Getting ready for the campaign against Iraq, the Americans are trying to figure out, which countries could join the new coalition. Defense Minister Dick Cheney was “touring” the Middle East in 1990, trying to obtain the support of the Arab countries. Now we have Vice President Dick Cheney touring the Mid East, but with the same goal – to make as much Arab countries as possible join the military coalition. Hussein and Cheney are the only people, which were involved in the 12-year-old drama, and are still in the political scene. There is Bush in the White House, but it is not the same anyway. This other Bush feels the strong desire to finish his father’s work and to remove Saddam Hussein from the political map of the world. In spite of the fact that the Americans’ hatred against Hussein is of the periodical character, the current situation is different from the one, when Dick Cheney was the defense minister. Americans managed to attract 28 countries in their coalition back in 1990 – the countries, which were striving for Kuwait’s liberation. Now the Arab countries are not hurrying to join such a coalition.
One may understand them. Iraq is not an aggressor now, it is a country, which is experiencing a very hard economic situation. Secondly, the attention of the Arab world is concentrated now on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. So, when Americans tell their potential Arab allies that it is necessary to destroy Iraq’s mass destruction weapons, the Arabs recollect the same weapon at Israel’s disposal. The double standard is the political fad of the Americans, but here it is workign against them.
The USA may count on Kuwait’s and Turkey’s support, others countries are thinking it over. No one really wants to support Hussein, though. Said Aburish, Saddam Hussein’s Palestinian biographer, said that the Arab leaders did not have any space left for a maneuver: “They are either against their own people, or against America.” That is why, as Aburish believes, they are giving Americans to understand that they did not like Hussein, that they wanted him to leave, but they could not help in a public way.
The Arab world split in 1990 because of Hussein, twelve countries supported the coalition. Yemen, Tunis, the Organization of Palestine’s Liberation were standing against the military action. Jordan’s King Hussein and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat were insisting on the peaceful regulation of the issue, but they found themselves in the political isolation at that time.
The situation has changed a lot now. Yemen agreed for the USA to scour their territory and root out all al-Qaida’s sprouts in the country. The new King of Jordan Abdullah supports the American anti-terrorist coalition, but he is against the military incursion in Iraq. The king thinks that it would be a horrid disaster for the region, and the stability in the Middle East will be in danger. Furthermore, a lot of the Mid East leaders warn the USA that the military action would warm up the heated anti-American sentiments in the Muslim world. The Arabs think that the USA was not doing anything in order to stop the attack of the Israeli military men against the Palestinians. Maybe this is the reason why the Americans are showing a lot of pressure on Israelis, trying to make them negotiate with the Palestinians, cutting the economic help for them: it is all about the fate of the coalition against Iraq.
Specialists believe that all the talks of the Arab leaders about their negative attitude towards the military action is nothing but a lame excuse that is meant for “inner consumption.” As a matter of fact, they dream that they will wake up someday, and everything will have been done without their participation. But this is not meant to happen: the USA is not going to forget anyone.
Both Iraq’s neighbors and Americans are concerned about the question of the Iraqi political inheritance. Many people think that a military dictator will take Saddam’s place (or Americans will do it). The difference (in comparison with Hussein) will be about greater compliancy with Americans. No one needs Iraq that will be broken to pieces, but Syria and Iran would most likely prefer to have weak Hussein in Iraq, than the dictatorship that will be supported by the democratic America.
Sergey Borisov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov