The death knell beckons

The Americans ought to be congratulated. So many victories in the Middle East, and so little to show for it. Opium is now being grown in Iraq. Lebanon is being torn apart thanks to a Faustian deal between Sunni extremists and the US-backed Lebanese government. Furthermore, the reality of the al-Qaeda style group in Tripoli is slowly becoming clearer. Perhaps the most pathetic sign of American desperation is this latest report from the Guardian:

The Bush administration is developing plans to “internationalise” the Iraq crisis, including an expanded role for the United Nations, as a way of reducing overall US responsibility for Iraq‘s future and limiting domestic political fallout from the war as the 2008 election season approaches.

The move comes amid rising concern in Washington that President George Bush’s controversial Baghdad security surge, led by the US commander, General David Petraeus, is not working and that Iran is winning the clandestine battle for control of Iraq.

“Petraeus is brilliant. But he is the captain of a sinking ship,” said a former senior administration official who questioned whether Iraq‘s divided political leadership could prevent a descent into chaos. “Iraq‘s government is a mobile phone number that doesn’t answer. Iraq probably can’t be fixed.”

Although sectarian killings have fallen in Baghdad since the surge began in February, the level of violence across the country remains broadly unchanged. But the White House is fiercely resisting calls from Democrats and some Republicans to scrap the operation and set a timetable for a troop withdrawal.

The former official, who is familiar with administration thinking, predicted Mr Bush would instead ask Congress to agree a six-month extension of the surge after Gen Petraeus presented his “progress report” in early September.

And what about poor little Israel? Well, according to one leading Australian commentator – who, it should be noted, recently took an all-expenses paid trip to Israel and conveniently forget to mention this in his subsequently bellicose articles – the Jewish state is merely a pawn in the region and should be supported, no matter what. I’m sure he spent a lot of time in the occupied territories, seeing the glorious nature of Israel’s democracy and its apartheid-style treatment of the Palestinians.

Simply put, American prestige, if that’s the word, is virtually dead here in the Middle East, and it’s a tragically beautiful thing to watch.

Get ready for a new dawn.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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