What Does Condi Mean By ‘New Middle East?’

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has come to us promising that a New Middle East is being born. She said this as if the Israeli Holocaust in Gaza and Lebanon are offerings to this new title (a New Middle East).

I am an Arab citizen among millions of Arab citizens who feel that there is no credibility for any American role in the region, and that the United States is not impartial in its administration of the Arab-Israeli conflict. America has not been fair as a guardian of peace, and I say that for simple reasons that both our children and adults understand – America’s blatant bias toward Israel; its support for Israel’s military aggression toward the Arabs; its justification of Israel’s butchery of defenseless people in Palestine; and its Nazi-like savagery in Lebanon.

America, which took on the role as Tel Aviv’s defense lawyer in the face of every Security Council resolution condemning Israel, cannot possibly convince any Arab that it strives to achieve peace and spread security throughout the Middle East; or even that it has offered to achieve democracy. We see what is happening to Iraq – and we are aware of nothing but destruction, daily killings, car bombings, and the bloody wounds of women and children. We are also aware of what’s actually going on in Afghanistan, despite Bush’s forecast when the war began that the country would soon be an exemplary model of democracy which would be emulated!!

So what do Condoleezza’s glad tidings of a New Middle East, which America has been trying to impose on the countries of the region for some time, mean for us? If she means reform, well reform comes from within countries themselves, from within governments of the region – it cannot be imposed upon them. The countries of the region are striving for such reform and in many places we are noticing the effects of these efforts.

Or perhaps she is working on the old strategy of causing fragmenting in the region. Could it be that there is more to the apparent U.S.-Iran conflict than meets the eye? The coming years will reveal an even greater danger, where petroleum and the dominance of some countries, including Israel, are the most important factors in the region. Might we find ourselves caught between two forces – Israeli and Iranian? Perhaps this is part of what is being planned for the region. What’s happening in Lebanon is only a part of a much larger series of changes for the New Middle East, and has nothing at all to do with the kidnappings of Israeli soldiers.

Indeed, the term New Middle East isn’t new at all. It was used in the early 1990s by George H. W. Bush, and can also be found in several books, including a book of the same name (The New Middle East) by Shimon Peres [Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister]. Samuel Huntington, who fathered the theory of the “Clash of Civilizations,” called for a reordering of the Middle East map in the course of dealing with this Clash, arguing that Islamic civilization is the next enemy after the collapse of communism. Clearly, the subject of the Middle East is very dear to conservatives close to the White House, like Richard Perle.

Perhaps the trends over the past 15 years – but most notably since the invasion of Iraq – are part of a vicious circle that leads to the New Middle East. I refer to the daily killing in Palestine, the blockade of Iran (which is trying to obtain nuclear weapons), the emergence of Hamas and Hezbullah, and the destructive war in Lebanon, and finally the way in which Arabs are losing their peace. And to top it all off, add the poisoning of Arafat and his removal from the scene. All of this points to the East promised by George W. Bush.

Perhaps what has just been said is a simplistic view held by an Arab who merely reads of current events and listens to what is said about them. However, what strikes my interest as one who lives in this region is: This thing that America hails as a New Middle East, what will it actually look like? Are we alert to what will be managed for us, and not by us? Will peace be a component of this New Middle East, or will new alliances appear, as well as an American-Western game about which we know little, but which will export chaos to our region, with Israel acting as the region’s policeman? Or is it that the goal is to globalize the region, disguised as democracy and the American lifestyle – including forcing us to accept cultural habits that are contrary to those we are used to, such as calls for the liberation of Palestine and finding a peaceful settlement? Or will calls to enforce peace increase the level of extremism because it will not be a just peace … etc?

Many questions run through my mind, and perhaps there are many running through other peoples’ minds as well. I see them as legitimate questions. May God hear us well in the days to come, and spare our countries from evil.

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