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War and Peace: Bush in the Middle East

If truth is the first casualty of war (Aeschylus), language, community, public spirit and mutual trust are the next victims. Normalization of war and militarization of foreign policy are evils that make the state of our nation into a nightmare, a squandered promise.

Bush in the Middle East

By Rainer Rupp

[This article published in: Junge Welt, 1/10/2008 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web,  http://www.jungewelt.de/2008/01-10/011.php?print=1.]

In early January 2008, George W. Bush has been touring through the Middle East. Only a few hours before taking off on an eight-day journey, the US president told the press 2why he went on the spectacle - "Iran was a threat, Iran is a threat and Iran will be a threat." Therefore he looked forward to strengthening this part of the world together with America's friends and allies." After a round to Israel and a detour to Bush's Palestinian friend Mahmud Abbas in West Jordan, visits to Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirate, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are on the travel plan. At all these stations, as the White House already threatened, Bush will "work hard for peace and security." That could make people in the region shudder with horror.

What happened the last time Bush traveled around the Middle East "to work for peace" is not forgotten. The result was acceleration of the cycle of violence and intensification of the polarization between the imperial superpower and its local authoritarian allies and friends on one side and the mass of the Arab people on the other side. Bush's summit with the Arab friends of the US organized by Egyptian president Mubarak in Sharm El Sheikh at the beginning of June 2003 just after US troops liberated Iraqi oil. That liberation was celebrated in the western media as a towering success for the promotion of peace and security in the region. The consequences were more war and internal conflicts, threats of war, attacks and political polarization in the region's countries and beyond.

Here are several recent news stories: An encounter of Iranian speedboats with a convoy of gigantic US destroyers in the Persian Gulf was blown up by Washington as a dangerous "provocation" to threaten Teheran. While the US military raves about an improved security situation in Iraq, 120 Iraqis on average have been killed day after day according to the World Health Organization since the invasion's beginning in the occupied country. The attacks of the Turkish army and the anti-Turkish Kurds in the Turkish-Kurdish border area intensify. In Lebanon, the political deadlock threatens to spark off a new civil war. Destabilization and civil war are also imminent in Pakistan. In Somalia, there are increasingly violent collisions between the local population and the US-sponsored Ethiopian invaders. In Palestine, targeted Israeli murder attacks are followed by blows of retribution from "Hamas-friendly" groups... In all these conflicts, the US is entangled as a tightrope walker or main sponsor of state terrorism. When Bush says peace in America's name, war follows.

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