Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Hussam Ittani, "Haste," As-Safir, August 20, 2008.

Translation available from MidEastWire

While democracy, as interpreted by George Bush and his ilk, is an unmarketable product here in our Arab lands, does our glee at the Russian victory mean that our only viable alternative for American “democracy” and policy is to get into more alliances with tyranny and oppression?...”
- As-Safir, Lebanon

Ittani: Some of the Arab responses and reactions to the war in Caucasia can be described as hasty. These reactions are filled with comparisons between what befell the United States and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine and the defeat of the Georgian army at the hands of the Russian forces. The conclusions from these comparisons confirm once again the retreat of the American role in the world and the rise of competing forces led by Russia and China. These opinions are not devoid of truth, but like all oversimplifications, contain more mistakes than accurate observations. The belief in the existence of a link between the events in Caucasia and the Middle East presupposes the existence of a single American policy towards both these regions.

Ittani argues that the existential political crisis in Lebanon is "far from over;" that ongoing events in Gaza and the West Bank sound "the death knells of the Palestinian cause as the world has known it since 1965;" and that "gloating at the continuous failures to build a new state in Iraq hides the inevitable question about the viable alternatives;" which is much the same question raised by the Russian victory in Georgia (see above).

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