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Noam Chomsky Interview: Sykes-Picot Is Failing


American author and professor Noam Chomsky was in Beirut to give a commencement speech and accept an honorary degree at the American University of Beirut. Al-Akhbar interviewed this critic of American imperialism about the ongoing conflict in Syria, Edward Snowden, and what is left of the “Arab Spring.”

Maha Zaraket line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: I do not remember if it has a title, but it is going to be some comments on legitimacy of borders and states and possibilities of eroding them.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Do you think the new borders will be made by the local population? Or new imperialisms?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: What do you think of the Hezbollah intervention in Syria?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Are you going to meet Nasrallah this time?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: If you meet him again, what would you tell him?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: You called for support of the Turkish protesters. How do you see the uprising in Turkey?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Is it possible to link what is going on in Turkey to what been going on in Syria for the last two years?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Do you have any comments on the Edward Snowden Case?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: After 9/11, the Americans asked, “Why does the rest of the world hate us?” Is it possible for us to ask, why do the Americans hate us?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: The second question: Why do they hate us? Why do the Americans hate us?

NC font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: American policymakers?

NC: For the reasons that the National Security Council discussed. You have to block democracy and support dictatorships in order to control their resources. And the Middle East is not different from anywhere else. Why did they support Suharto in Indonesia? Same reasons.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Israel made a really faithful decision in 1971. In 1971, Israel was offered a full peace treaty by Egypt, nothing for the Palestinians, just full peace, full security, for the withdrawal from the Egyptian Sinai. Since then, it has been the same policy [of] expansion over security, but it is not unusual to do that. That is what states usually do, they are not concerned pretty much with security, but rather power. And that’s Israel’s choice. It can continue because the US supports it. If the US stops supporting it, it could not continue.

Israel is making extremely threatening remarks right now about Lebanon. I am not sure if you have been following it. But it is kind of in the background. They are not coming out with big public statements, but if you read the statements from people in intelligence, the military, and government, what they are saying publicly is that they are not going to allow weapons to go to Hezbollah, but what they say furthermore, is that they’ve learned the lessons of the last war, and they are not going to make those mistakes again. The next time, the war will be over in days, which means that they are going to wipe Lebanon out.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: Not under Obama. He’s the first US president who has imposed no restrictions on Israel. Every other president, at various times, imposed limits that Israel could not go beyond, like Reagan for example. Reagan supported the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, but in mid-August he ordered Israel to stop it because it was becoming harmful to US interests.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: These are separate. First of all, Israel was not opposed to Assad. He has been more or less the kind of dictator they wanted. He has done the kind of things they wanted. The US has no opposition to Assad. He was cooperating on intelligence and they did not like everything, but he was pretty satisfactory.

In fact, if Israel and the US really did want to undermine the Assad regime and to support the rebels, they have very straightforward ways to do it without arms. Israel could considerably mobilize forces in the Golan Heights. If they mobilize forces in the north, the Syrians are compelled to respond by mobilizing forces. But they do not do it, which can only mean they do not want the regime to fall.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: I think it was a good name. But now it is – I do not know if it is an Arab Winter, but at least an Arab Autumn. I suspect there will another spring…I do not think that is a stable situation, probably more of the same. It seems to me a continuing process, and as I said, it is going on all over the world in different forms.

MZ font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"”>: You do not really have a choice. Objectively, we will probably all be under water in another generation or two, so not that it all matters, but there are certain possibilities for hope and progress.
 

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