ArDO: Yes we want Lebanon to be the Switzerland of the East and Beirut the Paris of the East


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Dr. Walid Phares



Dr. Walid Phares


     Walid Phares

 Too many players too many interests, too many to satisfy and too manyrisks. That is the general assessment of the Mesopotamian equation. Thestakes are higher then ever in a dangerous post 9/11 world. Not to dealwith the Saddam regime is certainly the mother of all historicalmistakes.It doesn't even need to be proven. It's brighter then the sun. Eithertheregional-system of Jihadism (both religious and secular) would prevail, leading to the next much wider and certainly costlier global clash, oritwould be defeated, opening the path for regime change and new horizonofPeace. That's the bottom line in Iraq. It's more then disarmament, andcertainly way above inspections. It is about disarming the ideology thatbrought about the initial need for inspections. But it seems that manyinthe ex -"international" alliance can't (or do not want to) absorb. Most of the Arab and Mideast regimes resent a regime change. Some arehorrified by it fearing its domino effect, and a few Governmentswouldn'tmind it happening, but not at their hand. This outcry to maintain thestatus quo in Iraq was heard by the Euro-consumers of geo-political oil.Both Chirac's France and Shtroesser's Germany volunteered to deflect theUScampaign from regime change to disarmament and from the latter toinspections. And probably from US-monitored inspection to aFranco-Germanone, before granting amnesty to Saddam's Baath. Since the US address attheUN, and despite the clarity of its arguments, the Paris-Berlin Axis hasgradually become the international shield for the most notorious memberofthe "axis of evil."  The Franco-German entente is under three pressures:Athreat of blacklisting by the Wahabi Oil power as in 1973, aninstitutionalized Arabist lobby in both countries and most importantly anightmarish fear of al-Qaida's cells domestically. As for Russia, it hasits own -Chechen- reasons to hesitate about Iraq. Putin's economicadvisorsconverge with the old Orientalist school in Moscow to urge a dualpolicy:Buy Muslim sympathies in the Middle East to sell Slavic toughness onMuslims within the Russian federation. The Duma and the Russian defenseestablishment may think otherwise, but the dominant paradigm on theVolgais to limit Russia's engagement with Jihadism to Chechnya. One war withIslam is enough; seem to think the planning Ivan. China like Russia hasadopted the same dual policy, projecting it into the al-Qaida's Ughiuruprising in the Sin Kiang, Beijing's own Chechnya.   The sum of all the opponents to a military intervention leading to theousting of Saddam has developed a one set of arguments, and another setofproposals. Both sets aim at blocking a regime change. Thedramatization-setspeaks of 1) millions of civilian casualties, 2) military occupation ofunfriendly areas, 3) resentment of the Arab and Muslim world, 4) settingabad example of unilateralism. The proposal-set includes a) stretchingtheinspections in time, b) increasing the number of inspectors, c)deployingUN troops to support them and d) introducing French and Russian -andmaybeArab-troops and planes. The official motto is to opt for multilateralisminstead of unilateralism. The real reason is Oil strategic influenceoverEuro-political economies. The "old Europe" as described by US DefenseSecretary Ramsfeld is still under the 1973 chock. While the UnitedStateswas harshly awaken by Usama Bin Laden's human missiles a year and a halfago, the political establishment on both banks of the Rhine are faking alonger sleep. Despite the multiple arrests of al-Qaida sympathizers inHamburg and Paris, and the objective convergence of interests betweenthe Jihadists and the Baathists in opposing reforms and human rights in the Arab Middle East, let alone their respective appetite for nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, each for their own reasons. Despite allsecurity findings, the Paris-Berlin axis digs its trenches around the Wahabi and Baathist perimeters. For policy planners in both capitals knows all too well that Washington is seeking a regime change at the scale of the region. A change which would allow the peoples of the Middle East, tofollow the path of Eastern Europe. How ironic is it then to see the pillars of "Western" Europe, i.e. Gaullist France and Adenauer's Germany playing the old guards to the dictators and self-proclaimed Caliphs.  In few words, the Euro-Rhine politics of France and Germany are based on two realities: Slavery to Oil and hostage to Jihad. Another historical reason for America and Britain to help these two countries liberate themselves a third time in less then a hundred years. But this time, freeing France and Germany from their self-inflicted dramas won't be on Europe's battlefields, but between the Tigris and the Euphrates.                                    


Dr Walid Phares is a Professor of Comparative Politics at Florida AtlantiUniversity. He is a senior fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Frequently interviewed on MSNBC, Fox News and other media.Walid Phares, Ph.D.Associate Professor Middle East Studies Ethnic and Religious Conflict Advisor,

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