Obama’s speeches or the reaction of imperialism against Arab revolutions!
Obama’s two last speeches have symbolized the reaction of imperialist powers against Arab revolutions which are challenging their political and economic interests and above all of their close ally Israel. It is not a surprise therefore to have seen Egypt and Tunisia invited to the G8 by the imperialist and rich powers to discuss of the events in the Middle East and North Africa, while the IMF and the World Bank have also been more and more active towards both countries in suggesting new loans and so called financial assistance to help these countries from their social and economic crisis.
Let’s come back first on the two speeches of Obama. On Thursday 19th of May, Barack Obama main message was that the United States and the West will pour billions of dollars into the Middle East in support of Egypt, Tunisia and other countries “embracing democracy”. This financial assistance, compared to a Marshall plan should not be understood as a way to promote democracy but quite on the opposite as a way to co-opt Arab revolutions and protect USA interests in the region. Two days before his first speech, Obama pledged several hundred millions of dollars in aid to King Abdullah of Jordan, even though that country has repressed popular demonstration these past few months asking for reforms, while not a single line in the speech of Obama was said about Saudi Arabia, a violent and retrograde dictatorship that has made no significant attempt at reform but which is one of America’s main oil suppliers and political ally in the region. In relation to Egypt, Obama has announced to provide a debt relief of as much as $1 billion, along with a new 1 billion credit, while the Egyptian military regime is accused of pursuing torture and arrests against opponent. A senior Egyptian general has actually admitted after multiple denials that “virginity checks” were performed on women arrested at a demonstration this spring. The Egyptian military regime also enforced a law in March banning strikes and demonstrations that impede the work of public institutions, this decision violates international law protections for free assembly.
The USA financial assistance is also a way to guarantee the fact that these countries will still be able to pay their debt, instead of financing social projects, to International Financial Institution such as the WB and the IMF and therefore stay under control of these neo liberal institutions. These latter with the assistance of the West will therefore continue to be able to control the socio economic policies of these countries and pursue the implementation of their policies impoverishing the society and the people as whole. The current regimes in Egypt and Tunisia have actually demanded new loans to these institutions despite growing critics from popular organizations and the left in each country against them which supported and praised the previous regimes. The left in both countries have reclaimed an audit of the debt, as well as a moratorium on it. These debts incurred by the regime of Ben Ali and Moubarak could actually perfectly be understood and qualified of odious debt, a legal concept of international law which has important consequences. According to this doctrine of international law: “If a despotic power incurs a debt not for the needs and interests of the state, but to strengthen its despotic regime, to repress the population that fights against it, etc.., this debt is odious for the population of the entire state (…).This debt is therefore not mandatory for the nation’s debt plan, it’s a personal debt power that has incurred it, consequently it falls with the fall of this power.” Both countries have therefore the right to refuse to reimburse these debts.
As a reminder Egypt has a debt of 30 billions of dollars, while Moubarak family has an estimated fortune of 70 billions of dollars, and Tunisia’s debt is of 15 billions of dollars and Ben Alis’ fortune is estimated between 5 to 8 billions of dollars.
Barak Obama condemned quite rightly further on in his speech the repression of the Syrian and Libyan regime against its own people, but Obama’s rhetoric on this issue is hypocritical on multiple levels: why speak of peaceful demonstrations being suppressed in Syria and Libya, but not speak about the constant repression of demonstrators by the Israeli apartheid regime, while calling for a dialogue in the case of Bahrain despite harsh repression against protesters? In addition to this, on the same day of the speech of Barack Obama, the Israeli State announced the construction of new settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem especially, not a single mention of it was nevertheless said by the US president.
The second speech of Barack Obama on Sunday 22nd of May in front of the pro Israeli lobby AIPAC has confirm the unbreakable imperialist relationship with Israel as a strategic ally in the region that the USA need to secure their interests and to implement imperialist policies.
The president Barack Obama, who won repeated rounds of applause and a standing ovation, reminded the public that U.S. financial support to the defense of Israel under his administration had reached record levels. He declared his will to maintain, with the assistance from the United States, the superiority of the Israeli military over its potential adversaries in the region.
Barack Obama confirmed the continuation of Bush policy of total support to the Israeli State in relation to the 1967 border lines “with mutual agreed swaps” which in other words assures Israel of US support for annexation of West Bank settlements built in violation of international law. The previous president George W. Bush supported this plan, now followed by Barack Obama, in his famous April 2004 letter to the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in which he affirmed the malleability of 1967 Green line to suit Israel and in order for it to practice massive annexations of lands and keeping most of its illegal settlements.
Barack Obama also used racist comments in his speech to guarantee Israel as a Jewish State for the Jewish people against a growing Palestinian demographic “threat”. He explained how the US and Israel must confront a growing number of Palestinians living west of the Jordan River and are fundamentally reshaping the demographic realities of both Israel and the Palestinian territories. Obama has actually legitimized Israel discourse and practice which developed all kinds of political and military strategies to deal with their fear of Palestinian children, whom Israel’s President Shimon Peres calls a “demographic bomb” that he wants to defuse. Golda Meir, an Israeli Prime minister in the past, herself once revealed in the early seventies that she could not sleep worrying about the number of Palestinian children being conceived every night. But the fact that a sitting African American president has enthusiastically adopted such a racist demand has made legitimate for all to accept – unquestioning its meaning or implications.
By these words, Barack Obama has also per se denied the right of return to Palestinian refugees recognized by International Law and UN resolution 192. USA president has therefore refused to 7.1 million on a total of 10.6 millions Palestinians, which is about 67% of the Palestinian population, to come back to their original home in historic Palestine. In addition to this, Barack Obama has denied the right for Palestinians citizens of Israel to enjoy equal citizenship and making them therefore citizens of second category in their own lands by calling for the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State for the Jewish people. Obama’s failure to call on Israel to respect the full and equal rights of the 1.4 million Palestinian citizens of Israel also legitimates Israel growing raft of racist legislation directed against the Palestinian indigenous community.
USA president also made another racist comment by describing the region as a “tough neighborhood” – a term borrowed by Binyamin Netanyahu to refer to the Middle East over a decade ago – wherein Arabs are the violent and barbarian people of the Middle East and Israeli Jews are the peaceful and civilized one.
Obama in many aspects went further than previous US presidents calling on Palestinians and its supporters to stop “delegitimizing” Israel and accept it as “a Jewish state”, “for the Jewish people”. The term delegitimizing is the word Israel and its supporters have applied to the global Palestine solidarity movement, calling for equal rights, especially the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.
Even president Reagan who supported the apartheid regime in South Africa in his first term did not ask that we stop delegitimizing South Africa and recognize it as a “White state””for the white people”. We can also make an analogy with Obama’s use of the demographic scare-tactic with the South African apartheid regime; just imagine an US president urging the racist regime in Pretoria to rush to create more Bantustans so that South Africa could remain a ‘white and democratic state.’
The US president actually called on Israel to accelerate the creation of a truncated Palestinian statelet without any power in the false belief that a Palestinian mini-state on a fraction of historic Palestine can fulfill the rights of more than 10 million Palestinians denied their human rights, and right to self-determination for decades.
Barack Obama also described the Arab Revolutions and the democratization of countries in the region as a threat to Israel’s peace with Egypt and Jordan. He therefore advised Israel to accelerate the creation of a Bantustan crypto Palestinian state, which will nevertheless not appease masses of the region, otherwise its interests will be challenged and any peace with democratized Arab states will be nearly impossible to guarantee. For decades the whole concept of the “peace process” was actually based on Israel signing treaties with unelected and pro western Arab dictatorship regimes in spite of their publics’ deep opposition to such agreements that did nothing to restore the rights of Palestinians and only freed Israel’s hands to attack and occupy more. The 1979 Israel-Egypt and 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaties are very good examples of this policy.
Obama opposed Hamas Fatah reconciliation agreement and declaring it was an obstacle to peace. The US president actually called Hamas a terrorist organization and that this latter should recognize Israel’s right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to all existing agreements, in order to be accepted by the USA and the international community. Barack Obama did not only violates the right of self determination of the Palestinians, once again, by denying them the right to conduct their national affairs, but actually also gave an excuse to Netanyahu to continue to avoid the negotiations. On the other side, the USA president never called on the Israeli state to recognize fundamental Palestinian rights as a precondition for negotiations, and as well to get Israel to adhere to international law or signed agreements by stopping settlement construction. We should remind everyone that Netanyahu’s own political party the Likud opposes a Palestinian state and rejects international law (settlements are illegal and yet he even refuses to suspend partially colonial activities so that negotiations can resume). The Likud party platform clearly states: “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.” ( http://www.knesset.gov.il/elections/knesset15/elikud_m.htm or PDF: http://bit.ly/likudplatform). The platform also denies other basic rights to even our cities like Jerusalem and certainly does not even consider the need to allow refugees to return per International law.
In conclusion, Barack Obama and the USA administration has started to organize the imperialist reaction against the Arab revolutions which are challenging their interests in the region and their close ally Israel. The United States now incapability and incapacity as well as the shakiness of maintaining and / or imposing obedient client dictators on Arab regimes before popular uprising, makes of Israel more than even a close and reliable ally. The warm welcome of Netanyahu by members of the US Congress who reacted to every utterance of the Israeli Prime Minister by loud and numerous applauses, actually more than 50, and standing ovations. If other popular revolutions are successful in the region, the USA knows they will face more opposition by population opposed to its imperialist policies. The USA therefore needs a powerful and secure Israel to secure its political and economic interests in the region.
This is why we need to support revolutions and their permanent uprising in the Middle East and North Africa to free the region and the people from Israel and USA imperialist policies.