[Marxism] Tariq Ali on the Middle East

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 31 09:32:14 MST 2006


Concluding paragraphs:

The crisis in the Middle East that began in 2001 is not in sight of any 
dénouement. At best, we are perhaps only at mid-point in the unfolding 
drama. New forces and faces are emerging that have something in common. 
Muqtada, Haniya, Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad: each has risen by organizing the 
urban poor in their localities­Baghdad and Basra, Gaza and Jenin, Beirut 
and Sidon, Tehran and Shiraz. It is in the slums that Hamas, Hizbollah, the 
Sadr brigades and the Basij have their roots. The contrast with the 
Hariris, Chalabis, Karzais, Allawis, on whom the West relies­overseas 
millionaires, crooked bankers, CIA bagmen­could not be starker. A radical 
wind is blowing from the alleys and shacks of the latter-day wretched of 
the earth, surrounded by the fabulous wealth of petroleum. The limits of 
this radicalism, so long as it remains captured by the Koran, are clear 
enough. The impulses of charity and solidarity are infinitely better than 
those of imperial greed and comprador submission, but so long as what they 
offer is social alleviation rather than reconstruction, they are sooner or 
later liable to recuperation by the existing order. Leaders comparable to 
figures like Chávez or Morales have yet to emerge, with a vision capable of 
transcending national or communal divisions, a sense of continental unity 
and the self-confidence to broadcast it. Thanks to its ex-mayor, there is 
now a statue of Bolívar in Tehran. The region awaits an equivalent spirit.

Meanwhile, the emplacements of the hegemon have scarcely budged. The 
current turmoil is still confined to those areas of the Middle East where 
for twenty years or more American power never really penetrated: the West 
Bank, Ba’athist Iraq, Khomeinist Iran. The real US anchorage in the region 
lies elsewhere: in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Jordan. There 
its traditional clients have held the line, and are on hand to help out 
with regional problems. Beyond them, Europe and Japan stand shoulder to 
shoulder with America on Iran and Palestine, while Russia, China and India 
make no difficulties. It is too soon to count on imperial defeat.

full: http://www.newleftreview.net/NLR27201.shtml

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