By M K Bhadrakumar
"The George W Bush administration's failure in rolling back Syrian and Iranian influence in Lebanon pales in comparison with the withering away of its Arab-Israeli "peace process". Time and again during Bush's recent Middle East tour, what emerged was the palpable sense that the US has been all but marginalized from a new Middle East that is taking shape. And now China, too, has appeared on the region's chessboard.....
In a brilliant article recently, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer underlined that the center of gravity of the regional power and politics in the wake of the Iraq war has shifted to the Persian Gulf. To quote Fischer, "Indeed, it is now virtually impossible to implement any solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without Iran and its local allies - Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Palestine."
The point is, the historic failure of the Iraq war is yet to be fully grasped. On a regional plane, as the Iraq war interminably rolls on, the situation is fraught with the immense consequence of the unraveling of the entire system of states that was created in the Anglo-French settlement after the fall of Ottoman Empire in 1918. The Iraq war has triggered Shi'ite empowerment and unleashed historical forces that lay chained for centuries. Its geopolitical significance is yet to sink in as winds of change sweep across the entire region.
Fischer underscored that the Iraq war has conclusively finished off secular Arab nationalism, which was, historically speaking, European-inspired. In its wake has appeared political Islam, which cultivates "anti-Western" nationalism and taps into social, economic and cultural grievances and combines them with a revolutionary fervor to confront the authoritarian, corrupt, unjust regimes lacking popular legitimacy. Islamists pilot this trend of "modernization", while the future of political Islam itself remains far from clear......."