Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, March 28, 2003

War Deeply Affects the Pattern of the Middle East Region

It seems unrealistic at the moment to accurately and exactly grasp the development trend of the situation after the Iraq War, but it is still necessary to make a rough estimation and judgment on the outline of the pattern to be possibly formed in the future in this region by seeing through the smoke of war and by focusing on the postwar situation in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region.


A cloud of smoke still floats over the sky of Iraq. This war is bound to lead to major changes in the Mid-east political and economic pattern. The "International Weekly" (the present issue) has invited PD correspondents and several experts to air their respective views on the many changes that may be brought about by the Iraq War to the Middle East region for reader's reference.

It seems unrealistic at the moment to accurately and exactly grasp the development trend of the situation after the Iraq War, but it is still necessary to make a rough estimation and judgment on the outline of the pattern to be possibly formed in the future in this region by seeing through the smoke of war and by focusing on the postwar situation in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region.

Under US powerful control, major turbulence and even an out-of-control trend will not appear in postwar situation in the Gulf region, but the development of the situation is still fraught with uncertainties, there won't be clear days over the sky of the Gulf.
If the Middle East is taken as the US global strategic lever, then Iraq would be a key chess piece in the US Middle East chess game, which may affect the general situation by a slight move in one part. After its dispatch of troops to Afghanistan and taking a firm foothold in Central Asia, the United States made a sovereign state in the heartland of the Gulf region a target of attack under the pretext of fighting against terrorism, it not only wants thereby to firmly control the oil supply line, achieve the deterrent effect of "executing one to warn a hundred others" among the Arab countries through "punishing" the disobedient Saddam Hussein, it even attempts to reshape the postwar Iraq into a "model of democracy" for regional countries and a bridgehead for US all-round infiltration in the Middle East in the fields including ideology, and to make it, together with Israel, an "unsinkable aircraft carrier" in the Middle East, a strategic cornerstone supporting US domination of the Middle East.

If the United States succeeds in its plot to forge an Iraq, then the postwar Iraq would undoubtedly become "another kind" in the Gulf region. Its rise will constitute a serious threat to other Gulf countries and will break the existing balanced pattern. Iran was already dubbed as part of the "axis of evil" by the United States, the circumstance of Iran after the "overthrow of Saddam" would become more arduous. Although Saudi Arabia is currently the largest ally of the United State in the Persian Gulf, once a pro-US regime was fostered in Iraq, US "heavy reliance on it" would decline, and Saudi's weight on the US strategic balance would be greatly reduced.

As far as other Gulf countries are concerned, they are forced, to different extents, to coordinate US action of "toppling Saddam" due to the small size and weak force of their countries and all the more due to security needs. At the same time, they are most clear that doing so is just like driving out the "tiger" and bringing in a "wolf", and the threat of the "wolf" is a long-term and far-reaching one. No matter how Gulf countries are following the United States in appearance, they are sleeping in the same bed with the United States but dreaming different dreams in actuality, preventing and resisting the United States will be their inevitable choice in the future.

Leaders of some Arab countries will be compelled to re-examine and adjust their relations with the United States after the war and new split-up and combination will unavoidably emerge among Arab countries.
The American move to "topple Saddam" is only a prelude to its comprehensive advance of its Mid-east strategy and a pitching-in point in its construction of a new world political and economic order centered on power politics. If the Iraqi regime that conforms to US interests can stand firm, then the United States would rely on Iraq and Israel as the two wings for east-west pincer attacks, forming a horn-shaped encirclement of the Arab countries in the Middle East.

It is foreseeable that the Iraq War will become a turning point in the evolution of the relations of Arab countries. At the summit meeting of the Arab League and the ministerial conference of the Gulf countries before the move to "topple Saddam", some leaders censured each other, there were already clues of the disunity and centrifugal phenomenon in Arab countries. After the war, some countries originally opposed to the United States overly or covertly temporarily dodge the spearhead to seek self-defense for fear that they might become "a piece of meat on the chopping board". The roles and influences of some regional moderate countries such as Egypt seen as traditional allies by the United States will inevitably be weakened, however, at least within a short period of time, the United States still needs to rely on them for support to stabilize the regional situation, while these countries cannot but compromise out of consideration for the general interest in order to continue to receive US economic aid and maintain their ruling position.

Israel is the biggest beneficiary from the Iraq War, the United States has helped it remove a mortal malady. The situation featuring the strength of Israel and the weakness of Arab countries has become more evident. This will set a new height mark of bargaining between the two sides after the resumption of negotiation between Palestine and Israel.

Anti-American waves will surge one after another in the Arabian region after the war, the fundamentalist forces will keep breeding and spreading, terrorist activities aimed at the United States and Israel will keep increasing worldwide.
It should be said that there are only a few among leaders of the Mid-east region who maintain sincere personal friendship with Saddam, most keep strict vigilance over his ambition to hold supremacy in the region, nevertheless, Saddam is well received by quite a number of people, many people say that he is a "national hero" who dares to counter the United States, the "tie of friendship of Saddam" will inspire the general public to set off more anti-American movements.

After the "9.11" incident, the magnification of US counter-terrorism struggle has intensified the Islamic world's doubts and misgivings and even feud with the United States. Some Arab scholars write books, saying that US attack on Iraq is the "Crusades in the new period" designed to comprehensively transform and Westernize the Islamic world. Former US national security affairs assistant to the president, Zblgnlew Brzezinski, recently wrote an article warning the Bush administration that the United States would be plunged into an utterly isolated position after the war and would face globally rising hostility. Undoubtedly, within a fairly long period of time after the war, the syndrome of the fight to "topple Saddam" will spread all over the Arab countries, many Arab people will turn to consider problems from the angle of the conflict between Western civilization and the Islamic civilization, Correspondingly, Pan-Arab and Islamic nationalism will prevail.

"Toppling Saddam" is easy, but dealing with problems arising thereafter is difficult; fighting terrorism is easy, but removing terrorism is hard. The United States vainly attempts to curb terrorism from its source through integrating the Arab countries, while gaining temporary "success", it also encounters potential and tremendous rebounds. This essentially determines that the United States runs into snags and be foiled everywhere on its road of pressing ahead with hegemony.

In short, after the Iraq War, the contradiction between the unilateral act of this sole superpower, the United States and multi-polarization, the contradiction between the pro-US and anti-US forces of Arab countries, the contradiction between the upper-level regimes of Arab countries who follow only the United States and the anti-American sentiment, the contradiction between fundamentalism and the concept of value of Western civilization, etc., will be complicated and hard to deal with, what will be the growth and decline of this series of contradictions, and what will be the coordination and evolution and the final balance of interest of various kinds of forces are both thorny problems puzzling the United States and are concerned with the future trend of the Middle East situation.

By People's Daily Online

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