Middle East

June was a busy month for two of Washington’s real ‘Axis of Evil’. Venezuela’s Chavez completed his nationalisation of oil and Iran’s Ahmedinejad stemmed a Western-backed colour revolution, leaving both bad boys in place, muses Eric Walberg

2/7/9 -- What drives US foreign policy? Is it primarily the domestic economy, as it logically should be, or, as many argue, the powerful Israel lobby, or as other argue, the need to secure energy sources? Of course, the answer is all three, in varying degrees depending on the geopoltical importance of the country in question. And woe to any country that threatens any of the above.

Israel, America and the Muslim world: Eric Walberg takes a hard look at the reasons behind the crisis, arguing from the viewpoint of the history of religion, while Youssef Rakha plays the devil's -- Enlightenment -- advocate. They argue against contemporary Jews and Muslims, respectively, but end up reaching the same conclusion
9/8/7 -- Critiques of Israel as the cause of the Middle East crisis and of the Jewish lobby propping it up and censoring debate are now a dime a dozen. In "The closing of the Jewish mind" (Al-Ahram Weekly 1/8/7), for example, Egyptian-US intellectual Issa Khalaf points to the "profound indifference of the American Zionists, the Dershowitz-like triumphalism, Jewish political tribalism whose roots extend deep into the past", but can only suggest that Zionist Jews and Israelis should "refrain from killing".

28/6/7 -- Canadian aid aims to help Egyptians help Egyptians, Eric Walberg finds out.

Cooperation between Islamists and the left is growing, reports Eric Walberg

5/4/7 -- What is striking about this latest anti-imperialist in Egypt conference is the growing cooperation both within the Muslim world and between the anti-global left and Muslims. This should come as no surprise, considering the traditional focus of the left on defending victims of torture. Who are the biggest victims of torture in the world today? Of course, Muslims, primarily in Iraq and Palestine, but everywhere in the West, and just about in every country that is predominantly Muslim.

Essay-review of Joseph Massad, Desiring Arabs, University of Chicago Press, 2007

4/6/9 -- The Western "civilising" project in its many guises has given rise to strange bedfellows. Not only do Christian and Islamic fundamentalists -- officially enemies of each other -- find common cause in demanding more public displays of religiosity and less liberal social policies regarding sex. In fact, as Joseph Massad shows in his new book, Desiring Arabs, both parties -- again, paradoxically, as enemies of the international gay movement -- actually work in tandem with that very movement, aiding in the process of defining people according to the Western paradigm of hetero-homo sexual categories, which, prior to the 19th century, did not even exist.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here http://www.claritypress.com/WalbergIV.html