(OPE-L) Re: Consequences of the War against Iraq

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Apr 12 2003 - 11:37:34 EDT

Re Ian's post yesterday:

> I don't agree with the conclusion that the result is just total Israeli
> hegomony: I would have thought that US  hegemony in the Middle east is
> the primary result, from which Israel can expect some capitulations from
> Palestinians. 

I agree that the (temporary) success  in striving to regain US 
hegemony (Cyrus)  or preserve US hegemony (Hans and others), 
rather than "Total Israeli hegemony",  is the major context.   Israel,  
although in some ways and times it acts like a "loose cannon",  is 
a proxy for larger imperialist powers in the Middle East.

Overall, I think that the "Al Jazeerah" assessment (reproduced below)
reflects the disappointment, frustration, and cynicism in the Arab
world today.   The resistance early on in the war to the invasion and
the demonstrations by many millions of people against the war globally
led many to think that Iraq could win the war or at least wage a 
credible resistance to the invasion for a protracted period.  Many on
the Left shared this illusion -- indeed, there was much talk on the
Internet of how the battle in Baghdad would be similar to the battle
in Stalingrad.  Now that these optimistic fantasies have been
crushed, many (including, evidently, those who wrote the "Al Jazeerah"
statement) now have become pessimistic and disillusioned.

> Another consequence is that so long as
> religiousfundamentalists/chauvinists/terrorists represent the only
> resistance to US hegemony in the middle east, there is an increased
> prospect of terrorist attacks on the US and its allies. 

Terrorism, though, is not the exclusive franchise of right-wing religious 
fundamentalists and national chauvinists.  One could easily envision 
scenarios -- especially if there isn't a mass movement on the Left of 
workers and peasants -- of terrorist organizations developing (out of
frustration) from the Left.  Yet, increased terrorist attacks against the
US and its allies would most likely empower the right-wing more in the
US and elsewhere and would be used as a rationalization for more 
domestic repression and wars.

> I don't know
> that we can conclude that the outcome will be a triumph for the stock
> market, though it will represent long term security for US oil supplies.

I agree with the first part of your sentence. The stock markets seem to 
be reacting to short-run developments. Thus when the war was effectively 
ended sooner than was expected, stock market 'euphoria' developed ... 
for a day or two.   In a similar way, when -- earlier on in the war -- Iraqi 
resistance was greater than anticipated,  there were no stock market 
'rallies' on Wall Street.

I can see why you might think that a result will be to ensure long-term
security for the US of oil supplies, but there are a lot of possibilities that
could disrupt that prospect in the 'long term'  (e.g. mass uprisings 
against US-supported regimes in the Middle East).  

> < snip, JL> They are already making threatening noises about
> Syria.

Yes, that is an ominous development.  And, of course, now that the main
fighting in Iraq has ended, the US may turn its attention to the two other
members of  Bush's "Axis of Evil" -- Iran and N. Korea.  Indeed, if the US
wanted seriously to invade Iran then they already have their military 
forces nearby and could promptly launch an assault.  Meanwhile the 
North Korean government, saying that it doesn't want to suffer the same 
fate as Iraq,  appears to be pushing ahead with nuclear weapons 
development and,  quite possibly, is on a collision course with the US.  
Or, it could be that US attention will now be focused on Latin America.  

To turn a slogan from the Vietnam War on its head: one, two, three, 
many Iraqs?  *Or*  will it be: one, two, three, many Venezuelas? ... *or* 
will it be: one, two,  three, many Chiapas?

In solidarity, Jerry

  Here's an assessment from "Al Jazeerah" online at
  http://www.aljazeerah.us/  :

  "The US, the world's super power, defeats the Third
  World country of Iraq after pounding it for 12 years
  through sanctions.  Casualties: less than 100 soldiers for
  US and about 1.5 million Iraqis. Consequences: Total
  Israeli hegemony over the Middle East, the oil wells are
  secure, the military industry will be thriving for decades,
  and the stock markets are ready to take off."

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