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memri
December 31, 2002 No.
117

Arab Media Reactions to The U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative Part III: It's a Zionist/American Plot

Some columnists rejected the Partnership Initiative, claiming that it was actually a Zionist conspiracy aimed at blocking the Saudi initiative declared by Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah (March 2002). Others said it was an American plot to destroy Arab society so that America could take control of the Arab countries.

A. The Zionist Lobby Is Behind Powell's Plan

In one of its editorials, the Kuwaiti daily Al-Watan said that Powell's initiative was an attempt by the Zionist lobby to fabricate an artificial problem between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, with the aim of blocking the Saudi political initiative proposed by Crown PrinceAbdallah in March 2002: "There is no doubt that America supports the implementation of democracy in many countries in the world, while at the same time destroying democracies with views opposed to its own position, let alone democracies that oppose America's national interests…"

"There is no doubt that the American administration, and behind it the Zionist lobby, is lying in wait for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This ambush is not because Saudi Arabia lacks democratic parliaments and elected councils, but derives from the results of dangerous studies conducted by the American Congress and American research institutions – which concluded that there is a need [for the U.S.] to control the Gulf's oil reserves, particularly since in the 1973 war King Faysal, may he rest in peace, refused to sell oil to America."

"If we view the Zionist lobby as party to this issue, we will find that it is simultaneously the guilty party [in it] and the one that profits [from it]. It is responsible for the tension in Saudi-American relations, and may [also] be the one that created the events that caused this tension between Saudi Arabia and the U.S.. The Zionist lobby's stench has recently increased due to the Jews' fear for the fate of their country and the fate of their achievements, thanks to Crown Prince Abdallah's courageous initiative, that won the Arab and Islamic consensus."[1]

Rajeh Al-Khouri, a columnist for the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, wrote: "Those who have been badly burned by American policy in the region, from the first half of the 1950s to date, did not pause for even a moment on Powell's partnership plan…"

"The Zionist circles, with the tremendous influence on the American system, hastened to give a rapid and inciting reply to the question fabricated after September 11, 'Why do they hate America?' [They said that] the Arabs and the Muslims hate America for two reasons: The first reason is because there is no democracy in the Arab and Islamic regimes, which creates economic and educational poverty in the Middle East [from which emerges hatred for America]. The second reason is that Western civilization, which established its superiority, gave the Arabs feelings of inferiority, which requires the preparation of a plan to bring them into the modern age. [These answers,] of course, ignore all the causes and proof linking the [Arab] hatred towards the U.S. to [U.S.] policy…"

"What is the American administration doing in order to deal with this hatred? It is trying to bring the Arabs to 'the elementary school of reform and democracy'… We do not know from which books we must study the chapters on democracy and social and political reform, and there is no room for denying that most of the Arab countries need it. But the perception [taught at] Ms. Elizabeth [Cheney]'s elementary school will meet with crushing defeat – not because we have no willingness for theoretical study, but because we are monitoring the practical implementation of these perceptions in America, implementation that is not only opposed to the meaning of democracy but is also [like] open slaughter of its fundamental principles."

"Anyone who does not believe it should carefully read the principles of the American position declared over and over every day towards Iraq, the U.S. position regarding the inspectors' activity, and its position regarding Palestine and Sharon's aggression. And anyone who does not believe this will remember that immediately after the unveiling of Powell's plan, Condoleezza Rice's democracy announced the appointment of one of the most extremist haters of the Arabs and the Palestinians to head the National Security Council's Middle East Department – Elliot Abrams, who is more Zionist than Sharon, [and] who has for years called for tearing up the Oslo accords, and [who] supported the [Israeli] invasion of Lebanon in 1982."[2]

B. The Initiative is Aimed At Destroying Arab Society and Replacing It With a Democracy in the Service of American Interests; American Society Is No Role Model

Other writers claimed that the U.S. sought to destroy Arab society by means of the initiative, and to create in its stead a society mirroring American society – which they felt was not a suitable model for the Arab world.

In an article titled "My Advice To You, Mr. Powell," Khaled Al-Suleiman wrote in the Saudi government daily 'Okaz: "What Mr. Powell means by his plan to turn us into a modern society is not that every Saudi will become a computer engineer or physics researcher, but that we will be freed from what he considers the moral bonds of our social behavior. He wants us to become a modern society, like his society, in which fathers are stripped of the freedom to raise their children. A society in which the marriage of minors is a crime, but sexual relations with minors is permitted!! A society in which drinking alcohol is like drinking water, and inhaling marijuana is like inhaling air. He means a society stripped of its identity, its values, and its virtues – an ugly society with no connection to its roots, which is only a pale mirror image of the West…"

"We say to Mr. Powell: 'Thanks for your advice. We don't know what the initiative's connection is with your role as secretary of state, but we don't need it. We, in turn, advise you that if you don't have the time needed to fully understand the impact of the modernization you [are offering] us on your own society, devote a little time every day to sitting in front of the television and watching the famous American talk shows whose programs are broadcast unceasingly, so that you will learn how lucky we are to lag behind your caravan of modernity.'"[3]

In the Jordanian daily Al-Rai, Khaled Mahadeen wrote:"The democracy Powell intends to establish in the Arab homeland is an American democracy that will approve American resolutions without discussion. [When it is established,] the American State Department will have embassies and ambassadors in the Middle East capitals; the parliaments will become the embassies and the ambassadors of the American Congress; [and] all our official and popular media in the Middle East will be American media that will glorify Washington's arrogance, applaud its wars on Arabism and Islam, and keep silent about its direct and indirect participation in the Zionist annihilation of the Palestinian people and about the impending American annihilation of the Iraqi people…"

"The current attempt to 'break into' the Arab and Islamic schools, beginning with the elementary schools, so as to destroy them, is exactly what the American Secretary of State intends in his initiative. [The difficulties] with which many Arab and Islamic countries, and first of all Saudi Arabia, have had to deal are perhaps proof that [there is] a hostile effort that seeks to abolish religious education, Islamic modesty, the meaning of good deeds, Jihad, and charity – which is one of the five pillars of Islam, but is subject today to a naive attempt by the U.S. and Europe to eradicate it from the pillars of Islam out of fear that the charity monies will reach what the West terms 'Islamic terrorists.'"[4]

C. What Motivates the Americans is Their Desire to Rule the World – About Which They are Ignorant; It is the Americans Who Need to Change Their Curricula

In an article in the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, columnist Salah Muntasir claimed that it was the Americans who needed changes in their curricula: "America, with all its 50 states, is a huge continent. Except for those who live in New York, Washington, and some [other] well-known cities, most Americans know nothing about the world because they do not need [this knowledge] in their [daily] lives…"

"The American farmer – who represents a large percentage of the residents of Middle America – has no connection to the world except through television, on which he chooses [to watch] commercials for products that bring him more comfort and entertainment… When Americans sit [together] they talk about everything except world news – a situation that changed for the first time after September 11…"

"When the U.S.S.R. – representing the rival superpower – collapsed, it was not enough for the U.S. to merely expand its influence. [It wanted] also to impose its rule on the entire world, to the point where it planned to demand from some of the world's countries to change the curricula in their schools, and is trying to build up new [political] forces within other countries so as to disseminate democracy in them. What motivates America is its desire to lead the world and rule it by means of its economic, scientific, and military power. But is it sufficient in order to achieve this goal?"

"How can a people ignorant in world [affairs], that does not know simple details about the world's geography, history, and peoples, rule it? If there are Americans who think they have the right to demand change in the curricula of some of the developing countries, haven't we the right to demand that America change its own curricula, so that it will produce an American citizen who knows where Afghanistan, Egypt, or Iraq is, [as well as] simple general knowledge that anyone who wants to lead the world should have?"[5]


[1] Al-Watan (Kuwait), December 17, 2002.

[2]Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 24, 2002.

[3] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), December 17, 2002.

[4] Al-Rai (Jordan), December 23, 2002.

[5] Al-Ahram (Egypt), December 17, 2002.