The use of Reason and reasonable argumentation, the reclaiming of the idea of Progress and the struggle against dogma. In this post-modern world, reinventing Enlightenment is of the utmost importance.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Lately I have seen several discussions about the blames and responsibilities for the current state of affairs in Iraq and the Middle East in general, this Blog included.

As usual there can be no single or even an identifiable number of culprits to place this blame on. There are historical issues such as the Palestine and the state of Israel as well as a rich history of misdeeds and misbehaviour both by Middle East States and Western Government.

In a bid to somehow simplify what cannot be simplified I would say that there are three factors that have had predominance in bringing us to where we are today:

These are:

1- The end of the cold war.
2- The failure of the Islamic regimes to modernize.
3- The strategic importance of Oil Reserves

I will not go to much into factor 3 as a lot more and better has already been written about this, moreover it is common knowledge why it was Iraq to be invaded instead of North Korea or any other so-called rogue states.

Let us thus focus on the first two

Interestingly, the end of the cold war started in the Middle East and it came about precisely because of, yes you’ve guessed it: Oil.
Throughout the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the economy of the then Soviet Union was vastly dependent on the communist Oil production revenue. In the 80’s the Advent of Saudi Arabia as a major oil production country provoked the collapse of Oil prices and spelled the end of the Cold War as the Ex-Soviet Union struggled to keep up and its internal economy crumbled throughout the 80’s with the climax being the fall of the Berlin Wall and subsequently of communism all over the world (with the notable Exceptions of China, North Korea & Cuba).

This posed the US with two big problems:
First, now they had no reason to keep up their military expenditure. Given that this is one of the most important sectors of the US economy it was obviously a serious problem that had to be addressed.
Second, after decades of a bi-polarized world with the Soviet Union on one side and Nato on the other, the West had lost its bogeyman. This made in increasingly difficult for the government of the US to gain internal and external support on their bid to sell more weapons and keep their economy ticking over. In a nutshell, they had lost their other side of the coin.

In comes Saddam and gives the US the ideal foe. He invades Kuwait, giving the US the perfect reason to re-start the whole them and us all over again.

Patrick J. Buchanan presciently said in 1990:
“ To some Americans, searching for a new enemy against whom to test our mettle and power, after the death of communism, Islam is the preferred antagonist. But, to declare Islam an enemy of the United States is to declare a second Cold War that is unlikely to end in the same resounding victory as the first”

Now for the second; as there are always two sides to each story.
The threat posed to the world today by Islam is not one of open war between states or of nuclear tactic warfare (yet), the real threat is the fairly surgical acts of terrorism that we have been seeing since 2001.

Now a lot of people may disagree with me but personally I do not think that any Middle East state has any interest in promoting these acts or indeed condones them.

Look at Iraq, for a start, now we know that Saddam has not been involved with Bin Laden (apparently he hated the guy) or had any weapons of mass destruction, but this should have been obvious before the war. Why would a guy that lived like a king in an undisputed position of power want to compromise that position? The same applies for Saudi or Iran or any other. They have got nothing to gain from these acts of terrorisms.

Their failure has been in modernising how they communicate with their people and how they allow they let them expression. The muslin world of this day and age is made up of old man out of touch with the modern world. They do not teach young muslins to question everything, as they should and this leads to frustration and fanaticism. What Islam needs is intelligent young leaders, men and women who can help young people get involved and be critical. It is worth remembering that the majority of the suicide bombers were in their twenties and I doubt whether they questioned their world often enough.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You doubt it? I'm sure the fuckers never questioned their world; If the imans or others tell them to go and commit suicide and at the sometime kill as many innocent people they can, they go out and do it. I’m thinking that their minds have seriously been fucked up.

10:55 AM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

What anonymous says is nothing short of grotesque, it recalls the usual propaganda that these people are brainwashed imbeciles who blow themselves up to be offered 7 virgins in paradise. Suicide and assassination is not something that anyone, anywhere in the world, whatever the religion, does light-heartedly...

1:14 PM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

Goncaluskas, I disagree with your analysis of the Soviet collapse. The Soviet Union did not depend of its oil exports for its economic health, this is where we are now after the economic collapse of the country. In the 1960s and 70s, the Soviet Union exported mainly technology and high value added goods to the socialist countries, not oil. In fact, when OPEC hicked their oil prices in 1973, in retaliation for the west's support of Israel in the Yom Kippur conflict, the Soviet block felt no repercusion, their economies were independent and insulated from outside economic troubles. The Soviet collapse was diplomatically and politically imposed but economically endemic (not least because of an arms race that profited the US but drained social spending in the USSR).

I completely agree with you that the bogeyman was replaced and I believe it was not by chance but by design. The neo-con literature is rather sincere about this point.

To run your three points, I don't blame the Middle East peoples. The dictators they have had to endure, have not been of their choosing. Attempts at the Royal family of Saud, at the Egyptian president, at the Jordan oligarchy have been frequent. The people has resisted these dictatorships but these remain too strong as long as they are confortably financed by oil and armed by the west. Public support only coalesces around them, as in the recent Iranian case, when they rhetorically or in reality battle the west, and who can blame them for this?

1:23 PM

Blogger daviduskas said...

"The Soviet collapse was diplomatically and politically imposed but economically endemic (not least because of an arms race that profited the US but drained social spending in the USSR)". Completely agree here with Cabral.

But not here:
"Public support only coalesces around them, as in the recent Iranian case, when they rhetorically or in reality battle the west, and who can blame them for this?"

I don't blame the people but if I blame Western governments for it I also and strongly blame religious liders. Namely the fuckers that run Iran, do you disagree?

3:37 PM

Blogger A. Cabral said...

That is fair enough. But we do disagree on what to blame them for, and how to blame them. All things considered, they are a minor evil.

4:41 PM

Blogger no said...

Islam is the new Communism but only in the way that ignorant sedated people have been successfully brainwashed into thinking that it's evil, will take over the world and needs to be stopped.

If anyone is threatening to take over the world it's the US Government which is as dictorial as any communism regime today. Look how they reacted to Wikileaks?

This says it all for me:

8:20 PM


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