Saturday, February 10, 2007

A revealing slip of the tongue

A revealing slip of the tongue
Chirac's comments betray the real priorities of Western powers
By Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
Published in The Daily Star


It seems that journalists who met with French President Jacques Chirac last week could not adhere to the "off-the-record" rule to which they all agreed. Judging by the nature of the information leaked, one does not blame them; it is not usual that a president of a Western country speaks about "wiping out Tehran," elucidating that the real danger is not the bomb that Iran may possess but the leak of the technology to other countries. Chirac said: "Iran will help other countries to do that. Why doesn't Saudi Arabia have a bomb? Why doesn't Iran help Egypt to get one also? This is the real danger."

What a revelation! It means that the real danger does not lie between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia and Egypt, nor does it lie in the threat that Iran presents to the Arabs, as so many Western leaders claim openly or discreetly. The danger is implied in Iran's possession of nuclear technology and in the possibility of leaking this technology to other Muslim countries, mainly because such a possibility will undermine the monopoly Israel has over nuclear bombs in the Middle East. What is equally important is that such a possibility will change the status of rich Arab countries from mere consumers of Western technology to producers of technology, which may put an end to their manipulation by the West. This means that today's Western attitude to Iran is the same attitude that Egypt or Saudi Arabia would've faced had they taken the scientific and technological step Iran has taken, even if their final objective is purely peaceful energy.

This analysis can be best supported by recalling the Western attitude to Iraq. The decisive point that marked a change in the Western attitude to Saddam Hussein was when Iraq started acquiring technological prowess. Israel was tacitly given the green light to destroy Iraq's nuclear reactor and one pretext after another was made in order to destroy Iraq's scientific potential and kill Iraqi scientists and knock Iraq back 100 years, a mission the neocons have now accomplished. No Western leader or official relates the human or social tragedies which resulted from this criminal action against Iraq and the Iraqis.

What Chirac's slip of the tongue reveals is the essence of current Western policies toward Arab and Muslim countries. The legislation issued in the West during the last five years against Arabs and Muslims, the occupation of Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, the continued occupation of Palestine and the cruel war against Lebanon and the continuous threats to Sudan, Iran and Syria are practical steps to implement these new Western policies toward Muslim countries. The means for implementation are the sectarian and ethnic conflicts they are creating between Sunnis and Shiites, Muslims and Christians and Arabs and Kurds. What Chirac's slip of the tongue has revealed is that the West now does not differentiate between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and they certainly do not differentiate between one Arab country and another. They invest in Arab weakness and division to bring the worst fate to our peoples and countries, steal our treasures and keep us as consumers of their products.

Bouthaina Shaaban is the Syrian expatriates minister.

1 comment:

Blacksmith Jade said...

Bouthaina Shaaban would do best to concentrate on the plight of her fellow Syrians, who have been deprived of countless technological advances not by the US and the West, but by her own regime's repressive policies.

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