‘What does the Middle East want from the US, and what does Washington want?’ - YASIN AKTAY

‘What does the Middle East want from the US, and what does Washington want?’

“Let it please not be mistaken that, when we make a critical analysis of our countries in the Middle East, especially on what is going on in Egypt, to our American friends, or the defenders of democracy and human rights, this is not an invitation for the U.S. to once again intervene in our affairs or to support other partners against the dictators they have supported so far.

“It is no secret that the U.S. has only supported dictators and the strong despotic enemies of democracy, and therefore, it constitutes the biggest obstacle against the development of democracy in our countries. That is why, coup plotters and possible dictators turning to the U.S. for approval and asking for their support is no unusual occurrence.

“However, we don’t mean here to suggest that the U.S. should change their partners and start supporting the people instead of the dictators. What we want from the U.S. is for it to stop supporting the enemies of democracy in our countries, and refrain from any intervention which would interrupt the development of democracy in our country. Otherwise, if they let them be, our people too are on the way to achieve democracy, human rights, honor, and freedom.

“However, the greatest barrier hindering such demands is the incomprehensible investment the U.S. and the other Western countries have made to the anti-democracy groups in our countries.”

In summary, this is what famous Egyptian political scientist Prof. Saifuddin Abdulfettah and the leader of Ghad al Thawra Liberal Party Ayman Nour said in “The Middle East Policy of the US: Visions and Transformations” forum, which were also repeated by me. The forum was organized by the U.S.-based National Interest Foundation, the events of which slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi also attended and made speeches in the past, and the Strategic Think Tank Society. It was a good example of a rare event that brought together important participants from America and the Middle East that discussed the U.S.

While names such as Karen Attiah, the editor of Jamal Khashoggi’s columns and one of the influential journalists of the Washington Post who also played an important role in the Khashoggi case finding a place in the Washington Post and the U.S. agenda, the former president of the Republican Party, former congressmen James Moran, Nick Rahall, Doug Bandow from the Huffington Post, and Haled El Gindy from the Brooking Institute attended the event, the chief editor of the Mujtema journal of Kuwait Mohammad el-Rashid and Abdullah al-Sahgy from Kuwait University were also present.

Dr. Talha Köse, Dr. Bilgehan Ayık, Dr. Hakkı Uygur and Prof. Muhiddin Ataman were among the lecturers of the panel from Turkey, many auditors attended the six sessions and analyzed the U.S.’s Middle East policies.

Among the subjects discussed in the summit, the most prominent ones were the Jamal Khashoggi case, Trump’s declaration that, amid the ongoing Israeli occupation in Golan Heights since 1967, it will finally be recognized as Israel’s territory, and the U.S.’s attitude regarding the recent developments in the Middle East in general, Egypt in particular.

To tell the truth, despite the expectation that a message would be given to the U.S. to support democratic actors in the Middle East, almost all participants from Middle Eastern countries asserted that they don’t want the U.S.’s support.

The sociological dynamics of the Middle Eastern people are already forcing society towards democratization and freedoms. As long as the U.S. stays away.

The U.S. and EU which affix great importance to democracy in their own territories have a tendency to strangle any democratic development taking place in Muslim societies, since they see its existence in these societies as a threat against their own interests. Moreover, they also keep asking the question of why democracy cannot exist in the Muslim world, channeling social science circles and the public opinion.

We don’t expect anything from the U.S. But they should also know that the current Middle East policy is not serving their interests either. Because the Middle East is greater than Israel, unlike the U.S.’s position and Israel-centric policies indicate. The Middle East isn’t just about Israel. As Israel is doomed to fail as long as it continues making enemies of all the peoples of the Middle East, it is going to take the U.S. with it.

However, the question Bush Jr. asked right after the September 11 attacks is still there to guide the U.S. to revise its vision. “Why do they hate us so badly?” They don’t need to search far to find the answer.

The fact that the U.S. policies in the Middle East are completely reduced to Israel’s security concerns and interests is destroying the future that the U.S. has in the region.

While the U.S. is straining its credit for the sake of Israel, its reliability and consistency in issues such as democracy, human rights and freedoms, and its neutral position as a superpower, it is also destroying all friendly relations.

Of course, for now, the dictators they support seem very friendly with them since they owe their existence to the U.S. But Washington should realize that neither those dictators have a future in the region, nor is there anything good coming out from standing on their side.

Moreover, by supporting them, they also support all the crimes they commit against humanity, and this creates more hatred among the peoples of the region. Exactly, for this reason, the U.S. is about to lose the moral and prestigious position it once had for being a superpower. The fact that it is not the center for democratic or modern values anymore clearly proves this.

In short, the U.S. is paying heavy prices for Israel. Unfortunately, they are not even aware of this.


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