SENZA CENSURA N.21
WIDENED-MEDITERRANEAN: BETWEEN IMPERIALISM AND
The invasion of the imperialist forces in southern Lebanon, hidden behind the UN commission and in full continuity with the politics of aggression and occupation like Afghanistan or Iraq (passing through the inner interferences in that countries where there are emancipation desires), continues to confirm us the necessity to understand the political, economic and social processes that are investing the so-called "Wide-Mediterranean" area; that area of expansion of the imperialist interests that goes from Morocco until the countries of the Gulf, and in particular those on the Mediterranean Sea. It would be sure an error to think them as detached from a global real situation, considering that moreover the same protagonists of the Anti-imperialist Resistance, in the specificity of their fight, do not make so. The same interest there is to other experiences of opposition to American imperialism, like those that are developing in Latin America.
>From another side, the conflicts, the resistances and the transformations that will born in this area, could more influence the development of a perspective of transformation also in the centre of Europe. Not only, therefore, the ascertainment of the impossibility to export a particular perspective in the periphery (our good western "recipe") but, on the contrary, the necessity to watch and understand the contradictions of our action in the present situation of fight against the imperialist forces promoted by the various forms of resistance. The understanding of what happens in the European and NATO politics on the so-called Widened-Mediterranean area, Euro-Mediterranean or great Middle East, their interference in the processes of the inner transformations of the involved countries, the relapses in terms of social contradictions, in terms of control of the area, is a necessary instrument in order to develop a greater ability of interaction and integration with that part of the working class coming from that "diaspora", that brings in our metropolises the same contradictions of the political of aggression and destruction perpetuated from the imperialism in that area.
When we talk about "Enlarged Mediterranean area", we also mean an area that in the last years has recorded economic growth indices much elevates (in the last year 5,6-6% with the forecast of its stabilization for 2007-2008 of the 5,2-5,6%), particularly in the increase of the oil price and a high increase in terms of liquid assets. According to a study of the "Global Watch" observatory, constituted from ISPI and Bocconi University, this increase has uneven characteristics and it concerns particularly those countries exporting oil (Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and the Libya). The countries involved in the growth of the oil price felt the effects of this good juncture. Egypt, after a time of stagnation, records from 2004 a progressive increase of the economic recovery, like Jordan, that for this year records an increase of the 6%.
The valuation of this study on how much the economic increase of the near countries was affected by the occupation of the Iraq is interesting: "the regional economies benefited from the Iraqi situation. In so far as the reconstruction it has been put into effect, it inflated the exports of the near countries. But also the failure of the Iraqi reconstruction produced benefits. For example, the Jordan economy and, in smaller measure, the Syrian one, benefited from the flow of Iraqi citizens with high income that settled or move their families (stimulating the houses and luxury services supply) and properties (strengthening the Jordan financial system and, through Syria, the Lebanese one) there. There are also other important economic effects of the war that do not regard the interregional flows. For example, Jordan has received additional aids from the United States and Egypt benefited from a big increase of Suez Canal incomes (because of the war efforts and the increase of the oil price) that stimulated the utilization of the Canal in order to join more quickly the European markets ".
This study finds that this trend is spreading towards the Maghreb countries like Algeria and Libya that are using with extreme caution the incomes of the oil exports, for a regional increase. Other interesting aspect is the analysis for which today the exporting countries are, from an economic point of view, in a very different situation from the 1991 war against the Iraq, because now they don't finance the war trough the oil income, that remains to their disposition, increasing so their political-financial ability.
The regional dimension can represent an interesting field on which the opposition to European or American imperialism (or the submission to it) could develop. The Bolivian example and the interest towards the oppositions to the Yankee imperialism that it produces cannot be accidental. In according with the imperialist interests, the search of a bigger regional integration to have a more power of negotiation is a possible trend. Moreover, the other interesting aspect is the development of this integration inside a contest in which the experiences of armed, political and social resistance could collectively assume a managing role for the transformations and the emancipation from the imperialistic interests. But today this hypothesis remains only as a possibility, even if, as we will see later, something is smouldering while an imperialistic development, in spite of its contradictions, is clear.
In the last years - the Observatory says - the regional monetary flows are increasing, not only for the greater availabilities from the oil trend, but also for a "financial anti-Americanism" influenced, after 11 of September, in particular by the difficulties of the holders of capitals caused by many restrictions and controls on the money movements coming from Arab countries. The stock exchange of the region has seen from 2004 an increase that exceeds the 60% with average around to 50%. The exchange of goods, although it has seen an increase, still attests, on a too much low quota (around to 10% of the total).
For the countries of the area, the first opportunity has been the reduction of the foreign debt, in particular towards the countries out of the area. As the striking example of Algeria, the producer country of Maghreb, that, not only reduced its foreign debt, but also increased its monetary reservoirs for a double quantity. The data says that in 2004, time in which was already in action the increase of the quotations, approximately 2/3 of adds has been saved (not putted in the public expense) and diverted on the financial market. These conditions made possible that in 2005 the regional investments represented the 28 % of the total against, as an example, 42% of all UE countries. A very important quota, considering the PIL and the population.
In the opinion of the data bank of MIPO (Mediterranean Investment Project Observatory), in 2005 Saudi Arabia was the first foreign investor in the countries of the Mediterranean with 6,8 billions of euro of investments. In particular, Saudi Arabia has been the first foreign investor in Turkey and Lebanon, and the fourth in Egypt. Always in the 2005 United Arab Emirates (EAU), with 2,6 billions of euro, have been the first foreign investor in Jordan, the second in Egypt, Morocco and Syria, and the third in Lebanon. Then, the Gulf countries have clearly exceeded the North America (16% of the investments in the Mediterranean).
The second aspect is the high increase of the foreign investments, from the Gulf and the rest of the world; it's much important because it shows the growing attraction of the Mediterranean countries. The MIPO data bank says that in 2005 the foreign investments in the Mediterranean countries came to 44 billions of euro against the 20 billions of 2004 and the 10 billions of 2003. From a geographic point of view, Turkey, Arab East and Morocco represent the first destination for the monarchies of the Gulf because of their political and institutional closeness. In the other countries of Maghreb, instead, the investments of the Gulf countries are not so much, except the Kuwaiti investment in the Algerian telephony. The NATO Defence School gave wide space to the debate on the cooperation between the countries of the Maghreb, one of the elements that could develop a real integration with the external countries. The document "The Maghreb Stratégique" identifies some critical points about the integration of the countries of the area in the global system: - the present weaknesses of the regional cooperation- the troubled evolutions of the political regimes and societies of the Maghreb. This document remembers in particular the historical context in which the first idea of a union of the Maghreb imposed itself on the new independent states. The peculiarity of the national liberation fights, the contradictions between the anti-colonial solidarities and the specific interests, the different political and economic choices of the countries of the region contributed to transform the Maghreb in a "burst" place.
The Maghreb countries, after the effects of the globalization and the end of the Cold War, were forced to reconsider their system of alliances, must carry out their regional integration to become important for the region and for the United States and the European Union. The document asserts that it's necessary to act on all the fronts, guaranteeing their economies, democratizing their political regimes, supporting the evolutions of their societies towards modernity. The document finally says that is necessary in particular to strengthen the relations with Euro-Mediterranean partners (indispensable aspect to carry out political, economic and social adaptations) and to make more dynamic the regional integration, still too much timid and full of nationalism to constitute a Maghreb critical political and economic mass. Otherwise, the radical Islam would gain the great realization of a "Magreb of the people" getting over the "Maghreb of the states". In the opinion of the authors of the document, the economic, political and strategic importance of the Arab world is insufficient because of its inability to connect and to integrate itself, in spite of two particular elements: on the one hand, a state rhetorical that appeals to the class and Arab solidarity, on the other, a great belonging and identity feeling of the Arab world that exceeds the single national situations. This feeling of belongings of the populations is considered the permanent underground driving-force of the cooperation movements.
Some statements of the document assert that the regional cooperation cannot in fact exist in the absolute: its purposes, its relevance and its development conditions depend by the geopolitical and strategic situation of its every single region. From this point of view, the situation of the Maschrek is clearly more worrying than the Magreb's one: the Arab states of the Maschrek, exposed to the external interferences, in particular those of the United States, and "troubled" by the Israel military importance, have developed a "bunker position", a siege state psychology. They so think that can't be a regional cooperation without two essential elements: on one side, a context of peace and stability and from the other, a coherent integration of Israel in every plan of cooperation. One of the proposals is the creation of three regional fields of cooperation: Arab Maghreb, the five member-states of the UMA (Arab Maghreb Union); the states of the gulf, members of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Yemen; central Maschrek, neighbouring countries of Israel, including Palestine and Egypt. This last country would also has a fundamental connection role between central Maschrek and Maghreb, because of its position and its strategic importance.
Then, the matter of the contrasting evolutions, referred to the capitalistic development interests of the societies and the regimes that determines a do-nothing politics of the decisional demands; it more and more badly bear from a "civil society" in expansion that risks to find in the political and religious radicalisms the only form to express too long repressed frustrations. Then, is re-affirmed the increasing difference between an official rhetoric, made by slogans and derived from the Cold War, and the evolutions, taking as example the Moroccan society: social misery, population and city explosion, unemployment of the young people and in particular of the graduated young people. About Morocco they assert that: "Even if the regime bravely faced the problem of the human rights, in particular with the foundation of fairness and reconciliation needs, its action is insufficient for the economic and social transformations, that become an interesting area of intervention for the Islamists groups and other forces that take advantage to the fundamental claim of identity and social justice".
The document reports an analysis of the evolutions of central Maghreb societies (Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia) with reference to four fields: the demographic transition, the education, the occupation and the role of the diaspora. The document underlines that the societies of the three countries develop in the same way, even if the rhythms of develop are different, but it is independent of the different state politics. The decrease of the birthrate and regression of the wedding age are verified in all the three countries, but the governments don't draw any conclusions from these facts, for example about the evolution of the woman rights. About education, it asserts that the effects of the last demographic outbreak, the spreading of the education and a linguistic policy, too much ideological for a long time (Arab against French), produce unexpected results. The big unemployment and the absence of a net of state social securities support the development of an informal economy and a system of "generalized astuteness" in which the communitarian and familiar solidarity prevails. The document asserts also that the life ways are transformed quickly under the influence of the diaspora, Internet and the increase of the parabolic aerials.
The present political leadership is a product of the cornering and the westernization and use the fear of the terrorism as instrument to consolidate its power. "So, societies and regimes seem living on two different planets, until the time when contradictions will become too much strong and they will generate destabilization that will be created by the pressure of the mass in some countries, or by the action of the extremist groups in others". The difficulties appeared clearly during the meetings of the Euro-Mediterranean countries during the 10-years-old anniversary of Barcelona Process (through which has been started the Euro-Mediterranean integration process). Difficulties that modify the starting optimism them and the plans of intervention (economic, financial, reforms, democratization), so the Euromed plan is in a limbo in which the participations of the single European countries to outside of the dimension of the union seems to prevail.
Although these problems seems to prevail today, they don't modify the will of relaunching, and for this reason we think important a parallel proposal that can provide us interesting starting points, like the proposal "For the construction of an Alliance of Popular Arab Resistance", that we have published in SC 17, to find practical instruments of interaction and coordination between the resistance of Europe and southern and eastern Mediterranean one.
"Against the Mediterranean of the Capital, against the war, for an alternative to Barcelona +10" campaign says clearly how much the European countries are developing a neo-colonial policy of aggression to the countries of the south and east of the Mediterranean, hidden behind development and democratization. This process produced an increase of unemployment, more restrictions of the human rights, the increase of unequalities, the privatization of the public services, and the impoverishment of the resources for the social emergency. It is a regression of the work regulations, hitting particularly the job and living conditions of young people and women. The Meda financings have been not used for the creation of a sustainable development of the southern countries, but to support the programs of structural adjustment laid down by FMI and World Bank. The food multinationals undermined the economy agricultural and seriously changed the ecosystems of the area. Politics to support the war in Iraq or in defence of Israel, the politics of the walls, the increase of the military presence in the area, represent the elements of European policy on the Mediterranean people. Like also the support to the dictatorial or pseudo-democratic regimes (like Mohamed VI), and El Assad, Mubarak, Ben Ali, and Buteflika, telling lies about the advance of the democratization and the human rights. The truth is that they want the repression of the rebellion of the workers of the cities, the peasants and the students that are moving for their rights in Rabat and the Cairo.
These contradictions are deeply connected to what the Israel aggression of Lebanon and Palestine is provoking to the Arab masses; with the clear perception that UN mission is really producing a deployment of forces in the region that will open other fronts of war. "To the slogan of the Arab streets 'No Justice-No Peace' it's necessary to add 'Nasser 1956-Nasrallah 2006: the dignity'; an emerging parallelism of the Arab popular aspirations, in which the nationalism opposes the religious neo-sectarianism, supported by USA to better control the Arab countries. While the inability of the Israeli army to defeat Hezbollah is showing itself, and the resistance of the Lebanese combatants face the aggression, the Arab streets are like a kettle that has been warmed up little by little until the boiling point. The demonstrations in Egypt, where the Muslim Brothers mingled with the left of the Kefaya movement, where the images of Nasrallah mingled with Nasser and Che Guevara ones, were much meaningful. Hundred of demostration, day by day more participated, in the Arab world, marched in the streets with the unanimous cry: "No justice-No Peace". This positive concept of peace that so much alarms imperialism everywhere in the world: resolution of the causes that produce the conflict... (Alberto Cruz, El grito de la calle árabe: "sin justicia no hay paz", CSCA)"