Arabs and US Policy (Dr. Mansoor Alam, Ohio, USA)

ARABS (and Muslims) should not have any illusions about the US policy in the Middle East. The US wants to maintain sanctions against Iraq forever. Sanctions are only an excuse to control the flow of oil, a cornerstone of US security and strategic policy.

Arab and Muslim governments today are in no position to influence US policies as they used to during the cold war days. By throwing themselves into the US security trap, Arab governments lost whatever little clout they used to have to influence US policies toward Middle East. These days Arab OPEC cannot even think of an oil-embargo, let alone pursue it as a policy to influence the US policies toward Israel.

Even the oil prices are being dictated by the US. Arab and oil rich Muslim governments are told in no uncertain terms to increase production in order to reduce prices. So much for the free market gospel of prices being solely determined by supply and demand. (The release of 30 million barrels of oil from the strategic petroleum reserves has more to do with US domestic politics than free market economics). Venezuela’s president, a Catholic, had the courage to stand up to US on this issue but the Sheikhs in the oil-rich Gulf (notably Saudi Arabia) capitulated to the US demand by increasing production.

Even after so much mayhem and massacre by Israeli soldiers (using powerful American weapons) on stone-throwing Palestinian kids, Arab governments did not have the courage to send a strong signal to Washington by breaking off diplomatic relations with the Zionist state. Politically, passing resolutions without some teeth to back it up is a meaningless exercise. As Dawn rightly put it: “Clearly, there is need to do more than producing empty words.”

In reality, Kuwait has not been liberated by the so-called US-led coalition but the entire Arab world has been made hostage to US dictates.

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