From Lawrence of Arabia to the Neo Cons in the Middle East and Beyond
By Mansoor A. Malik
Nearly hundred years back when the British Empire was flexing their muscles in the Middle-East and South-West Asia, they had to face two powerful enemies: The Czar of Russia in Moscow and the Ottoman Turks in Istanbul. With the Russian Empire they managed to create Buffer Zones in Afghanistan and Azerbaijan to protect their interests in India and Iran respectively. Apart from this agreement, the British Empire also struck a friendly chord with the Russian Empire to dis-mantle their common enemy which they had mutually termed “The Sick Man of Europe” (Ottoman Turkey). The historical opportunity was provided to the British after the cessation of the First World War (1918) where the Ottoman Turks allied with the German Monarch were badly defeated by the Allied Forces. Lawrence of Arabia from the land and the British Navy from the sea were unleashed to carve out in the 1920s’ and the 1930s’ the existing map of the Middle-East to suit the Imperial Power in London and push the Ottomans back to Anatolia. The Russians regained their vantage position once again in the Balkans and Eastern Europe at the cost of the dwindling Ottoman Empire; whereas, the Union Jack flew all over the territories freed from the Ottoman Turks in the Middle-East. This British Mandate spread across Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, UAE in the Middle-East and through their holding in Iran connected them with their Golden Bird, India in the South/South-West Asia.
Till the dawn of the 21st century, the map of the Middle-East remained the same as drawn by the British Empire. The new Power Center (USA) which emerged after the Second World War (1945) got its opportunity to enter the Middle-Eastern arena during the Suez Canal Crisis of the 1950s’ by supporting the claims of Egyptian Sovereignty over the Canal and getting the occupied forces from Britain/France/Israel vacate from the territories their armies had occupied after Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian President declared the Nationalization of the Suez Canal. This was, perhaps, the first and the last time that the Americans stood with the Arabian cause rather than with their natural western allies. In fact, the baton of power in the Middle-East was slowly but surely being passed from the Europeans to the Americans across the Atlantic. The status quo in the Middle-East as defined by the British was preserved by the Americans for the next fifty years or so till the Neo Cons in USA came to power and prepared their New American Century Doctrine.
The first demonstration of the Neo Cons’ policy in the new century was to be carried out by conquering Iraq and making it a model of American Democracy in the Middle-East for which Paul Wolfowitz, the Zionist thinker, implanted in the Department of Defense at the Pentagon was duly commissioned under the fossilized leadership of Mr. Rumsfeld, the US Secretary of Defense and a senior Neo Con leader. Never before in the history of mankind was a country conquered to make it Safe for Democracy. It could easily be compared with the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet Union to make it Safe for Communism. As a result, Iraq was destroyed as a country in the name of Democracy and Afghanistan in the name of Communism.
The present indigenous youthful democratic movements in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain and Yemen could provide a lesson or two to the American Neo Cons that Democracy cannot be thrust upon the people through the Barrel of the Gun (ala Iraq) but by the passionate desire of the people themselves. Anything thrust from outside cannot be long lasting unless it has a local flavor. The Neo Cons could have saved trillions of American tax payers’ dollars by winning the hearts and minds of the Middle-Eastern people rather than subjugating them like morons. The epi-center of Democracy in the Middle-East has now shifted from the one imposed in Iraq by the American War Machine unleashed by the Neo Cons to the peoples’ inspired one in Egypt.
The Neo Cons’ American Century has been challenged by the Muslim Youth of Egypt as well as by the majority population of Iraq, which now lies in ruin after ten years of Military Occupation. The majority of the young and internet suave population in the region is now demanding their democratic rights and would not accept the Western Imposed surrogate leaders any more. Political institutions have to be built from scratch in order to dis-courage future Bonaparte’s from taking over the reigns of their countries. The subjugated people have finally spoken after decades of deadly silence and the democratic die has now been casted leaving no chance to go back to the old ways.
The whole Middle-East is presently in a state of flux where the deeply entrenched Military/Civilian Dictators, one after the other, have fallen like king pins, leaving a big vacuum in its aftermath. Democratic and strong Turkey in its Northern Flank and Democratic Nuclear Armed Pakistan in its Eastern Flank along with Iran can provide stability, provided the Counter Revolutionaries aided and abetted by Outside Forces are checkmated and isolated. It would be very challenging for the elected political leaders of Turkey, Pakistan and Iran to guard the aroma of democracy spreading all along the youthful populations’ of the Middle-Eastern countries. In the beginning of the 20th Century, the European Powers managed to out maneuver the Ottoman Turks to establish themselves in the Resource Rich Muslim lands and implant their surrogate state, Israel, in the heart of Palestine. Will the Democratic Muslim Countries of Turkey, Pakistan and Iran on the fringes of the embroiled Middle-Eastern countries fare better in the 21st century to help their Muslim Brothers on the road to Democracy? Only time will tell.
Mansoor Malik, is Member Board of Advisors, Opinion Maker. In brief, he has been Director General with over 33 year of experience in planning, establishing and managing national level, strategic, high-tech organizations. Director General, Marketing & Industrial Relations Organization (MIRO). Commandant, College of Aeronautical Engineering, Risalpur.
Senior Engineering Manager, PAF Project where he was responsible for the smooth induction of F-16 Aircraft Weapons System in the PAF and making them fully operational.
His experience is very versatile in different fields of technology and education. He is consultant to number of organizations and the Universities of Pakistan.