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The Great Game in the Middle East

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Message David Weiner

Noam Chomsky’s recent article, “What Obama Didn't Say in His Cairo Address Speaks Volumes About His Mideast Policy, posted June 4, 2009 on Alternet, is right on the money. 

"Keeping just to Israel-Palestine -- there was nothing substantive about anything else -- Obama called on Arabs and Israelis not to 'point fingers' at each other or to 'see this conflict only from one side or the other.'  There is, however, a third side, that of the United States, which has played a decisive role in sustaining the current conflict. Obama gave no indication that its role should change or even be considered. " 


The Great Game in the Middle East is a fascinating, complex affair, yet to be described in a single source written in great prose. However, one might begin with Richard LaBeviere's Dollars for Terror to gain an understanding of the degree to which both Israel and the Palestinians constitute pawns manipulated by three powerful forces: (1) The imperial West, mainly the United States today; (2)growing Arab pan-nationalism, led by Iran, actually; and (3) the Islamic Fundamentalist Movement, created by the CIA but quickly achieving significant independence. Israel's job, too often embraced by many there, but by no means all, has been to aid imperialism at discouraging the development of (2). In fact (3) was created for this purpose. The Israeli tail has never wagged the U.S. dog, but Israel probably has gained the ability to guarantee U.S. commitments in exchange for not blowing up half the world. Israel's ability to do this also discourages (2) and (3) from mounting any serious assault, preferring a war of attrition and the illumination of a demonstrable Western evil for recruitment purposes. Though (2) and (3) are diametrically opposed, sometimes "The enemy of my enemy" becomes my friend. Thus do we see Hezbollah and Hamas making common cause now and again.

And so forth and so on -- a complex scenario largely hidden from view.  Once again we owe much to Noam Chomsky for revealing the iceberg.

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David Weiner has been a sociology professor, high school teacher, community organizer, and anti-racism activist for more than half a century. Nowadays he teaches sociology and social psychology at a community college.
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