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Gulf States May Be Next: British MP

by Roger Harrison Friday, Mar. 28, 2003 at 7:37 PM

So this is the kind of thing that goes on behind their oaths of secrecy eh?

Gulf States May Be Next: British MP

Roger Harrison, Arab News Staff

JEDDAH, 26 March 2003 — In an exclusive interview with Arab News yesterday, British Member of Parliament George Galloway said he had evidence that one motive for the war on Iraq is the eventual partition of the Mideast.

“Here in the Houses of Parliament there are people who have never set foot in an Arab country openly discussing the partition of Gulf states,” he said in a telephone interview from London.

“They talk about whether it should be one country, two countries, three countries, even four countries. They openly discuss changing the boundaries of old countries, creating new countries — removing this and that leader,” he added.

Speaking about George W. Bush, Galloway said that he was unimpressive. However, “the US has stirred up a vast amount of hatred against itself by this swaggering arrogance of the intellectually limited President, roaring like a bull in a bomber jacket in aircraft hangars to young men and women of the American armed forces who, although they know very little of the world, are ready to get out there and kill.”

He pointed to what he saw as the geo-political aspirations of the US government as the real motives for the current conflict.

“These people have decided that Arab countries must metamorphose into countries acceptable to the US. That means they must change their way of life, their culture, even their religion. It’s openly stated in the American media that the Qur’an itself has to be changed, because in it there are concepts of justice and resistance which are completely unacceptable to the new American century.”

Galloway argued that the British people and British soldiers were told that the Iraqis would be garlanding the GI’s who came to “liberate” them.

“Of course, none of that has happened. The Iraqis, even in the south of the country, even the so-called disaffected Shiite population, have resisted.”

Asked why people who are supposed to be hoping for peace and “liberation” resisted the soldiers who are supposed to be liberating them, Galloway was adamant.

“I asked it of Jack Straw in the House of Commons this morning, and answer came there none — for there is no answer,” he said.

“It lays bare the propaganda myth — the frankly racist propaganda myth — on which this is based. These people are only Arabs, they’re only Muslims - how could they possibly stand up to our shock and awe?”

He pointed out that there are millions of Iraqis who hate Saddam Hussein, but equally, there are millions of Iraqis who do not.

“They are always invisible in the media - but even among the millions who hate him, they will hate a British and American invasion and looting of their country even more,” he said.

The US and Britain now wave the banner of regime change, elimination of weapons of mass destruction and the introduction of democracy to a free and liberated Iraqi people as justification for the war.

“The kind of democracy they want is not one in which the people of the countries freely choose the destiny and direction of their land; that would be inimical to American interests,” said Galloway.

“If the people in Arab countries could truly choose a representative government, then that government would be forced by public opinion to take a very different line on the assault on Iraq, betrayal of the Palestinians and so on. The US would not allow any such democracy to take root.”

Galloway has first hand experience of the region. He has visited every Arab country, is married a Palestinian, and has met Saddam Hussein twice.

He maintains that, however he is depicted by the Western media, Saddam Hussein is not mad, but rather a very powerful dictator in a middle-ranging third world dictatorship, and should be seen in that context. Nor, he insists, does Saddam fear death, being more concerned about what history will say of him.

Prime Minister Tony Blair, Galloway said, gambled everything on the invasion being a short, sharp and relatively bloodless.

“None of these conditions is currently being met. The spin doctors in Downing street boasted that it would be a six-day war, an allusion to the apparent triumph over the Arab armies in 1967. He is ignorant of the fact that when the six-day war ended, the 35-year war between the Arabs and Israel began.”

“It’s not sharp, it’s jagged — especially for the civilian population and for the invading forces. It’s anything but bloodless,” he added. Galloway said that he routinely watched both Al Jazeera and the BBC -- “the Blair or Bush Broadcasting Corporation,” as he put it - and was watching two wars at the same time.

The BBC was pumping out war propaganda using the language of the warriors and having “cast to the four winds” any pretense of journalistic objectivity. There were no pictures of the suffering civilians or of the streets littered with dead and dying bodies in Basra, he said.

“It’s just whiz, bang and lots of roaring engines and British and American soldiers firing their hi-tech weaponry into a third world people.”

“On Al Jazeera and other Arab channels, we are seeing an entirely different war. That’s the war that is being seen by the audience where the consequences will be most felt.

Looking at the TV screens with a million people on the streets of Damascus on Wednesday and the violence in Cairo and Amman, where the Arab governments are trying to contain the anger of their people, it’s not likely to be without consequences either.”

Galloway has long predicted that the policy of aggression would lead to a furious backlash. He sees a future of extremism and terrorism, fuelled by the events in Iraq.

“The one man who wanted this war even more than George W Bush was Osama Bin Laden, because it brings about the cataclysmic confrontation between East and West, between Muslims and the others, that he set out to engineer with his crime on Sept. 11.”

The polarization of beliefs and isolation of Muslims does not, he thinks, appear to have affected Britain. Muslims and numerous other faiths and cultures have banded together in a remarkable unity of purpose to oppose the war.

“One of the great achievements of our anti-war movement thus far is that we have stopped any kind of sense of alienation here in Britain,” he said. “Instead, we have mobilized the Muslim community along with the Non-Muslim community to make a movement many millions strong.”

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