After weeks of leaks and media preparation, after staging the event and using very vague and manipulative language hiding the facts rather than elucidating them, the reports of Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker came down to this: the United States is in Iraq to stay as long as the oil reserves in Iraq are expected to last — a hundred years — and the United States will use Iraq to try and reshape the entire region in a way that serves an expansionist Israel and the interests of oil and arms companies in the United States.
This conclusion was very clear in the address delivered by President Bush to the nation on “The Way Forward in Iraq” on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2007. He said: “This vision for a reduced American presence also has the support of Iraqi leaders from all communities. At the same time they understand that their success will require U.S. political, economic and security engagement that extends beyond my presidency. These Iraqi leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America. And we are ready to begin building that relationship — in a way that protects our interests in the region and requires many fewer American troops…” Bush later warned that if the U.S. were to withdraw its troops it might leave Iran in a positon to dominate the region and would leave extremists to “control a key part of the global energy supply.” Obviously, extremists here means nationalists who want to control their national resources. Thus, it has become clear that the American occupation of Iraq aims at controlling a “key part of the global energy supply” and at dominating the region. It was noteworthy that Bush did not mention WMD, Saddam or democracy which were the initial pretexts for launching this war!
In order to achieve these objectives the U.S. army destroyed the social, cultural and historical matrix of Iraq causing the death of a million Iraqis, the maiming of another million and the displacement of over 4 million both inside and outside Iraq. But how could Petraeus, Crocker or Bush see that, as none of their families is sick with the smell of blood on the streets, and none of their children is killed or maimed, and none of them is threatened with the cholera, or cancer or diseases which are sweeping Iraqi society?
Iraq is further being used as a card by members of Congress to score more political points in their election campaigns, as no one truly knows what is going on in Iraq, because while it’s not too dangerous for the Iraqis who are living there, it is too dangerous for any American to stroll the streets. It was baffling that the Petraeus-Crocker reports and the address of President Bush made no mention of the human catastrophe which has befallen the Iraqis due to this terrible war on them. It is a holocaust against innocent people who did nothing to deserve it.
The Petraeus-Bush strategy is to make of Iraq an advanced base from which to threaten neighboring countries, liquidate Palestinian national rights, prevent the Lebanese from reaching agreement in their upcoming election and reshape Belad al Sham as the Israeli-American occupation wants it to be, void of all creativity and excellence, and a poor puppet of Israeli-American hegemony.
This new stage is characterized by identical stands between Israel and the U.S. government towards the region. Haaretz is ranking American presidential candidates according to the “Israeli factor” (Haaretz Sept. 13, 2007). Tsipi Livni, the foreign Minister of Israel, never tires of inciting countries against Iran and indeed, against any national movement which works for independence and real sovereignty. The war on terror is used to terrorize anyone who doesn’t join these forces of hegemony over the region and its resources.
What Petraeus and Bush did not say is that our region is heading toward a long struggle between forces of occupation (Israel and the U.S.) and national liberation movements, which are fermenting in the region. The Middle East now is where South America was thirty years ago. In less than thirty years the Middle East will be where most countries in South America are today, led by nationalists who use their national wealth solely for the welfare and prosperity of their own people. On the path getting to that point there will be plenty of pain for everyone, especially for the indigenous people of this region, the Arabs. But what can people do if occupying powers refuse to learn from history?
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban is Minister of Expatriates in Syria, and writer and professor at Damascus University since 1985. Before assuming her current ministerial position, Dr. Shaaban was Director of the Press Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Syria. She received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Warwick University in England in 1982, and joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an advisor in 1988. Since then, she has represented Syria as a spokeswomen on an international level. In 2005 Dr. Shaaban was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and in the same year, was presented with “the Most Distinguished Woman in a Governmental Position” award by the Arab League. Dr. Shaaban has published four books, and contributed to numerous others. She may be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org