By Abid Mustafa
“[We need an] Arab facade ruled and administered under British guidance and controlled by a native Mohammedan and, as far as possible, by an Arab staff…. There should be no actual incorporation of the conquered territory in the dominions of the conqueror, but the absorption may be veiled by such constitutional fictions as a protectorate, a sphere of influence, a buffer state and so on.”— Lord Curzon
In the early part of the twentieth century, Britain was at the forefront of Western efforts in molding the Arab world much to the liking of the officers of the British Empire. Almost a century later, nothing has changed. The West has embarked upon a new campaign remake the entire Arab world in its image. America is leading a pack of colonial powers in this endeavor and is spearheading efforts to either dissect some Arab countries or subtly instigate regime change in others to preserve America’s primacy in the region.
The incessant Western media coverage about the promotion of freedom and democracy in the Arab World conceals the real motives of Western powers, which is to groom pro-western elites that will facilitate Western multinationals to control the Arab world’s oil supply, natural gas reserves, mineral resources, and energy security, as well as maintain security pacts with Israel.
The campaign started with the separation of oil rich Southern Sudan earlier this year. The secession of South Sudan under America’s tutelage has already spurred Christians in Nigeria and Coptic Christians in Egypt to demand independence. The aspirations of the current Coptic leaders are lucidly captured by a Jewish Journalist Oded Yinon in 1982. In his paper, “A strategy for Israel in the nineteen-eighties”, he stated:
Egypt is divided and torn apart into many foci of authority. If Egypt falls apart, countries like Libya, Sudan or even the more distant states will not continue to exist in their present form and will join the downfall and dissolution of Egypt. The vision of a Christian Coptic state in Upper Egypt, alongside a number of weak states, with very localized power and without a centralized government as to date, is the key to a historical development which was only setback by the peace agreement, but which seems inevitable in the long run.
The idea of creating a sacred Coptic state within the contours of Egypt is similar to the one advocated by US Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters concerning Mecca and Medina. In June 2006, Peters published a map of the “New Middle East” in the June edition of the US Armed Forces Journal. The journal depicted amongst other mutilated Muslim countries the “Islamic Sacred State”, which consists of Mecca and Medina segregated from the rest of Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, various US officials have played upon sectarian and ethnic differences, and called for the creation of a super Shia state that stretches from Lebanon to Pakistan. The idea behind such a creation is to shift the control of oil away from Sunni domination into Shia hands, whom the Americans regard much more trustworthy to manage their colonial interests.
Indeed, the American occupation in Iraq is viewed by some Middle Eastern leaders, as the first step towards Shia domination of the whole region. In an article entitled “Iraq, Jordan See Threat To Election From Iran” published by the Washington Post on November 8, 2004, King Abdullah warned:
If pro-Iran parties or politicians dominate the new Iraqi government a new “crescent” of dominant Shiite movements or governments stretching from Iran into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon could emerge, alter the traditional balance of power between the two main Islamic sects and pose new challenges to US interests and allies.
He further went to state that Iran was the main beneficiary from the chaos in Iraq. Ever since the Shia’s rose to power in Iraq, King Abdullah has oft repeated that America`s occupation of Iraq is bolstering Shia power across the region.
The Arab revolt that started in Tunisia and spread to several Arab countries was manipulated by America to move closer to its goal of creating a new Greater Middle East, where old European powers have marginal influence. The dismissal of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was not a random event. Rather, it was a synthesis of rampant corruption incubated by 23 years of Western patronage and fused with dire economic conditions made worse by the global financial crisis and bloodsucking IMF structural programs. America is eagerly awaiting similar turmoil to manifest itself in Algeria, Jordan, and the Gulf countries, so that she can engineer regimes that pledge greater loyalty to her hegemony at the expense of Britain and France. As for Egypt, America defused the uprising by disposing of her loyal agent Mubarak like a soiled tissue and handing the power to the army to rule Egypt on her behalf. The Suez waterway and Egypt’s the pact with Israel remains intact much to the dismay of the Egyptian public.
Today, American officials have resurrected outdated plans to devour the Arab world once deemed too ambitious to accomplish and too dangerous to talk about in public. In January 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could not hide her glee and used the events in Tunisia to fire a salvo at the pro-European Arab leaders. She said:
In too many places, in too many ways, the region’s foundations are sinking into the sand. The new and dynamic Middle East … needs firmer ground if it is to take root and grow everywhere. While some countries have made great strides in governance, in many others, people have grown tired of corrupt institutions and a stagnant political order. Those who cling to the status quo may be able to hold back the full impact of their countries’ problems for a little while, but not forever. If leaders don’t offer a positive vision and give young people meaningful ways to contribute, others will fill the vacuum.
The term employed by successive American administrations to describe the plight of the Arab World, such as “sinking in the sand”, “arc of crisis”, “balkanization”, or “Greater Middle Eastern Initiative”, was done in an attempt to move away from the Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916, which protected old Europe’s supremacy and interests, a colonial legacy which still persist today—albeit in parts. The war in Iraq in 2003 was a desperate bid by Bush and his cabal of neoconservatives to refashion the Middle East through force.
However, the current popular revolts in the Arab world—some of which have been instigated by America through US-funded NGOs and civic institutions—presents the US with another chance to capture the Arab prize without sharing it with Britain and France. Since 1945, the US has been trying to exert total control over this prize. The U.S. State Department, in 1945 stated that the Middle East was “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”
But successive American governments were forced to share the spoils with Britain. For instance, Daniel Yergin, in his book “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power”, described the then relationship between Roosevelt and the British:
Roosevelt received him [British ambassador Lord Halifax] that very evening at the White House. Their discussion focused on the Middle East. Trying to ally Halifax’s apprehension and irritation, Roosevelt showed the ambassador a rough sketch he had made of the Middle East. Persian oil, he told the ambassador, is yours. We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it is ours.
Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen are just another battle in a long war that has ensued between America and Europe for the control of the Arab world. Nonetheless, despite America’s differences with Europe, each possesses a single purpose when conducting relations with the Muslim World—divide, rule, and conquer. This is the beckoning call now reverberating in the Western capitals. The only salvation for the Arab world from neo-colonialism is to seek something similar to what George Washington did for America in the eighteenth century and what Mao did to China in the twentieth century: Both had provided resolute leadership on alternative ideologies—secular liberalism and socialism, respectively, to be precise—and successfully liberated their people from the shackles of the old colonial powers.
But that was then. The Arab world does not require secular liberalism or socialism for liberation as both are alien to the cultural heritage of the Arab people and an anathema to their Islamic beliefs. The Arab world possesses Islam as a common political ideology, but lacks a leader like Washington or Mao to unify and emancipate it from the domination of Western powers.
The Arab masses need to rally around a leader that is sincere to their interests only, and opposes Western interference. This can only happen if the Arab masses and its newfound leadership adhere to the tried and tested vision of the Caliphate, which for centuries unified Arab and Muslim lands under a single system of ruling and protected the interests of its people.
Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specializes in Muslim affairs and global issues. He is a guest writer for new civilisation magazine and can be contacted at [email protected]