Popular resistance from Caracas to Cairo

The struggle for justice and prosperity in the Arab world and everywhere 
depends upon popular resistance to US imperialism and its local clients.
  By George Galloway 

09/17/06 "Al-Ahram" -- -- "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" reads the 
eponymous statue's inscription in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias. But 
it is the boastful tyrant's monument, not the self-confidence of his enemies, 
that lies splintered in the sands. 

Five years on from the atrocities of 11 September 2001, George W Bush and the 
neo- conservatives have managed to turn much of Afghanistan and Iraq into 
desolation, full of now lifeless things. 

Amid this carnage lies another, unlamented casualty -- the colossal wreck of US 
and British foreign policy. The authors of that wreckage cannot conceivably 
claim they were not warned of the calamities they would unleash. 

Millions of us told them what would happen if they seized on the events of five 
years ago to launch what the Pentagon now calls the "long war". Four days after 
the attacks in New York and Washington I spoke in a sitting of the recalled 
British parliament. I warned that if the US and its allies mishandled the 
response, they would create a thousand, ten thousand Bin Ladens. Five years on, 
is that not what's hapened? 

Many tens of thousands of people -- mostly women and children -- have been 
killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do the ultimate perpetrators of the killings, 
as they sit behind their mahogany desks in the White House and Downing Street, 
imagine that the rest of us have not noticed how they do not deem those Arab 
and Muslim dead worthy of the same grief as attends their own? 

Do they think we have not noticed how they refuse even to count the number 
killed in Iraq? Did they believe that the pornographic images of Abu Ghraib 
would be discounted? Did George Bush and Tony Blair delude themselves into 
thinking they could whet the knife that Israel plunged into Lebanon without 
being seen as accomplices to war crimes? 

Blair certainly gave every appearance of having lost all contact with reality 
when he flew to Tel Aviv last weekend. With his own MPs plotting to oust him 
for damaging their re-election prospects, he went to occupied Jerusalem and 
threw his arms around Ehud Olmert, whose war in Lebanon the vast majority of 
people in Britain opposed.

As for Bush, he has always struggled even to give the impression of having a 
connection with reality. Nevertheless, the reality of the last five years 
stubbornly remains. The world is not a safer place; it is more violent, more 

There are more, not fewer, jihadists of the Bin Laden stripe. The bitterness in 
the Arab and Muslim world is deeper, broader and more incendiary. 

In Afghanistan, Blair, oblivious to his nation's history of military 
catastrophe in that proud country, has hurled his soldiers into the most 
unforgiving terrain, against a ferocious and growing military resistance, in a 
part of the world that even Alexander the Great could not occupy. 

In Iraq, the occupiers have spilt enough blood to turn the two great rivers 
red. In order to cling on they foment sectarian and confessional strife which, 
and this may be their parting gift, threatens tragically to trisect the 
country. Can they with a straight face claim Iraq is better off now than it was 
before the invasion?

Remember what they said their war would achieve: freedom and democracy, respect 
for women, prosperity and dignity. 

In truth, it was the freedom of US corporate culture, the democracy of the 
dollar and an Arab world ruled by corrupt kings and puppet presidents just as 
pliant but a little less gauche, able to rig an election as the Bush's do in 
Florida rather than tactlessly incarcerating the opposition.

Even these, their own selfish ambitions, have not been achieved. That 
increasingly stands out as the most salient feature of the reality they have 
created over the last half- decade. Nowhere symbolises it more than Lebanon. 

In March of last year the US State Department and British Foreign Office were 
incongruously playing the role of revolutionary pamphleteer. The "Cedar 
Revolution" in Lebanon was, we were assured, about to usher an irresistible 
movement for a "New Middle East". 

Fifteen months later and we know what that looks like: the Israeli army 
pledging to bomb Lebanon back two decades and embarking on an invasion whose 
success was predicated on reigniting the flames of civil war which the people 
of Lebanon have done so much to douse. 

The war this summer was not merely another episode in the bloody history of 
Israel lashing out at bordering states. It was a battle in Washington's wider 
war on terror. It was a front that opened up, ironically, precisely because the 
US is mired and losing on the Iraq front. The assault on Lebanon was meant to 
pave the way to further aggression against Syria and Iran. 

That makes the reaction of those Arab leaders who denounced the Lebanese 
resistance all the more emetic. Their spurious claims that this was merely a 
Shia issue or that threats to bomb Iran are a Persian problem should be met 
with nothing but contempt. 

In backing Israel against Hizbullah and the Lebanese resistance, they sided 
with the enemy who is garrotting the Palestinians in Gaza. While these leaders 
humiliated themselves before Washington and Tel Aviv, the name Sheikh Sayed 
Hassan Nasrallah was on the lips of millions from Rabat to Riyadh. 

Israel's defeat at the hands of Hizbullah and the resistance in Lebanon is a 
defeat also for Washington and London. It has opened up a new prospect for 
ending the nightmare of the last five years. 

It is not only in the Arab and Muslim world that confidence is surging forward 
that there is an alternative to domination by the US, global corporations and 
their local junior partners. The same is happening in Latin America where 
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela personifies a new radical generation, one 
that met its counterparts in the Middle East and the older generation of the 
great Fidel Castro at the Non-Aligned Summit this week.

This, I believe, is going to be the lasting legacy of the last five years: a 
renewed global movement in direct opposition to the Pentagon and the 
multinationals on whose behalf it acts as enforcer. The stakes are 
extraordinarily high. Just as the impasse in Iraq drove the US to support the 
Israeli adventure in Lebanon, so that defeat may in turn accelerate 
preparations for an assault on Iran. 

That would be one of the most costly miscalculations in history. They stand 
warned. But they stood warned over their crazed reaction to 11 September, so no 
one should underestimate their capacity to wade deeper into the river of blood. 

The US is not going to tip toe away, despite its losses. To do so would mean 
the American establishment accepting that its power and prestige had been 
thrown back to before 1989, when it faced a rival power. 

It is going to take the power of the popular resistance from Caracas to Cairo 
to throw back that behemoth and settle accounts with all the quislings who it 
depends upon but who crucially also depend on it.

George Galloway, is respect member of British Parliament for the London 
constituency of Bethnal Green and Bow

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