For more than two decades, the Middle East fell easily into neat strategic pieces like a puzzle: A rock-solid peace treaty tied Egypt and Jordan to Israel; stable, pro-U.S. monarchies lined the length of the Persian Gulf oil channels; autocratic governments across North Africa seemed unshakable.
Rarely has the old saying that our enemy's enemies are our friends been more apt. In the past three years, since the attacks on New York and the declaration of the war on terrorism, the so-called civilised world has reached new heights of duplicity in its approach to human rights. It has shed consistency in favour of exigency. Ultimately, we shall all pay the price.
The crucial question regarding Iraq is not whether the motives for war were disguised, but why. The argument that Iraq posed a grave and imminent threat was absurd to anybody not under the spell of round-the-clock White House and 10 Downing Street spin. But the actual reasons for launching the war remain obscure. The plot thickened with the release last month of the US Congressional investigation into September 11. It seems increasingly likely that Iraq was attacked because Saudi Arabia was deeply implicated in the terrorist attacks.