Popular resistance from Caracas to
The struggle for justice and prosperity in the Arab world and
everywhere depends upon popular resistance to US imperialism and
its local clients.
By George Galloway
09/17/06 "Al-Ahram" -- -- "Look on my works, ye mighty, and
despair!" reads the eponymous statue's inscription in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias. But it is the boastful
tyrant's monument, not the self-confidence of his enemies, that
lies splintered in the sands.
Five years on from the atrocities of 11 September 2001, George W
Bush and the neo- conservatives have managed to turn much of
Afghanistan and Iraq into desolation, full of now lifeless
Amid this carnage lies another, unlamented casualty -- the
colossal wreck of US and British foreign policy. The authors of
that wreckage cannot conceivably claim they were not warned of
the calamities they would unleash.
Millions of us told them what would happen if they seized on the
events of five years ago to launch what the Pentagon now calls
the "long war". Four days after the attacks in New York and
Washington I spoke in a sitting of the recalled British
parliament. I warned that if the US and its allies mishandled
the response, they would create a thousand, ten thousand Bin
Ladens. Five years on, is that not what's hapened?
Many tens of thousands of people -- mostly women and children --
have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do the ultimate
perpetrators of the killings, as they sit behind their mahogany
desks in the White House and Downing Street, imagine that the
rest of us have not noticed how they do not deem those Arab and
Muslim dead worthy of the same grief as attends their own?
Do they think we have not noticed how they refuse even to count
the number killed in Iraq? Did they believe that the
pornographic images of Abu Ghraib would be discounted? Did
George Bush and Tony Blair delude themselves into thinking they
could whet the knife that Israel plunged into Lebanon without
being seen as accomplices to war crimes?
Blair certainly gave every appearance of having lost all contact
with reality when he flew to Tel Aviv last weekend. With his own
MPs plotting to oust him for damaging their re-election
prospects, he went to occupied Jerusalem and threw his arms
around Ehud Olmert, whose war in Lebanon the vast majority of
people in Britain opposed.
As for Bush, he has always struggled even to give the impression
of having a connection with reality. Nevertheless, the reality
of the last five years stubbornly remains. The world is not a
safer place; it is more violent, more dangerous.
There are more, not fewer, jihadists of the Bin Laden stripe.
The bitterness in the Arab and Muslim world is deeper, broader
and more incendiary.
In Afghanistan, Blair, oblivious to his nation's history of
military catastrophe in that proud country, has hurled his
soldiers into the most unforgiving terrain, against a ferocious
and growing military resistance, in a part of the world that
even Alexander the Great could not occupy.
In Iraq, the occupiers have spilt enough blood to turn the two
great rivers red. In order to cling on they foment sectarian and
confessional strife which, and this may be their parting gift,
threatens tragically to trisect the country. Can they with a
straight face claim Iraq is better off now than it was before
Remember what they said their war would achieve: freedom and
democracy, respect for women, prosperity and dignity.
In truth, it was the freedom of US corporate culture, the
democracy of the dollar and an Arab world ruled by corrupt kings
and puppet presidents just as pliant but a little less gauche,
able to rig an election as the Bush's do in Florida rather than
tactlessly incarcerating the opposition.
Even these, their own selfish ambitions, have not been achieved.
That increasingly stands out as the most salient feature of the
reality they have created over the last half- decade. Nowhere
symbolises it more than Lebanon.
In March of last year the US State Department and British
Foreign Office were incongruously playing the role of
revolutionary pamphleteer. The "Cedar Revolution" in Lebanon
was, we were assured, about to usher an irresistible movement
for a "New Middle East".
Fifteen months later and we know what that looks like: the
Israeli army pledging to bomb Lebanon back two decades and
embarking on an invasion whose success was predicated on
reigniting the flames of civil war which the people of Lebanon
have done so much to douse.
The war this summer was not merely another episode in the bloody
history of Israel lashing out at bordering states. It was a
battle in Washington's wider war on terror. It was a front that
opened up, ironically, precisely because the US is mired and
losing on the Iraq front. The assault on Lebanon was meant to
pave the way to further aggression against Syria and Iran.
That makes the reaction of those Arab leaders who denounced the
Lebanese resistance all the more emetic. Their spurious claims
that this was merely a Shia issue or that threats to bomb Iran
are a Persian problem should be met with nothing but contempt.
In backing Israel against Hizbullah and the Lebanese resistance,
they sided with the enemy who is garrotting the Palestinians in
Gaza. While these leaders humiliated themselves before
Washington and Tel Aviv, the name Sheikh Sayed Hassan Nasrallah
was on the lips of millions from Rabat to Riyadh.
Israel's defeat at the hands of Hizbullah and the resistance in
Lebanon is a defeat also for Washington and London. It has
opened up a new prospect for ending the nightmare of the last
It is not only in the Arab and Muslim world that confidence is
surging forward that there is an alternative to domination by
the US, global corporations and their local junior partners. The
same is happening in Latin America where President Hugo Chavez
of Venezuela personifies a new radical generation, one that met
its counterparts in the Middle East and the older generation of
the great Fidel Castro at the Non-Aligned Summit this week.
This, I believe, is going to be the lasting legacy of the last
five years: a renewed global movement in direct opposition to
the Pentagon and the multinationals on whose behalf it acts as
enforcer. The stakes are extraordinarily high. Just as the
impasse in Iraq drove the US to support the Israeli adventure in
Lebanon, so that defeat may in turn accelerate preparations for
an assault on Iran.
That would be one of the most costly miscalculations in history.
They stand warned. But they stood warned over their crazed
reaction to 11 September, so no one should underestimate their
capacity to wade deeper into the river of blood.
The US is not going to tip toe away, despite its losses. To do
so would mean the American establishment accepting that its
power and prestige had been thrown back to before 1989, when it
faced a rival power.
It is going to take the power of the popular resistance from
Caracas to Cairo to throw back that behemoth and settle accounts
with all the quislings who it depends upon but who crucially
also depend on it.
George Galloway, is respect member of British Parliament for the
London constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow.
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