22 August 2013

The U.S. war against democracy in the Middle East

The CIA's recent public admission that it masterminded the 1953 military coup against Iran's democratically elected government reminded me once again of the fickle U.S. support for democracy in the Middle East. American involvement was well-known—books have been written about it—but the publishing of previously classified documents by the U.S. National Security Archive amounts to a public confession. The Americans and the British, desirous of maintaining a source of cheap oil, conspired with the Iranian military to depose Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq and install the dictator  Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Choosing between democracy and oil, Britain and the U.S. chose the latter.

In a more recent free and fair election, the Palestinians voted in Hamas over the incumbent Fatah. But Hamas refused to recognize Israel and stated that it wouldn't honour past agreements between Israel and the Palestinian government. Israel, the U.S. and the EU subsequently cut off aid to Gaza, and the U.S. and Israel attempted to undermine Hamas. This time, the U.S. (supported, to our shame, by Canada) chose to support Israel's perceived interest even if it meant sabotaging Palestinian democracy.

And now we have Egypt and the brutal crushing of democracy by the army. The United States has cancelled joint military exercises and delayed the delivery of fighter jets, but may still provide most of its annual $1.3-billion in military aid for 2014. Having been amenable to U.S. policy objectives in the region, The Egyptian military, the source of dictators for generations, has long been a major beneficiary of American arms largesse. As have various tyrannical regimes such as Saudi Arabia.

Despite whack-a-moling democracy when it pops up in the Middle East, the United States persists in claiming it supports freedom and democracy in the region. Perhaps it does, but obviously not if it doesn't benefit American interests. As for American principles, well, apparently they too are servants of realpolitik.

1 comment:

  1. That sucking sound you hear is the last vestige of American credibility in the Middle East going down the drain. They still prop up the House of Saud but they're no longer the only game in town for other Muslim countries whose populations are becoming pretty U.S.-intolerant.