Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The American agenda

Al-Quds al-Arabi cites on its front page remarks yesterday by Iranian leader Ali Khamenei, warning Arab states against allying themselves with the US and Britain to impose an embargo on Iran, something Khamenei said would be a "political mistake", because Iran and the Arab states are natural allies. The newspaper refers to this as a "precedent", meaning this was the first direct warning of this type from Iran.

Right after summariing the Khamenei statement, the journalist says this:
Meanwhile sources in the Gulf expressed their concern about the spread of the disorder and the sectarian fighting [going on in Iraq] to the countries of the Gulf, and Saudi Arabia in particular.

The Arab states allied with the US would like the American president George Bush to alleviate their anxiety about the growth of Shiite influence in Iraq and the growth of Iranian influence in the Mideast region as a whole--and he is about to unveil his new Iraq policy tomorrow--at the same time they [the Arab regimes] face the ordeal of belonging to an alliance that includes Israel, and [in that connection] the Arab states would like Washington to adopt a neutral approach [aimed at] bringing about progress in the creation of peace between Israel and Palestine, before it launches any attack on Iran.
In other words (according to this newspaper), the Sunni Arab regimes are looking to Bush for protection from growing Shia influence, whether domestically in Iraq, or regionally.

The other major pan-Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, reports this morning on the position of Iraqi Sunni politician Adnan al-Dulaimi in support of the expected Bush troop-surge. The story opens like this:
Adnan al-Dulaimi, leader of the Accord Front (Sunni) confirmed he thinks an increase in the number of American troops in Baghdad could contribute to solving the security problem there. He said in remarks to Al-Hayat that the Sunni political leadership needs to acknowledge the fact that there is a well-planned program on the part of the sectarian militias to Shia-ize Baghdad and to force Sunnis out.
Dulaimi added that stability has to begin in Baghdad, because Baghdad is Iraq, and the city won't be secure until there is a "complete dissolution" of the militias.

But the Al-Hayat reporter doesn't leave it at that. He quotes a member of the Muslim Scholars Association with the opposite view, as follows:
Ismael Badari, a member of the MSA said the fundamental problem is the occupation. He said in remarks to Al-Hayat: If the occupation were to be evacuated, there would be stability. The problem is not in Baghdad alone but all over the country. The militias are essentially creatures of the occupation and they facilitate [the occupation's] operatings in getting involved throughout the country. As for the forced migrations which are being done to both Sunni and Shiites, this is part of the American agenda, which does not want [to permit] an Iraqi option.

Speaking of the American agenda, it is worth noting that the video and extensive excerpts from Dulaimi's sectarian speech at the Istanbul conference last month has gotten saturation coverage yesterday and today on the sites that presumably Americans go to for their Iraq news, and this has been circulated without any presentation of the position that Dulaimi was answering, namely the anti-occupation MSA position as outlined above, in fact without any indication that there even was an opposing position.

(I raised this in a series of posts between Dec 16 and Dec 20. The link in the Dec 16 post is now fixed so it points to the Azzaman summary of Dec 13).


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