Thursday, November 30, 2006

The big picture according to Al-Quds al-Arabi

Abdulbari Atwan cites five examples of a recent "sudden shift" in the attitude of the major Sunni-Arab regimes with respect to Iraq, as follows:

(1) Egypt hosted Harith al-Dhari in Cairo and permitted him the use of the press-club facilities for his press conference attacking the legality of the Maliki government, a government that up to recently had enjoyed Egypt's staunch support.

(2) Saudi national security adviser Obeid wrote in the Washington Post that Saudi Arabia would have three options if the Iraqi situation deteriorates, including (a) flooding the oil market so as to collapse prices and hurt Iran, (b) forming and financing new Sunni armed units in Iraq to fight the Shiite militia; and (c) most interestingly for Atwan, financing and arming the existing Sunni-resistance groups in Iraq. Atwan's main point is that while the Shiite leaders have enjoyed the hospitality of Riyadh in the recent period, the armed Sunni resistance movements have not. The Saudi regime has not supported the armed Sunni resistance in Iraq up to recently, so this is a very dramatic shift.

(3) There has been a recent upsurge in expressions of anxiety about conversions to Shiism in the Sunni world, including from the regimes of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco and its neighbors.

(4-5) There is also the leak of the Hadley "Maliki incapable" memo, and the cancellation of the three-way meeting with Maliki Bush and King Abdullah of Jordan. The connection to a change in Sunni-regime attitudes isn't as clear with respect to these points.

But the Egyptian and Saudi examples do point to a 180-degree shift in the Arab-regime attitudes to the Maliki regime, from "pro" to "contra", and Atwan rhetorically asks for the explanation, which has to fall into one of two categories: Either it is a shift sponsored and supported by the US, or it represents an independent "late awakening" of the Arab regimes to their own self-interest. For Atwan, this part is a no-brainer. For one thing, if the Arab regimes are suddenly supporting Arab resistance movements, how come they aren't supporting the Hamas? Clearly the shift is US-inspired.

The rest of the argument is easy to follow: The US is well on its way to getting the Arab regimes involved in the internal Iraqi civil war, as a way of laying the groundwork and setting the table for their involvement in the coming war with Iran.

(Atwan doesn't mention the Azzaman reports about the "Hadley program" and the "Amman alternative". But if his analysis is correct, then something like the Sunni-coup scenario would be a logical next step. The Arab regimes would become involved up to their necks in the Iraq civil war, and unable to extricate themselves when the US attacks Iran).

3 Comments:

Anonymous patrick said...

Badger I think you posted the article twice? If I'm wrong please delete this post:).

8:27 AM  
Blogger badger said...

you're right. I just tried to delete the other one, but the result was ambiguous, now I'm afraid if I try again I might delete them both...For now I leave well enough alone, thanks for the head-up. (Everyone please comment on this copy, not the other one...

8:39 AM  
Blogger badger said...

done. straightened out, looks like. Thank you for your prayers.

8:41 AM  

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