[Documents menu] Documents menu

Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 97 09:22:51 CST
From: Workers World <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Arab Masses Forced Pentagon to Pull Back
Article: 22773

Arab masses help stay hand of U.S. imperialism

By Joyce Chediac, Workers World, 4 December 1997

Afraid that strong anti-U.S.-imperialist sentiment would lead to wholesale rebellion in their own countries, Washington's Arab client governments refused to go along with Clinton's plans to bomb Iraq. This, combined with France and Russia's opposition to a U.S. assault, forced the Pentagon to pull back.

The ever-cautious Egyptian head of state, Hosni Mubarak, said the U.S. decision not to attack Iraq came because the Arab people were not ready for U.S. force. Washington's clients also fear an anti-American explosion at the December Islamic summit in Teheran.

Middle Eastern workers oppose U.S. intervention in their backyard because they remember well the last U.S.-organized intervention-- the 1991 invasion of Iraq--when Washington promised to protect the Arabs. The net result for Arab workers was humiliation and misery.

As a result of the Gulf War, 5 million people were made homeless. This was a huge dislocation and the Middle East has yet to recover.

A million guest workers, mostly Egyptian, had to leave Iraq because of the bombing. Foreign revenue from Egyptians working abroad makes a huge difference in the lives of workers in that country, many of whom live on the border of starvation. Saddled with sanctions today, Iraq has certainly not recovered enough to support the same kind of foreign work force.

Kuwait expelled close to a million Palestinians, many of whom had lived there since 1947. These people lost everything. With their land occupied by Israel they had no country and nowhere to go. Many went to Jordan, severely disrupting that U.S. client regime's economy.

Saudi Arabia expelled 900,000 Yemenis who returned to an impoverished, newly united country unable to absorb them. These Yemenis lost businesses, homes and jobs, with no compensation.

Washington claimed the purpose of the 1991 invasion was to protect Kuwait. But with friends like the Pentagon and Wall Street, Kuwait didn't need enemies. The war destroyed Kuwait. But U.S. corporations made billions rebuilding it-- and the Kuwaitis footed the bill.

Due to the bombing, huge quantities of Kuwaiti oil, a limited resource, went up in smoke. It will take hundreds of years for the desert's delicate ecology to recover from the bombings, if it ever does.

This is how the Pentagon protected the Arabs. Meanwhile, Washington got a lot out of the war.

It tightened its grip on a strategic and oil-rich area, and U.S. corporations made a bundle rebuilding.

In the interim, economic stagnation, U.S. manipulation of world markets and austerity plans imposed by the U.S.- dominated International Monetary Fund have prevented a Middle Eastern recovery in the last seven years. So living conditions have further deteriorated.

At the same time, the people of the region are appalled at the continuing sanctions against Iraq, where Washington's idea of justice is to slowly strangle the civilian population.

Last but certainly not least, the collective hackles of the Middle Eastern peoples are raised by the Israeli government--a U.S. puppet. While President Bill Clinton rails against Iraq, he gives quiet approval to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's economic strangling of the Palestinian people, Israel's refusal to abide by the Oslo Accords and its bombings of Lebanon at will. Many feel the sanctions should be aimed at Israel, not Iraq.

Imperialism has absolutely nothing to offer oppressed people. So the Arab people have plenty of reason to be angry, and they are. And their anger was felt, and feared, in the highest circles in Washington.

This is the force that helped stay the hand of the Pentagon warmongers as they threatened military aggression against Iraq. From Cairo to Baghdad to Gaza, the Arab people exposed the weak underbelly of the U.S. colossus, and showed that when push comes to shove, it's the workers and oppressed people who are the moving force in history.