Israel, America & Arab Delusions
In Mid-January, as the first bombs began to fall on Iraq, Saddam Hussein and his partisans continued to offer two strikingly contrary interpretations of their war with the U.S.-led alliance. Sometimes—especially when justifying their own gratuitous missile attacks on Israel—the Iraqis have presented the entire conflict as a great conspiracy hatched by Zionists and executed by their American stooge. “This war that is being waged against us is a Zionist war,” said Saddam Hussein in a television interview at the end of January, “only here, Zionism is fighting us through American blood.” But when Baghdad has wanted to paint President Bush as the “arch-Satan” in the White House, Israel has then shriveled into America’s “evil cat’s-paw.” Obviously, only one of these characterizations of Israel can be true: either it steers Washington’s Middle East policy or it serves American imperial interests—but not both.
Similar contradictions have been put forward since the beginning of the Persian Gulf crisis. Thus, on June 24, 1990, just over a month before the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, a Baghdad newspaper complained that the U.S. government merely echoed decisions made in Israel, that it lacked an “independent policy” on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Then, just four days later, on June 28, another Baghdad daily proposed exactly the opposite thesis, proclaiming that the U.S. had for decades “used the Zionist entity as a tool to safeguard its interests in the region.”
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