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Inside of The American-Muslim Conflict

Bachelor Thesis 2015 39 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Region: USA

Excerpt

Table of contents

Introduction

PART ONE The United States as a “broker”

1-The Persian Gulf geopolitics

2-The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S involvement

PART TWO The War on Terror and Media Manipulation

1-The War on Terror

2-Media Manipulation

Conclusion

Bibliography

Introduction

It has become common to observe that the Islamic World and the United States relations are generally bad these days. They seem to be dragged into an intense cycle of political and cultural conflicts, and the most prominent source of this rivalry is the deep unsettled nature of American relations with the Muslim Middle East. In matters related to the Persian Gulf geopolitics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the ‘war on terror’. America has always wanted to maintain ‘control’ and ‘stability’ in the Middle East region, using the veil of the honest ‘broker’. However, the U.S policy preferences and its systematic and organized violence caused repression and the desire of change. The result is an atmosphere of doubt, distrust, and disrespect which further troubled the already displaced relationship between Americans and the Islamic World.

Seeking to analyze the complexity of relations and conflicts between America and the Muslims leads us to approach it from different perspectives; being presented as a cultural and religious conflict, whereas the conflict’s roots have a much wider range. This work seeks to examine the U.S interests and presence in the Middle East region, offering an economic and political approach, which appears to be the most logic based on justified analysis, especially with a particular attention to issues such as the ‘divine mission’ (George W. Bush’s words) as a cover for exploitation and imperialism, the United States involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict –supporting Israel in its inhuman actions and always finding absurd justifications for its hypocrisy- which can be seen as one of the major causes of the this conflict. Examining U.S inclined attitude towards Israel due to their shared interests. And the so-called ‘War on Terror’; waged on terrorist groups such as Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other organizations that were/are funded by the same part that waged war on them. Fighting terrorism was used as a curtain to conceal the real aim which is global dominance and control of valuable oil resources.

Moreover, mass media has also played a crucial role, manipulating generations of people and influencing their attitude, behavior, and ideology. Fueling hatred and resentment especially for Western civil societies who thought that their governments were helping innocent people -whose governments are ungrateful to the help brought by the U.S. This kind of interpretation has transcended into all areas of Western culture, novels, films…to result in a simulated and designed way of thinking and perceiving.

PART ONE The United States as a “broker”

1-The Persian Gulf geopolitics

As it is known, the Persian Gulf is not only one of the –if not the most- important oil areas in the world, but also a home to some other energy resources. Of course this is more than a reason to tackle other countries greed and interest for this mine of energy resources. The U.S presence, both direct and indirect, in the Persian Gulf indicates that much of the U.S foreign policy is focused on that area, which in turn creates a conflict with the countries that are the legitimate inhabitants of that land.

From the perspective of the mid-1990s, the Gulf would appear to be one of the potentially most unstable regions in the world, given the combination of economic resources, militarized tension, internal and external political instability. Yet beyond this evident instability it is worth examining in what difficulties consist. As far as international questions are concerned, one can identify some of the explicit areas of tension: territory, ethnic and religious minorities, oil, and conflicts in foreign policy orientation. The challenges that make the Persian Gulf such a troubled area are by no means a recent development. Washington’s involvement in the region is no news either.[1]

In fact, Middle East, in particular since World War II has become the center of international attention and has always been the scene of competitions and conflicts among the regional and global powers (Anderson, 2000). Among various factors to highlight the importance of this area possessing the main world’s energy reserves and locating the Persian Gulf in this region are most remarkable, so that it has closely connected the fate of Middle East region, the world’s geopolitics of energy and the Persian Gulf to each other.[2]

Basically, regardless of the controversial argument about geographical territory of Middle East, there is a nearly consensus that the term of Middle East which was coined by Alfred Thayer Mahan (1840-1914), the American geopolitical historian in 1902 and the main focus of his term is the Persian Gulf and its coasts (Anderson, 2000; Bilgin, 2005; Lemke, 2002, Lewis & Wigen, 1997).[3]

The important location of the Persian Gulf from cultural, political and economic aspects has attracted the attention of great powers and formed important conflicts and competitions to control this area for a long time. The first western power that entered to this region was Portugal and it was result of the circumnavigation of the Cape of Good Hope in 1984, which was done by Vasco Da Gama. After that Holland, then France and ultimately Britain and even the Ottoman Empire were other states that came to this area to pursue their colonial, political and commercial objectives in the region during sixteenth to twentieth century. In the early of the 20th century, however, the United States entered to region instead of Britain (Sajedi, 2009) and continued its presence in the Persian Gulf as the main external powerful player in region to date.[4]

To clarify more, the direct presence of the U.S in the Gulf coincided with the withdrawal of the British in 1971; so as a consequence the region has taken a vital part in the U.S leader’s views. In 1944 the U.S President Roosevelt said to the British ambassador

Persian oil…is yours. We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it’s ours” (Yergin, 1991, P.401)[5]

The current phase of geopolitical problem began with the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001 on the U.S. The attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon will forever be seared in the memory of a generation of Americans. It is now clear that the attacks on the American homeland and the responses to them have created a new paradigm of global affairs. The American declaration of war on terrorism – on radical Islam – was seen by many as a war on the religion of Islam. Relations between the world’s single superpower and the 1,4 billion Muslim believers can only be viewed as inexorably changed to the worse since 9_11_2001.[6]

The invasion of Afghanistan and the Taliban began the war on terror. In the first major American foreign policy statement after 9_11 George Bush called Iraq, Iran and North Korea “an axis of evil”.

While President Ronald Reagan had called the U.S.S.R an “evil empire” it was clear he did not intend to declare war on them; it appeared that president Bush (II) considered it a “divine” mission. After destroying the Taliban and the armies of the government of Afghanistan Bush stated that “the Iraqi regime had plotted to develop chemical gas, biological and nuclear weapons for over a decade”. A year later the U.S attacked Iraq without proof that they had developed the WMD and shortly therefore it was clear that Iraq did not in fact have nerve gas, nor biological weapons nor was it developing nuclear weapons. As a result of the invasion of Iraq by the U.S and its coalition partners in Iraq the geopolitics of the Gulf and the Middle East changed for ever.[7]

George F. Kennan the creator of the containment policy against the U.S.S.R stated in 2002 that “if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end”. The objectives of the invasion into Iraq as stated by a National Security Directive (Aug. 2002) was;

to conduct policy in a fashion that minimizes the chance of a WMD attack against the United States, U.S field forces, our allies and friends, to minimize the danger of regional instabilities, to deter Iran and Syria from helping Iraq and to minimize disruption in international oil markets”.[8]

Tom Friedman (N.Y Times foreign affairs correspondent and author), a supporter of the war in Iraq said the only thing more frightening than Iran’s having nuclear weapons is America’s bombing Iran. That would raise the price of oil to over 100$ a barrel.

We’re in a war on terrorism with people fueled and funded by our energy purchases. We are funding both sides in the war on terrorism. We’re funding the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps with our tax dollars; we’re funding Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda, and all their brother and sister organizations and the charities that fund them with our energy purchases”.

Both supporters of bombing (Mark Steyn-City Journal, Spring issue) and opponents (Ash-Guardian, April 20,2006) agree the result would be suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, New York, London, missile attacks on Haifa, Tel Aviv and U.S targets and allies in the Gulf, destabilizing Lebanon and Iraq as well as unleashing Shia terrorists in Sunni lands where the U.S has a presence.[9]

Oddly enough while all of the major Democratic candidates for president currently oppose the war in Iraq, all appear to be more than willing to consider a war in Iran. Senator Hillary Clinton used the same formulation as vice president Cheney. “No option can be taken off the table”. Similarly Senator Obama said the same: The Iranian regime was “a threat to all of us”, and “we should take no option, including military action, off the table”. John Edwards has been even more categorical. In a January speech, he said “Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons”. And he added, “We need to keep all options on the table” (N.Y.T March 25, 2007).[10]

Iran appears to becoming a regional superpower partially as a result of America’s failure in Iraq. But not at all data suggests this. Iran is not an economic or military regional power. “Without western assistance, Iran’s stated goal in doubling its oil output to 8 million barrels a day by 2020 will not be realized. Iran’s ability to pump oil, and hence its ability to hold its economy together, is contingent on reliable maintenance of its infrastructure and improved technological improvement. Iran is a net importer of refined oil products, including gasoline !” According to a Business Week review Iran oil exports could (without technological improvement) fall to zero within 10 years.[11]

Economically Iran has serious problems; 50 % of Iran’s 70 million people are under the age of 25,30 % are unemployed. Iran must create almost one million new jobs every year in order to keep its unemployment rate at the present level. Inflation is high (almost 20 %) and the infrastructure especially its oil technology is poor. The inflation rate, high interest rate and a weak Rial have resulted in capital investment being negative. The lowering of oil prices over this winter by almost 30 % (largely as a result of Saudi Arabia pumping more oil possibly at the instigation of the U.S) will have a significant effect.[12]

Iraq Study Group_ ISG:

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates conceded during the senate hearings on his appointment that the U.S, after almost four years was not winning the war.

My greatest worry if we mishandle the next year or two and leave Iraq in chaos is that a variety of regional powers will become involved in Iraq, and we will have a regional conflict on our hands” (N.Y.T Dec.6).

This contradicted President Bush statement one month earlier that “Absolutely, we’re winning” (Guardian Dec.6). Iran and Syria are acting in coordination in terms of Iraq and Lebanon; the question posed by the report is can their interests be separated? Do Iran and Syria gain by helping the U.S exit Iraq or by continuing the violence and conflict? If as Lee Hamilton said in regards Iraq “we’re perilously close to…a lost cause” (Washington Post Dec.8); why would Iran and Syria help? Ali Larijani, Iran’s National Security Advisor referring to a regional conference did not define a grand bargain but made the following pragmatic comments shaped by Tehran’s view of current realities: Iran is up, America is down, and any post-Iraq settlement should reflect those facts.[13] Iran today is more aggressive and powerful than before the invasion into Iraq despite the twenty five years of American economic sanctions.

With the capture of British sailors and Marines in March 23, Iran reacted to the further ratcheting up of the U.N sanctions and the U.S expanding its banking sanctions. Britain did respond with confrontation but with diplomacy; can we learn from that?[14]

Containment rather than regime change may the best the U.S can hope for in terms of Iran. In the longer term détente may be possible offering the pragmatists the opportunity to resume diplomatic and economic relations with the U.S. Only time (and lots of it will determine whether that is in fact feasible.[15]

Syria and Iran may not share the same long-term aims. Syria does not have the same geopolitical, strategic and ideological influence as Tehran and it does not have the ambition of being the strongest regional power. It is likely that Syria, if the opportunity arises, will slacken its ties with Iran in exchange for U.S recognition of its vital interests. Damascus does not have any ideological aversion against the United States, which contrasts with Iran, whose anti-Americanism was one of the pillars of Khomeinist ideology. Similarly Hezbollah and Syria connection may be more tactical than strategic; the formers connection with Iran is ideological.[16]

George Bush’s original response to the report:

In Iraq, they support terrorist and death squads who are fomenting sectarian violence…In Lebanon, they’re supporting Hezbollah…In Afghanistan, they’re supporting remnants of the Taliban…In the Palestinian territories, they are working to stop moderate leaders…In each of these places, radicals and extremists are using terror to stop the spread of freedom. And they do so because they want to spread their ideologies --their ideologies of hate-- and impose their rule on this vital part of the world” (Washington Post, Dec.10)[17]

Bush’s strategic response stated on January 12 was to surge American troops by 20,00031 (in opposition to the I.S.G Report) working with Army units and the Police. They are largely Shia with mixed loyalties; in large areas ethnic cleaning has already occurred. Despite the 132,000 American trained and equipped they have been ineffective against Shia militia and death squads. As the I.S.G Report noted it is unclear “whether (these forces) will carry out missions on behalf of national goals instead of a sectarian agenda”. It would require a cultural change in the government, the Army and the Police for that to change. The new strategy largely ignores the diplomatic front. Instead of dialoguing with Iran and Syria the President accused them of fostering the violence in Iraq, some see this as a prelude to war.[18]

The ‘ surge ’ policy has been opposed by most American politicians many from the President’s own party. Zbigniew Brzezinski has called the President’s new way forward “of limited tactical significance and of no strategic benefit”. Many commentators and the public opinion apparently agreed with him.[19]

The U.S has accomplished all it can reasonably achieve in Iraq; the removal of Saddam, the end of the Ba’athist regime, the elimination of Iraq as a regional threat, the elimination of Iraq’s unrequired acquisition of WMD ‘s and the opening however small of a democratic government. Whatever of the remaining U.S goals can not be achieved by military means. The U.S does not have sufficient control to insist of any further objectives. The U.S empowered Iran as never before in the Gulf.

Disengagement will enhance American powers on a global basis. George F. Kennan noted in testimony to the senate Foreign Relations Committee (1996);

There is more respect to be seen in the opinion of this world to be won by a resolute and courageous liquidation of unsound positions than by the most stubborn pursuant of extravagant and unpromising objectives”.[20]

The Persian Gulf has proved to be a source of headaches for American leaders. Since the most consistent rationale for U.S and Western engagement in such a challenging area has been energy security, it seems legitimate to assess whether new developments in the global energy sector may create the conditions for a disengagement on the part of Washington and its western allies. In fact, recent improvements in drilling and extraction technology have made unconventional hydrocarbon resources increasingly accessible.[21]

These breakthroughs have largely expanded the exploitable reserves of oil and gas in the U.S, and have significantly revived the U.S oil and gas industry. U.S oil production has been increasing since 2012, and according to several estimates the U.S could dramatically reduce hydrocarbons imports and get close to energy self-sufficiency in the coming decades.

Authoritative commentators argue that newly exploitable non-conventional oil reserves will reduce the geopolitical clout of a number of current major oil producers that tend to be at odds with the U.S, and that an America less addicted to foreign oil may no longer need to be so involved in intractable issues such as Persian Gulf politics.[22]

Victory as defined by the Bush administration is no longer possible, stability, withdrawal and containment are the only choices. It will probably require a new government in the U.S who accept that Iraq is a failed state bordering on full scale civil war and develop a multipolar strategy to prevent an implosion in Iraq from expanding into a regional conflagration.[23]

2-The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S involvement

The ancient city of Jerusalem is a religious centre of Judaism, Islam and Christianity and the surrounding region of Palestine reflects this religious diversity. In the late 1800s, a Zionist movement began seeking the creation of a Jewish homeland and state in Palestine, at that time part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. At the end of World War I, the Ottoman Empire was divided into independent states and colonial jurisdictions. Palestine was placed under control of Britain, which issued the Balfour declaration, promising a Jewish homeland and vowing protection of rights for non-Jewish peoples in Palestine.[24]

While Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan gained independence; Britain retained control of Palestine. The Zionist movement encouraged the migration of Jews to Israel, altering the demographics of Palestine, which had been about 90% Arab. As Britain attempted to control the Jewish migration, Jewish activists supported illegal immigration and the “Irgun” emerged as a guerilla force, opposed to British rule. Jewish settlers purchased land from wealthy Arab landowners, expelled Arab peasants and established communal colonies (Kibbutzim), protected by armed militias.[25]

[...]


[1] Fred Halliday; Arabs and Persians beyond the Geopolitics of the Gulf, http://cemoti.revues.org/143

[2] Sajedi Naji, Jayum A.Jawan; Role of the Persian Gulf’s Oil in the US Geopolitical Codes during the Cold War Geopolitical order, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._5;_May_2011/23.pdf

[3] Sajedi Naji, Jayum A.Jawan; Role of the Persian Gulf’s Oil in the US Geopolitical Codes during the Cold War Geopolitical order, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._5;_May_2011/23.pdf

[4] Sajedi Naji, Jayum A.Jawan; Role of the Persian Gulf’s Oil in the US Geopolitical Codes during the Cold War Geopolitical order, International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, http://www.ijhssnet.com/journals/Vol._1_No._5;_May_2011/23.pdf

[5] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[6] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[7] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[8] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[9] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[10] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[11] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[12] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[13] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[14] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[15] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[16] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[17] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[18] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[19] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[20] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[21] Diego Pagliarulo, The Energy Revolution and Energy Security; Mar 7,2014; http://www.e-ir.info/2014/03/07 /geopolitics -or-delusions-the-dilemmas-of-american-policy-in-the-persian-gulf/

[22] Diego Pagliarulo, The Energy Revolution and Energy Security; Mar 7,2014; http://www.e-ir.info/2014/03/07 /geopolitics -or-delusions-the-dilemmas-of-american-policy-in-the-persian-gulf/

[23] Rabbi Moshe Reis; Bible Commentator, Special Stories; The Geopolitics of the Persian Gulf, http://www.moshereiss.org/special/26_persian.htm

[24] FLASHPOINTS: Guide to World Conflicts; Country Briefing; History; http://www.flashpoints.info/CB-Israel-Palestine.html

[25] FLASHPOINTS: Guide to World Conflicts; Country Briefing; History; http://www.flashpoints.info/CB-Israel-Palestine.html

Details

Pages
39
Year
2015
ISBN (eBook)
9783668289376
ISBN (Book)
9783668289383
File size
630 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v339111
Grade
12/20
Tags
World religions geopolitical Studies American-Muslim Conflict

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Title: Inside of The American-Muslim Conflict