Obama’s Speech, the Israeli Backlash, and the Counter-revolution

Why is it that every time something big happens in relation to the Middle East, I’m off somewhere and can’t really blog about it? When bin Laden was killed, I was inflight to California from Michigan. And when Obama gave his recent big Middle East speech, I was on my way to northen California to visit family and friends. So, message to the world… next time something big is going to happen, can you please check with me first and make sure I’m ready? Ok, wonderful. (I’m just kidding, don’t get your feathers ruffled)

First, I think it’s important to give Obama credit for criticizing America’s friends and foes alike when it came to the crackdowns and counter-revolutions in the Middle East. I mean, he even spoke of the disgusting sectarian Shi’ite mosque demolitions in Bahrain. But, expectedly, there was no mention of the headquarters of the counter-revolution, the mainstay of dictatorship and tyranny in the Middle East… Saudi Arabia. For the democracy advocates in the Middle East to have a fighting chance, the Saudi dictatorship must be addressed, as well as the Israeli bunker state along the Mediterranean. These two forces are the biggest obstactles to democracy in the region.

The Saudis fear and fight democracy across the region because they don’t want it to serve as an exemplar for action that instigiates a homegrown challenge to its own authoritarian bastion in the Arabian Peninsula, and Israel fears and fights democracy in the Middle East because democracy in the region effectively means the isolation of Israel. No democratic regime in the region can have normal relations with Israel as long as Israel continues to ethnically cleanse Palestine of its native Palestinian population. I mean, even Turkey, a “moderate” democratic state is now at loggerheads with Israel over Israeli policies and its flotilla massacre last summer. Thus, these two regimes, especially the Saudis since they have billions in oil wealth to fund the counter-revolution, must be addressed if there is to be a genuine longterm push towards democratization in the region.

As for Obama’s reference to a two-state solution based on the ’67 borders… it was good to finally hear an American president say what the entire world has long advocated. The fact that there is a backlash from pro-Israeli advocates should tell you something about their longterm strategy: seize as much Palestinian land as fast as possible with totally disregard to the natives living there and keep it all and return as little as possible. And the whole Israeli argument that the ’67 borders are indefensible is a bunch of rubbish. It’s not like Israel was facing extermination from the West Bank Palestinians before Israel seized and occupied that territory in ’67. And Israel has since grown to be a much more formidable fascistic military state since so what’s with all the backlash? Glenn Greenwald effectively summarizes how I feel about the backlash here.

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