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The ‘Imperialist Tool’ of the Middle East

Historically, inasmuch as there was any European or American “imperialism” in the Middle East it made use of Arab political factors over Israel.
imperialism

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This approach puts Obama into the strange company of a disastrously failed German policy that thought it could manipulate Islamists against the British and French, the French strategy of using radicals against the British and Americans, or the Eisenhower Administration that thought for a few years (1953-1956) it could help radical nationalists—notably Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser—and then Islamists against pro-Soviet leftists. Of course, Nasser soon emerged as the main pro-Soviet leader, just as the Islamists will soon emerge as the main anti-American force in the region.

In fact, we’ve reached the point where–from a radical Arab point of view–one could say that the United States is trying to make Islamism a tool of Western imperialism! After all, isn’t the U.S. government backing a local ideology’s regimes and movements because it [albeit wrongly] believes that this is the best choice to secure its own objectives in the region?

And the Obama Administration has also been trying to do so alongside distancing itself from Israel somewhat. Those two factors matches the classic, historic British and French imperial strategy in the region. This wouldn’t be the first time that a Western country backed a supposed puppet that turned out to be a puppeteer-eating one.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

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About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


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7 Responses to “The ‘Imperialist Tool’ of the Middle East”

  1. Ruth Hirt says:

    Essential policy structures to know. Highly recommended reading.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Mr. Rubin for writing a grounded historical account.

    The "problem" of the Arabs, as documented by Maurice Samuel, On the Rim of the Wilderness: The Conflict in Palestine (1931), is that Arab fellahin (peasants) are manipulated and kept poverty-stricken by the Arab landed elite. Only Palestinian Jews broke the back of Arab usury, with modern banks, with modern courts, by employing Arabs at modern wages, by buying Palestinian land at exorbitant prices, and by selling Arabs modern machinery. This, of course, was no good to the Elite, who went after the Jews with a vengeance – for freeing the Arab peasants from poverty!

    Jewish kindness, fairness, prosperity and modernity was shown to Arabs of the West Bank upon capture in 1967, whom Israel found living in the 13th century. Quickly the population was brought into the modern era with electricity, water, sewer, roads, and above all, jobs. These Arabs had, for a time, the fastest rising standard of living in the world. Once again that was no good to Arafat et al. They threw it all away with the intifada.

    Moshe Dayan, who oversaw the benign occupation, had in mind Arab freedom – he threw open the bridges to Jordan and threw open access to Israel. That was no good to the PLO – they just had to kill Jews.

    It is clear that this pattern persists today under Hamas, Hezbollah, Fatah, and of course in every Arab state.

    What has evaporated is Jewish goodwill.

  3. Israel has also been accused of colonialism. Which is just as ridiculous considering that Israel is the exact antithesis of colonialism.

    We are a native people regaining our homeland – that is the essence of Zionism. Islam is the largest colonial power in the world today – from Morocco to the Philippines.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Native Americans, following left-wing politics knee-jerk, berate Israel for colonialism. This always shocks me, as the correct response, to a student of history, is here is a case, the only case I know, of a native people returning to a portion of their land after 2000 years of exile and multiple genocides. This should inspire and guide Native Americans.

  5. Not all Native Americans – there is a tribe in Canada that told off the Arabs for trying to use them as an example. They said they were far more like Jews than Arabs

  6. Puppet and puppeteer relationships or recent history unmasked.

  7. Puppet and puppeteer relationships or recent history unmasked.

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