January 16, 2008
The Independent

Bloody Reality Bears No Relation to the Delusions of this President

As a bomb explodes in Beirut and Israel kills 19 in Gaza raids, Bush takes his Middle East peace mission to Saudi Arabia (and signs off $20bn weapons deal with repressive regime)

by Robert Fisk

Twixt silken sheets - in a bedroom whose walls are also covered in silk - and in the very palace of King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, President George Bush awakes this morning to confront a Middle East which bears no relation to the policies of his administration nor the warning which he has been relaying constantly to the kings and emirs and oligarchs of the Gulf: that Iran rather than Israel is their enemy.

The President sat chummily beside the all-too-friendly monarch yesterday, enthroned in what looked suspiciously like the kind of casual blue cardigan he might wear on his own Texan ranch; he had even received a jangling gold " Order of Merit" - it looked a bit like the Lord Chancellor's chain, though it was not disclosed which particular merit earned Mr Bush this kingly reward. Could it be the hypocritical merit of supplying yet more billions worth of weapons to the Kingdom, to be used against the Saudi regime's imaginary enemies.

It was illusory, of course, like all the words that the Arabs have heard from the Americans these past seven days, ever since the fading President began his tourist jaunt around the Middle East.

You wouldn't think it though, watching this preposterous man, prancing around arm-in-arm with the King, in what was presumably meant to be a dance, wielding a massive glinting curved Saudi sword, a latter-day Saladin, who would have appalled the Kurdish leader who once destroyed the Crusaders in what is now referred to by Mr Bush as "the disputed West Bank".

Is this how lame-duck American presidents are supposed to behave? . . .


Robert Fisk is the author of "The Great War for Civilisation"

Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Terrorized by 'War on Terror'," Washington Post, March 25, 2007

George McGovern, "Why I Believe Bush Must Go," Washington Post, January 6, 2008

Juan R. I. Cole, "Top Ten Myths About Iraq,", January 8, 2008

"FACTBOX: Israel's West Bank Settlements," Reuters, January 8, 2008

[Every country in the world, except America, knows by now that the US is the world's leading state sponsor of terror . . .

Bush considers Iran to be the leading state sponsor of terror, because Iran is believed to fund Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian ghetto. Hezbollah and Hamas are two organizations that exist because of Israeli aggression against Palestine and Lebanon. The two organizations are branded "terrorist" because they resist Israel's theft of Palestine and Israel's designs on southern Lebanon. Both organizations are resistance organizations. They resist Israel's territorial expansion and this makes them "terrorist."--Paul Craig Roberts, "Bringing Death and Destruction to Muslims,", January 17, 2008]

[On January 13 an emerging Sunni-Shiite nationalist bloc in Iraq signed a groundbreaking agreement aimed at ending Iraq's civil war, blocking the privatization of Iraq's oil industry and checkmating the breakaway Kurdish state. . . .

For the past two years, Iraqi nationalists - opposed to the US occupation, opposed to Al Qaeda and opposed to Iran's heavyhanded influence in Iraqi affairs - have struggled to assert themselves. The nascent coalition contains the seeds of true national reconciliation in Iraq, but it has emerged independently of the United States. Unrelated to the constant American pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to meet various reconciliation "benchmarks," the new coalition is designed either to sweep Maliki out of office or force him to join it. . . .

Among its goals, say its leaders, are to ensure that Iraq's "oil, natural gas, and other treasures [remain the] property of all the Iraqi people," opposing both the proposed new oil law that would open the door to privatization of the oil industry and the illegal oil deals signed by the Kurdish regional government. Another goal, they say, is to block the Kurdish takeover of the oil-rich region around Kirkuk in Iraq's north. And, they say, the new coalition will "overcome the narrow circle of sectarianism" by uniting Sunnis and Shiites.--Robert Drefuss, "Nationalists Stirring in Iraq,", January 16, 2008]

Tim Dickinson, "Truth or Terrorism? The Real Story Behind Five Years of High Alerts,", January 22, 2008

"Iraq seeks sharp reduction in U.S. military role,", January 24, 2008

Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail, "Iraqis: 'US the Biggest Producer of Terror',", January 28, 2008

[Hoping to turn enemies into allies, U.S. forces are arming Iraqis who fought with the insurgents. But it's already starting to backfire.--Nir Rosen, "The Myth of the Surge," Rolling Stone, March 6, 2008]

[The most recent survey of Iraqi deaths is the poll conducted by Opinion Research Business, a top British polling firm, in August 2007, which found an estimated 1.2 million deaths by violence among Iraqi households.--"NPR Underreports Iraq Deaths," FAIR, March 26, 2008

[The war in Iraq has become "a major debacle" and the outcome "is in doubt" despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon's premier military educational institute.--Jonathan S. Landay and John Walcott, "Pentagon institute calls Iraq war 'a major debacle' with outcome 'in doubt'," McClatchy Newspapers, April 17, 2008]

[As long as there is injustice in the Middle East, al-Qa'ida will win. As long as we have 22 times as many Western forces in the Muslim world as we did at the time of the Crusades - my calculations are pretty accurate - we are going to be at war with Muslims..--Robert Fisk, "So al-Qa'ida's defeated, eh? Go tell it to the marines," Independent, June 1, 2008]

James Glanz, "Government Study Criticizes Bush Administration's Measures of Progress in Iraq," New York Times, June 24, 2008

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