported them economically, politically and militarily. 

Now, with diminishing power and influence, America cannot even convince al Malki government to adopt US and allies position on Syria.  

Prophet Mohammad PBUH says those who supported the aggressor will be hunted by him. The US may feel safe for now, but once the last soldier leaves, and more Hezbollah soldiers (and commanders) take their place, the hunt will begin. America cannot change its fundamental blind support of Israel, the arch enemy of Iran, and the latter cannot stop its appetite of more gains in and influence in the Middle East. Therefore the final face off is guaranteed. With the military and nuclear capabilities/aspirations of  both powerhouses, and the vulnerabilities of the oil rich region, the disaster would be global Tasunami. America's interests and friends are the first getting the punch.  

For us, the residents of the Arabian Gulf, the stakes are much higher. The battle grounds for any conflict may include neighbors like Turkey and Pakistan, but it would be mainly fought on our backyard. Our oil fields and export ports are all concentrated between the coasts of Iran and Saudi, Kuwait and UAE.  The oil tanks all go thru the Strait  of Hormuz, with much of world's oil needs. It's frightening to imagine a fire, let alone a battle among nuclear powers on such volatile grounds!

Let's hope that cool heads prevail, especially in the US.  With new administration soon to take over, I pray that new policies will reposition and reengineer US stands towards regional players and conflicts. Till then, I wish my return to active commenting will be a happier .. and safer one!

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