Dilemma of declining US influence in the Middle East

2013-09-18 08:50

Declining US influence in the Middle East is certainly a poser.

Successive administrations have been grasping the nettle in the form of finding and achieving a sustainable peace in the Middle East ever since the Nixon administration. That’s how far back my research goes.

Whoever achieves that certainly deserves the Nobel Peace Prize. Is it achievable or, as the Americans say doable? Depends on who you pose this question to.

My take is in the affirmative and President Obama, the current incumbent had the capacity to take that courageous step during his first term but baulked at the prospect of infamy and sustained ire in both the Houses of Representatives and in the Senate when the Jewish lobby certainly has an awesome power and the capacity to influence outcomes.

Brian Michael Jenkins punted this in a morning newspaper( Mercury 18.9.2013 : "Middle East a poser for US") and I studied his analysis of why is it, in his opinion, a ‘poser’?

For instance though the Arab Spring tilted the level of legitimacy of US influence, in my understanding it was but a sidebar to a wider imbroglio. Much of this declining influence, history will show, falls squarely on its partialism towards Israel thanks to the awesome Jewish Lobby group AIPAC. We saw this group at work when the Obama administration was seeking authority to launch a "limited missile strike" on Syria ostensibly because what was happening there was a threat to US interests.

How can the US regain its trust and influence in the Middle East? Certainly it props up tottering regimes friendly to the US style of doing business per force and this is what the Arab Spring declared unacceptable.

Egypt is in danger of imploding as a result of US interference and subsidization of the regime that seized power from a democratically elected Morsi. So how can it regain trust and influence?

Here’s what I think. Of course, I accept that there will be other perspectives as there will be detractors but the lure of discussing and debating with dignity and respect, so that we can find common ground as how the US can regain its trust and influence, is what inspires me. Lets do this without rancour and bad faith.

By adhering to the structures and procedures set up via the UNSC and the principle of rule of law, I believe that this would restore the faith and confidence that the US is not a unilateralist that acts outside the rule of law otherwise it falls under the rubric of a rogue nation. If it finds that this procedure is too cumbersome and dilatory then, as Africa has been calling, reform the UNSC by including more permanent members with the veto power being scrapped. If I recall the history behind the inclusion of the veto power it was to give the US etc this power is to prevent another full scale conflagration as well as cushion against hasty decisions.

Successive US administrations have been subsidiary to the Jewish Lobby groups and this is well acknowledged in memoirs of Jimmy Carter for instance as being one of the shackles that will impact negatively on trust for the US and its influence in the Middle East. We are certainly witnessing this as Russia and Iran took up sides against the US and France over Syria with the UK abstaining because its parliamentary system of democracy works at times like this.

Let me state for the record that the US is certainly capable of regaining its influence and it should start by having the courage to take a stand against Israel's excesses for instance. If it does this applied consistently, Arabs are a very forgiving lot and I get the sense that this is what they expect it to do.

I lay this debate on the table and open it for discussion.

Saber Jazbhay


Follow me on twitter @jazlaw24


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