The Summer of Muslim Discontent

It’s Not “The Amateur Film” Stupid! – Published on Dissident Voice, by James Petras, Sept. 22, 2012 (James Petras on World People’s Blog).

The so-called Arab Spring is a distant and bitter memory to those who fought and struggled for a better world, not to speak of the thousands who lost, life and limb.

In its place, throughout the Muslim world, a new wave of reactionaries, corrupt and servile politicians have taken the reins of power buttressed by the same military, secret police and judicial power who sustained the previous rulers.1

Death and destruction is rampant, poverty and misery has multiplied, law and order has broken down, retrograde thugs have seized political power, where previously they were a marginal force. Living standards have plunged, cities are devastated and commerce is paralyzed. And presiding over this “Arab Winter” are the Western powers, the US and EU, with the aid of the despotic Gulf absolutist monarchies, their Turkish ally and a motley army of mercenary Islamic terrorists and their would-be exile spokespeople.

The legacy of imperial intervention in the Muslim world during the first decade of the 21st century, in terms of lives lost, in people displaced, in economies destroyed, in perpetual warfare, exceeds any previous decade, including 19th and 20th century colonial conquests. Much of the latest Western mayhem and violence has been compressed in the period dubbed the “Arab Spring” between 2011-2012. Moreover, the worst is to come. The Western overseers have gained strategic positions of power in some countries (Egypt), are engaged in prolonged ruinous wars in others (Syria) and are preparing for even bigger and more destructive military intervention in still others (Iran).

The “Winter of Muslim Discontent” covers an entire arc from Pakistan, Afghanistan in South Asia, through the Gulf region and the Middle East to North Africa. In the throes of the worst economic crises to hit the West since the 1930’s, the Western imperialist regimes have squeezed their people, mobilized personnel, arms and money to engage in simultaneous wars in five regions and two continents – in pursuit of overthrowing political adversaries and installing clients, even if it results in the destruction of the economy and uprooting of millions.

Let us begin with Egypt, where the Arab Spring has become a case study in the making of the New Imperial Order in the Muslim world. To attribute the mass violent rebellions across two continents and two dozen Muslim countries to a US-made film which desecrates the Prophet Mohammed is the height of superficiality.2 At most the film was the trigger that set off deeply rooted hostilities resulting from two decades of US led ravaging and destruction of the Muslim world and more particularly, rage flows from Washington’s crude intervention against the promise of the Arab Spring.

Egypt: The Making of a Client State: … //

… many other relevant Arabe countries … //

… Conclusion:

Faced with a sharp and militant backlash to its on-going counter-revolutionary offensive in the Muslim world, Washington is demanding that its ‘new’ Muslim clients increase “security” – strengthen the police state and crack down on mass protest movements.9 Washington is once again on the defensive.

The shifting relations of power, between popular movements and the US-EU, have once again become more acute.

In the first phase, Washington and its EU allies were caught by surprise and severely challenged by the mass pro-democracy movements which overthrew or threatened their client rulers in Tunisia, Egypt, Somalia, Yemen, Bahrain and elsewhere – what was dubbed the “Arab Spring”.

The second phase was the Western reaction to countermand, to halt and reverse the popular pro-democracy movement, via alliances with malleable Islamic leaders (Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen) and by launching and escalating armed struggles via Islamic extremists in Libya and Syria. They also buttressed the despotic royal regimes in the Gulf.

Barely a few months later the neo-colonial clients, imposed by the US and EU, revealed its fragile foundations: The fraudulent “transitions” produced servile, rulers incapable and unwilling to address the socio-economic demands of the pro-democracy movements.

The third phase of the struggle now pits a more complex scenario than the earlier “binary conflict” of dictatorship versus democracy. Today we witness conflicts between neo-liberal Islamists in power against secular and Muslim trade unionists and the poor fundamentalist Muslims fighting for the US (Syria) and against the US (Libya) while secular (Syria) and Islamist (Iran) regimes joining forces facing Western-backed Islamist mercenaries and nuclear-armed Jewish threats. Whether it is Pakistan, Somalia or the Sudan – wherever the US has gained client states it has imposed war policies that impoverish the masses.

The Islamic terrain of struggles for both the imperial powers and the popular masses reflects the discrediting and decimation of secular rulers and popular civil society organizations. The religious institutions have become the refuge, the cloak and the war cry of the dispossessed and the property classes.

A careful study of the two decades of US and EU wars in the Muslim world finds little evidence of “corporate” oil influence in the conduct of imperial wars. Instead they are essentially imperial military wars. What we see everywhere is the large scale destruction of the means of production; the massive dis-accumulation of capital; the massive displacement of millions of productive workers, scientists and engineers who produce wealth. What investors are going to make large scale, long term investments in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria and Libya when their property and lives are in danger from bands of warring ethno-religious warlords armed and trained by US Special Forces?

Big investors do not confide in the stability of corrupt, servile, unpopular client regimes buttressed by the US and EU. Investors count ten lost years in Iraq at a cost of billions in oil profits. The US was not at war for oil as some benighted leftist pundits claim.

Military imperialism has led to ruin and rule followed by ruin and run. The only, and obvious beneficiary of the Western wars on the Muslim countries, is the Jewish state of Israel, whose politically influential billionaire and political acolytes in the Pentagon, Treasury, National Security Council, Congress, and the US mass media designed and promoted these disastrous wars against the Muslim world. Most recently they have promoted the US counter-attack, turning the ‘Arab Spring’ into a ‘Muslim Summer of Discontent.’

There is and there will be no closure on the wars as long as Israel claims supremacy in the Arab world. The US, is and will be, in permanent war with the Muslim world as long as its foreign policy and political structures are influenced by the Israeli-Zionist power configuration.

No empire prior to the US has sustained such huge financial losses and gained so little in economic rewards. No previous empire has destroyed so many countries without establishing a single viable productive colonial or neo-colonial regime .Yet to read and hear from our most prominent journalists that the massive, widespread and violent Muslim protests against the symbols and substance of US imperial power are about an “amateur film defaming the prophet” boggles the mind. The pundits ignore the fact that mass unrest and anti-imperial assaults preceded and will follow the ‘film’ incident. A decade of savaging a dozen countries and dislocating tens of millions from Libya to Pakistan, passing through Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen has left an indelible mark on the consciousness of those who suffered and those who struggle and especially among the new generation of pro-democracy fighters who will not accept the roll back of their Arab Spring.

The world-wide protest is not merely opposed to “the film” and the mediocre anti-Muslim reactionaries who produced it, but of the entire political and cultural Islamophobic ambience in the US which nurtures this kind of film. Beginning with the massive round-up of thousands of innocent Muslims by uber-Zionist Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, continuing with the FBI surveillance and infiltration of hundreds of mosques and following the Zionist sponsored rabble rousing campaign in New York City against a cultural center and the purge of a highly respected Arab-American educator; and the rabid weekly anti-Muslim Christian-Zionist rants to 40 million US followers; and the AIPAC-promoted US Treasury appointments, and subsequent sanctions against independent Muslim countries, Muslims have a solid bases for believing that Islamophobia is embedded in US culture. No thoughtful Muslim in the world believes the film was an aberration since Hollywood’s pro-Israel film and TV moguls have always demonized and grotesquely caricatured Muslims, portraying them as blood-thirsty villains, ignorant barbarians and worthless playboy sheiks.

Obama’s sending of the Marines and warships to defend the missions merely reinforces the image and reality that the US presence in the Muslim world is based on force and arms. There are no critical reflections in US political circles on the larger cultural and political issues involved at home and abroad which arouse the passion and rage now spreading to 20 Muslim nations and beyond.

Islamophobia is not simply an attitude of a minority of marginal extremists, it is part and parcel of policies engaging in large scale on-going wars against a dozen Muslim nations, in policing millions of US Muslims and in arming a Jewish state engaged in uprooting Palestinians and threatening to bomb 75 million Iranian Muslims.

(full long text and Notes 1 to 9).

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