Indictment of the Western neoliberal economic/political order
WRITTEN in response to the ‘Arab Spring’ initiated in Tunisia in 2011, ‘Shadow Wars – The Secret Struggle for the Middle East’, is a powerful indictment of the Western neoliberal economic/political order. Christopher Davidson has gathered a huge amount of information from many sources that support his overall argument.
“…the primary blame for not only the failure of the Arab Spring, but also the dramatic and well-funded rise of Islamic extremist organizations since the late twentieth century – including the deadly al-Qaeda and now the blood curdling ’Islamic State’ – must rest with the long-running policies of successive imperial and ’advanced capitalist’ administrations and their ongoing manipulations of an elaborate network of powerful national and transnational actors across both the Arab and Islamic worlds.”
Since December 2010 the world watched as demonstrations and protests spread across countries in North Africa and the Middle East n Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria, etc. These pro-democracy movements rose up against the dictatorial regimes and corrupt leaders that had ruled for decades in some cases. Someone called these revolutionary events “Arab Spring,” and the phrase stuck. The specificity of these Arab revolutions is that they have been popular uprisings, leaderless and uncompromising in demanding total change.
Women played an essential role in the Arab uprisings that swept the Middle East and North Africa all through last year. Yet as countries like Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya go through transitions, women are being marginalized and their rights sacrificed, several surveys and analysts say.
Davidson then summarizes future prospects indicating the Arab Spring having been foiled—
The work starts with a brief overview of
Davidson then quickly focuses on the Middle East and the history of British imperialism, advances to the modern era and U.S. imperialism. The book is a wonderful read – in a nasty sort of way – with Davidson drawing in many sources, well referenced, detailing how the imperial powers of the west have operated in the region.
British imperialism and its manipulations
Without detailing his overall storyline, several ideas were standout from my perspective. First is the breadth and strength of British imperialism and its manipulations in order to maintain some form of imperial stability. This morphs into tU.S. imperial desires, and while the U.S. receives much critical analysis of its attempts at control, it is made obvious that the U.K. has not really given up on its imperial desires, only now subordinate to the power of the U.S. The main thrust of the interference for both is the desire of western governments wanting “stability”, either military,
Easternization – Asia’s Rise and America’s Decline
In consideration of the imperial “divide and conquer” agenda the whole history relates the ongoing and continued use of jihadis to extend the empire’s control. They serve multiple purposes from creating a reason to attack a particular region, as well as using them as a means to disrupt and attack.
Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is viewed as being the wellspring of the jihadi movement, supplying both the
The final standout has to be the many interactions between the local groups, their efforts to recruit jihadis from abroad (from Indonesia, Pakistan, the former Russian states among others), and the many different branches of
Published in 2016, Shadow
Regardless, it is a very strong read, a strong indictment of the British and U.S.empires and how they use their media, financial power, and military power in order to use both covert and overt mechanisms to maintain control of Middle East resources.
There are two missed components in this work, but given the overall powerful
As I have noticed with some other writers on this general topic, Israel is a missing element. It is mentioned in a few brief comments, such as the one with the IDF admitting providing medical aid to ISIS fighters. However, in consideration of both British and U.S. imperial projects in the region, nothing is said. Both countries, in
Perhaps Davidson together with other authors takes into consideration the backlash that might be received from various state actors if Israel’s participation was highlighted. As I indicated, beyond this, it is still a very powerful and significant view of western interference in the region.
The other miss is oil – and as I have indicated in other writings, it is not really the oil that is of concern, but its use as support for the US$. With Saudi Arabia
The reader will appreciate the book’s use of a unique body of empirical evidence. In particular, Davidson’s use of hundreds of confidential and declassified documents offers us new insights into Western intervention in the Middle East and the extent to which key Western powers will disregard the political and economic goals of ordinary Middle Easterners in their pursuit of the region’s resources. The analysis of these sensitive documents is reinforced by a range of interviews with key former officials from Western and Middle Eastern states, journalists and activists, offering the reader a wealth of facts rarely seen in a single piece of work. Furthermore, Shadow Wars takes up the challenge of investigating the causes of the failure of the Arab Spring by adopting an approach that sees the history of Western involvement in the region as part of an enduring process that casts a long shadow on contemporary (and for Davidson, certainly future) regional phenomena.
The Middle East and the western states then play a double game against each other – supporters of the Washington consensus financial system while also supporting various jihadi groups that the powers that be pretend to oppose but mainly manipulate for their own desires at control. Democracy and freedom are not truly desired; stability and control are the ultimate goals.
Shadow Wars is an excellent book detailing all these double dealings. Christopher Davidson is to be commended for his wonderful work – and I would hope a
[ Jim Miles is a frequent contributor to Global Research.]