'Arabs to pay' for Gulf War

Issue 

'Arabs to pay' for Gulf War

By Jim McIlroy

BRISBANE — The Arab world, in particular the ordinary people of the Middle East, will pay much of the enormous cost of the US-led war against Iraq, Dr Robert Springborg told an audience of 120 here on March 18.

Known as the man Bob Hawke wanted to keep off the ABC, Springborg, lecturer in Middle Eastern studies at Macquarie University, was discussing the aftermath of the Gulf War at a public meeting sponsored by the Gulf Action Coalition.

After the war, he said, the idea of arms control is a myth. Bans on arms exports would be politically selective. The USA's war aims included testing new weapons systems and "putting in place infrastructure for future US needs" in the region.

Any new security alliance between Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria would be as shaky as previous attempts at such agreements.

The slogan of democratisation would be used selectively against opponents of US interests, while undemocratic regimes would continue to rule in the pro-US Arab states.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration was pressing Syria and other Arab regimes to accept peace with Israel in return for minor concessions and a dubious autonomy deal for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.