THE NEW AMERICAN CENTURY is a compelling factual history of neoconservatism and its influence on US Foreign Policy in the Middle East during the first decade of the twenty-first century. Click on image above for details.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


It’s clear that the strain of secular modernity within the Arab and Islamic world, particularly in North Africa and through the Middle East, is finally being felt as it conflicts with the conservatism of Islamic law and its struggle for control of the state. It is polarising the peoples of many Arab and Islamic nations where the repercussions of the Arab Spring revolutions are now being felt in a myriad of ways as it ripples through the region.

Islam will likely remain the dominant religion of these regions even among the secular modernists who would prefer to be free of the constraints of some of the stricter aspects of Sharia law. For this reason Islamic movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood are suffering setbacks that have recently manifested themselves in the form of revolt against their power, power that was won only as recently as the advent of the Arab Spring revolutions when conservative Islam offered a way out of the grip of corrupt secular dictators.

The Syrian civil war has exposed the deep rifts between secularist Muslims who oppose their dictatorial leaders but also oppose the conservative Islamist fighters that have enjoined them to fight the dictator, and then, within all that, is the added antagonisms of Sunni and Shia sectarianism. The mess in Syria is antagonised even further still by in-fighting among the various Sunni jihadist groups and between the secularists and the jihadists. Emerging from the turmoil is the apparent successes the secular Shia dictator is enjoying with the help of Shia Iran and their allies in Lebanon, Hezbollah, who are taking full advantage of the turmoil within their enemies’ ranks.

In Egypt some 90% of the population are Muslims and, of those, some 2.5% to 3% are Shia while the rest are Sunni. Around 9% of the population are Coptic Christians and around 1% of the population are other denominations of Christians. Within the predominately Sunni Muslim Egyptian community there is a powerful conservative lobby known as the Muslim Brotherhood. It is this group that took the lead in fomenting the revolt that led to the demise of the secular dictatorial regime of Hosni Murbarak but only after secularists had initiated the revolt. The Islamists eventually won power via the ballot box and Morsi became their President. But things haven’t moved forward as the people had hoped. The secularists among the Sunni component of the Egyptian population demanded Morsi step down. When he refused, the secularly inclined military stepped in and pulled him down.

This scenario is now being duplicated in Tunisia and Libya where secularists have grown weary of the initial enthusiasm they had for Islamists during the Arab Spring.

The battle now, it seems, is between secular modernists who want to be part of the global community adopting universal values of liberal tolerance towards social issues such as attitudes towards women, homosexuality and human rights while retaining their religion, and, on the other side, conservative Islam, the hardliners of which hanker for a strict society ordered entirely by Sharia law while the extremists fight for a pan-Islamic caliphate that crosses the borders and boundaries of Islamic nations arching around three-quarters of the planet.

When Morsi first became president after the elections it seemed a happy medium had been struck but as time went on hardliners among the Muslim Brotherhood gained increasing influence in government. This influence may well have been tolerated if it had been accompanied by an increase in economic prosperity but instead the economy simply got worse and everyday living became increasingly difficult. A similar story has unfolded for Tunisia and Libya. The initial flush of enthusiasm for a moderate Islamic-dominated government has given way to disappointment and disillusionment which has now divided Islamic people throughout North Africa and across the Middle East.

The issues are complex and the causes are varied, but for sure, the West must take some of the blame for the turmoil that now exists. It was the West’s support of the dictators that ultimately led to the Arab Spring revolutions and it was the West’s intrusions into Islamic lands that has led to the radicalisation of Islam.

Monday, July 22, 2013


According to a report in yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Israeli Housing Minister, Yuri Ariel of the extreme right-wing Jewish Home Party, was quoted as saying with regards to the possibility of a settlement freeze during bilateral talks with Palestinians, ‘that he did not want to consider even a limited freeze’ adding: “It's inappropriate for the Jewish people, for the land of Israel and for a sovereign state. We are in favour of building as much as possible.”

Although he didn’t actually say it, Ariel got as close as one can to saying that the West Bank is a part of Israel without saying so explicitly.

Israel Katz, Israel’s Transport Minister and Likud Party member, also got close to saying it as well: “It would be immoral, un-Jewish and inhuman to freeze the lives of people and their children,” he told an Israeli radio audience.

It also seems Netanyahu himself let go a Freudian slip. He was reported by Greg Sheridan in The Australian as saying that the goals of the talks are about “Preventing a bi-national state . . . that would endanger the future of the Jewish state, and preventing the establishment of another Iranian-sponsored terrorist state within our borders.”

Within our borders? Whose borders?

Saturday, July 20, 2013


With an election looming, Kevin Rudd has caved in to Australia’s Labor voters who, like their Liberal counterparts, dream up every conceivable excuse as to why boatpeople shouldn’t be allowed access to Australia while trying desperately to avoid being labelled ‘racists’, a characterisation which they emphatically deny.

Most of those who were dead-set against allowing boatpeople into Australia seem to now applaud Rudds latest plan – at least from the point of view of no more boatpeople coming to Australia. But now, one has to ask, where are the excuses that the racists used to argue their point? Now that they’re to be shuffled off to PNG, it seems that the ‘queue-jumping’ label has gone out the window. Suddenly the racists couldn’t care less about the ‘queue’. Has the ‘queue’ disappeared? And will the racists who pretended to care about the safety of boatpeople during the crossing to Australia by boat still be as vocal about ‘stopping the boats’ coming to Australia now that they’ll be moved on to PNG – if they survive the crossing?

And what of the cost? Will Australians be prepared to pay PNG the huge amounts of money that this undertaking is likely to cost? If there’s any arguments from the Liberals about the cost of all this, it will only be because there’s an election looming and they didn’t come up with the idea first. But then, how could they? They needed to be in government in order to have negotiated the deal with the PNG government.

The reality is that the cost of the deal is far more than it would cost to simply allow boatpeople to stay in Australia and get them working to pay their own way. As a result, one can almost see a formula developing whereby the acceptance of the excessive cost of the deal over and above having them in Australia is directly proportional to the extent of racism in Australia. In other words, the real measure of the extent of Australia’s racism will be how much they are prepared to pay in order to keep boatpeople out of Australia – and it’s shaping up to be a lot.

What Australian’s need to do is face up to is its global responsibilities. When a country goes off and invades another – for whatever reason – then the invader needs to be responsible for the repercussions. And the same applies when one country applies sanctions against another. Australia has been a part of both types of actions against nations. We were part of the invasion of Afghanistan even though Afghanistan was not a threat to Australia, and Australia was a part of the immoral, if not illegal, invasion of Iraq despite Iraq also not being a threat to Australia. It is now a part of a sanctions program aimed at Iran over its nuclear weapons ambitions, despite not a skerrick of evidence suggesting Iran even has a nuclear weapons program. And we are wondering why Iranians are fleeing Iran?

If the West left these places alone to find their own way in the world, we’d all be a lot better off. Instead we make up lies and find excuses to continue to do what the West has always done; invade, dominate and loot the wealth of countries with different cultures to ours and then deny them the right to share their culture with ours. The racist haters of multiculturalism seem to be winning. Are we really going to let that happen?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


I occasionally end articles about neoconservatism with a retort that goes thus: “Arrogance and hypocrisy; the values that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’.” It’s just a little slogan that I think goes some way to describing the contempt that neoconservatives have toward those they presume to be their enemies. The ‘Arrogance’ part of the slogan reflects the self-righteous ‘we know best’ haughtiness of neoconservativism, while the self-explanatory use of the word ‘hypocrisy’ exposes neoconservatism’s real values as they parade the ideals of ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’ as being the acceptable standards that humankind should live by whilst denying democracy to those ideologies they don’t agree with (Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood) and denying justice to those they believe are their enemies and who offend them (those that are assassinated by hit squads and drones and locked up without trial in places like Guantanamo and other secret prisons after being illegally ‘renditioned’).

‘They’, of course, are those that are a part of the world of Islam, and ‘us’ is the so-called West. While ‘arrogance’ and ‘hypocrisy’ describe broadly how the world of Islam views the West, Islam’s beef with the West needs a fuller and more detailed explanation.

One of Islam’s biggest beefs with the West is the way the West presumes to know what’s best for the Islamic world and then attempts to foist its Western ways on the world of Islam by interfering with the Islamic world’s affairs. This is classic neoconservatism and a recent article by Tony Blair in the Guardian is a classic example of neoconservative arrogance and hypocrisy as he attempts to argue that only Western style democracy is right for the world of Islam and that bringing “stability to the Middle East is not somebody else’s job, it’s ours”. Clearly Blair thinks they can’t find there own way to ‘democracy’ – and that’s assuming its ‘democracy’ that they actually want.

Every time the West interferes with the affairs of the people in the Islamic world, particularly in the Middle East, it has been followed by disaster. One would have thought that the failures of the West’s interference in these people’s affairs throughout history, from the time of the Crusades through to the colonialism of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, would have taught the West a few lessons.

But apparently not.

Come the twenty-first century, the West is at it again. George W. Bush, together with his extreme right-wing cohorts, Tony Blair and John Howard, tell the world that it’s in their interests to invade and conquer Iraq. They were supported and encouraged in this endeavour by the neoconservatives that had ingratiated themselves into the US government’s ranks in order to ensure that their primary interests, which happen to be Israel’s, are secure. Those same neoconservatives now lobby for Israel’s interests directly. Today Jonathan Tobin, senior neocon propagandist at Commentary, is trying, once again, to push the US to halt Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapon program. After the Iraq experience the neocons are stopping short of actually calling for regime change though reading between the lines of their other propaganda about Iran and their calls for regime change elsewhere in the Middle East, it is clear that, ultimately, regime change is their goal.

We know from their past hypocrisy that their rhetoric about ‘democracy’ and ‘justice’ are just words they use to suck you in – especially from Blair. Now they’re trying it on again as the Zionists in Israel and their neocon supporters around the world push for regime change in Iran so that Israel can be free to attack their enemies Hamas and Hezbollah in order to further the Zionist Greater Israel dream.

Friday, July 12, 2013


Just a quick observation today triggered by an editorial in the Washington Post. The bit that caught my eye and got me thinking was the opening paragraph. It went thus:

It has been a month since the White House informed journalists that President Obama had decided to supply Syrian rebels with light arms. Since then, the regime has launched a bloody new offensive in the city of Homs, using heavy artillery and rockets to attack residential areas held by the rebels. Thousands of people have been killed, adding to a death toll approaching 100,000. President Bashar al-Assad has been boasting of his military successes and of the failure of outside powers to bring down his regime. Meanwhile, the United States has failed to deliver any of the promised munitions to beleaguered rebel forces — “not even a single bullet,” one source told The Post’s David Ignatius.

The inference is obvious; Bashir al-Assad must be a nasty bastard for killing all those innocent civilians with artillery and rocket attacks on residential areas held by the rebels.

Well, anyone who bombs residential areas killing innocent civilians is a nasty bastard in my book – no matter who does it. But here’s where the hypocrisy seeps in; did the editorial board of the Washington Post use the same critical tone when the Israeli government used heavy artillery and rockets on residential areas held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead in 2008/2009?

No they didn’t. In fact, just the opposite. Because Hamas were in residential areas, the Western media accused Hamas of using the civilians as human shields. Well, if that’s the case, why aren’t the Western media not accusing the rebels in Syria of using the residents of Homs as human shields as well?

As it turns out, the only people caught using human shields in the Gaza Strip were the IDF!

Arrogance and hypocrisy; the values that ‘they’ hate about ‘us’.

Thursday, July 11, 2013


US law is explicit when it comes to making considerations about giving aid to foreign governments that have come to power via a coup – that government doesn’t get aid; simple as that.

However, in the case of Egypt, it places the Obama administration in a conundrum. It also puts neoconservatives in a conundrum as well which has caused a rift over neoconservative foreign policy with regards to Egypt.

So far, Obama hasn’t made any decision regarding future aid to Egypt while an interim government remains in office as a result of the coup. It is for this reason that Obama hasn’t actually come out and called what happened in Egypt ‘a coup’ because, as soon as he does, the Egyptian government can kiss their aid goodbye.

For this reason, as I wrote earlier, the new Egyptian government have been anxious to please the US government and they have done this by desperately trying to appease the Israelis by cutting off the supply tunnels into the Gaza Strip and beefing up security along the Egyptian side of the border with Israel. This appeasement of the Israelis seems to have worked because now Netanyahu’s government is doing all it can to get the US to continue to provide aid to the Egyptian interim government.

Netanyahu’s pleas to allow aid to Egypt to continue have put the right-wing Zionist government of Israel at odds with some of their right-wing Republican and neoconservative supporters in the US. Leading Republican John McCain is, albeit reluctantly, adamant that Obama should block aid to Egypt. He is supported by neoconservative Elliot Abrams both of whom are sticking to the rules that says no to aid to governments that come to power via coups.

Meanwhile, other neoconservatives are calling for aid to continue. Evelyn Gordon, a staunch Greater Israel Zionist and neoconservative writer at Commentary, advocates strongly for aid to continue on the basis that it will ensure greater security to Israel. Another neoconservative heavyweight, the always pragmatic Charles Krauthammer, is sitting on the fence advocating that there be no rush into a decision either way.

The rift highlights some of the subtle differences that often occur within neoconservative ideological thinking. On the one hand there are the American-Israel purists who see America as the ideal state whose laws reflect the their ideal of the exceptional state which they call ‘American Exceptionalism’, and on the other hand there are the ‘Israel Firsters’ neoconservatives who regard the importance of Israel’s survival and growth toward a Greater Israel state as of primary concern even if it’s at the expense of, and in contradiction to, American Exceptionalism ideology.

Saturday, July 06, 2013


As much as the Egyptian street generally sympathise with the plight of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, it seems the new Egyptian regime are falling over themselves to make themselves look good in the eyes of the US in order to ensure that the promised $1.5 billion of aid comes there way despite the coup. Unfortunately, one element of their approach to appeasing the US is by demonstrating that they are mindful of Israel’s concerns with regard to security about the Gaza Strip. And one way of showing they mean business is to close down the Gaza Strip’s supply line tunnels between the Strip and Egypt.

Yesterday the Egyptian army began bulldozing the tunnels. The immediate effect in the Gaza was panic buying and huge price hikes that most Palestinians can ill afford to pay. The cost of living was high enough as it was but now, if the supplies remain cut off for some time, life will steadily become even more unbearable.

Just to add to the turmoil, Fatah, the organisation that governs the West Bank under Abbas, is now calling on its supporters in the Gaza to rise up against Hamas. Hamas, one might recall, were rejected by the West after squarely and fairly winning the January 2006 elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The blame for all this turmoil – not just in Egypt but throughout the entire Middle East – can be laid fairly and squarely at the feet of the US and Israel who has contrived to foment as much friction as they possibly can between secularists and Islamists in the Arab world, and between Sunni and Shia in the world of Islam. On the odd occasion that ‘democracy’ does give the people the opportunity to make their choices, it is the West that rejects those choices and then encourages turmoil that attempts to replace the people’s choices.

In the end it’s just ordinary people who are already struggling to survive that suffer most. The West must leave these people alone to make their own choices and, once the choices have been made, should not be interfered with simply because the West thinks the people made choices the West disagrees with.

Gaza, at the very least, must be allowed to freely trade with whoever they please and not be punished en masse simply because they didn't vote for the people the West wanted them to vote for.

Thursday, July 04, 2013


One of the stand-out features of those Islamic countries that have had elections as a result of revolution or encouragement from the West is that, when an Islamic party wins that election, the neocons jump up and down complaining about how ‘democracy’ has been hijacked by Islamists.

The neocons have cheered on all of the Arab Spring revolutions in the somewhat naïve and forlorn hope that a US-style democracy will prevail and bring forth Western-friendly secular governments that accept the existence of Israel and their domination over the Palestinian people.

For years the neoconservatives moaned and carried on about how the Palestinians had been denied full and free elections through the Arafat years and the early period of his successor Abbas. And when Abbas did eventually get around to calling an election for the Palestinian Legislative Council, the neocons fell over themselves to support the secular Abbas against his rival the Islamic Hamas party. At long last, the neocons exclaimed, democracy had come to the Arabs.

In the build-up to the election the neocons were convinced their man Abbas would win. But, come election day on 26 January 2006, the unimaginable happened – Hamas won; and not just won, but won convincingly. The neocons and the Bush administration were furious. They refused to recognise the result and the West threatened to withdraw all financial aid if they formed government.

So much for democracy!

Now it’s happening again. Egypt went through the Arab Spring process which led to the downfall of Hosni Murbarak then fair and square elections were held which the Islamists won (through a highly complex distribution voting process) that ultimately gave Morsi the Presidency. The neocons, again, were incensed. From the very beginning they would not accept Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood dominating Egyptian politics. Now that a military coup has effectively ousted Morsi and replaced him with a government nominated by the military, the neocons are jubilant.

So much for democracy!

But the problems for the neocons, or the Egyptian people, are unlikely to go away. When (and if) the next elections are held in, it’s claimed, about a years time, it is likely that some kind of Islamist coalition will win again and the Muslim Brotherhood will likely dominate. There will then be a parting of the ways – yet again – of the various groups that make up the winning coalition and the people will gather yet again in Tahrir Square demanding yet another election.

What the neocons and many in the West have consistently failed to recognise is that the Arab and Islamic world of Africa and the Middle East aren’t interested in a secular-capitalist dominated Western-style ‘democracy’. To be sure they enjoy everyday secularism and they enjoy the notion of participating in capitalism and the prospect of potentially being able to enrich themselves and their families, but, for most Muslims, religion in the end dominates their lives and they see the secular parts of their life and the rewards of capitalism as being a gift that comes from their adherence to their religion rather that something that comes from society. It is for this reason that they don’t separate church from state.

The neocons and the West should simply come to terms with it rather than try to push Western ways on the Arab and Islamic world. All it succeeds in doing is polarising those people and giving them even more grief than they’ve ever had before.

The peoples of the Arab and Islamic worlds must find their own way to becoming a part of the global community and should not be forced into accepting Western ways by bigots and fascists who have agendas that are not in the interests of Arabs and Islam.