2017

Negotiation, Not Dictation

There was quite a lot of real news – not the MSM version of news, which is almost always corrupt, biased, selective and dishonest propaganda – going on these past two weeks and about which I can write volumes. However, I will stick to discussing a few of the items concerning the most beleaguered region on our planet today: The Middle East.

To begin with, let me mention that it is not porous borders that encourage “jihadis,” as some in Europe and the US are saying, because there is no border on the face of the planet that can be entirely sealed.  What utter nonsense!

Secondly, “radicalization” needs new approaches, and it cannot simply be more violence, occupations, interrogations and torture, because the more of that we are doing, the more “terrorism” our actions will engender.

Lastly, it is very clear that the nations of the world have to make a concerted, intelligent and synchronized effort to eradicate all forms of extremism on all levels, whether within, or without, their borders, and whether it is from their own citizens, or from citizens of other nations. And, while it may be true that Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia et al, created, supported, trained, financed etc. some of the Arab and Middle Eastern ideologues (some of them pseudo-Caliphs, fake Muslims, criminals, rapists, kidnappers, profiteers, vengeance seekers) to begin with, we now must put an end to their atrocious crimes. The US and the European Nations have been viciously Blundering – and Plundering – in the Middle East for centuries. We occupied and destroyed that region, now we own the aftermaths of our criminal actions. The usual knee-jerk responses and haphazard racist ideas will not stem this ideology, or the anger, frustration, dispossession and misery that we have deliberately caused. Our trillions could be used much more wisely, effectively and peacefully! Moreover, this is not a problem that is going to be solved by snapping our fingers, or shifting blame onto those whom we have savagely warred against, even though we cannot be so naïve as to believe that the regional powers, the sectarian interests and the depraved nature of many politicians, arms dealers, drug peddlers et al in the Middle East have been above the fray. They have all contributed to the chaos and bloodshed. The biggest onus, though, is on us, the United States of America, and our constant wars irrelevant of who is President and what their campaigns promise. Disastrous!

All that being said, I was quite pleasantly surprised when I read what Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Vice President (and former Prime Minister), said after a visit to Moscow: “We are grateful to you for the role Russia is playing in the region . . .” He also said: “Our interest is that friendly Russia should be present in Iraq, thus creating political balance.”

I must reiterate here that there is No Arab who looks at the devastation of Syria and Iraq without shedding tears and crying out: Woe unto the Abbasid and Umayyad genuine Arab Caliphates of yore! The totally unnecessary, and avoidable, destruction of these two countries has wounded the region in its entirety.

But to go back to Maliki’s words: Political Balance, or Balance of Power, is reminiscent of the Cold War years, isn’t it? However, the theory posits that national security is enhanced when military capability is distributed so that no one state is strong enough to dominate all others. So what Maliki seems to be saying is that the US has not really been Negotiating a resolution in Iraq (or elsewhere), but that, rather, it has been Dictating the rules that have proven their abysmal failure. Hence, will more cooperation between the powerful nations of the world, and a return to the Balance of Power, help in resolving the crisis in Iraq and Syria especially, as well as the rest of the Middle East? I don’t know, but it does sound sensible, and may offer a glimmer of hope that the bloodshed could begin to dry up IF we are serious about this. So far, we have not been, because war is profitable supremacy.

Moving on to Afghanistan. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said that the Taliban whose main opposition to the US (as it was to Britain, the Soviet Union and any occupier) is the occupation of their country and the refusal, so far, of the US to Negotiate, rather than Dictate any agreement – which we have tried and failed at on numerous occasions. If Tillerson is really serious about negotiating with the Taliban, then there is a ray of hope that Afghanistan may begin to mend its deep wounds, because I don’t think anyone wants a radical, criminal extremist government parading as a Muslim Caliphate to exist in Afghanistan, or anywhere else. And, yes, the cooperation of Pakistan and India in the Negotiations will have much more lasting effects than should we, as usual, simply Dictate our swaggering, absurd, double-standard terms on All.

President Trump said that we are not into “nation building” anymore, and that our only objective in the Middle East region is to end terrorism. That is historically incorrect. Our main objectives in the entire region have always been control of the oil and all resources. Were it not for that “lofty” goal, we wouldn’t even have terrorism! Therefore, for the US to continue usurping the resources of these countries, whether they are oil or minerals, and expecting that its military power will overwhelm any opposition to this extortion is fantasy. At some point or another, people will demand what rightfully and legally belongs to them. And, it has to be through Negotiation, and not Dictation and more wars if we are to have long-term goals for that devastated region and not to continue our power-play in order to reign supreme, and enforce our interpretation of what is best for them!

Libya, it seems, is slowly – very slowly – regaining itself, and, from what I hear, it seems that Benghazi is coming back to life. Let us hope so! Let us also hope that the likes of France’s Bernard Levy and America’s Hillary Clinton – the two main culprits for the destruction of Libya – will not ever again go on the totally unnecessary rampage of bludgeoning that country, or any other! That was such an unconscionable invasion!

Also, according to Xinhuanet’s website, it seems that China has proposed a four-point proposal in order to facilitate peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis. President Xi Jinping proffered his suggestions to President Abbas during the latter’s visit to Beijing in July. Russia, as well as the European Union are also keen on advancing this intractable dilemma. What will the US deal proposal be? Could Jared Kushner, who according to the White House is to “focus on the path to substantive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, combatting extremism, the situation in Gaza, including how to ease the humanitarian crisis there” be successful at the core issue that is tearing up the Middle East? I will not hold my breath as long as Emperor Bibi and his radical, extremist, criminal cabinet are in charge with their ability to twist and warp every proposal so that it appears that it is the Palestinians who are not cooperating – an argument that is stale and factually untrue. We have seen this false scenario, and all the delaying tactics, time and time again, which the Israeli Government will make sure America’s Legislature, its politicians and media will buy into hook, line and sinker. Tragic! Is Jared that naïve? Could he, too, like all those before him be swayed by Bibi’s false narrative? Maybe he should ask the many Israelis who can see right through Netanyahu and his shenanigans. They are ex Generals, Mossad operatives, writers, activists, bloggers and thinkers who have Israel’s best interests at heart. Yet, their voices, like the many sensible and honest voices, get drowned by Israeli extremists and their American choir. I’m afraid that this effort too will have the same dismal fate we have been witnessing for decades unless Jared and Trump are willing to Negotiate (that is Listen to both sides, as well as to include ALL the Palestinian factions, the Russians, Chinese, Europeans, Arabs) rather than simply and arrogantly Dictate, and, in this case, dictate Bibi’s demands. If we are really serious about a resolution and not playing games again, it might happen.

As for that totally pointless war on Yemen, suffice it to say that it is most disconcerting, criminal and heartbreaking. There seems to be no serious effort to end that either. Simply appalling!

I think we all know the saying: what goes around, comes around. And what comes around might be a worse “terrorism” than what we are now experiencing. We should not allow it to get to that. We cannot afford it. Neither can the world. Negotiating in good faith will benefit everyone. Dictating our terms may produce short-term gains, but in the long-run it is a losing proposition. What will it be? My hopes have been diminishing by the day: with every innocent dead person as a result of wars and terrorism; with every architectural relic destroyed; with every displaced human; with every migrant fleeing in terror; with every girl and woman being raped in a tent city; with every kidnapped migrant child. I am really tired of inept, corrupt, self-serving politicians everywhere who cannot sit down and Negotiate us out of these catastrophic disasters. It cannot get worse than this, or . . . could it?

PS: Sorry RB that I could not end on a positive note!

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3 thoughts on “Negotiation, Not Dictation”

  1. I was reading and sighing at the end of each paragraph..and no positive note. It’s so hopeless. Now what am I supposed to do? I guess I’ll have to wait another 15 days 🙂

  2. Dear Hala,
    EXCELLENT POST!
    Very well written, succinct but comprehensive. Unfortunately most of those in power (and the vested interests whispering in their ears) are tok short sighted and short term oriented. Even if we assume they know their history and understand your message, it’ll be “Apres moi le deluge” all over again.
    I completely agree with you Bsat I too am not optimistic at least not during our lifetime even with all the man-made catastrophies (war, immigrant, exploitation, environmental…) We see daily in the news but for well known reasons we’re not allowed to ask “why”.
    As I think Naomi Klein said, it is precisely after a senseless shooting that we should question the lack of gun control and it is after a devastating hurricane that we should make the link to man’s role in climate change. We should not be shut down for “politicizing” the issue while people are suffering or while our boys (or rather those of the poor/immigrants) are in harm’s way.
    Just some random thoughts inspired by your always thoughtful articles.
    Lots of love
    Riad

    Sent from my iPhone

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