Iraq and Israel Should Cooperate in Reconstruction
I have previously written in what is happening in Iraq why I do not think the situation in Iraq is the so-called "Vietnamization" and why it is more the attempts of Islamists and other despotic and terrorist forces to turn Iraq into another Lebanon, to stop it from becoming a successful democracy.
Regardless of whether anybody supported the overthrow of Saddam by the U.S. or not, anyone interested in democracy in the Middle East today, supports the establishment of the democratic process in Iraq and not terrorism. It is the best news in the Middle East that a government has formed in Iraq, after so many years, that has a forward-looking Kurdish leader like Jalal Talabani of PUK in its council, and not the same obsolete Islamists reshuffled, and the democratic process in Iraq needs to be fully supported by progressive forces.
It is an error to think success of democracy in Iraq means success of colonialism. Different countries may have arrived at a democratic state in different ways. The American colonists had wiped out the native population. But it was wrong to think that one needed to focus on kicking out occupiers after that fact. The focus had to shift to forming democracy and that is what has been the history of the last two hundred years of the United States.
The same story happened as recent as the events in Yugoslavia, where democracy was formed with the participation of U.S. and UN peace keeping forces; and the way Afghanistan developed was another different event which was caused by Islamists of Afghanistan extending their Islamist terrorism to the U.S. Ideally the best way democracy should develop is by internal forces and not by war, the way I hope Iran succeeds in achieving it in Middle East, but one cannot drop support for democratic process, because of historical development of how it has come about, and to continue fighting a futile war like the Palestinians did for many years, before realizing they had to work with Israel, and finally had to settle for less, instead of doing it sooner and focusing on building democratic institutions which could help them the most.
Also I have already noted the positive points of support of GW Bush for democracy in the Middle East. Again one may have all kinds of theories calling U.S. position as the neo-conservative colonialist plan of take over of Middle East, or to consider it just Bush's election rhetoric. Actually already Bush's opponents like George Soros are focusing on attacking him on his position in the Middle East, calling it the position of war and violence. I do not doubt the support of Soros for democracy in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Block, and his condemnation of Communism there, but I hope he condemns Islamism and Islamist atrocities in the Middle East as well, and to help the real secular democratic forces in the Middle East, and not another faction of the Islamists.
GW Bush's position helps the development of democracy in the Middle East; and secular progressive forces should support this position of the U.S., rather than letting the Iranian Shi'a Islamists or Saudi monarchs to change this U.S. initiative to something barren. Unfortunately except for a few like Chris Hitchens, others in the progressive forces in the West, are still trapped in their old views of the world, and are just attacking Bush's position in Middle East as insincere support of democracy, and are helping the Islamists by not saying anything about the atrocities of Islamists in the Middle East, rather than focusing on support of secular democracy in the Middle East, which is the real aspiration of Middle Eastern people at this historic period of life of the Middle East, thanks to the atrocities of Islamists in the last 24 years.
Islamists have been responsible for terrorism and massacres of Middle Eastern and other people (e.g. WTC) in the last 25 years, from Iran to Afghanistan and elsewhere. And even now that some of the Islamists are acting a bit reserved, it is because the situation is like September of 1941 (shahrivare 1320) in the region, that the presence of allied forces had put the dictatorial local forces out of balance, and once the situation changes, the internal reactionary despotic forces will be back to exercising full dictatorship. I explained this in February before the Iraq War that this situation can be used by internal democratic forces in Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East to take power, or else if they use all their energy in the semi-democratic situation, for bickering and wasting time arguing with so-called Islamist reformists, our chances to form democracy in Iran and the rest of Middle East may be postponed for decades. Here is my article of February where I explained the Middle East situation in this regard:
And as far as the issue of War, I just hope that the progressive forces to read the following excellent interview that Karl Popper gave before his death. This interview best describes the error of those who just look at all wars of the modern times like the Vietnam. No doubt that the best way for change is internal, like it happened in the Soviet Union, Eastern Block and South Africa, and hopefully will happen in Iran. But not all wars should be judged as reactionary wars. As I noted the cases like the former Yugoslavia provided such examples before Afghanistan, and the sincere people in the left hopefully can study the Yugoslavia's case and the role of intervention carefully, and not judge the support of democratic process in such situations based on the international intervention that made it possible:
And to ensure that I do not create any misunderstanding, let me repeat that Iranians do not want any foreign intervention in Iran, and the best solution for Iran is the pro-democracy movement to make the democratic transition in the country, as I have written about it in details before in my book The Futurist Iran. And the Iranian political forces are already embarked on writing a new constitution for a democratic republic, and we are taking the initiative to form the alternative for Iran, and to take power, without any intervention by any outside force in Iran.
Now let me go back to the topic of this article. Why I think Iraq and Israel should cooperate in reconstruction of Iraq. Let me first repeat that I condemn Israel's treatment of Palestinians, although I support the democracy in Israel. I have written my view of Israel before, and some progressive forces have called me names like Zionist, etc, to stop me to express my views. I have written that the Palestinian-Israeli issue has two sides of the coin, and one cannot just see one side and blame Israel. The Palestinians have failed to form a modern democratic leadership, and as long as their progressive forces try to please the Islamists, they cannot bring democracy and freedom to their nation. Israel has been able to form democracy for its own people, something that no Arab country can claim about its own citizens. True they have not extended it to the Palestinians, and this is a shortcoming just like the early U.S. history and the rights of blacks, but at least for the rest of the population they have formed democracy. In the Arab countries, even the Arabs do not enjoy democracy, let alone the Jews and others.
As far as Iraq, I think Iraq should set the precedence for Arab countries to have open cooperation with Israel for reconstruction. The games of Saudi monarchs always keeping the anti-Israeli and Islamist rhetoric, and at the same time working with the U.S., and even working with Israel in the back stage has proven to be useless. In fact, the secret military cooperation of Arab states, or Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), with Israel, in different periods, is well known, although they all have kept the facade of anti-Israeli rhetoric, to keep themselves safe from their own people asking for democracy which Israelis enjoy, by enforcing the issue of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when the real issue in Middle East is democracy and progress in the Arab countries and Iran, which is curtailed by the Islamists and monarchs. Many Middle Eastern people know about advancements of high tech and about democracy in Israel, but Arab and IRI leaders do not want people to know more and acknowledge that, and they use anti-Jewish rhetoric, covered as anti-Zionism, to justify their own obsolete ideologies and states, to keep people from seeing progress and democracy next door by demonizing Israel. As far as treating other parts of their population, they are no better than Israel. They have treated their own minorities like the Kurds, worse than the way Israelis have treated the Palestinians.
I believe Iraq is a chance not only to break the taboo of cooperation with Israel, but also to see how much Israel and other countries of Middle East can cooperate to form progress and advancement in the Middle East. The Shi'a Islamists in Iran are giving the same IRI-type plans to the U.S. for Iraq, and are scaring the U.S. from having anything to do with Israel, and they try hard to show themselves as the choice for Iraq. This is not 1979 and Khomeini's times. The Shi'a Islamists are using the U.S. to get to rule Iraq, not the other way around, in contrast to the situation in Iran of 1979 when the U.S. was trying to support Islamists to keep a foot in Iran, which even proved to be a wrong approach and resulted in the hostage-taking by Islamists in 1980. Today it is not even that kind of situation of popular support of these Islamist forces anywhere in the Middle East, and one should not believe their lies reinforced by IRI lobbyists. Today the situation in the Middle East is the best for secular forces in the last one hundred years, and secular forces are the ones needing an international tribune in the West to speak for them, and not other factions of Islamists that have put Middle East in this situation by mixing religion and state, and they have used the oil money to financially support their vocal and even terrorist supporters intimidating secular Middle Eastern forces even in the West, as eloquently noted by Steven Emerson. It is a mistake to form Iraqi state with an Islamist facade. Any semi-Islamist constitution will only help the terrorists.
Iraq is where the Middle East can learn cooperation with Israel. Israel has advanced technologies and know-how, and can help Iraq in its current needs of reconstruction. And we should not believe Islamists and their supporters scaring us of the escalation of attacks on secular forces, if such a cooperation happens. If the world shows that the West does not see the Islamists as the inheritors of Iraq and the rest of Middle East, they will lose even their remaining supporters, who think they have U.S. backing. They are not ruling by popular support anymore, and have been ruling by gun in Iran for a long time now, and will be on the run if people know the West does not support the Islamists anymore. Actually cooperation with Israel should have been done in Lebanon before the Islamists and Syrian Baathists turn it into the land of terrorism and chaos, as they have done in the last 30 years.
It is time to start a real cooperation of Israel and Iraq and make sure that it is accompanied by the full support of democracy in Iraq and not by any anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism, which has been the gravest error of Israeli leaders. The strength of Israel is in its high tech know-how and democratic institutions that can help Iraq in its reconstruction.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor
Nov 14, 2003