Monday, 28 February 2011


Just look at how the US 'change faces' in Middle East?

"Changing faces" is one of the stunts featuring many of China's oldest local dramas, and this stunt is especially famous with Chuan opera, or the very popular traditional Sichuan opera.

Of late, the "political earthquake" has jolted countries in the Middle East region one after another. First of all, political earthquake in Tunisia has shattered the cozy world of entrenched Arab rulers and destroyed the image of their military-backed regimes to popular discount and grievances. State power in Tunisia was ruined by popular riots, which were followed by the 18-day turmoil in Egypt that "put a full stop" to President Hosni Mubarak's rule for some three decades.

On the morning of January 15, Tunisia state TV announced that Ben Ali officially resigned and Prime Minister Mohammed resumed power, and Internet contributed to the ousting of Ben Ali from power. On February 14, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak left Cairo for his winter home in the Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheika, ending his 30-plus year autocratic rule.

To date, this kind of drastic, immense changes have also spilled over to other Arab nations to the concern of people worldwide, with its spreading pace stunning the rest of the world, but the United Sates, out of its strategic consideration, is shifty and capricious with a highest frequency fluctuations and makes its changing faces outdo that of veteran Sichuan opera performers.

Egypt is a "bellwether" state for the Arab region and also a "stabilizer" to balance the Middle East set-up. Mubarak was one a "close friend" of the United States, and he dealt severe blows to the Islamic Fundamental Group instead of compromising to this US arch enemy; he had faith in the Arab-Israel talks, a US cornerstone to help stabilizing the Middle East situation. When both sides in Egypt are looked in a "standoff at a street corner", the U.S made an active maneuvering and started to support him and US Vice President Biden publicly called him a "reliable ally".

Then, there was a turnaround in the position of the Obama administration, when demonstrations became increasing fierce and Mubarak was unable to control the situation. Then, US President Obama personally urged Mubarak to "make the right decision" to begin the transition "now", without explicitly saying he should step down.

Thus, the U.S. made Mubarack's "head-sails" trimmed with a sharp turnabout, and abandoned him at a critical moment. Washington's turning back on Mubarak not only disappointed other US Middle East allies, who had come to see clearly the natural disposition of the US Middle East diplomacy.

Control of the politics and capital of the Middle East region poses one of the US key links to beef up its global hegemony. The Middle East is situated in an intersection point where the vertical lines meet the line series of Europe, Asia and Africa, with a vital strategic position, and the region has built up substantial crude oils and liquefied natural gas (LNG). The region had verified a proven, accumulative reserve of 103.2 billion tons of residual fuel oil in 2009, or 55.6 percent of the proven total global oil reserve.

It is precisely for this reason that the successive post-War US governments held the view that "whoever controls the Middle East and its oil, control the world". In 1942, someone attempted to control the world by controlling the oil-rich Middle East and failed.

The US government has tried painstakingly to govern the Middle East region with massive resources and "put down a stake from both sides." It has not hesitated to support and prop up Israel at all costs so as to attain the goal of deterring other Middle East nations on the one hand and, on the other hand, it has worked hard to win over those in power in some Muslim countries and turn them into coordinators and spokesmen for spurring or pushing forward its Middle East strategy.

To Americans, either the former Iranian King Mohammad Reza Pahlavis deposed 32 years ago in the Iranian Revolution (1979) or Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned more than 10 days ago, both once had once a rule to play. When former Iranian King Mohammad Reza Pahlavis was ousted, he was abandoned like a pair of worn-out shoes. The same fate has come to Mubarak today, and people have seen as if in Mubarak the shadow of former Iranian King Pahlavis.

After the Sept. 11 attacks on the Pentagon and the world trade center in New York in 2001, the gravity in the US counter-terrorism has been focused at the Middle East region, and the United States seized every opportunity to promote the "Greater Middle East Initiative". The United States deems that only the Middle East democratization is secured, can the terrorism uprooted worldwide. In face of "democratic movement" in some Middle east countries, the Americans have not cheered it continuously but instead favors a "selective interference" or to "fade them from memory."

A brightest and most vivid example comes from Iran and Libya, which the U.S. has been pleased to see them "turn colors" as soon as possible, and as for those Middle East nations with its heavy military presence it underscored that the "situation is different" from nation to nation, or it would be "looking for what the best possible thing to eat before food."

So, it is crystal clear that people are not hard to understand why the "democracy", "freedom", and other frequently mentioned "lofty ideals", "the universal value" and the attitudes of Middle East nations at every stage is volatile and changeable; and the only one thing is permanent, and that is the control of strategic benefits by the United States.

By People's Daily Online and its author PD desk editor Liu Yongming

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