Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Anglais) Broché – 9 janvier 2008
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A compelling account of the recent wars for Middle East oil, untangling a complex web of interests shared by the neocons, Israel and the Bush White House. Cook's timely book raises disturbing questions about where Israel and the US hope to push the region next. --David Hirst, author of The Gun and the Olive Branch (2003)
American-Israeli relations have intrigued, occupied and preoccupied two generations of scholars and of politicians. ... Jonathan Cook's book undeniably enriches and elevates the debate. --Afif Safieh, Palestinian Ambassador in Washington
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of Israeli and neo-con foreign policy. Of course, Iran is next on the
list. I see no reason why President-to-be Obama won't follow through,
even if he cuts our losses and gets out of Iraq. The tight links
between Israel and the neo-cons and between the neo-cons and the US
foreign policy establishment are laid out in detail.
In "Israel and the clash of civilizations Jonathan Cook argues that the prevalent view of Iraq's fate - that its civil war was a terrible and unforeseen consequence of the US invasion and a series of bad decisions made by the occupation regime - is profoundly mistaken. Rather, civil war and partition were the intended outcome of the invasion and seen as beneficial to American interests, or at least they were by a small group of ultra-hawks known as the neoconservatives who came to dominate the White House under President George W.Bush. The neoconservatives' understanding of American interests in the Middle East was little different from that of previous administrations: securing control of oil in the Persian Gulf. But what distinguished Bush's invasion of Iraq from similar US attempts at regime change was the strategy used to achieve this goal.
This distinctive new strategy for regime overthrow adopted by the White House originated far from Washington, and was apparently opposed by most of the country's senior military command and by the Sate Department under Colin Powell. In the early 1980s Israel's security establishment has developed ideas about dissolving the other states of the Middle East to encourage ethnic and religious discord. This was in essence a re-imagining of the regional power structure that had existed under the Ottomans - before the arrival of the European colonialists and their forced reordering of the Middle East into nation states - but with Israel replacing the Turks as the local imperial power. In this way, hoped Israel and the neocons, large and potentially powerful states such as Iraq and Iran could be partitioned between their rival ethnic and sectarian communities.
Writing from within (Nazareth), Jonathan Cook has an unrivaled vantage point for his arguments. It is easy to see why he is labeled an extreme leftist by those whose actions and motives he questions in his books. For an objective and interested reader on the other hand, his books provide insights and enhances understanding.
As I write this review Iran's cleric leaders try to deal with the fallout of the contested elections. In televised "confessions" the western media is blamed for instigating the street protests going into the second week now. What is described as false accusations by the West, - looking into history it is clear that what the clerics fear had happened in Iran in 1953, - bears a deeper meaning for those looking beyond the daily headlines. No one country, politician or point of view (or journalist) can accurately convey even a small measure of objectivity on the whole spectrum of events (historical and present). We should be grateful to writers who present to us their inside knowledge the way they experience it, without demanding omniscience. Yes, we also must oppose Islamic fundamentalism, which is the symptom of the problem not the cause, but we must have the courage to confront one of the root causes nurturing Islamic fundamentalism today, - the enslavement of a whole people for generations. "Israel and the clash of civilizations focuses on Israel and its allies' motives. It is a book that will deepen an objective readers understanding of a very complex issue. What more can one ask for?
All too often, well meaning, poorly educated and ill-informed patriots rally to the flag to fight wars in places they couldn't even find on a map just a few weeks before.
Only after countless thousands are killed or maimed, and millions displaced, do they ask themselves `what the hell am I doing here anyway'? All too late the neocon's intentions are exposed and the returning patriots receive less than a hero's welcome.
During the 1990's the neocons would have us believe that Iranian woman were getting their faces slashed by razors for wearing lipstick in public places. I was in Tehran during the 90's and noted the high percentage of woman wearing lipstick. In fact it was quiet pleasant to take an evening stroll around the city parks and watch the families chatting, having an Ice cream and generally enjoying themselves. Just a decade earlier America had backed `good old boy' Saddam Hussein to murder hundreds of thousands of Iranians in a proxy war that included the use of chemical weapons.
More recently during the Medicare debates, one neocon advised that `Americans didn't need a medical care system like Britain or North Korea'. Exactly who was the target audience here? Is it possible to find any Americans that would believe the upmarket `cradle to grave' medical systems available in Britain (and most Western countries) are even vaguely similar to those in North Korea? These neocons must be fishing for dummies.
Cook sees nothing wrong with Hamas or with the fascistic Iranian government. He also ignores the problems of Islamic fundamentalism and of terrorism, and the role of the Saudi state in funding and promoting fundamentalism and terrorism. Does he think that those who oppose fundamentalism and Sharia Law are `Islamophobes'?
He notes that the British state supported Zionism from the start of the last century, and that the Macmillan government gave Israel the nuclear bomb after Suez. But he does not mention that the British state has supported Israel ever since, never more than under Blair and Brown. He also ignores the US-British-Israeli alliance and the EU's role in backing Israel.
The only acceptable and effective regime change is from within, by class struggle. Occupation by outsiders produces only a war of all against all, the sectarian chaos of feuding warlords and clans, as in pre-revolutionary China and now in occupied Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the US-British-Israeli alliance aims to do the same to Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Israel's government wants not `two states for two peoples', but `five states for two peoples'; the core, Israel, surrounded by a ring of armed settlement blocs, and then by four isolated Bantustans for the Palestinians.
Of course, we must oppose the US, British and Israeli states' wars for power and oil in the Middle East. But we must also oppose Islamic fundamentalism.
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