These are difficult times. Day after day, a shocking genocide is unfolding before the eyes of the whole world. Israel is nurturing a psychotic seizure as its “functional response” to the trauma of October 7. We have already become accustomed to living in the heart of an apartheid regime, oppression, and wars that have shed rivers of blood, but the death and destruction that Israel is inflicting today upon the residents of the Gaza Strip are much worse than anything we have seen before in the history of “the conflict.” At the time of this writing, the United States has not only done nothing to stop the massacre of Gaza’s residents but has increased arms shipments to Israel.
As Israel continues its massacres in Gaza, tensions are intensifying over the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the wider North African and Western Asian region. After three US soldiers were killed by a drone strike in Jordan, the US responded with strikes inside Iraq and Syria, killing 40. White House national security spokesman John Kirby then told Fox News that the strikes were "just the first round,” making it clear that hegemony is Washington’s only horizon. Meanwhile a related conflict is heating up on the southern side of the Gulf of Aden, triggered by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, the breakaway state that has been trying to secede from Somalia since 1991 but has not been recognized by any of the UN’s 193 member states or by the African Union.
Of all the amateurish moments to arise as the Biden regime conducts its foreign policy, the White House’s official statement as B1–B bombers let loose over Iraq and Syria last Friday may be the taker of the cake. As the ordnance fell on 85 targets in seven locations, many of them outposts of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, our addled president felt compelled to insist, “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world.” How many times have we heard this since these latest operations in Iraq, Syria and Yemen began? Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, has said the same thing in the same words. Lloyd Austin, the defense secretary, has, too.
The U.S and U.K. have reportedly struck over a dozen sites in Yemen using Tomahawk missiles and fighter jets, backed by logistical support from Australia, Canada, Bahrain and the Netherlands. U.S. President Joe Biden, in a statement, asserts that the strikes against “targets in Yemen used by Houthi rebels” are a “direct response to unprecedented Houthi attacks against international maritime vessels in the Red Sea.” What Biden does not mention in his statement about his administration’s “response” to Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea is that those Red Sea attacks are themselves a response to Israeli crimes against humanity in Gaza.
Over three months into Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, there is little hope the carnage will stop anytime soon—and with each passing day, the danger of Israel’s war on Gaza spiraling into a larger regional conflict increases. The devastation in Gaza is unlike anything seen in the 21st century, but Israel’s military strikes—like last week’s assassination of Saleh al-Arouri, a top leader of Hamas, in Lebanon—have not been limited to Palestine alone. At the same time, armed resistance groups in Iraq and Syria have launched hundreds of attacks on US bases, confrontation between Israel and Hezbollah has created a simmering northern front along the Lebanese border, and Yemen’s blockade of the Red Sea has created an international crisis for shipping and trade.
History will not forgive those who have remained silent, exhibited or expressed ‘balanced’ positions – or worse, defended Israel’s ongoing genocide in an already besieged, impoverished and overcrowded Gaza. This is not a cliché declaration, but a desperate attempt aimed at jolting the world, especially the Western world, to show a degree of morality as Palestinians are dying in their thousands, as the pulverized bodies of children are scattered in every neighborhood in Gaza. No, this is about history. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, Washington and its Western allies wanted to impose a new history on the Middle East, in fact, the Muslim world
It is ironic that a conference on democracy in the Arab world could not be held in the capital of any Arab country, and was instead held in the capital of a politically-unstable Balkan state that itself remains vulnerable to separatist and ethnic intrigues. According to the Arab Council, its landmark conference “Democratic Transition in the Arab World: Roadmap” was held in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo because they “couldn’t locate any Arab capital willing to host a conference on the future of democracy in the region” and were unable to find “a single Arab city where advocates for democracy from various Arab countries and the Arab diaspora could gather without concerns about visas, entry denials or government pressure.”
The phrase “Never Forget” is often associated with the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But what does this phrase mean for U.S. students who are too young to remember? What are they being asked to never forget? As education researchers in curriculum and instruction, we have studied since 2002 how the events of 9/11 and the global war on terror are integrated into secondary level U.S. classrooms and curricula. What we have found is a relatively consistent narrative that focuses on 9/11 as an unprecedented and shocking attack, the heroism of the firefighters and other first responders and a global community that stood behind the U.S. in its pursuit of terrorists.
The circumstances surrounding the flare-up in Syria between the US occupation forces and pro-Iranian militia groups remain murky. President Biden claims that the US is reacting, but there are signs that it is likely being proactive to create new facts on the ground. The US Central Command claims that following a drone attack on March 23 afternoon on an American base near Hasakah, at the direction of President Biden, retaliatory air strikes were undertaken later that night against “facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.”
As Western countries are floating the theory that Russia could escalate its conflict with Ukraine to a nuclear war, many Western governments continue to turn a blind eye to Israel’s own nuclear weapons capabilities. Luckily, many countries around the world do not subscribe to this endemic Western hypocrisy. “The Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction” was held between Nov. 14-18, with the sole purpose of creating new standards of accountability that, as should have always been the case, be applied equally to all Middle Eastern countries. The debate regarding nuclear weapons in the Middle East could not possibly be any more pertinent or urgent. International observers rightly note that the period following the Russia-Ukraine war is likely to accelerate the quest for nuclear weapons throughout the world.
Despite President Joe Biden having claimed earlier this year that “diplomacy is back” and that he would end the war in Yemen, revive the Iran Nuclear Deal and settle several other issues, in reality his Middle East foreign policy has been just as detrimental to the region as was that of his predecessor. “This war has to end…we’re ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arm sales,” Biden said in early February during his first address to the U.S. public on his administration’s foreign policy approach. It was a speech that saw him showered with the praise of his supporters, yet we are now in late December and the war has only intensified, with UN experts estimating that the total death toll by the end of the year will be 377,000.
Notwithstanding that China is a relatively “shy participant” in Middle Eastern policy, the US hegemony, which claims exclusivity among the most “obedient” Arab countries (those which fall into its strategic sphere of influence), is threatened by it. The worrying aspect for the US is that Beijing seeks to present a different model that integrates and takes advantage of the US’s failed military experiences in many wars and direct political interference attempts over the past decades. China hopes for a non-aggressive economic-political breakthrough in the Middle East through a less ferocious and less explicit model than the American one. China has robust chances to succeed due to the mounting awareness in that part of the world of the need for the Middle Eastern states to diversify their international relations and sources of military equipment and commerce.
Thirty years ago, representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) met in Madrid to start bilateral negotiations. Purportedly meant to bring about a just and peaceful future in the territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River, the so-called Middle East Peace Process (MEPP), conceived at the meeting, has instead consolidated a dire reality for Palestinians of permanent occupation by a nuclear military power with an ever-expanding settler-colonial enterprise. Over the course of the last 30 years, the main Western sponsors of the MEPP, namely the U.S. and EU, have repeatedly introduced political initiatives under the guise of “peace building” rather than pushing for a solution to end decades of exile, subjugation, and occupation.
The war in Afghanistan appears to be drawing to a close. But Western atrocities in the Middle East continue, with the 20-year-old War on Terror estimated to have displaced over 37 million people globally. One particularly noteworthy example is the onslaught in Yemen, driving the country to become “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” in the opinion of the United Nations. Currently, more than half the country — 14 million people — are considered to be at risk of starvation. While the Saudis may be doing the majority of the fighting, they are being armed, trained, aided and supported by the United States, Great Britain, and other Western nations profiting from the suffering. One man who knows more than most about this is Ahmed Al-Babati. Ahmed was a lance corporal in the British Army until last August, where he staged a public protest in London, demonstrating against British complicity in the violence.
By the end of 2020, a total of 82.4 million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced from their homes according to the UNHCR. The number of forcibly displaced persons globally has doubled since 1990 and is likely to increase significantly in the coming decades due to a convergence of factors, including armed conflict and other forms of violence, as well as climate breakdown, which will compound pressures to migrate. Displacement occurs in the context of a capitalist economic system in which profits are made both through the sale of arms that are instrumental in causing conflicts and wars, and through the militarization of migrant routes and borders. Alongside the steady increase in the value of the arms trade and the spiraling number of forcibly displaced persons, the market for border security is growing with an expected worth of US$65-68 billion by 2025.