Friday, April 3, 2015

Misleading Mid-East Punditry

The edit page of The Hindu is a far cry from the shouters of Times Now but there too punditry can be misleading noise.

The latest case in point is Suhasini Haidar’s analysis of “The West and its flawed anti-IS strategy” published appropriately enough on 1 April.

Here are some of its errors:

1. Throughout the piece there are references to “the West,” as if it is still a global political entity. The “West” of the Cold War has been gone for over a quarter century and in those years the United States and the countries of Western Europe have gone their separate ways.

2. It is true, the British and their military-industrial friends in Washington tried to extend the shelf-life of “the West” with the rigged election of Bush Jr. followed immediately by the Saudi-managed 9/11 attacks. But despite enormously profitable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan the “special relationship” has become increasingly irritable and now is little more than a joint enterprise to wiretap everything that moves.

3. Meanwhile, the Americans have retreated to their historical default position of being leery of most things European except their wine, cheese and women. Britain, France and Germany awakened to that reality when a fit of post-Cold War hubris led them to implode Yugoslavia; they created an unmanageable mess and had to call for Yankee help.

4. The British have been especially hard hit in recent years by the end of transatlantic bonhomie. United States regulators have gone after the largest British banks with a hatchet for such things as money laundering, manipulating global gold prices and fixing interest rates. Under American pressure the Bank of England even had to accept a Canadian Governor. All this has made it difficult for the British elite to continue as usual with their profitable business managing the proceeds of global organized crime. In fact, they have been forced to pay off their multi-ethnic mafia/terrorist clientele with high-end British real estate. To prevent London becoming home to the world’s worst hoodlums the British parliament made it illegal for anyone with a criminal record to enter the country. And to ensure that the long-suffering people of Britain will not turn on their betters for selling off the country to criminals another law has completely delegitimized public protest: a 12-year old can now be arrested for standing on a street corner and cursing the government loudly.(The punishment will probably include non-stop viewing of Downton Abbey.)

5. Haidar’s assumption that the United States and Britain are on the same Mid-East page has never been true. Transatlantic differences have been a major factor in regional politics ever since FDR’s famous deal with Ibn Saud stuck a large American thumb in Churchill’s strategic eye. Things have got much worse of late. The Arab Spring” began when Washington withdrew support from long-established clients in the Middle East, and its failure is not the result of any “misreading” as much as it is of European support for favoured (read profitable) tyrants. That explains the seesaw process of democracy one day and mob/military rule the next. The Benghazi mob attack that killed the American Ambassador was clearly an MI 6 operation in revenge for the loss of Britain’s lucrative interests in Libya and the revelation of its long support for Gaddafi.

6. The Islamic State is essentially a British attempt to squelch the democratic potential of the Arab Spring and not, as Haidar seems to think, an ideological vehicle attractive to young Muslims. The streams of teenagers going to join IS from Western countries and the Russian Federation are drawn more by talk of parties, booze and sex than any desire for jihad. “Jihadi John,” the British face of televised IS murder, is reported to be an MI 6 operative ensconced in 5 star luxury. It is a mystery who the non-foreign IS fighters are; they could all be mercenaries.

7. To conclude, Haidar seems unaware that the whole fight against international terrorism is sham. There is incontrovertible evidence that Britain is the birth mother of modern international terrorism and that major NATO members are its godparents.

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