tariq ali on middle east

Came across this acerbic, anti-imperial radical left piece on the New Left Review by Tarqi Ali, editor of the Review.  (His wiki here).   Ali is a Trotsky-ite, so I’m not linking to this to endorse wholesale his view of the world.  (Which I don’t share, particularly his love of Hugo Chavez, who is a thug).

But if you can get past the ideological rant aspect (which is not easy I’ll grant) he actually makes an interesting point or two–itself then lost in more ideological nonsense sadly.  Namely that the growing trend in the Middle East is power from the street.

The conclusion in particular (my italics):

The crisis in the Middle East that began in 2001 is not in sight of any dénouement. At best, we are perhaps only at mid-point in the unfolding drama. New forces and faces are emerging that have something in common. Muqtada, Haniya, Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad: each has risen by organizing the urban poor in their localities—Baghdad and Basra, Gaza and Jenin, Beirut and Sidon, Tehran and Shiraz. It is in the slums that Hamas, Hizbollah, the Sadr brigades and the Basij have their roots. The contrast with the Hariris, Chalabis, Karzais, Allawis, on whom the West relies—overseas millionaires, crooked bankers, cia bagmen—could not be starker. A radical wind is blowing from the alleys and shacks of the latter-day wretched of the earth, surrounded by the fabulous wealth of petroleum…

Meanwhile, the emplacements of the hegemon have scarcely budged. The current turmoil is still confined to those areas of the Middle East where for twenty years or more American power never really penetrated: the West Bank, Ba’athist Iraq, Khomeinist Iran. The real US anchorage in the region lies elsewhere: in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Jordan. There its traditional clients have held the line, and are on hand to help out with regional problems. Beyond them, Europe and Japan stand shoulder to shoulder with America on Iran and Palestine, while Russia, China and India make no difficulties. It is too soon to count on imperial defeat.

The last point is particularly revealing and one I had not ever heard prior to reading it in this article.  It suggests a serious re-think in light of the urban slum poor is in order.  But I don’t see it in the coming from any US presidential candidate of either party.

Published in: on January 2, 2008 at 11:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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