‘Who will reshape the Arab world: its people, or the US?’ by Tariq Ali for the Guardian, April 29 2011
The patchwork political landscape of the Arab world – the client monarchies, degenerated nationalist dictatorships and the imperial petrol stations known as the Gulf states – was the outcome of an intensive experience of Anglo-French colonialism. This was followed after the second world war by a complex process of imperial transition to the United States. The result was a radical anticolonial Arab nationalism and Zionist expansionism within the wider framework of the cold war.
When the cold war ended Washington took charge of the region, initially through local potentates then through military bases and direct occupation. Democracy never entered the frame, enabling the Israelis to boast that they alone were an oasis of light in the heart of Arab darkness. How …
‘Musharraf will be gone in days’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, August 14, 2008
The Pakistani president is likely to quit soon. But don’t expect democracy to rush in: the military’s habits die hard
There is never a dull moment in Pakistan. As the country moved from a moth-eaten dictatorship to a moth-eaten democracy the celebrations were muted. Many citizens wondered whether the change represented a forward movement.
Five months later, the moral climate has deteriorated still further. All the ideals embraced by the hopeful youth and the poor of the country—political morality, legality, civic virtue, food subsidies, freedom and equality of opportunity—once again lie at their feet, broken and scattered. The widower Bhutto and his men are extremely unpopular. The worm-eaten tongues of chameleon politicians and resurrected civil servants are on daily display. Removing Musharraf, who …
July 7th, the murderous mayhem that Blair’s war has sown in Iraq came home to London in a devastating series of suicide bombings. Two weeks later, with apparent impunity, security forces shot dead a young Brazilian electrician on his way to work.
Rough Music is Tariq Ali’s white-hot response to these events. He lays bare the vengeful platitudes of Blair’s war on civil liberties, mounts a scorching attack on the cosy falsehoods of the government’s ‘consensus’ on what the threat amounts to and how to respond, and denounces the corruption of the political-media bubble which allows it to go unchallenged. Finally, invoking the perseverance and integrity of the great dissenters of the past, he calls for political resistance, within parliament and without.