Saturday, January 22, 2005
Ahmed Yousef (Arab League) - Reflections on Iraq and Palestine
Professor Ahmed Yousef is the Director of the Arab Institute for Research and Study, which is part of the Organization for Education, Science and Culture of the Arab League. Arabmonitor reached him in order to put the immanent Iraqi elections in perspective, as well as the possible repercussions of the vote and to evaluate whether or not there are new opportunities for an agreement on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.
Here are two excerpts from the interview:
Yousef: "The Arab League is the sum of the countries of which it is composed. When the members of the Arab League accepted the presence, in September 2003, if memory serves, of the representatives of occupied Iraq, they had in some way then adhered to the American project for Iraq. And they are still doing so. This fact is not absent of danger, because in Iraq, something is happening that is different from the American project. There are some political forces in that country who are satisfied with the changes, in the same way that there are other forces that have rejected the new things. Yet, an unexpected event happened: the resistance has survived the American military pressure and it has even reinforced itself. The indication that we get is that the military actions are not sufficient to make the resistance cease if the people support it. Now, we are witnessing a growth of this resistance and I foresee that nothing will change after the elections".
Arabmonitor: Nothing will change, that means that the bloodbath that is happening daily will continue or do you predict a civil war ?
Yousef: "I repeat that these elections, which are on the horizon, will be completely marginal. Perhaps others, organized in the future, will have a historical significance, but these present elections will show themselves to be absolutely lacking in importance. Afterwards, everything will continue as before, with the daily bloodbath. I think that nothing can change at least until the Iraqis know the precise calendar of the withdrawal of the American troops from the country".
Arabmonitor: It seems that the Arab world doesn't at the moment have the instruments in order to affirm its own will against that of America.
Yousef: "That is absolutely true. There is not a reaction in the Arab world to any fact at all that is not a consequence of direct or indirect American pressure, be it political or military, on the Arab world itself. This is much more serious in the case of Iraq, because now the Americans themselves are faced with a dilemma: what to do in Iraq? It's important to stress that, being the majority of the Arab States not democratic, our nations are extremely fragile when faced with interference from abroad".