I visited Amman for the first time in 1992, on my way out of the Gulf, destination unknown. That year, my family had packed as much of their lives as possible into a dozen tired suitcases and said goodbye to Abu Dhabi, their home away from home for the better part of a decade. Operation Desert Storm ushered in a new era of American imperialism for the region, and a new lifetime of exile for Iraqis like me. From the outside, Amman looked confused, tired, and beat down, a lot like the scores of Iraqi and Palestinian refugees that make up most of its population. Tribalism, monarchy, and its proximity to Israel and Iraq have never given the city a chance to develop its own irrelevant and narcissistic identity, like most cities around the world strive to do. In fact, Amman, as capital city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, despite its sparse offerings, has played a very critical role in supporting an important and international project: the colonization of the Arab world. Their list of achievements in this area is surprisingly quite extensive: peace treaties and economic agreements with Apartheid Israel, denial of citizenship rights to Palestinians, support of Iraqi dictatorship and then American occupation, and of course the subjugation of the rights of its own citizens are just some of its contributions. Therefore, recent news that Amman would become another city enclosed by the protectorate of the Gulf Cooperation Council, comes as no surprise at all.
During our stay in Amman, my father ventured out to Libya, by taking a boat from Malta, and visited oil companies operating in Tripoli, in the hopes of finding employment. He was one of tens of thousands of Iraqis that had been to the North African state to find economic sustenance for their families. His trip was not fruitful, and in many ways, I am thankful for that. As many of us know, Libya is currently undergoing a painful and mandatory imperialist exercise: the undermining of efforts by grassroots revolutionary movements in favor of maintaining steady oil supplies to the West. As an Iraqi, I know a thing or two about that. A recent visit by American senator and war monger John McCain to so-called revolutionaries in Libya allowed Gaddafi’s dictatorship to breathe a huge sigh of relief. The cooption of the Libyan revolution by America was a step in ensuring that no revolutionary movements would entertain the thought of disrupting, or more audaciously, controlling, the export of the country’s natural resources. And as gatekeeper for Libya’s oil for many decades, Gaddafi’s henchmen knew that their presence would be maintained, even for a little longer, as long as oil ran beneath their feet and NATO jet fighters hovered above their sky.
From the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea, American intelligence units and diplomatic missions are struggling to contain continued defiance by Arabs against imperialism, and their locally hired goons. Because, beneath the fake smiles of Obama and Sarkozy, Pennsylvania Avenue and Paris both know that Arab dictators will not be the only beasts scouring for shelter from the relentless rains of blossoming dreams this summer. Pieces from shattering statues in Tunis and Cairo will be felt a million miles beyond our liberation squares. They will find their way back to the glass mansions that built them. For decades, so called Western Democracies forced millions of workers, farmers, and students in the Arab world to live under the merciless boots of their merciless regimes. So when news broke of Osama Bin Laden’s death and his burial at sea, America positioned itself to make a shift from the War on Terror, to a return of more tried and tested colonial tactics: containing our struggles to be free.