Dateline: Middle East
It’s embarrassing. Despite decades of military invasions, occupations and intervention it is remarkable how little most Americans know about the Middle East. Do people recall how the Eisenhower administration destroyed democracy in Iran or Washington’s close alliance with Saddam Hussein? Do people realize that Arabs are Semites and to call them anti-Semitic is an oxymoron? After displacing Britain and France, the old colonial powers, the U.S. has built a string of military bases throughout the Middle East and props up dictatorships like Egypt and monarchies like Saudi Arabia. Rhetoric about human rights, democracy, and freedom aside it is oil, weapons sales, and support of Israel which drive Washington’s policy. Presidents come and go but the patterns persist with only shades of difference. And the media? They are doing a great job keeping people ignorant with their unexamined assumptions and biased reporting.
Rami Khouri is a well-known journalist based in Beirut. His articles are syndicated in major newspapers around the world. He was the former director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. He is recipient of the Pax Christi International Peace Award for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East.