“The Contemporary Arab System: Reading Reality and Exploring the Future” examines the implications of American policy in the Arab region

publisher: العلم

Publishing date: 2009-12-11



At this difficult stage in the lives of Arabs, suffering increases and oppression intensifies. Hopes are crushed, bonds are broken, freedom is imprisoned, wealth is looted, rights are lost, lands are attacked, and people are dispersed by unjust enemies. The boundaries between wrong and right, justice and injustice, dignity and humiliation, sovereignty and aggression have been blurred. In the vast region from Mashreq to Morocco, citizens wonder where this nation is headed. What is its fate? Is it an inescapable destiny for the Arab nation to remain caught between a glorious history and a humiliating present?

Is tyranny and injustice an inevitable fate? Can the Arab nation, as a collective or as individual peoples, continue to accept the prevailing conditions where the doors of hope are shut tight under external and internal domination? In this dark chapter of our history, many have forsaken their nation for the unknown, entering a world of uncertainty and collaborating with the enemy, surrendering the truth, relinquishing their land, and accepting foreign domination. Therefore, it is the right and duty of every Arab to ask: When will this ordeal come to an end? And how?

Abdel Halim Khaddam, in his book “The Arab System: Contemporary Reading of Reality and Exploration of the Future” (Arab Cultural Center, Casablanca Beirut, First Edition 2003), opens with these poignant and critical words. The book aims to address these questions, studying and analyzing the reasons behind the experiences, facts, and events that the Arab nation has endured during this era. Its purpose is to extract valuable insights that can benefit future generations as they navigate their path forward.

The author examines the role of Arabs within the strategies of the two superpowers and, consequently, the strategies of the conflicting blocs in the post-Soviet international system. The goal is to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to determine the path towards building a new Arab system, particularly in light of the current global instability, lack of justice, and insecurity.

Prior to World War II, the focus on the Arab world was primarily on four Western countries: Britain, France, Italy, and Germany. The Soviet Union also aspired to establish relevance in the region, ultimately achieving access to warm waters—an enduring dream of the Russian tsars. Following World War II, the United States assumed a leadership position in the Western world against the Soviet Union. With the growth of American oil interests in Iran and the Gulf, the Arab world gained significant importance in the United States’ strategy.

Initially, the United States did not emerge as a competitor to its European partners, France and Britain, until a later stage when the two states, along with Israel, attacked Egypt in 1956. The call for Arab unity and the establishment of a new Arab system, which aimed to unify Arabs, harness their energies, and direct them towards serving their interests, became a genuine concern for the Maghreb countries.

In this context, the author emphasizes that Arab awareness of their identity and historical responsibilities places them in a position where they must strive for self-determination and regain control and sovereignty over their countries and resources. By doing so, they can become equal partners, both in rights and responsibilities, in shaping the world’s future. Consequently, efforts have been made since the beginning of this century to exploit national sentiments by sowing discord among Arabs and fostering fear and suspicion among them.

It is easier for foreign powers to deal with a divided country and weak, conflicting governments than with a unified country and a strong political system. Weak entities are more easily manipulated and influenced. The conflict in the region has evolved from a struggle against colonialism and foreign influence to a confrontation between different factions within the same forces. This shift has paved the way for foreign interests to infiltrate both sides, exacerbating contradictions and serving the strategic objectives of the United States.

The American strategy towards the Arabs

The American strategy towards the Arabs has undoubtedly encouraged those who perceive a unified approach as a threat to their interests. The author outlines the implications of American policy in the region during the 1990s as follows:

  1. Increased Israeli gains through augmented military assistance, economic support, political backing, and a heightened role of Jewish organizations in the United States.
  2. Heightened American pressure on Arabs to achieve peace with Israel and normalize relations, resulting in significant outcomes.
  3. Increased political influence in several Arab countries, evident in the cessation of the boycott of Israel by some Arab nations, establishment of diplomatic relations, and the gradual fading of the Damascus Declaration that initially involved the six Gulf Arab countries, Egypt, and Syria in 1991. Eventually, the commitments of the Gulf states towards Syria and Egypt were disrupted.

The most significant event that brought about substantial changes in the national and international policies and strategies of the United States was the September 11, 2001, attacks.

The post-September 11 strategy of the United States aimed to achieve the following:

  1. Safeguarding the security, economic, and political interests of the United States.
  2. Strengthening American control over strategically important regions in the world that possess vital natural resources or are located adjacent to major countries such as China and Russia.
  3. Redrawing the political, economic, and social landscape of regions that are linked to American interests.
  4. Considering Israel as an integral part of America’s vital interests that must be protected, defended, and empowered to exert its control, disregarding the United Nations Charter and resolutions. Israel plays a role in U.S. policies not only in the Middle East but also beyond, and Jewish organizations have been effectively employed to serve American interests, notably demonstrated in dismantling the Soviet Union.
  5. Removing all obstacles that impede American or Israeli policies and interests through political, economic, or military pressure, using the pretext of combating terrorism.

It is noteworthy that despite the broad scope of the American administration’s war on terrorism, its focus has primarily been on Islamic fundamentalist organizations, disregarding the fact that these organizations have no connection to the events of September and lack any previous records of violence. Meanwhile, drug trafficking organizations and revolutionary groups are active in Colombia, as well as various extremist and fanatical organizations within the United States itself.

Undoubtedly, the Middle East has been a central concern for the United States, particularly following the escalation of Palestinian armed resistance against the Israeli occupation. This resistance has garnered substantial support from Arab public opinion, clearly expressed through marches and demonstrations. Arab public opinion holds the United States responsible for Israeli aggression against the Arab nation, while simultaneously rejecting American policies towards Iraq.

American and Middle Eastern policies have become evident and require no further elaboration. However, what remains unclear to the United States and its supporters, including Arabs and others, is the future of the region. Those who aspire to conquer nations should study history carefully.

History has shown that nations, despite the challenges and dangers they face, ultimately overcome difficulties, liberate themselves from external pressures, and regain their sovereignty and rights. It is challenging for a student of history or a discerning individual to envision a successful future for American policy, not just in the Arab world, but worldwide.

The Zionist Project

The Zionist Project is disheartened to acknowledge that the goals set for it, as defined by Lord Rothschild in his letter to British Prime Minister Palmerston and at the London Conference in 1905, have been achieved. These goals include:

  1. Physically separating Asian Arabs from African Arabs through the establishment of the Israeli state, while also enforcing economic, political, and cultural divisions that keep Arabs in a state of weakness.
  2. Continuously fragmenting the Arab world and undermining any attempts at unity, either by abandoning them or rendering them ineffective.
  3. Impeding the progress of Arabs and hindering their access to scientific knowledge by implementing policies that restrict their ability to develop and contribute to the production of knowledge.
  4. The conflict with Israel, the different positions taken towards this conflict, and the role of external forces in influencing countries to adopt policies that contradict the stances of other nations contribute significantly to the hostilities and disputes among Arab countries. This serves as a fundamental cause of tensions within the Arab world.