It’s about damn time that Al Jazeera has launched an english website. I’m tired of reading everything through the arabic translator. With Al Jazeera as with the American establishment media read EVERYTHING with a HUGE grain of salt and with the biases of the particular news agency in mind. Here are some good little bits from them:
- Coalition of the willing has become a joke: The “coalition of the willing” has become the butt of jokes rather than serious criticism. Most of the 43 countries which make up the coalition are so obscure in world affairs that their very involvement has had critics of the US-led war rubbing their hands at their good fortune. For it proves their contention that Washington is isolated in its war against Iraq. Make no mistake. This is the US’s war.
- David and Goliath: The United States and Britain have the largest defence budgets between them. Investment in each soldier each year works out at more than US$25,000 per year in training alone. Between them, there are 250,000 troops armed to the teeth and supplied by first world countries with first world communications.
Iraq is now a third world country, coming out of the twelve years of sanctions that have caused hundreds of thousands of deaths. Half of Iraq’s conscript army consists of low-grade reservists who are given a gun and little training, then called soldiers. Although, the Iraqi government is clearly taking its presentation of the war more seriously than in the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi public relations machine is still no match for the US in sophistication
- Oil as a weapon of power: “If the United States maintains strong influence over what happens in the Middle East it certainly has control over the world’s…oil flow,” he said. “The US has at least a certain lever in it relations vis-à-vis these other countries. This well may translate into political capital.”
Michael Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College and author of Resource Wars, echoed Renner’s warnings. “Controlling Iraq is about oil as power, rather than oil as fuel,” he said. “Control over the Arabian Gulf translates into control over Europe, Japan and China,” he explained.
China’s meagre domestic oil reserves forces it to depend on imports mainly from the Arabian Gulf. A potential obstacle to its rise as a global power is whether it can ensure a sufficient supply of energy to maintain economic stability, wrote Frank Umbach, a senior researcher at the German Council on Foreign Relations in a recent paper.
By 2015 three-quarters of the Gulf’s oil will go to Asia, mainly China, according to a study by the Central Intelligence Agency’s National Intelligence Council. A US-friendly Iraq would eliminate other competitors for Gulf oil and block potential global powers.
Oil as a political weapon could also have a negative impact on Russia, said Renner. If Iraqi oil floods world markets Russia’s oil exports, already expensive to produce, would not be as competitive globally. This economic clout could translate into political leverage.
- Saddam dead until proven alive: The United States, in an attempt to lure Iraqi President Saddam Hussein out into the open, has resorted to psychological warfare. Since its failed bombing attempt on March 20 aimed at the Iraqi president, it has floated “news” doubting his existence.
And the media has gone to town expounding this theory, interviewing specialists to comment and raising doubts over Saddam Hussein’s occasional appearance on television talking to his commanders and war council.
I hope Al Jazeera continues to provide information in english. For their own regional interests, it would behoove the Arab states to have a voice in the media representing their viewpoint in english. Obviously, western media cannot be depended upon to move beyond their bias and relationship to the US government to present alternative views.