With the law of unintended consequences always in play in human affairs one must be careful for what one wishes for.
The people who fashioned the trajectory of US statecraft, with a key objective of enhancing the security of the state of Israel, if they have any capacity for self-reflection, must now be in despair…
Condoleezza Rice, at the NATO Summit in Istanbul, June 28 2004, passed a handwritten note which read:
Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremmer at 10.26 Am Iraq time.
President Bush scribbled a reply on the note and passed it back to her.
The reply was:
“Let freedom reign!”
The big idea that drove the Neo-con agenda was that a firestorm of democratic revolutions would spread through the Middle East countries if the people of Iraq were liberated from the tyranny of Saddam.
At the start of this process, designed in part to make Israel safer, the Jewish state’s main allies in the region were Egypt, Jordan and Turkey.
Now Mubarak the pro-western dictator who had continued Anwar Sadat’s rapprochement with their more powerful neighbour is gone al la the Shah of Iran, toppled by a popular revolution.
Turkey is, post the “freedom flotilla”, tottering on the edge of becoming an Islamist state.
If it does become a theocracy it will arrive there by entirely democratic means. The mass of the people on the Anatolian plain will vote for it.
Both the ousting of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of Islamic radicalism in Turkey can reasonably said to be the democratic wish of the peoples of those countries.
Each few days seems to bring a new Middle Eastern regime, all pro-western autocracies on the brink of a popular revolution. Last week it was Bahrain, their Shia working class no longer willing to be disenfranchised. Yemen is in turmoil and the King of Jordan last month sacked his government and is promising reforms.
Now another Arab dictator is being threatened, Libya’s Colonel Gadhafi.
The loyalty of sections of his army is now in doubt.
The reportage of these dangerous events in the Middle East is the lazy in which the breathless western hacks thought that this was a wonderful happening that all that was needed was for some Bedouin Václav Havel to emerge from the desert like Omar Sharif’s character Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish in Lawrence of Arabia for the fairy tale to be complete.
The velvet revolution this is not. The chaos that ensues will usher in carnage that few in the West seem willing to contemplate.
The nuclear armed Israelis see one by one their dependable allies being toppled.
I believe what we are now witnessing is the outworking of the original act of destabilisation in the region and that is the invasion of Iraq.
The terrible truth is that the Middle East has been as stable as it has been over the last thirty years because of the rule of pro-western dictators.
The democratic will of the people in living in these dictatorships may well be to deliver a mandate for carnage and religious chaos to reign.
Be careful for what you wish for….