There are many meaningful geo-strategic trends with far reaching effects taking place in the whole of Middle East region. Broken ties are being re-established. Old stances of so-called championship of Muslim Umah are being changed dramatically. There are atmospheres of reconciliation and alliance among the member countries of the Middle East. Increasing and multidimensional pressures of the United States of America has forced old rivals to come under the umbrella of friendship to save their geo-strategic and socio-economic short and long terms interests. US opened diplomatic relationships with Libya. Clear-cut split in the national politics of Iran has been emerged with the sponsorship of the US.
The beginning of 2004 is showing signs of major shifts in the Middle East. Syria, Iran and Libya are intensification their ambassadorial ties with the regional associates of the US. Each country in the region is looking to coagulate its bargaining position in respect to the US’s hard-bitten stance towards each of their governments. Washington is going to find it difficult to conduct power politics in the region if rogue states start cooperating with international demands.
For the last forty years the American intervention around the world was justified by the need to contain international communism. In the Middle East, Soviet expansionism was cited as the rationale behind the 1957 Eisenhower doctrine which authorized backing for conservative rulers such as King Hussein of Jordan and Camille Chamoun of Lebanon, who were besieged by domestic opponents, and for adventures as varied as the overthrow of the Mossadegh government in Iran in 1953, support for Israel in the 1967 and 1973 wars, and the arming of US proxies in the Gulf. The Gulf I&II should also be seen in that context.
Greater Middle East policy of USA has now become reality and key players of the international power and politics are taking all possible measures to check the onslaught of the US in name of denial of democracy, violation human rights, feelings of insecurity, fight against terrorism and above all the search of weapons of mass destruction. The emerging concept of a “greater” Middle East encompasses the territory between Turkey in the north and the Horn of Africa in the south, and between Morocco to the west and Pakistan to the east, and recognizes the strategic impact of events in areas adjacent to the traditional boundaries of the Middle East.
Some experts of international politics and strategies studies even include Central Asia as part of the region. The greater Middle East could be determined by the direction of these trends. It is for this reason protecting access to Persian Gulf oil, maintaining peace between Israel and its neighbors, and limiting radical political movements remain vital U.S. interests.
Germany has already urged new greater Mid-East plan of USA. Many key countries of EU have endorsed the US sponsored plan of greater Middle East.
The U.S. military presence in Iraq has had a serious impact on Damascus. With Libya is now out of the WMD blame game and Iran opening itself up for snap inspection of its nuclear facilities, the sclerotic Ba’athist regime in Syria sticks out like a painful thumb. Syrian President Bashar Assad has visited to Ankara to discuss the emerging geo-strategic trends and joint efforts to save them from the curse of USA. It was only six years ago that these countries were at the brink of a war when Ankara accused Damascus of sheltering Kurdish militants.
The US occupation of Iraq has helped to accelerate the diplomatic process between the two countries. Both countries fear that the Kurds of northern Iraq may be moving towards independence. Damascus and Ankara have criticized the Iraqi agreement where the Kurds will be allowed to keep their autonomy within a sovereign Iraq. Turkey and Syria are worried that an independent Kurdish state would attempt to cut into their borders, or inspire a Kurdish uprising within their states. This is a scenario that could threaten to derail Turkey’s push for European Union membership.
Where regimes are pro-American and populations are anti-American. Examples of countries that fall under this category are Egypt and Saudi Arabia
Includes countries such as Iran where the regime is anti-American but the majority of the population is pro-American
Composed of countries such as Turkey and Israel where both regime and population are pro-American.
After the November 2002 election in Turkey, Ankara has realized to strengthen itself within the Middle East with having sustainable relationships with EU. Syria has attempted to fortify its regional ties as well, since the US threatened in April 2003 to apply economic, diplomatic and other sanctions if Syria does not take the proper steps to combat terrorism and halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. In Turkey, Syria finds a North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO] member and an ally of Israel. Turkey will provide important access to the wider world as American pressures increase.
Syria has initiated many interesting and meaningful diplomatic policy to save itself from the clutches of the USA with having strategic cushion against expansionist policy of Israel. It is now expected that the Bush administration will find it increasingly difficult to enforce its hard line policy of accusing Syria of supporting international terrorism and of failing to stop the movement of Islamic militants into Iraq. Assad’s calls Syria also wants peace with Israel.
Washington’s relationship with Tehran has also undergone something of a transformation since the U.S. invasion of Iraq, although the dynamic is quite different from that of Libya or Syria. The establishment in Tehran has now realized that pressure of the USA is increasing day by day and she has to reconcile its long outstanding enmities and territorial disputes with the states of the Middle East. Early returns in Iran’s recent parliamentary elections 2004 showed conservatives likely to finish with a substantial majority, which may be surprised to the think tank of USA. The resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Egypt has furthered complicate Washington’s approach to the region. Iran and Egypt severed diplomatic relations in 1979 after Tehran condemned Egyptian president Anwar Sadat for signing the Camp David peace accords with Israel.
In the late 1980s, they resumed contact, but at a low level. Iran’s strengthening of its ties to Egypt, a US ally in the Bush administration’s "war on terrorism" and recipient of nearly US$2 billion of US aid annually, will give Tehran greater strength in negotiations with the US. But things are also getting worse in these days. With acceptance of Iran of having weapons of mass destruction and sale of atomic fuel in the international markets has made the United States of America very annoyed. Recent dirty blame game of the West of transfer of nuclear technology by Iran from allegedly Pakistan or may be China has created a atmosphere of uncertainty between Iran and USA. The recent elections in Iran would be crucial point in its national history and along with its gesture of friendship, and cordial ties towards international community including the United States of America.
The U.S. seizure of uranium enrichment components aboard a German freighter bound for Libya in October 2003 sent a clear signal that the USA meant business succeeded to convince Gadhafi that pursuing a nuclear program was no longer worth the candle.
Libya has edged out of the cold and making all possible diplomatic and track-II efforts to save its socio-economic and geo-strategic interests in the region. The recent visit of FM of Libya and PM of Italy Silvio Berlusconi should be seen in that particular context.
The PM of UK is also ready to visit Libya in the near future. The proposed visit by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi will mark the end of a remarkable process in which former enemies have become, if not exactly friends, then allies of convenience.
Colonel Gadaffi wants sustainable relationships with all the key countries of the EU region. The diplomatic/track-II efforts are going underground between Libya and Israel to discuss establishing diplomatic ties represents another step in Libya’s attempt to appease the West and open its borders to foreign investment. The meeting of Ron Prosor, an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, with a Libyan representative in Paris in December 2003 is supposed to be first and giant step towards nominalization process between the two countries. The establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries would be a landmark shift for both governments.
Libya has taken U turn in its atomic bomb facility and national pride and announced total destruction of its all atomic installations and WMD. The UN and the EU have dropped their sanctions against Libya, USA is going to find it difficult to maintain its tough stance against the Libya. According to Washington’s establishment Libyan arms designs traced back to China but its total confess and promise not to make or acquire it again is pleasing the USA.
The US may have to use its regional allies Turkey, Egypt and Israel, the EU, NATO and Russia to a greater extent than they have since the buildup to the invasion of Iraq if they want to enter into negotiations with the countries it considers sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East. A softer and more flexible approach, using the new ties established by each country, may lead to the administration achieving its goal of ending state sponsored terrorism in the region and a brighter economic and diplomatic future for the Middle East as a whole. The entire region is undergoing a series of realignments. Even in South Asia, Pakistan and India are discussing peace. Washington stands to benefit from most of these developments. It is gaining greater control over the Middle East’s WMD programs and ensuring that its regimes take Washington’s interests into strong consideration. They do not want to find themselves in open opposition to American interests.
Every single U.S. President since Harry Truman has considered the Middle East to be vital to national interests of USA, and every one since Dwight Eisenhower has invested considerable time, energy and resources in seeking to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. The state of Israel remains central to U.S. strategic concerns in the Middle East. In 2003, the U.S. renewed its efforts to facilitate a peace agreement by introducing along with Russia, the EU, and the UN the "road map" peace plan. The UN resolutions 242 and 338," are supposed to be ideal for achieving durable peace in the Middle East. Indeed a New World emerged from the collapse of the Berlin wall, as the wind of freedom crossed Eastern Europe until the borders of Russia and the Caucasus, wiping out the cranky red dictatorships. But if Israel remained a key-piece in the US strategy of containment, other players began to emerge, changing the map and the priorities as well.
Mr Qurei the PM of Palestine is seeking to drum up support in Europe. Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei has called for an urgent international meeting to discuss the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank. Israel is the largest recipient of US foreign aid. It is already due to get $2.04 billion in military assistance and $720 million in economic aid in fiscal 2003. It has been getting $3 billion a year for years. Adjusting the official aid to 2001 dollars in purchasing power, Israel has received a direct foreign aid of $240 billion since 1973. But there are a lot of hidden costs, which have been estimated by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. According to his assessment until last year, since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. It is more than $5,700 per person, if divided by the current six million population of Israel.
America’s interest in the Middle East has extended to other, strategic considerations as well, and its ascendancy in the region was ironically hampered by its strongest ally the state of Israel, created by colonial forces and propped up by neocolonial powers. America’s own interests prescribed an alliance with the Arabs, but its own self-imposed obligation to underwrite the Jewish state led it into a fifty-year long confrontation with Arab nationalism, to half a century of struggle waged by the Palestinian people, colonized, ghettoized, and disenfranchised by the expansionist designs of the state of Israel.
Details of US Foreign AID To Israel
– US Jewish charities and organizations have remitted grants or bought Israel bonds worth $50 billion to $60 billion.
– Though private in origin, the money is "a net drain" on the United States economy.
– The US has already guaranteed $10 billion in commercial loans to Israel, and $600 million in "housing loans.
– The US has given $2.5 billion to support Israel’s Lavi fighter and Arrow missile projects.
– Israel buys discounted, serviceable "excess" US military equipment. These discounts amount to "several billion dollars" over recent years. Israel uses roughly 40 percent of its $1.8 billion per year in military aid, ostensibly earmarked for purchase of US weapons, to buy Israeli-made hardware.
– It also has won the right to require the Defense Department or US defense contractors to buy Israeli-made equipment or subsystems, paying 50 to 60 cents on every defense dollar the US gives to Israel.
– US help, financial and technical, has enabled Israel to become a major weapons supplier. Weapons make up almost half of Israel’s manufactured exports.
– US defense contractors often resent the buy Israel requirements and the extra competition subsidized by US taxpayers.
– US policy and trade sanctions reduce US exports to the Middle East about $5 billion a year, costing 70,000 or so American jobs, Stauffer estimates. Not requiring Israel to use its US aid to buy American goods, as is usual in foreign aid, costs another 125,000 jobs. Israel has blocked some major US arms sales, such as F-15 fighter aircraft to Saudi Arabia in the mid-1980s. That cost $40 billion over 10 years.
It is predicted that the fruits of the "USA’s Greater Middle Policy" will bring wonders for the US and rest of the region. In the name of democracy and political harmony it is seemed that tomorrow’s Middle East will be a region in which nearly every country that is key to our interests will have undergone some form of political succession. Jordan, Bahrain, Morocco, and Algeria are under transition. According to USA change in leadership is an issue but at stake is the passing of a generation. King Abdullah of Jordan is 37; King Mohammed of Morocco 36; half of all Saudis are under the age of 15; sixty five percent of Iranians are under 25; and in Algeria, 70% of the population is under 30. This new generation has experienced neither colonialism, nor war with Israel, nor the heyday of Arab nationalism. Its outlook has yet to be formed; its political aspirations yet to be defined but strategic advisors of USA are very hopeful that their new foreign policy of Middle East will definitely ease the tensions between Israel and Palestine and road map of peace will be achieved.
OIL AND MIDDLE EAST POLICY OF USA
U.S. interests in the Middle East also continue to include access to oil. Since World War I, when the world began to move onto an oil-based economy, the Middle East has become central in world affairs, for the very obvious reason that it has, by far the largest and the most accessible petroleum resources primarily in Saudi Arabia, secondarily in Iraq, and thirdly in the Gulf Emirates, and elsewhere. It is strategically the most important part of the world. The smaller, more expensive reserves like North Sea and Alaska are declining. The role of the Middle East in the world energy system is accordingly increasing. Another foreign policy imperative for the US is to influence Arab leadership to protect the geo-strategic and socio-economic interests of USA in the region.
The United States considered using force to seize oilfields in the Middle East during an oil embargo by Arab states in 1973.
US Direct Investment in the Middle East ($US Current Millions)
Source: (Middle East Economic Digest December 15, 1996)
US Trade With the Middle East-Gulf ($US Current Millions)
Source: (Middle East Economic Digest December 15, 1996)
More than half of the world’s known oil reserves are in the Middle East, which is also the cheapest place in the world to extract the product. The United States is by far the world’s largest single consumer of oil, accounting for one quarter of total consumption. In 2002, 24% of U.S. crude oil imports came from the volatile Persian Gulf area. As a result, the political, social, and economic dynamics of the Gulf region remain critical to U.S. energy and economic security concerns. Concern about U.S. reliance on Middle Eastern oil prompted the Bush administration to emphasize the need for establishing a new comprehensive energy policy for the U.S., including the opening of new domestic oil and gas fields as well as research into alternative fuels.
From the Second World War the US emerged an "oil hungry power", with a predictably keen appetite for the Middle East. By 1950 its investments in oil-fields there amounted to $596 million, and it controlled about 40 per cent of oil production. In 1951, British insistence on clinging to its old "rights" in Iran led to the government headed by Mosaddeq to nationalise the oil industry. The Iranian military, led by General Zahedi, had close ties with America, and with the Shah’s sanction, the army overthrew Mosaddeq’s government in 1953. Mosaddeq was arrested, massive repression launched, and the Shah was installed in power. Economic aid from Washington was just waiting to be channelled into Iran under Shah’s rule. A year later a new settlement was made with foreign oil interests, giving 40 per cent of shares in a new controlling corporation to five big American companies.
Setting up big drilling stations and building huge pipelines through deep Mexican waters, turbulent Caspian Sea basin, frozen Siberia, unstable Central Asia, inhospitable Chad and civil war of Angola are very time and energy consuming projects therefore it is easy to possess the unlimited oil reservoirs of Iraq with the blatant use of power. It is also estimated that these places is full with risk, which drives the prices of oil from these places up. In addition, the Middle East is one of the richest sources of oil. Every barrel of Middle Eastern oil costs only $1 for exploration, while a single barrel from elsewhere can cost anywhere between $10-$12. Sound economics have driven the Americans into finding a Middle Eastern solution to the OPEC problem.
Reserves bn barrels
Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy
Iraq contains the world’s second-largest known oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia, and the country has significant unexplored reserves. After the 2ND War of Gulf the U.S. and the UK will be in charge of unlimited Iraqi’s reserves of oil. As Iraqis and Americans negotiate control over the country’s oil, the U.S. clearly is seeking to avoid the appearance of running roughshod over Iraqi decision-making. The manner in which the U.S. handles Iraq’s oil industry will be critical to defusing resentment over Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2003, the issue of weapons of mass destruction [WMD] in the Middle East became the center of world attention as the ongoing battle with Iraq over weapons inspections came to a head. Convinced that Saddam Hussein possessed WMD, was developing ties with al-Qaeda, and was subverting the inspections process, the U.S. and Britain invaded Iraq in an attempt to overthrow the regime. The allies justified the action by saying the prospect of an Iraqi government that might share WMD with terrorists posed an imminent threat to the U.S. and the world, and therefore warranted preventive military action.
COSTS OF U.S. MIDDLE EAST POLICY: AN ECONOMIC OVERVIEW
Policy in the Middle East has been very costly to the US, as well as to the rest of world. The cost to the US of its policies in the region has accumulated to over $ 2,500 billion, an amount greater than the cost of the Vietnam War. The US military budget is now larger than the next 25 spenders put together. It takes up a full 36 per cent of the total global military spending. Its annual military expenditure amounts to $396 billion. The US refuses to sign a new Protocol under the 1972 biological weapons treaty and is busy developing deadly strains of germ and chemical warfare. Since 1948 the US has spent $15 trillion to build up its military might. It spends $776 billion a year to feed its military addiction.
Overview of Estimated Cost to US: ME Policies since World War II (2001) US$ Billion
Type of Cost/Event
Political & Military Crisis, 1973 War
Strategic Petroleum Reserves
Iranian Revolution & Iran-Iraq War
Economic & Military Aid Total Regional
Support for Israel
Lost Trade & Domestic Jobs
Presence and Preparedness in the Gulf
Total Identifiable Costs
Total Aid to Israel
1,700 since 1973
Cost Estimates (Over the Next Decade) to the US of a War in Iraq (US$ Billions-2002)
Low (Short & Favorable)
High (Protracted & Unfavorable)
Direct Cost-Military Spending
Indirect Cost-Follow-on- Peacekeeping
Indirect Cost-Follow-on- Construction
Indirect Cost-Follow-on- Humanitarian
Collateral Effect-Impact on Oil Market
Collateral Effect-Macroeconomic Impact
Source: Nordhaus, p-39, NEBR, December 2002)
Conflicts & Shocks: Economic Effects
Ist Oil Shock
2nd Oil Shock
Gulf War I
Rise in Defence Spending % of GDP 0.3
Source: National Income and Product Accounts
COLLATERAL ECONOMIC COST/ DAMAGE
The collateral economic effect of war referred to the wider macroeconomic effect of drastic changes in defence spending and key macroeconomic variables such as the price of oil, consumer and corporate confidence and the stock market in the 2nd war of Gulf. Collateral effects also included monetary and fiscal response.
Income Category $000
Saving Rate % 1992
Saving Rate %2000
Source: Federal Reserve Board, April 2001
The Potential Impact of Monetary & Fiscal Policy Changes in 2003(Expected Impacts of Gulf War-II
Budget deficit fears push up long term interest
Higher taxes at state level
FED Funds rate rise-due to oil impact on CPI
Source: Federal Reserve Board, April 2001
At the end of the Cold War so transformed the geopolitical landscape as to render the present era historically discontinuous from the epoch that preceded it. Policy makers contend that America’s mission abroad has had to change to keep pace with these new circumstances.
The twin pillars of American policy since the Gulf War have been the doctrine of dual containment of Iran and Iraq, and support for the now-moribund Arab-Israeli "peace process." In each case, the new policy conceals a surprising continuity with the perennial project of US interventionism: to secure the maximum possible advantage for American capital as it seeks access to markets and resources abroad.
From Rollback to Dual Containment
The doctrine of dual containment was first introduced in 1993, two years after the allied victory in the Gulf War. "Conventional Balance-of-Power Theory" had held that the region’s natural leaders, Iraq and Iran, should be pitted against one another to prevent either from becoming dominant and jeopardizing the flow of oil to the West.
At the end of the Gulf War-I there were euphoria among the countries of the Middle East region to gather weapon of mass destruction and advanced arms. Russia, UK and USA were the key three major countries to sale all these means of destruction to entire region especially Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE and Iran. Saudi Arabia has emerged as the world’s leading arms purchaser, acquiring weapons systems worth $36.4 billion from the United States alone between 1994 and 1997. The number of American troops based in the region has swelled to 20,000. US taxpayers spend a staggering $50 billion annually to maintain and equip them.
Cooperation between the domestic intelligence services of the US and Saudi Arabia has reached unprecedented levels, particularly following the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. The US Fifth Fleet is now permanently based in Bahrain. Moreover, the Pentagon announced in 1997 that it was anticipating a 20-50 year deployment of US troops in the Gulf. The goal of this mobilization has been in part to protect the flow of petroleum by intimidating nations that challenge Washington’s prerogative to set the terms of trade in the oil market. The maintenance of military expenditures in the region as the Soviet threat vanished is further evidence that, although superpower rivals may come and go, the thirst for oil is eternal.
It would be erroneous, however, to conclude that maintaining the flow of oil at prices favorable to US interests is the sole purpose behind US military mobilization. Of equal significance is Washington’s desire to augment the integration of the American and Gulf States economies. Profits from the sale of petroleum products are increasingly recycled back to the US through arms purchases, as well as through the bank loans such purchases enable.
Pakistan is also bearing the consequences of the emerging Middle East geo-strategic scenarios. Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and his aides were central point of western media in the near past due to their alleged involvement in the transfer of nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and South Korea. China has strongly rejected the dirty blame game of the west and said that she never indulged in any kind of transfer of nuclear technology to Pakistan, Libya, Iran and any other country of the world.
After the complete confession of Pakistan’s Nuclear Program Ali Baba (Washington Post) Iran, Libya, and South Korea have strongly rejected the allegations of nuclear technology transfer from Pakistan and said it had been propagated on the instructions of Americans. Nuclear Technology is very important to the national and territorial sovereignty of our country, which creates balance of power and strategic cushion in the region of Asia and such blinders for the sake of personal greed, and wealth has damaged the good name of the country. The power thirty crows within the country and hardliner (so-called religious hawks not so and pure religious in their sayings and deeds) played very dirty blame game and did not even care the sovereignty of the country on that particular issue. According to our faiths "Fame and Shame" is from God. Every man is responsible for his deeds and will have to confront with his deeds at the Day of Judgment. States are not bound to any kind of particular issue and caravans of civilization, development, and betterment goes on and on. No one is supreme to the state and national interests. Transfer of Nuclear Technology is very sensitive issue with having far reaching regional and international geo-strategic implications. The national leadership and oppositions including all the major stakeholders should behave sensibly to avert any kind of danger to the country and our strategic assets. Grand operation has been started in the tribal areas of Pakistan and in the vicinity of areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan in order to catch the big fish Osma.
The world we live in is rapidly changing. The nonsense consists exactly in believing that the doctrines and the governments that issue them are eternal. This is not true. The Middle East is undergoing a series of changes that is altering the strategic calculus of the entire region and also creating worries for USA. The U.S. military presence in the heart of the Middle East has had a substantial impact on the region, as regimes have adjusted their policies to adapt to new strategic realities.
The Middle East also is home to Israel, one of closest allies of US, and one with which American enjoy a special bond rooted in history; founded on common interests; sustained by shared values. To protect Israel’s security is to protect American own, which is why US commitment is ironclad and everlasting. And the Middle East is the location of two thirds of the world’s oil resources, making it a region critical not only to the US economic well-being, but to that of friends and allies around the globe.
Recent emerging trends in the entire Middle East region stress the need that we should open our eyes and minds in order to cope with any kind of unwanted geo-strategic happening in our region or around the globe. We should also prepare ourselves to play an important role in the international and regional politics and try our level best to alter our national image and culture of fundamentalism and religious intolerance. Middle East the land of unlimited prophesies with stories of unlimited foreign invasions and big national histories of colonialism is now feeling the heat and immense pressure from USA to institutionalize democracies in their countries with having friendly relationship with Israel. The out come of new greater Middle East Policy of US may change the entire world politics.