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US And New World Order In Middle East – OpEd

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By Ali Asghar Pahlavan

Regional Arab countries have been grappling with domestic socio-political developments in recent months; a conflict, which is believed to be between the Western subservient ruling regimes and the Arab Muslims.

The majority of Muslim Middle Eastern states wish to have an Islamic system based on their aspirations like Iran and the current reawakening prevailing in the Islamic world is therefore a domestic issue between the governments and their people. Most of these governments, however, are standing on the verge of collapse one by one.

The question which immediately poses to mind is: Is this prediction true? Are the political developments in the Middle East just domestic conflicts? Are the foreign governments losing their influence on the Middle East?

In fact, my answer to the above-mentioned questions is not very optimistic. In this article, I would explain why I am somehow pessimistic about the issue .

Historical background of intervention in Mideast

Perhaps no region in the world is as dependent on foreign powers as the Middle East. In Southeast Asia, the US has its influence on the regional countries, but these countries in turn are free to run their affaires. Even though the Americans have their influence on the European countries, Latin America and southwest Asia, but they are not subservient to Washington, making the Middle East countries the only nations that have turned into the play ground of the Western powers.

The geo-economic importance of the region is one of the factors that has attracted the attention of the West; this factor, however, cannot justify the influence of the US on this part of the world.

After the Industrial Revolution, the Western countries have always sought to play a part in the Middle East and whatever made them successful was the weakness of the governments in this region.

The disintegration of Othman Empire (1517-1917) set the stage for France and Italy to spread their domination over Syria and North Africa, and at the same time the UK extended its sphere of influence on other regions of the Middle East.

After World War II, Western powers played pivotal role in determining the borders of the regional countries. During this period, the West performed a significant role in the emergence and collapse of the regional governments.

This dependency on the West paved the way for the Middle East states not to have an independent identity. Some Arab countries after World War II strived to put an end to this dependency, but they still relied on former Soviet Union or continued the same process of dependency on the West. Some independence-seeking countries came to power at this time and formed new independent governments but after short period, the same governments became a tool to expand the influence of Arabs on the West.

Meanwhile, from the outset of the Cold War, both the US and the former Soviet Union enhanced their regional hegemony. Following the end of the Cold War era, even though the influence of Russia on the region faded, the US and its allies reconfirmed their meddling in the region because of the invasion of Kuwait by Saddam, due to the insecurity of the littoral Persian Gulf states, and as a result, the reliance of Middle Eastern countries on the West once again increased.

In this regard, the Islamic Republic has always called for the formation of a new regional world order, but the regional states have never agreed with the initiative. The Arabs’ dependence on the West gained momentum in the past two centuries and expanded to other regional states.

Developments in Arab countries

Now we want to examine whether the current developments in the region would put an end to the dependency of Arab world and would result in the formation of independent governments. In response to this question, unfortunately, the language of force by the Westerners and evidence show that the powerful influence and presence of the West in the region would remain intact.

In order to prove my thought, the following process of developments may further shed light on the issue:

The political developments in the Middle East without any doubt have arisen by the people. But, at the same time the role of foreign factors could not be ruled out. The outsiders, particularly the Western countries and NATO, have influenced the events through different means including foreign mass media outlets.

The current developments may lead to the formation of a new Middle East if these developments would undermine and exclude foreign factors. This comes while the West is currently taking the transition stage as a time with no power to administrate the situation.

The Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (PGCC) as the only so-called security system in the region has been in the forefront to employ foreign forces. The role played by Saudi Arabia to quell Bahrain’s pro-Islamic system movement without Washington’s green light was something impossible.

If the West plays a key-role in the process of developments, which is actually so, then it means that the US is also a part of this event. Followings are five measures taken by the United States and its allies to control Arab revolutions:

The Western governments have sided with the opposition and are free to actively participate in protests against the rulers. Indeed, it is seen that the opposition groups, formed in the Western states rather than inside the countries, organize and mobilize forces against their governments.

In the case of Egypt, the US controlled the transition period because it could not tolerate the political vacuum of the government and pressured on Mubarak to leave to control the revolution without disintegrating the political system.

In the Libyan Revolution, the West officially intervened militarily to put an end to the political life of Qaddafi who had compromised with them in the last 8 years. The West was seriously worried that the outbreak of civil war in Libya may pave the way for the formation of popular Islamic groups to control Libya.

What is interesting is that even the Arab League has called for the direct intervention of the West. Apart from what urged the West to intervene in Libya, the reality is that this meddling, if not beneficial for the West, is not harmful. It may also guarantee their long-term benefit in the region. This simply explains why the West has intervened in Libya but not in Yemen and Bahrain.

The fourth point is that the West has introduced itself as a supporter of the people and condemns the governments suppressing their people’s revolutions. Meanwhile, the West backs the freedom fighters to show itself alongside the revolutions, capture the hearts and guarantee their interests in the future. Still it is not far from reality that one day it may intervene in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain as well.

The last point is the ever-increasing financial assistance of the West with countries such as Egypt and Tunisia confirms the above-mentioned measures adopted by the West. Now, we should be able to answer this question: Will we see a new Middle East? The answer is how we can witness a new Middle East when the West is managing and supervising the affaires.

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