Aktham Suliman, the Syrian-born journalist and former Berlin bureau chief of Qatari TV station al-Jazeera, known as the “Arab CNN,” directed it from 2002 to 2012. He has now presented a brilliant, factually and critically written analysis of the wars and the chaos – caused by US imperialism - in the Middle East. Suliman is too modest to limit his analysis to the Middle East. The author manages to relentlessly expose the causes, driving forces and strategic backdrops of the geopolitical catastrophe in the Middle East and to analyse the strategic dimensions that go far beyond the Middle East. He also elaborates on the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, critically examining the colonial occupation policies of Israeli governments and their international allies. (pp. 34)
Al-Jazeera was the only independent Arab broadcaster to continuously report live on the brutality of the US-led imperialist war against Iraq, reaching more than 50 million Arab households. George W. Bush’s European-based “poodle,” the British Prime Minister Tony Blair, was so angry that he called for a bombing of al-Jazeera’s headquarter in Qatar’s capital Doha. It did not happen that way, but the radio station in the Iraqi capital Baghdad was destroyed.
With the “Arabellion” the political orientation of the station changed. Being before an openly and objectively informing institution it has become an instrument of the Islamist movement of “Ekhwan al Muslemin”, the Muslim Brotherhood, and of the foreign policy of the government of the Emirate of Qatar and the interests of the United States. (p. 18)
Suliman razor-sharply analyses the US-directed wars on the Gulf, shows how UN resolutions where exploited, and the United Nations where permanently humiliated by the US administration. UN Resolution 678 of 29 November 1990 has been interpreted as turning the apparent protective shield for civilians overnight into an aggression against Iraq. (p. 25)
UN inspectors were able to prove that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. However, according to the author, the US Army bombed Iraq’s nuclear capabilities “back to the Stone Age”. (p. 27) They have dropped “a greater bomb load in Iraq than during the entire Second World War.” (p. 26) CNN reporter Bernhard Shaw reported: “The sky over Baghdad is shining.” (p. 39)
The horrors of war, the end of which cannot be foreseen, are described meticulously. (pp. 113–161) From the torture in the CIA prison in Abu Ghraib to the shooting of civilians from a helicopter on the street in Baghdad by US mercenaries, Aktham Suliman informs very precisely about the war crimes of the US and its allies. (pp. 28)
Suliman shows that by both the US ambassador to Baghdad, April Glaspie, and the US Department of State was given the go-ahead to the government of Saddam Hussein for the Kuwait raid. (p. 32) This lured the Iraqi government into the Kuwait trap and was later drubbed. Even with the withdrawal from Kuwait, there was no mercy for the Iraqi military units. In my opinion, this comes very close to a war crime.
Francis Fukuyama with his thesis of the “end of history” and Samuel P. Huntington with his brute notion of the “clash of civilisations” are classified as intellectual arsonists who then also supported the hot war. (p. 49) Suliman seriously challenges the current version of the events of 11 September 2001, and puts extensively the ties between al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and the Palestinian theologian and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Dr Abdallah Azzam with the CIA into the foreground. (pp. 65–110)
In the last chapter he describes as a good observer the so-called “Arab spring”, which did not become one. If you want to know first-hand about the national, regional and international connections and interdependencies of the wars and conflicts in and around the Middle East, then the book by Aktham Suliman is highly recommended. •
* Matin Baraki is a German-Afghan political scientist and interpreter. After apprenticeship as a precision mechanic, he studied pedagogy in Kabul and worked as a teacher. From 1970 to 1974 Baraki was Technical Assistant at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of the University of Kabul. In 1974 he went to the Federal Republic of Germany and graduated in 1995 at the Philipps University of Marburg. Afterwards, as a political scientist, he embraced teaching assignments for international politics at the universities of Marburg, Giessen, Kassel and Münster.
Suliman, Aktham. Krieg und Chaos in Nahost. Eine arabische Sicht. (War and chaos in the Middle East. An Arab view.) Frankfurt / Main 2017.
(Translation Current Concerns)
“This book is basically a curriculum vitae of death in the Middle East over the last quarter-century from an Arab point of view. About 25 years ago, in early 1991, the number of foreign armed men and women from over thirty countries reached more than half a million on a small patch of desert in the northeastern part of the Arabian Peninsula. For the West, it was the beginning of ‘Operation Desert Storm’ to liberate Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion that took place in the previous summer. For many in the Arab world, it was a storm of death from which the region between the Atlantic Ocean and the Persian Gulf has not yet recovered. […] War and chaos in the Middle East claimed to present not THE, but AN Arab view, knowing that more than 400 million Arabs in over twenty Arab states and abroad have the right to more than one view. But there is the perceived common ground. From an Arab point of view, the last 25 years have not only been historical developments and events, but rather concrete moments of fate for people of flesh and blood. Thereby biographies of millions of Arabs, including those of the author of this book, changed. Nevertheless, it should be remembered, or perhaps precisely because of this, that just from that Arab point of view – despite of all the images in the news – in the Middle East people not only die and cry, but also live and laugh.”
(Translation Current Concerns)
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