By Johan Galtung
The Middle East-North Africa–MENA–is Arab-Muslim with a growing Jewish island in its midst. Former colonial territory – under Sunni Ottoman Turks for four centuries+ and the secular West, England-Italy-France, for half a century–now under Jewish colonialism and US imperialism. They have controlled MENA through dictatorships, condoning violence and corruption as long as they support US-Israel policies in the area.
The Arab awakening is against the violence and corruption in favor of democracy, against corruption in favor of growth and jobs, and against US-Israel domination. There is also a Muslim awakening – to believe that Islam tolerates imposed secularism is incredibly naive. But there are many Islams; like there are Christianities and Judaisms.
How do USA-Israel react, and what would be a positive reaction to their reaction–keeping in mind that this is old colonial territory?
US policy is by and large state-building with USA as model, with multiparty national elections and “free” markets controlled by multinationals in general, private banks in particular, and finance banking—including speculations with derivatives–more particularly (also controlling elections). On maps, states have one color. So, states are seen as unitary, with one market for the economy, one state for multiparty elections, and one political focus: the capital. Multicolored maps showing the nations and internal fault-lines might be enlightening.
That reality is used to fragment states that stand on the way: the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were divided into 15 and 7 states respectively, some now members of NATO and/or EU. States seen as islamist-terrorist are in for the same: Sudan-Somalia broken into 2 and 3 parts. They are both on the list of 7, which the White House ordered the Pentagon to “take out” right after 9/11 (General Wesley Clark, Democracy Now, 2 March 2007): Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan and Somalia; seen as hostile, with state, not private central banks blocking market globalization.
For Israel what matters most are its neighbors. From the early beginning this is the usual story of violence and counter-violence interpreted in two ways. The Israeli reading is violence against a Jewish homeland becoming a state, legitimized by the shoa in general; and counter-violence to defend that emerging state.
The Arab reading is an Israel established by violence, the naqba, and counter-violence to contain the expansion of that state. A typical example of two truths that do not add up to one Truth. The result is an endless, fruitless, angry exchange of accusations about who started what, where, and when. A Truth would go beyond fruitless quarrels, identifying a stop, an end to escalation, acceptable to both; like the 4 June 1967 Green Line land swaps.
However, that symmetry breaks down when Israel still expands – invades-occupies-lays siege–on ever more Arab-Palestinian territory. And even more so when visions of a Greater Israel take shape:
Scenario 1: from the Mediterranean to Jordan, as a Palestinian state;
Scenario 2: from the Nile to the Euphrates (Genesis 15:18)–where 9 countries are located.
Both scenarios are for Jews only, Jewish states. And then a
Scenario 3: first Scenario 1, then Scenario 2?
In search of recognized and secure borders? Only by forcing Arab-Muslim states into submission, dissolving them into mini-states, using internal fault-lines (see Oded Yinnon, “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”, Kivunim, Feb. 1982).
The list would certainly include Pakistan, a doubly artificial construct, and a nuclear power. A deep Israeli-Indian, Mossad-RAW cooperation against Pakistan follows. Assuming that Lebanon and Iraq – like Palestine – are fragmented, that Jordan is kept for a possible Scenario 1 Palestinian state, that Libya is steeped in internal provincial-clan-racial-religious fights, what remains of the seven are Syria, Iran and Egypt. Israeli press mentions a partition of Syria into four states: Shia Alawite, Sunni, Druze and Kurdish (in the Northeast). Egypt, Tunisia are resilient.
The approach to Iran – no colonial construct, fault-lines (Kurds, Azeris, Arabs in Khuzistan) but less vulnerable – is to bomb it, based on US-Israeli division of labor, the shared accusation that Iran is close to their status as nuclear powers, and the shared, fabricated lie that newly elected Ahmadinejad said in a speech in Tehran, 25 October 2005 that “Israel must be wiped off the map”. He never said that, but quoted Khomeini: “The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time”. And mentioned three examples of such regimes: the Shah of Iran, the Soviet Union and Saddam Hussein. History tells us that regimes come and go; countries, even states, remain.
They use self-fulfilling predictions as political strategy, like the Israeli “facts on the ground”. CNN ran a text before invading Iraq on 19 March 2003: Iraq – the unfinished war. And now, against islamist Hamas (as opposed to nationalist Fatah): You talk about a two-state solution but do not recognize Israel’s right to exist. Could it be that they do not recognize the present regime?
The US strategy in the region is to use existing states and bend them to their economic purposes–like imposing private central banks in all seven–is doomed to fail because of inner fault-lines. The Israeli strategy is more intelligent, using fault-lines to fragment states.
In all these cases how much fragmentation is by US-Israeli design and how much by inner tensions will sooner or later be better known.
What would be the Arab-Muslim counter strategy?
Federations. Fault-lines are real and most people want to be governed by their own kind in autonomous sub-states with common foreign-security-finance-logistic policies. 40 percent of humanity lives in 25 federations, and there is much to learn from Mother Switzerland.
Confederations-communities. Tie them together in strong, solidary communities that resist divide and rule policies.
Do both, and the Arab-Muslim world will be more resilient than it is today.
Originally published at Transcend Media Service here.