Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Martin Indyk, the US-Islamic World Forum, and sleeping with the Qataris

There is something seriously wrong with this picture:

On the right is Martin Indyk, two-time US ambassador to Israel and an influential policy-maker in previous US administrations.

On the left is what appears to be a Qatari official from that country's foreign ministry.

The picture was taken in February 2007, during the 4th annual US-Islamic World Forum hosted by the Brookings Institution in Doha.

The picture at first look does not appear to be all that disturbing. Unless you scratch the surface and smell what lies underneath.

Martin Indyk is a tireless zionist and protector of the State of Israel. Most of his policies, advice to US presidents, and statements have defended Israeli actions in the Middle East as well as protected Israel from its "enemies".

For one, he was the architect of the dual containment policy which Madeline Albright, former US secretary of state, so defended when asked if the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children were worth the price of going after an Iraqi dictator. The UN says that 1.7 million Iraqis died during the 12-year sanctions regimen on Iraq.

Indyk is also a former AIPAC official and former director of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies, which insisted Iraq had nuclear weapons and legitimized the invasion and occupation of that oil-rich nation.

He has long harbored opposition to not only Iraq, but Iran as well, citing both as the biggest threats to Middle East stability and to Israel. He now advocates that the US move on from Iraq, having carried out the job there successfully. The success is that Iraq lies in ruins, its industry and infrastructure in decay, its people at each others' throats. In fact, Indyk was privvy to policy discussions on Iraq weapons of mass destruction programs and was in support that Iraq, despite UN evidence to the contrary, was building nuclear weapons.

Now, the picture becomes troubling when we consider that Indyk heads the Brookings Institution's Saban Centre, which co-organizes the US-Islamic World forum in Doha. It held its latest forum on February 13-15, 2010 to much pomp and circumstance.

Now that Iraq, one of the two primary concerns weighing on Indyk's mind, has been neutralized, the soundbites to emerge from the forum were principally of war, not talk.

Indyk, we are sure, never failed to push on the "Muslim World" the strategies outlined in Which Path to Persia? written for and by the Saban Center in August. What is alarming about all this is that the authors of this treatise on dealing with Iran have all at one time or another supported sanctions as part of dual-containment and advocated a speedy invasion of Iraq.

We are in deja vu mode. The approach to bamboozling the world on Iraq worked so well that the same architects of war are now marching on Iran.

Hillary Clinton, the staunch Israel supporter and current US secretary of state, called Iran a military dictatorship, thereby setting the stage for a US media blitz that will justify any military action against a dictatorship. Dictatorships are bad, evil, militaristic, conniving, duplicitous and untrustworthy. Unfortunately, this thick brush will be used to gloss over all of Iran - civilian and military alike.

Any war on Iran will sink the entire Arab Persian Gulf States. Each of the six members of the GCC, barring Saudi Arabia, host a large, animated Shia population. If Iran is attacked, the Kingdom of Bahrain will be overthrown by its 80 per cent Shia majority. Kuwait will witness a civil war. The UAE will watch as its economy - staggering along thanks in part to its thriving Iranian mercantile class - sinks to sub-zero level and countries like Qatar ... well, it will find itself unable to choose who to sleep with.

Qatari officials lambaste Israeli policies, but play host in Doha to architects and supporters of those policies. They talk of solidarity with the besieged peoples of Gaza but are in bed with US politicians who have enforced the strangulation of the Gaza Strip.

On February 15, an Iranian battleship docked in Doha. The Qatari chief of staff visited aboard the ship.

What I don't understand is why the Arab press is not all over this contradiction.

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