Welcome to the Middle East Today

The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Nov 14, 2010

Freedom or Suppression of the Press

A report issued by the United Arab journalists pointed out that journalism and the freedom of the press in most Arab countries are experiencing increasing government restriction. Some journalists have been arrested and others experienced restrictions on their freedom of expression. Some TV networks were even closed. The report also revealed that foreign press and journalists, irrespective of their journalistic reporting, are treated differently from Arab journalists. Is the question that Arab governments fear Western governments, or do they want to send a message that the press in the Arab world is free? (www.aljazeera.net, 10/21/10).

The degree of freedom of the press varies among Arab states. It fluctuates from strict government control to a lesser control in some Arab states. International Journalists Without Borders created a scale reflecting the degree of freedom of the press in 2002. In their latest report, references were made to the ten worst countries in terms of press control. Three of the ten worst countries were Yemen, Syria and Sudan. The best and most free press were Finland, Iceland, Holland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. Other countries that were classified as bad and suppressive toward the press include China,Burma and North Korea.

Recently, some Arab countries increased their restrictions on both the print and electronic media. It was reported that the Egyptian government canceled the permits for 17 private TV stations to curtail the spread of ill information and sectarian and religious hate. The free Arab Journalists Association stated that the Egyptian government wants to control the press prior to the election of the Egyptian parliament. The government is preparing a sweeping victory for the ruling party as has been the case for the last thirty years. The Egyptian government press policy has been criticized by the International Journalists Without Borders and some leading American newspapers like the Washington Post. On its front page, the Washington Post referred to the increasing restriction on the freedom of the press in Egypt (Washington Post, 10/29/10).

Recently, the Moroccan government ordered Aljazeera TV Network to close its offices in Morocco. According to official sources, Aljazeera is broadcasting false reports about the Moroccan government. For that reason, the TV network was cancelled. The rationale given by the Moroccan government is not valid. The aljazeera.net offices have been closed before in a number of Arab states because of its influence on Arab public opinion. In my judgment, Aljazeera TV is the most credible station in the Arab world, with a very large group of followers even beyond the Arab region. For that reason and others, Arab governments and high-ranking politicians are concerned about the influence and impact of the free broadcasting on their population. After all, the vast majority of Arab states are run by authoritarian dictators. Democratic institutions are absent in Arab society and as a result there is no accountability, which encourages corruption at all levels. The Arab governments in general have ignored the principle of democratic institutions and instead of progressing they are regressing.

Nov 12, 2010

The Arab Annual Environmental and Development Water Report

The Arab National Environmental and Development Annual meeting that was held in Beirut, Lebanon during the first week of November 2010 concluded with a very strong warning regarding shortages of water in the Arab world (aljazeera.net, 11/5/10).

The report revealed that the Arab world region is the most dry area in the world and water shortages will increase rapidly and will negatively impact the more than 360 million people in the region. The individual water share will drop below 500 cu.met. per person per year. The world average is 6000 cu.met. per person per year.

Furthermore, the Environmental Report revealed that due to global climate changes and the increasing world temperature, there will be a negative impact on rainfall in the Middle East and North African region. It is projected that rainfall in the area will decrease at least 25% and evaporation will increase by 25%.

The water shortages at the present in the Arab world should also be viewed in connection with the rapidly increasing population, which is projected to reach at least 600 million people by the year 2050. The Environmental and Development report strongly recommends a drastic change in governmental policy toward the regulation of water use in addition to the creation of a new strategy to increase the availability of water to meet at least the minimal required human needs. Without such changes, the Arab world will soon start experiencing dangerous and negative economic, political, social and health consequences. In previous posts on water, references were made that large percentages of the water used in cultivation, which is estimated between 80 and 85%. Most of this is wasted. Irrigation by flooding the lands is an outdated method that has been used for thousands of years. The new scientific irrigation method is through water dripping. For example, the present amount of water used in Egypt, according to scientific estimates, could irrigate at least 27 million feddan. Since many Arab governments are not working on plans to provide new sources of water, then at least they should start implementing a new policy of water usages. Furthermore, not only do Arab farmers misuse and waste water resources, but individual consumption affects the situation as well. One of the main reasons behind such water waste is attributed to the low cost of water to the consumers. In many Arab states, human water consumption is subsidized by the government. A new rate of water consumption prices should be created that will take into consideration the economic abilities of the various groups to pay the new rates. In general, water consumers do not pay attention to water consumption until they start paying for it.

I have personally seen in different locations in Egypt where water has been left running while someone is washing a car or tending to a garden. Furthermore, the water pipes network should be checked to prevent water leakages. Even in the most advanced countries water leakages from old pipe networks is not unusual. Nevertheless, Arab states can’t afford such water loss. In addition, the majority of Arab states do not have a complete nor efficient water treatment system. More than 80% of the untreated water is wasted. Such waste should be seriously considered in light of the present water shortages. At least some recycled water could be used for irrigation of golf courses and agricultural cultivation instead of fresh water.

The Arab population constitutes 5% of the world population, but has only 1% of the world’s fresh water supply. As a result of such situations, the Gulf region, which is the driest part of the Arab world, has been depending more and more on water desalination for water consumption. Nearly 70% of water desalination in the world takes place in the Gulf region. It is an expensive method to get fresh water, but most of the Gulf states have resources of energy and the public consumers hardly pay a fraction of the water cost. For that reason, water consumption in the Gulf region is among the highest in the world.

Nov 11, 2010

Jordan Parliament Election

The Jordanian election (Nov. 9, 2010) revived old memories of my senior year in Salt High School during the 1950s. At the time, most of my peers were extremely nationalistic and eager to witness a free election for the Jordanian parliament. Some of us volunteered to help people who came to the voting place. During that time, other people who were supporting their candidates were paying one to two Jordanian pounds, which was equivalent at the time to $3 - $5, for each vote. As an idealist, I tried to stop it, but was arrested by the attending officer for disturbing the peace. A few hours later I was released. That incident never disappeared form my memory. During the past few days (Nov. 5 – 9, 2010) aljazeera.net did an interview with some people in Jordan in connection with the election. The interesting part of that interview was the fact that some political candidates hired brokers to recruit voters in their district and pay them at the rate of 30 – 50 Jordanian pounds per vote ($40 - $50). I was stunned and amazed at the same time that what I experienced sixty years ago in Salt-Jordan regarding paying voters to vote for a specific candidate took place during the present at the last election. A substantial number of people are poverty-stricken and may be in need of financial help. Some voters may think that it makes no difference who wins the election because the end result will be the same. At the same time, I have started thinking about the financial resources spent on the election in the U.S. For example, the midterm election for the American Congress came to an end (11/2/2010) and the mass media (both print and electronic) expressed the huge amount of money that was spent on publicity for and by the candidates who ran. It has been estimated that the recent election cost was $4.2 billion, which is double the amount of money spent in previous midterm elections. It was also reported that one candidate for governor of California spent $143 million of her own money during the campaign period. Each vote ended up costing $47.

The tragedy of all such campaign tactics used during an election, irrespective of where it takes place (U.S., Jordan or Timbuktu), added to the corruption of the democratic institutions. At least when it happens in non-Democratic Jordan it is understandable. However, when it happens in the U.S., this is viewed as part of free speech permitted under the first amendment. Personally, people have the right to express themselves, but when financial resources in many ways are used to mislead the public or smear a candidate with lies, then this type of expression is an immoral act. But it takes place under the banner of democracy.

In respect to the Jordanian parliament election, it was reported that nearly half of the eligible voters exercised their rights. The press reported on the widespread buying of votes in many parts of the kingdom, which will further complicate the functions and the credibility of the newly elected politicians.

Parliament is under the authority of the king and that higher authority could dissolve it at any time the king sees appropriate. Furthermore, the government can always change the law without the approval of parliament. This is one of the reasons that some political parties boycotted the recent election. Since the king assumed the throne, he dissolved the parliament twice before it finished its 4 year run. The impact of this political conduct on voters is negative. Regardless, Jordan is no different from the rest of the Arab countries. Governments and rulers exercise their political rituals under the slogan of democracy. Furthermore, they think they are wise and knowledgeable to form policy and make decisions on behalf of their population!

Nov 10, 2010

The Qattarah Depression Proposal

The almasry-alyoum newspaper published an interesting article written by Ali Zalat (11/3/10) that focused on an old idea that dates back to 1912 to turn the depression of “al-Qattarah” into the largest man-made lake. In 1912, the German scientist Mr. Penk began his study on how to dig a canal to connect that Mediterranean Sea into the Qattarah Depression. In 1927, he proposed constructing a canal or tunnel between the Mediterranean Sea and the Qattarah Depression near the area of al-Alamain. The purpose behind the proposed project then was to generate electrical power. At the time, the project looked simple to implement, but it was not seriously considered.

Nevertheless, the new scientific reports that have been published during the past few years about the global climate changes, temperature increases and their negative impact on certain regions worldwide. Mediterranean countries with low land levels like Egypt will be in danger. The reports already projected that the North Pole ice has been melting due to the increasing world temperature. As a result of ice melting, the water level of the Mediterranean Sea will rise and this will cause low land flooding. Some Egyptian scientists have stated that one third of the Nile Delta region will be under water during the next four to five decades.

Such projection began to revive the old Khattarah Depression Project, not only to generate power but to save the Nile Delta region from the projected future flooding. Recently, the Asyout University and the Egyptian Engineering Society sponsored a meeting to discuss the impact of the global climate changes and their impact on Egypt (almasry-alyoum.com, 11/4/2010). At the meeting, Dr. K. Oudah pointed out that
Egypt will be one of the most endangered countries in the world due to its lowland level from the rising sea level and the projected one meter rise of sea level as a result of ice melting will flood more than one third of the Delta region. He also called for the revival of the Khattarah Depression to save the Delta region from flooding. Scientists projected that during the 21st Century, Egyptian sea levels and shores will be covered by more than 2.5 trillion cu.met. of seawater. The Khattarah Depression will absorb at least half of that amount of the projected water level increase. The Khattarah Depression area size has been estimated at 206,950 square kilometers and it is located at 58.9 meters below the Mediterranean Sea level. Furthermore, according to the scientific study, it will take 60 years to fill the Qattarah Depression. The study also revealed more benefit from the implementation of the project. From an environmental point of view, the evaporation of the water of the biggest man-made lake will increase rainfall in the surrounding region, which will enhance the possibilities of agricultural cultivation. Also, the water evaporation will have a positive impact on big urban areas such as Cairo, since the northwestern winds usually pass over the proposed lake region and carry some of the water evaporation to the east and clear the air pollution in the urban region.

In addition to the environmental benefits, there will also be significant economic benefits. The proposed Qattarah project will generate electrical power and some of the Egyptian scientists equate it to the Aswan Dam. Furthermore, the shores of the Qattarah Depression will enhance tourism in the area since it will be the biggest man-made lake. Additional benefits will be created, since the lake will be an important area for sea fishing, which Egypt needs badly.

The report also estimated that the total cost to implement the proposed project will be around 55 billion Egyptian pounds. This includes the construction of 4 – 5 electrical power generation stations and the transfer of power.

Specialists estimated that the stretched shore lands along the Mediterranean Sea and the projected land shores around the lake of the Qattarah Depression will be sold to private investors, which will generate more than 1.2 trillion Egyptian pounds (www.almasry-alyoum.com, 11/3/10).

Journalists, scientists and Egyptian engineers and academicians have been urging the Egyptian government to consider the project seriously before it is too late, at least to save the Delta region from the projected sea flooding.

Nov 9, 2010

The Decrease of Water Supply in the Arab World

The Arab National Environmental annual meeting was held in Beirut, Lebanon on November 4th, 2010. The preliminary report written by Dr. Muhamad al-Ashari, reflects that there are 19 countries worldwide who suffer the most from the shortage of fresh water. 13 of these are Arab countries. Also, 19 out of 22 Arab countries are classified as water poverty stricken. Nevertheless, the 13 Arab states the report listed tend to have nearly 700 cu. met. per person per year. The world rate is 6,000 cu.met. per person per year. The Arab environmental report reflects that the 13 Arab states will have a severe shortage of water by the year 2025, which is projected to be around 500 cu.met. per person per year. According to the report, the global climate changes will have a negative impact on many regions around the world. The Middle East and North African regions will be among the hardest hit areas. Scientific projection revealed that there will be less rainfall, higher temperatures, dryness and more desertification in the Arab world. Yemen is classified at the bottom of the water poverty scale.

Recently, UNESCO issued a report reflecting that nearly 7.6 million Iraqis are suffering from the shortage of fresh clean water to drink. Furthermore, 83% of its sewage water finds its way into rivers. The Iraqi invasion in 2003 destroyed most of the infrastructure, especially in urban areas. The reconstruction and repairing of the damage caused by the war is progressing at a very slow pace. The UNESCO report revealed that 24% of the Iraqi population cannot get clean fresh water to drink. Furthermore, the decrease of water flow in both the Euphrates and Tigress rivers added to the shortage of water. Also, the drought Iraq has been experiencing for the past 7 years has added to the problem. (aljazeera.net, 11/2/10).

Egypt is also classified as a water poverty stricken state, where the average water available is around 700 cu.met. per person per year. The Arab Environmental Report noted that by the year 2025, the availability of water will drop to 500 cu.met. per person per year.

The agricultural sector consumes 83% of the water in Egypt. The rest is consumed by industry and human use (www.ahram.org, 11/4/10). It is very unfortunate that the government is moving at a very slow pace reforming the irrigation system in Egypt. The Egyptian farmer is still using the same method of irrigation as his ancestors did thousands of years ago. Agricultural experts stated that the same amount used in agriculture at the present time could irrigate around 27 millions feddan if the modern irrigation system is applied. These statistics should be viewed in light of the continuous population increase, the global climate changes and temperature increases. Furthermore, Egypt imports nearly half of its wheat from abroad. As I have indicated in previous posts, none of the 22 Arab states are food sufficient. Political leaders of the Arab world are in a deep sleep and those who are planning to do something about these challenges are moving at a very slow pace.

Nov 8, 2010

Islam Supplants Communism

Since the turn of the 20th century, the U.S. has been actively involved in wars and covert activities by the CIA globally. The U.S. fought World Wars I and II, the Korean War, The Vietnam War, the 1991 Gulf invasion and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the Afghanistan war. The covert war activities that were made public took place in many countries, fighting regimes that were Socialist or trying to implement that type of economic model or were not supporters of the U.S. One of these regimes was in Afghanistan during the 1980s. The attempt to remove the Socialist regime under Najib Allah led to the invasion of Afghanistan by Russian troops. This led the U.S., through its CIA, to recruit Muslim Mujaahideen from Islamic countries, especially in the Arab world, to fight the atheist Communist forces in Afghanistan. It was estimated that the CIA with the help of Saudi’s government, was able to recruit more than 12,000 young Muslims. Bin Laden was among them. That war bled the Russian forces to death and contributed at the end to the collapse of the old USSR and its Communist ideology. On the negative side, it led to the creation and development of al-Qaeda, which has been a major national problem for the U.S. government, especially after the 9/11 attacks that caused the death of more than 3,000 Americans. Furthermore, the rise of al-Qaeda replaced the old demon “Communism”. The new demon has been “Islam” and some Muslim countries, like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and others were targeted as countries that harbor terrorists. The American military industrial complex has been playing a very influential role through their lobbyists in shaping American policy at both the national and international levels.

During the past century, the U.S. extended itself all over the globe, where the Pentagon has established more than 900 military bases. All such activities by the military industrial complex have created a concept of fear about America’s national security, which strengthens U.S. defenses. Over many decades, the Defense Department established a policy for the Pentagon budget, which was hardly challenged by Congress. Those few who did that were labeled “soft” on the defense of the U.S. This reflected negatively on them and threatened their elections. The lobbyist for the military industry complex played an important role in support of the defense budget. This policy has been criticized by President Eisenhower and in his farewell speech to the nation at the end of his term during the 1950s he warned of the abuse of the American military industrial complex and pointed out that he “pitied the American people if they elected a president who will not be aware of how the Pentagon operates”. President Eisenhower’s prophecy turned out to be true. The American people elected President Reagan in 1980. At that time, the U.S. was the biggest creditor nation in the world and its debt was less than one trillion dollars. By the end of Reagan’s time as president in 1988, the U.S. became the debt nation of the world. Its debt exceeded $3 trillion. President Reagan spent trillions of dollars on defense as a necessity to fighting the “Evil Empire”, communist Russia. The military industrial complex thrives on instability and conflicts around the world and used it as justification for military contracts from the Pentagon. As of 2009, the U.S. military spending almost equaled the defense spending of all 22 NATO members, plus China and Russia combined. After the collapse of the old USSR (communism) the new military industrial complex strategy was to create a new demon. Islamic terrorism replaced communism as the new threat for the American national security and its interests abroad. Former President G.W. Bush declared war on “terrorism” which he used as justification for the incursion in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the fact that neither were a threat to the U.S. During his tenure as president, the defense budget more than doubled to exceed $700 billion dollars per year and the U.S. national debt more than doubled to exceed $9 trillion. The U.S. government is borrowing billions of dollars to finance its wars and as of 2010, the total debt was over $14 trillion. U.S.A. Today (2/3/2010) noted that the share of the U.S. debt equals $40, 065 per person in the U.S.A. or equal to $770 a week for a year per person or $110 a day for a year per person.

To put it in a clear way, the U.S. government is using its credit cards to fight foreign wars. In the meantime, the national infrastructures are deteriorating at a rapid rate due to the lack of financial resources needed.

Nov 6, 2010

Medal of Shame

Former president George W. Bush should be tried for misleading the American people and for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Also, he is responsible for war crimes committed in Iraq as a result of his blunder and irrational foreign policy. The American Congress is as guilty as George W. Bush by not checking on his fabricated intelligence reports that claimed that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. Even the director of the CIA at the time did not support President Bush’s views about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and the idea that Iraq was a threat to the U.S. The chance of the American Congress reexamining the intelligence reports that Bush used to justify the war is zero. At the least, Bush deserves a medal of shame for creating the opportunity for Iran to extend its influence politically and economically in Iraq. To put it in simpler terms, Bush put Iraq on a silver platter and handed it to Iran.

The Wikileaks secret documents on the Iraq war revealed a great deal of information about what happened during the seven years of the Iraq war. In one of many areas, the secret documents revealed the role that Iran played in the Iraq war. Iran played an important role in the training and arming of Iraqi Shia militia forces, who also played a very critical role in the killing of many Sunni Iraqi political leaders. Also, many leaders of the dismantled al-Baath National Political Party who were targets of assassinations by the Iraqi Shia militia groups and Iranian National Revolutionary Guards who were operating secretly in Iraq.

It is unfortunate that Bush’s war opened the door for Iran to extend its influence in Iraq. Among other things, the Iranian influence in Iraq is reflected in the stalled political arena and the obstacles Iraq is facing now by the failure of its politicians to form a government even 8 months after the election of new members of the Iraqi parliament. The ex-Prime Minister Al-Maliki is the Iranian choice to form the government, despite the fact that his political party was ranked second after Mr. E. Allawi’s political party. Mr. Allawi, a Shi3a secularist, is an ex-member of the Baath party who fled the country due to political conflict with Saddam Hussein. Furthermore, Hussein and his Baath party fought a proxy war on behalf of the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s. The U.S. supported the Iraqi invasion of Iran in revenge for the more than 52 American prisoners who were taken as hostages by Iran during President Carter’s administration. American politicians quite frequently tend to lack the ability to see beyond their nose. The destruction of the Iraqi regime under S. Hussein led to the disaster which the region is facing, and the rise of new threats to the U.S. in particular and the West in general. The Arab national aspiration for unity, at least theoretically speaking, ended with the collapse of the secular political regime of Saddam Hussein. Despite the fact that he was corrupt and a vicious dictator, he was able to maintain stability in Iraq. He eliminated many of his opponents, which the U.S. politicians used as justification for his removal. Seldom does anyone ask about the deaths of Iraqi civilians as a result of the American invasion, which is by far more than the number killed by S. Hussein’s regime. Plenty of information on the Iraqi civilian casualties was revealed recently by Wikileaks secret Pentagon documents. Furthermore, it reveals the possibilities that war crimes were also committed in Iraq with the knowledge of the American military authority. No political Islamic movement was permitted in Iraq. As a matter of fact, bin Laden offered his help prior to the invasion to the Saudi government and the U.S. to help removed the Hussein regime from power in Iraq. Bin Laden viewed Hussein as more dangerous to his Islamic militant group than the U.S.

The American foreign policy in the Middle East region in general and the Arab world in particular reflects nothing but one disaster after another since the end of World War II. The militant powers in the region are reflected by the Israeli government, the Iranian government and Islamic militant groups all over the Middle East and N

Nov 4, 2010

Christians Status in the Middle East

Recently, the pope invited 185 Middle Eastern high-ranking Christian priests to a meeting in Rome to discuss the problems of the Christian community in the region. (al-jazeera.net, 10/26/10). One of the major problems discussed is that the number of Christian communities in the region has been decreasing on a continuous basis. This is attributed to Israeli’s suppressive policy in the occupied West Bank. An example is the barrier erected by Israeli forces that makes it difficult for people to move from place to place. Furthermore, the destruction of Palestinian homes, farms and businesses to pressure the natives to move out. This Israeli policy of ethnic cleansing is a planned strategy to remove Arab Palestinians and replace them with a Jewish population. This policy has been the core philosophy of the Zionist ideology since the creation of the state of Israel. The Israeli historian Illan Pappe reflects on this in his book, Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians

The tragedy of such rationale is the fact that Jewish Zionists and some Christian evangelical Zionists ignore historical facts about the “promised land” by not referring to the indigenous people who lived in the area for thousands of years before Semitic tribes immigrated eastward to the area from the Arabian Peninsula during the second millennium. At the meeting, the participant stated that Israel should not use and misinterpret the New Testament to justify its suppression of the Palestinians in the occupied lands and the continued construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Nevertheless, through history, nearly all religions have been poorly interpreted to justify the implementation of political ideology by fanatic religious bigots. The percentage of Christians who are still living in the area has been estimated to be around 5.6%, reflecting a significant decrease from what it used to be. The construction of Jewish settlements on Palestinian lands and the destruction of thousands of homes in Jerusalem in particular and the West Bank in general and the destruction of farms is part of the Zionist strategy. It is a plan to gradually remove the Palestinian Christian and Muslim identity from Palestine under the pretext of the misused religious interpretation of the New Testament.

The participant at the Vatican meeting criticized and condemned the Israeli government’s suppressive policy used against the Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli reaction to the Vatican statement was as usual negative and stated that the “meeting was controlled and stolen by the enemies of Israel”. AT the meeting, the pope also urged Muslim governments in the region to guarantee the freedom of religion in the Middle East. Shortly after the meeting was over, it was reported that a Christian church in Jerusalem was burned. It is not the first incident of a burning or destruction of Christian and Muslim places of worship in the occupied territories. The Israeli government always looks the other way when attacks take place against the Palestinians.

While the meeting was in progress in Rome, it was reported that the Israeli forces demolished several water wells in Dair Abu Thauf Village, east of the city of Jenin and also bulldozed an olive oil processing plant. Such an aggressive and destructive act reflects the Israeli government’s political strategy, which is to make life unbearable to the native Palestinian and in the long run, force them to leave the country.

Nov 2, 2010

Haaretz Negative Remarks Regarding Wikileaks

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article (10/24/10) regarding the expected nonchalant reactions by the Arab governments and Arab populations towards the Wikileaks about the Iraq war. The article viewed Arab governments and the media to be less critical of the U.S. despite the fact that the information revealed in the secret documents of the possibility of war crimes having been committed against Iraqi civilians. None of the political Arab officials in Iraq in particular demanded the withdrawal of American troop from Iraq. The general response was that most of the information revealed by the Wikileaks was already known to them.

Nevertheless, the Arab Gulf Council issued an official statement asking the U.S. government to investigate the possibilities of war crimes committed in Iraq from 2003 – 2009. Also, the Iraqi human rights organization and the Arab League asked the U.N. to investigate the information revealed by Wikileaks about the Iraq war. There was some truth to the Haaretz article, that the reaction of Arab governments, populations and the press in the Arab world was minimal. None of these Arab politicians want to upset their masters in the U.S. Furthermore, the freedom of the press in the majority of Arab countries does not exist, according to the International Journalists Without Borders. The political leadership in the Arab world has lost their dignity and gotten used to Western governments humiliation and indirect interference in their internal affairs. This situation also created a passive attitude among the population in the Arab world. The majority of the population has detached themselves from what takes place in the arena of foreign policy.

This is the result of the absence of democratic institutions, which the vast majority of world states have already acquired. This situation in the Arab world led to political corruptions at all levels. Authoritarianism encouraged Western interference in the internal affairs of the Arab world. A quick look reflects that at the present, the U.S. government is interfering in the internal affairs of Lebanon on behalf of the Israelis. The assassination of the previous Lebanese Prime Minister Mr. al-Harriri suddenly became of major concern to the U.S. Let me remind American politicians of their history of presidential assassinations, from Lincoln to Kennedy. Also, the frequent attempts of assassination against Reagan and Ford reflects the American type of violence against their political leadership, which the whole world views as an internal matter. The U.S. government has a long history of using certain incidents as a means to justify their interference through the United Nations in the internal affairs of some foreign countries. Lebanon’s case is not an exception to their political behaviors. Also, the U.S. is interfering in Sudan and encouraging the fragmentation of the country into smaller entities in order to control its natural resources. Furthermore, these interferences in Iraq lead to the destruction of the country politically, economically and socially.

Another Western power that interferes with North African governments is France, under the pretext of fighting terrorism. Such situations encourage terrorist groups like al-Qaeda to recruit young people to attack and commit acts of terror against the West. Recently, al-jazeera.net (10/27/10) broadcasted taped messages from bin Laden in which he referred to the French government’s hostile activities against Muslims and Arabs. He stated that “When you kill our people, we will kill your people, when you put our people in prisons, we will kidnap your people and when you threaten our securities we will threaten your securities.” He continued to say that in order to protect your security you are required to stop interfering in Arab-Islamic affairs and pull out from the Bush-led war. Such remarks by the leaders of al-Qaeda tend to influence the political and nationalistic views of some young people and entice some to join his organization to carry out acts of terror against the West. Those foreign powers that are involved in the Middle East are a major contributing cause to the instability of the region. They are also the major protectors of the corrupt regimes in the Arab world.

Netanyahu’s Peace Intentions Being Questioned

In his article, “Crunch Time” (NYT 10/29/2010), Roger Cohen questioned the intention of Prime Minister B. Netanyahu in regard to his plan to achieve peace with the Palestinians. He pointed out that “the Palestinians have stated their position: the 1967 borders plus or minus agreed land swaps, meaning a state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital”. Unfortunately, the Israeli prime minister is stalling and refused to extend the freeze on the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, despite President Obama’s request to do so. The result was a direct humiliation to the president of the U.S. The president of the U.S. and his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, are both stating publicly and on the record that the Palestinians should have their own state before the end of 2011. In a way, President Obama has set a deadline for the prime minister to sober up and stop stalling. The discussion of two states side by side has been going on for more than four decades without getting anywhere. In the meantime, the Israeli government has been building and expanding Jewish settlements during the past four decades. More than 250 Jewish settlements have been built, accommodating more than 500,000 Jewish settlers. During that time, Israel destroyed thousands of Palestinian homes to replace them with new ones accommodating Jewish settlers. The destruction was not only limited to homes but also it was extended to the agricultural sector of Palestinians. More than one million olive trees have been cut by Israel to deprive more than 100,000 Palestinian families of their main source of income.

Such an Israeli policy is not a secret anymore. The whole world is aware of Israel’s savage treatment of the Palestinians. President Obama’s statement of the creation of a Palestinian state is a sincere one. However, his congress has warned him not to pressure the Israelis. What President Obama has failed to do is to appeal to the American public by explaining to them that achieving peace between the Israeli and the Palestinians is in the best interest of America. Those members in the American Congress should stop holding American foreign policy hostage to Israeli interest. The American public will understand the dilemma, and in most cases will support the U.S. president to protect and safeguard the American national interest.

At the same time, Arab states lead by Egypt and Saudi Arabia in particular, have failed to do the least in protecting the Palestinian’s human rights and dignity. There are twenty-two Arab states that are members of the U.N. It is about time that they pushed the implementation of the U.N. resolution of 1948, which called for the creation of an Israeli and a Palestinian state. More than sixty years have passed and there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the major cause of international terrorism. Even bin Laden himself stated so publicly before the tragic 9/11 attacks. The U.S. has paid a heavy price while shielding and protecting Israel since its creation in 1948. It is about time for the American congress to sober up and put American national interest ahead of the Israeli one, as it was publicly stated by the late ex-Senator Fullbright more than 3 decades ago.