Alan Gresh is editor of Le Monde Diplomatic and an expert on the Middle East. Here is an excerpt of his article: Uncle Sam’s New Backyard, How to turn a region into a graveyard – Link via Les Politiques
“The nationalism that has structured the broader Middle East since 1918 is now under threat from the resurgence of ethnic and religious identity –a process encouraged, consciously or not, by General David Petraeus, the current US commander in Iraq who led the 101st Airborne Division that captured Mosul in 2003.
One of his first decisions was to create an elected council to represent the city, with separate polls for Kurds, Arabs, Turkmens and Christians. No mention of Iraqis. By reducing the region to a mosaic of minorities, US policy forces everyone to identify with their community, to the detriment of any national or other loyalty. This undermines national cohesion and fosters conflict in Iraq now and possibly in Syria and Iran tomorrow. It encourages outside regional or international parties to intervene, manipulating local factions in pursuit of their own interests. Israel has been particularly guilty of this since the 1980s.
During Bush’s first term, the neocons developed the doctrine of “constructive instability” in the Middle East . As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said while Israel was bombing Lebanon in July 2006: “What we’re seeing here is, in a sense, the growing —the birth pangs of a new Middle East; and whatever we do, we have to be certain that we’re pushing forward to the new Middle East, not going back to the old Middle East.”
In Bloggers without Borders, Riverbend writes the following from Syria: “I cried that night because for the first time in a long time, so far away from home, I felt the unity that had been stolen from us in 2003.”