World geopolitics and the battle for the Mediterranean

Nov 05, 2010 12:00 AM

The Mediterranean Union: emergence of a new order


By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

 

PART III: The Mediterranean union: the emergence of a new order and the battle for the Mediterranean

In PART I of this study, the long-term plans for creating a Mediterranean Union, which pre-date Nicolas Sarkozy by many years, were revealed as were US and EU efforts to turn the Middle East and North Africa into free-trade zones and economic territories. The implementation of what is now called the “Union of the Mediterranean” was a project planned through the 1995 Barcelona Process and the US Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA).

Also discussed were Franco-German plans for extending the borders of the EU in synchronization with the “Global War on Terror.” The case of Libya was also discussed to expose the economic agendas of the EU and America. Finally the earlier portion of this text also confirmed the roles of Germany and the EU as a whole in establishing the Mediterranean Union.

In PART II of the text, NATO expansion in the Mediterranean Basin was discussed through NATO’s “Mediterranean Dialogue” and its “Mediterranean Initiative” as a means of paving the way for EU expansion and control.

The process follows the same steps as NATO and EU expansion in Eastern Europe. The projection for the inclusion of Israel in the EU and NATO were also addressed, as well as the role of securing energy resources and markets in the Middle East and North Africa.

The Barcelona process and the informal 1995 declaration of a Mediterranean Union

On February 10, 2008 the EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding reacted to scepticism about the Mediterranean Union on Deutsche Welle Television (DW-TV). Commissioner Reding was told by her interviewer that sceptics in the EU fear that the Mediterranean Union will tear the EU apart.

Reding, a Luxembourger, responded that the Mediterranean Union was already put in place in 1995 through the Barcelona Process and that at the time, in 2008, the entity was merely being fine-tuned: “We already have a Mediterranean Union with the [creation of the] Barcelona Process, where the EU formed a solidarity treaty with the countries of the Southern Mediterranean. The correct action [for the EU] is to build on that.” [1]

The 3 main stated objectives of the Barcelona Process or the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership that was established in Spain are stated through the Barcelona Declaration;

(1) The definition of a common area of peace and stability through the reinforcement of political and security dialogue.

(2) The construction of a zone of shared prosperity through an economic and financial partnership and the gradual establishment of a free-trade area.

(3) The rapprochement between peoples through a social, cultural, and human partnership aimed at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies.


These principles are clearly tied to the creation of joint economic, political, and military-security spheres; the same ties that parallel the principles behind the formation of the EU. Yet, the motives and agenda behind these principles are not as benign as they are presented. Actions speak louder than words. There is a great deal more to the larger picture of this supranational project.

One should ask, if the objectives behind this process were benign, why all the secrecy and why the deceit? Why the gradual brinkmanship of the project over time? Most importantly, why the use of threats, such as in the cases of Libya and Syria? Or military means, using violence and murder, such as in the cases of the Palestinian Territories and Lebanon, to bring about the materialization of the process?

The answer is simply that this process will benefit a select few circles in both the EU and the Mediterranean region and not the majority of citizens. The Mediterranean Union, along with the system of global governance that is being weaved into place, will bring about inescapable poverty and under its framework economic class will go down a road where it will virtually be fixed like a caste in the future.

Union of Inequity: Cheap Labour, Worker Immobility, Guest Workers, and the Mediterranean Union

“Even the so-called Democracy of Athens and the Platonic Utopia were based on domestic and industrial slavery.”
Sir Halford J. Mackinder (Democratic Ideals and Reality, 1919)

The Mediterranean Union at its roots is not designed as an equal partnership for all its future members. Nor is it about serving the citizens of these countries. The citizens of Turkey, the Balkans, and the Southern Mediterranean will be treated as second-class and third-class citizens.

Under the current framework of the EU it is not in the EU’s economic interests to admit Turkey as a full EU member.

States like Germany in the Western European half of the EU benefit from the cheap migrant labour forces from Turkey that are called “guest workers.” If Turkey were to become a full EU member these Turkish workers and Turkey will gain equal rights that the EU does not want to grant them. This would include the right of Turkish workers to be treated in the same manner as nationals of the host countries in every way, including having equal wage levels and being able to benefit from the host nations public services.

This would also give Turks mobility rights in the EU: free movement, the right to look for other employers (the right of choice), and the right to be accompanied by their families. [2]

The same concept would apply to the Arab nations of the Southern Mediterranean, like Egypt with its large work force. The EU has no intention on granting these countries any equal status in a relationship of peers. This is why there is a rush to change migration laws in the EU.

The basis of a “special relationship” or “special partnership” is in reality a subordinate position.

It should also be noted that the EU is not a union of fair treatment and equity either: Eastern European members of the EU, called the “European Union-Eight” and the “European Union-Eight plus Two” are also legally subordinated within the frameworks of the EU in regards to their relationships with the original 15 members of the EU, the “European Union-Fifteen.” [3]

EU prosperity is also for a few and gross differences, which in many cases have been amplified, remain between Western Europe and Eastern Europe.

Aside from securing energy supplies and natural resources, another design of the Mediterranean Union is to harness the substantially large work forces in the Southern Mediterranean, while reducing dependency on cheap-labour from China and other Asian countries.

The Southern Mediterranean is also the “near abroad” of the EU and the establishment of a formal cheap-labour market in the Southern Mediterranean that is deeply tied to the EU would cut geographic distance, wait time, transportation costs, fuel consumption, and dependence on China in regards to products manufactured by cheap-labour.

To a certain extent, Chinese leverage over the EU would also be dealt a strategic blow.

The EU, like the US, is also looking for a means to reduce its dependence on the Chinese before Beijing can be challenged any further over global resources and raw materials.

The Mediterranean Union provides a partial answer to this quest against China and other nations with substantially large populations, such as India and Brazil. Once dependence on the Chinese is reduced then energy supplies to China can be challenged with greater effort and possibly cut.

Preparations for amalgamation: changing EU migratory laws in anticipation for the Mediterranean Union?

The underlying economic motives for the Mediterranean Union are the reasons why the EU is making a mad dash to change its migratory laws. The new regulations and laws will touch immigrants, emigrants, migrant workers, tourists, and other visitors.

Fingerprinting, scanning, and collecting information on anyone crossing into or outside of the borders of the EU will become standard procedure. This process is also linked to the European Security Strategy, which is an EU replication of the strategic doctrine of post-September 11, 2001 America.

Also, the EU has announced that it plans on setting up an American-style visa regime for qualified foreign workers seeking entrance into the bloc. Along these lines an EU “blue card” that would be similar to the American “green card” would be unveiled as a pass for special residency in the EU.

Biometric identity management security systems are being upgraded and introduced within the EU. One such system is BioDev II, which uses fingerprinting technology linked to EU entrance visas. The system has been developed by Motorola and is in us in France, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Belgium, and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg under the supervision of the executive branch of the EU, the European Commission.

The changes to migratory laws in the EU are being brought about as a means to obstruct the free flow of migrant workers from the Southern Mediterranean countries that are expected to gravitate towards the countries of the Northern Mediterranean in search of better wages and jobs as soon as the Mediterranean Union is formalized.

A neo-liberal paradigm of imparity is being strengthened and reinforced within the Mediterranean Union between capital and labour. Capital will be free to move within the Mediterranean with little regulation, whereas labour forces and individuals from the South Mediterranean will be restricted in their movements and rendered immobile.

EU border security and frontier control with non-EU countries in the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, and the former USSR have been defined as major priorities for the EU. Foreigners, including migrant or guest workers, will have to start routinely carrying identity cards and documents on them.

The European Border Surveillance System (EUROSUR) is being set up to monitor all EU border points using high resolution satellites and unmanned aircraft for migrant movements.

Frontex, a border intelligence agency with its headquarters in Warsaw, the Polish capital, has also been created by the EU to monitor all EU borders and frontiers. The Warsaw-based agency became operational on October 3, 2005.

Additional emphasis has been placed on Ceuta and Melilla as frontier points, which include radar detection and sensory systems and an entire network of cameras to monitor migrant movements into the EU. Ceuta and Melilla are tiny Spanish territorial positions in North Africa which Spain gained in 1912 as part of Spanish Morocco and has since refused to return to Morocco.

Fortress Europe and the economic motivations hiding behind a global “security agenda”

The so-called reforms being brought about in the EU are conveniently justified to combat 3 elements: terrorism, illegal migratory movements, and crime. The dawning of the Mediterranean Union, in league with the global terrorism scare, will however also bring about greater control over EU citizens.

Despite the creation of the Schengen Zone the passengers that will travel between different EU states or those travelling on domestic flights will also have to hand over a large amount of personal information. In Britain this includes credit card numbers and cellular phone numbers. [4]

The information will be stored for thirteen years and could be used to profile any individual, including profiling their purchases through credit card records and their private network of relationships through a log of telephone contacts.

Biometrics has been undraped as a major cornerstone of the EU. Mandatory fingerprinting of all travellers has also been unveiled in 2008 by the European Commission as a new procedure to be introduced throughout the bloc. All visitors crossing EU borders will also be monitored.

All non-citizens, including those from countries like Canada which are allowed to travel to the EU without visas, would be forced to submit biometric data to gain entrance into or to even travel through the EU. On February 13, 2008 Brussels announced a scheme to collect large amounts of personal information on every traveller entering or departing the EU.

This figure could be up to about 19 pieces of personal information. [5] In 2007 an agreement was also reached by the EU and the US to supply the US Department of Homeland Security with 19 pieces of information about individuals travelling from the EU to the US. [6]

By mid-2009, all EU members declared they will issue passports with electronically archived fingerprints. EU member states, like Germany, also plan to start sharing fingerprint and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) data with the US government through an automated exchange system modelled on the outlines of the EU’s 2005 Prüm (Pruem) Treaty. [7]

The Treaty of Prüm outlines the creation of a massive fingerprint information and DNA date exchange bank in the EU that has been nicknamed “Big Brother Europe” by its opponents inside the European Parliament (Europarl).

The new EU security measures would also reduce the rights guaranteed by UN agreements to asylum seekers trying to attain refugee status. Individuals trying to escape state persecution in North Africa or the Middle East for advocating greater freedom and for labour rights will now be put in a dangerous situation.

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) has protested that the sweeping changes in the EU will make it more difficult to stay within the EU for asylum seekers while their requests are being reviewed. The EU is tactilely helping crush dissent in the Middle East and North Africa towards autocratic rulers and absolute monarchs.

A safe haven for opposition movements will be systematically eliminated. In no uncertain terms it is clear that the EU is not seeking to nurture freedom or democratic values, but is strengthening the stranglehold of its autocratic allies that rule the Middle East and North Africa.

The changes that are expected by the European Commission to be ingrained within the EU between the years 2010 and 2015 are not about terrorism or fighting crime, but about the control of wages, labour markets, and labour supply.

Behind the security and crime fighting agendas sits the real agenda of controlling migratory movements of people and wages. The control of labour forces — both domestic and foreign — is the main purpose of the new migratory reforms in the EU. Knowing this it is of little wonder that the first joint summit of the Arab League and the EU held in Malta was the scene of not only major free-trade talks, but also major talks on migration control between the EU and the Arab World.

According to Franco Frattini, the EU Justice Commissioner, the prime motive for the new regulations and laws is to control the flow of migrant workers into the EU. According to Commissioner Frattini more than half the illegal immigrants entering the EU do so with valid documents, but stay past the expiration date of their permits.

If one were to live in a city where the only form of employment was a coal mine and there was no means to leave the city then one would have no choice but to work at the coal mine. Control of labour movement is a cornerstone to the socio-economic objectives of the US, the EU, the World Bank, and a league of associated international financial institutions (IFIs).

By rendering work forces immobile in any given geographic locality the rights of employment choice and occupational alternatives are removed and a new form of monopoly is established — a forced acceptance of work on whole pools of individuals. Rising fuel prices are also adding to the erosion of mobility rights.

The security agenda behind controlling movements is heavily tied to economic objectives, as are the international disease scares like avian influenza (bird flu) and the swine flue that lock up human movement. Control of mobility in the oceans and international waters of the world is also part of this objective.

The internationally illegal Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) was initiated by the US government, with the support of the EU, in 2003 as part of the “Global War on Terror.” The Proliferation Security Initiative is presented as a means to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), however it can be applied to bring about a hold over global maritime mobility.

The strategy is a threat to international movement on the high seas and maritime trade. There is good reason why it is illegal under international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Industrial de-location in the EU and the global economic crisis

This process of industrial de-location has already been under-way in the EU for years, under which industries have been relocated to Eastern Europe and other global regions. Under this neo-liberal paradigm jobs and industries can gradually be removed from wealthier EU states to Southern Mediterranean nations, where cheap and immobile labour forces will be awaiting.

This relationship is analogous to the events that occurred in North America during the 1990s when jobs and whole industrial sectors where relocated from Canada and the US to Mexico where cheap-labour forces were waiting.

In North America this process unfolded under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and resulted in a decline in living standards or the quality of life. Costs of living went up, wages experienced a decline, and a gap emerged between costs of living and wages which started to eat away at the middle class.

The global economic crisis is the ultimate form of shock therapy for industrial de-location and reconfiguration. The global economic crisis has helped advance the industrial de-location that had started decades earlier. In these terms, the global economic crisis is not about financial errors by the banking sector, but about pushing industrial de-location and re-engineering the socio-economic order of the globe under the guise of state austerity measures.

Triggering a Decline of Wages in both the EU and the Mediterranean: Challenging China and displacing Asian labour markets?

The wages of the cheap-labour market in China can also be further lowered by opening a cheap-labour market in the European Union’s “near abroad.” This is part of the global “race to the bottom” where regulatory standards in regards to labour wages are being increasingly dismantled.

This process in effect facilitates a state of cannibalism or economic decomposition within the effected labour markets and ultimately brings about a decline in living standards.

If major cheap-labour markets like the Chinese market start to lower their wages to stay competitive with a reconfigured cheap-labour market controlled by the EU that would emerge in the Southern Mediterranean, then this could eventually result in much lower wages in other global labour markets.

Other labour markets would lower their wages as part of an effort to keep their respective markets open or in neo-liberal terms as “a means of staying competitive.” Ultimately the results would have worldwide ramifications for lowering global wages that would also affect the citizens of the EU, Japan, and North America. This is one aspect of the “race to the bottom” and it is part of a cycle that fuels itself into a downward spiral.

With the backdrop of the global economic crises, what is unwinding itself is a global levelling of wages. Wage levels within the EU are progressively experiencing a decline and being brought downwards. The labour laws protecting the wages and standards of EU citizens are being de-railed too.

De-regulation and degeneration are the orders of the day. Before the “race to the bottom” and these measures were justified by EU officials through neo-liberal assertions that wages need to be lowered because of the need for “competitiveness.” Now austerity measures are being used as justification for reform and exploitation, because of the convenience of the global economic crisis.

Aside from exploitation of the work force and surplus labour in the Southern Mediterranean the remaining national assets in these countries, like in Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War, will be privatized further and privately owned. This process will go hand-in-hand with the gradual entrenchment of higher costs of living that will further marginalize local populations to sell private property, private assets, or any other means of income out of desperation — decisions that will lock them into a neo-liberal induced state of poverty.

Expanding the EU: the European neighbourhood policy (ENP)

“Even in an era of globalisation, geography is still important.”
A Secure Europe in a Better World: The European Security Strategy (December 12, 2003)

The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is a means to expanding the EU or creating additional layers or satellites to the EU, like the Mediterranean Union. The European Commission subtly elucidates on these expansionist intentions when describing the ENP: “The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed in 2004, with the objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged [EU] and our neighbours and instead strengthening the prosperity, stability and security of all concerned.” [8]

Special attention should be given to the European Commission’s stated “objective of avoiding the emergence of new dividing lines between the enlarged [European Union]” and its neighbours in the Balkans, the former USSR, the Middle East, and North Africa. [9] When removing fine lines, meaning borders (which are not necessarily physical), of separation what is left but some form of harmonization or assimilation?

The ENP also provides funding through so-called “financial instruments” such as the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) for macro-economic reforms and economic restructuring that includes the privatization of the national economies of the countries participating in the program.

After the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon the Lebanese government agreed through the EU-Lebanon ENP Action Plan and the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) to accelerate the privatization of the Lebanese economy through international assistance, which means through the directorship of the US and the EU.

The ENPI are categorized into those ENPI covering the “East” (Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union) and those ENPI covering the “South” (the countries of the Mediterranean Basin, specifically Israel and the Arab countries of North Africa and the Middle East).

The process has resounding resemblances to World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) programs. The ENP funding has been administered to all of the EU’s frontiers in Eastern Europe, the former USSR North Africa, and the Middle East through so-called democratization programs, stabilization initiatives, and humanitarian programs that include food aid.

Recipients of ENP funding include Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Georgia, and the Arab countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. In the Balkans the Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) has also been at work, which includes so-called stabilization of national economies through action plans drawn by the EU involving country reports.

EU assistance and aid is tied to conditions that are drawn up by the European Commission in Brussels, which include the privatization of state infrastructure that is bought by British, French, German, Dutch, Italian, and American companies amongst others.

In 2007 the executive arm of the EU also formed the Neighbourhood Investment Fund. The purpose of the Neighbourhood Investment Fund, which will be active until 2013, is to support international financial institution (IFI) lending from such organizations as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in ENP partner countries.

Amongst the Arab countries of the Mediterranean, since 2002, the European Investment bank is also heavily involved in this process under the mandate of the ENP and the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP). This further cultivates the chains of privatization.

The Barcelona Process is also linked to the ENP. Under the Barcelona Process from the years 2007 to 2010 the Kingdom of Morocco is to receive 654 mm Euro, Algeria is to receive 220 mm Euro, Tunisia 300 mm Euro, Egypt 558 mm Euro, the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas is to receive in 632 Euro, Syria is to receive 130 mm Euro, and Israel is to collect 8 mm Euros.

 

 

Betrayal on the EU’s frontiers: the disloyal establishments of the Mediterranean

The continuum of Franco-German policy cuts across the lines of political parties and government administrations. Nicolas Sarkozy’s remarks about Turkey’s future in regards to the EU are almost similar to those of members of the federal administration of Gerhard Schröder (Schroeder) in Germany.

The full inclusion of Turkey in the EU is tentative in nature. France has repeatedly said that Turkey will not be admitted into the EU, but will enjoy a “special relationship” with the EU. [10]

The relationships that are planned for Turkey and the Arab states of the Mediterranean Sea with the EU are essentially those of EU territories or economic dependencies with secondary privileges. The Mediterranean Union is destined to be a second-class periphery for the EU that will be subservient in nature. Through such an arrangement the nations of the Middle East and North Africa will be reduced to economic colonies.

At the same time Turkey is integrating itself with the economies of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, and Libya in various ways and through free-trade agreements. Many analysts believe that this, along with Turkish agreements with the Russian Federation, constitutes a shift in the Turkish position. This shift appears as being one that is against Turkey’s NATO allies and Israel.

Tehran and Damascus also give the impression that they believe that a regional bloc and common market is being established by them in alliance with Ankara and with the Iranian-Syrian Awliyaa (Alliance) as its nucleus. Tehran is also moving closer to Georgia, even though Tbilisi is a staunch ally of the EU and America.

Yet, what Turkey is doing is precisely what American geo-strategists have outlined for decades to rein in Iran and Syria through economic integration. For example, Zbigniew Brzezinski has stated: “American long-range interests in Eurasia would be better served by abandoning existing US objections to closer Turkish-Iranian economic cooperation, especially in the construction of new pipelines, and also to the construction of other links between Iran, [the Republic of] Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan.” [11]

In Lebanon, where the country is tittering between the so-called West and the Iranian-Syrian Awliyaaa, social change is being instituted through austerity measures tied to the national debt of Lebanon. Lebanon ranks as one of the most heavily indebted countries on the planet. The Lebanese debt to foreign lenders has been accumulated by what is the March 14 Alliance portion of the government in Beirut and their predecessors.

Control over natural gas fields off the Lebanese coast, in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, could also be traded off as a means of servicing the Lebanese national debt.

The debt being accumulated by Lebanon and the nations of the littoral of the Mediterranean is a strategy to bypass popular sentiment through economical means. At the end of the day making bread is an important factor for the decisions of most people. All around the Mediterranean social change is being brought about through economic change.

The European security strategy: An Anglo-American and Franco-German compact for Eurasia

Looking beyond the diplomatic jargon and the noise it is clear that expanding the borders of the EU is the force behind the ENP. The ENP tackles the directives of the European Security Strategy, an EU document that was put together through Paris and Berlin that emerged in Brussels on December 12, 2003 after a series of meeting between the Anglo-American alliance and the Franco-German entente.

It was at this time on December 16, 2003 that President Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder cancelled Iraqi financial debts to France and Germany after making arrangements with Washington, D.C. and London. This was the start of the rapprochement between the Franco-German and Anglo-American sides that resulted in an agreement to share the spoils of war in the Middle East and North Africa. The European Security Strategy is a product of the Franco-German and Anglo-American agreement to carve up the world into spheres of management.

Brzezinski has described the EU as the American bridgehead in Eurasia. All signs seem to indicate that France and Germany, as Anglo-American partners, have agreed to become the Anglo-American bridgehead in Eurasia. The European Security Strategy is the source for redefining the EU security borders in concert with both Franco-German and Anglo-American interests.

EU expansion is fully supported by America. The EU security document in fact states: “The US has played a critical role in European integration and European security, in particular through NATO. The end of the Cold War has left the US in a dominant position as a military actor. However, no single country is able to tackle today's complex problems on its own.” [12]

To add to this, the Anglo-American and Franco-German sides have been in the process of merging as a means to end their rivalry. An example of this merger is the outcomes of the 2010 Anglo-French Defence and Security Cooperation Treaty.

Under the treaty both Paris and London will share their aircraft carriers, pool their military resources, have joint military forces, have closer arms industry cooperation, have joint defence equipment projects, have joint military facilities, have integrated nuclear weapons programs, jointly develop nuclear submarines, assess cooperation on developing military satellites, and jointly developing unmanned aerial drones. [13]

In the European Security Strategy emphases is placed on the central importance of NATO as the embodiment of America and the EU and the objective of establishing a “rule-based international order” through international regional bodies such as the EU, the UN Security Council, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), MERCOSUR, and the African Union. [14]

What is written about the Mediterranean is as follows: “The Mediterranean area generally continues to undergo serious problems of economic stagnation, social unrest and unresolved conflicts. The European Union's interests require a continued engagement with Mediterranean partners, through more effective economic, security and cultural cooperation in the framework of the Barcelona Process.

A broader engagement with the Arab World should also be considered.” [15] What is meant is that a project in the Mediterranean should be engaged as a broader engagement of the entire Arab World in economic and socio-political terms, as referenced by the Barcelona Process.

In no uncertain terms the EU security document goes on to declare the global ambitions of the EU: “As a union of 25 states with over 450 mm producing over a quarter of the world's [gross national product] (GNP), and with a wide range of instruments at its disposal, the EU is inevitably a global player. In the last decade European forces have been deployed abroad to places as distant as Afghanistan, East Timor, and the [Democratic Republic of the Congo].” [16]

The security document replicates Anglo-American dogma, but in a very vague way. Even pre-emptively tackling threats abroad, in what has come to be known by political scientists as the Bush Doctrine, is also mentioned. [17] “Good governance” for the countries to the “East” of the EU, which means the Balkans and the post-Soviet space, and the countries in the Mediterranean is also mentioned in line with what is ultimately an expansionist supranational economic project. [18] The document ultimately calls for “[h]igher defence spending upgrading the military and aligning the EU and NATO” in what will one day amount to integration. [19]

The Mediterranean Union is merely a linking piece. This project is clearly engaged in brinkmanship towards global integration and the streamlining of supranational political, economic, and military organizations. It is part of a compact between the elites of America and the major European powers.

An embryonic order is starting to emerge in the Mediterranean

The EU is moving beyond the Barcelona Process of 1995. The signs are appearing everywhere. The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly (EMPA) was established after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on December 3, 2003. The Euro-Mediterranean Parliamentary Assembly is an institution that has been sanctioned through the Barcelona Process. It is no coincidence that this body was brought about in 2003 because the Mediterranean Union is linked to the forced globalization that is being waged through the “Global War on Terror.”

The EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media has also given strong suggestions and foreshadowed what the EU intends to do in regards to the Mediterranean Union. Viviane Reding told Christian F. Trippe, the head of Deutsche Welle's Brussels studio, during an interview that the EU should look beyond the Mediterranean and further eastward (e.g., the former USSR and the non-Mediterranean areas of the Middle East like Iraq and the Persian Gulf) for expansion: “But we shouldn't just look at the Mediterranean.

We also need to look to the east. We have many new neighbours [sic.; neighbours]. And that's why it's so important to have the right policies to engage with them.” [20]

On November 22, 2007 the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) established its official headquarters in Spinola Palace, which is located in the Maltese city of St. Julian’s. Malta is an island-state and an EU member located in the centre of the Mediterranean Sea. [21]

The roots of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean extend to an inter-parliamentary conference held in 1983 by Cyprus, but it was in 2005 and through security discussions held in Amman, Jordon that the green light was given for the establishment of the Mediterranean body.

On January 22, 2008 Reuters, quoting EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, reported that the EU “wants to push ties with Morocco to a higher level within a year, rewarding Rabat for progress in opening markets and pressing economic and social reforms,” and has elaborated that Morocco will take part in a shared border security, policing, and legal system with the EU, amongst other things. [22] The Kingdom of Morocco had made a bid to join the EU in 1986, but was rejected.

It should come as no surprise that 2 inter-linked conferences on free-trade between the Arab World, the US, and the EU were made and held consecutively. The first of the meetings was in Amman, Jordon (February 10-11, 2008) and discussed establishing the US Middle East Free Trade Area (MEFTA) by 2013.

The second was an Arab League-European Union foreign ministers conference held in Malta (February 11-12, 2008) that discuss “political engagement” between the EU and the Arab League along the lines of the EU Mediterranean Free Trade Area (EMFTA).

The US MEFTA venture started in 2003, the same year as the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, Israel, and Morocco already had bilateral free-trade agreements with the US. All the US MEFTA members are also member states of the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA), which is the project of establishing an Arab common market.

Such a project to establish a common market and customs union is not new amongst the Arabs. This Arab free-trade agreement, however, was adopted in the Arab League Summit of Amman in 1998, with 17 Arab League members signing the pact, it is supervised and run by the Arab Economic Council in the Arab League, but officially came into existence as of January 1, 2005. [23]

GAFTA objectives that are notable are as follows;

(1) The formation of a bigger and more homogeneous market.

(2) Allowing foreign direct investment to work with a homogeneous market with standardized regulations.

(3) Increase economic inter-dependence between the Arab states.

According to the Gulf Daily News of Bahrain, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Kent Patton, while visiting the U.A.E., Kuwait, and Bahrain for free-trade talks has said that the MEFTA will be put in place in the Middle East and North Africa by 2014; “There is a 2014 deadline for this but we hope it could be achieved sooner.

There are no official discussions on but the process is very much in place.” [24] The MEFTA process is a step-by-step project, similar to the step-by-step formation of the EU.

In 2010, interestingly enough, the Arab League meet in the Libyan city of Sirte and discussed establishing an Arab Neighbourhood. [25] The proposed Arab Neighbourhood could also include the non-Arab states of Turkey, Ethiopia, Chad, and Iran. This took place while Iran, Turkey, and Syria were talking about and taking steps to establish a common market and bloc in the Middle East that would also include Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordon.

Annapolis and the economic integration of Israel with the Arab World

Both the American-Arab and EU-Arab League conferences, respectively in Jordon and in Malta, discussed economical integration, trade in the Mediterranean, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Both conferences were also coordinated with one another and planned during the end of 2007 in close proximity to the Annapolis Conference.

The reason that Annapolis is linked to the timing of these two conferences is because the Annapolis Conference promoted the Saudi-proposed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and the Agreement of Principles between Mahmoud Abbas and Ehud Olmert, which both call for the economic integration of Israel with the Arab World.

These proposals by Riyadh, Ehud Olmert, and Mahmoud Abbas are part of the blue prints for establishing the fertile grounds for the emergence of the Mediterranean Union.

Understanding the link between all these events and objectives and realizing their age will allow one to also understand why The Washington Post published a front-page article on February 9, 2003 that declared that both Israeli and American policy had become perfectly aligned in the Middle East: “For the first time a US administration and a Likud [Israeli] government are pursuing nearly identical policies.” [26] The wars against Iraq and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan were about globalization under the helm of military might.

Wars of integration: from the Balkans to Iraq

In order to move forward with the Mediterranean Union and the restructuring of the Middle East the people of the region must all be subdued so that the “New Middle East” can be brought about. Furthermore, this is why NATO/EU troops and ships are in Lebanon and the Eastern Mediterranean. This project is part of the emerging “New World Order” that George H. W. Bush Sr. was talking about when Baathist Iraq was defeated in 1991 and it is this new order that is beginning to lift up its head into the limelight for the whole earth to see.

This endeavour is also the underlying reason for the “Global War on Terror” and why America and the EU were partners from the start of the so-called “long war.”

According to Lieutenant-General James J. Lovelace, the force known as US Army Central (USARCENT/ARCENT) was establishing a permanent platform for “full spectrum operations” in the twenty-seven countries that form the boundaries of what use to be US Central Command (CENTCOM) in the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, and Pakistan.[27]

This was before all the African states, except for Egypt, that fell into the borders of CENTCOM were transferred to the watch of US Africa Command (AFRICOM, USAFICOM).

Lovelace’s acknowledgement about the operational expansion of the capabilities of the US Army in the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, and Pakistan only confirms what many experts and analysts predicted from the onslaught of the “Global War on Terror” in 2001: the US intended to stay permanently in the Middle East and Central Asia under the cloak of fighting terrorism.

Lovelace also confirmed that the process was part of a worldwide transformation of the US military with the ability to conduct offensive, defensive, and stability operations. He confirmed that the US military has set its mind on staying permanently in the Middle East and its surrounding regions: “These commands now have a permanent responsibility to this theatre.

They’ll have a permanent presence here. The personnel will change; the commands will remain.” [28] This process became apparent when Lieutenant-General Paul T. Mikolsdhrk relocated from ARCENT headquarters from Fort McPherson, Georgia to Kuwait in the Persian Gulf in November 11, 2001.

The stabilization and association process (SAP): supranational expansionism

The SAP is part of the modus operandi of the EU and US for moving into conflict zones. Along with similar agreements and devices, the SAP is a form of neocolonialism and imperial expansion. Countries are either smashed or eroded and then swallowed through incorporation into a much larger entity.

The words conflict, post-conflict, and stabilization all go together. Where war brings instability, the economic and political tutelage of the US and EU has been presented as bringing stability. Both are systematic steps of the same formula. Stability operations is a vague word used to beautify occupation, economic restructuring of nation-states under occupational administrations similar to the ones in Iraq and Bosnia-Herzegovina, and nation-building.

The Stabilization and Association Process (SAP) has been part of the expansion formula of the EU. It has been applied in the war-torn republics of the former Yugoslavia. It has proceeded by encouraging SAP candidates to quickly open up their economies, integrate themselves, and eventually to enter the EU as members.

The process establishes a contractual relationship between the EU and the SAP candidate nations, which imposes legal obligations on the SAP candidate to open up its economy and to privatize its state infrastructure. State loans and economic arrangements are also made by the EU for the SAP candidate state, which further put it under the economic control of the main EU powers. Currently Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are SAP candidates.

A grand hoax: from the Mediterranean Union to the “Union of the Mediterranean”

A public relations campaign trying to hide the long-standing objectives of creating the Mediterranean Union as an additional layer to the EU, which itself is a piece of a much larger emerging polity, has been under-way. Public deception has been at play.

The Mediterranean Union is costumed neocolonialism, economic imperialism, and servitude. The supranational project is being orchestrated under the cover of a patient decades-long public relations campaign.

Germany has been pretending to oppose the supposedly solitary French idea of creating a Mediterranean Union. Chancellor Angela Merkel even claimed that the project risked splitting the EU with Paris establishing a sphere of influence in North Africa and the Middle East and Berlin a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe.

A false compromise has been drawn between Paris and Berlin where the whole project has become a project that will involve Germany and the rest of the EU.

The Mediterranean Unions name has been changed to the “Union of the Mediterranean” (UfM) as part of an effort to give the impression that a genuine compromise has been made over supposed concerns and oppositions towards it; when in fact the compromise is false and there were no disagreements between Paris and Berlin.

In an omission about the true nature of the Mediterranean Union as a project of the entire EU, President Nicolas Sarkozy told reporters that “I never had the idea of excluding any [EU] states [from the Union of the Mediterranean]...I never regarded it as a rival to the [European Union].” [29]

According to Ingrid Melander the Mediterranean Union “concept has shrunk from an international forum grouping only states with a Mediterranean coastline and involving 9 new agencies and a bank, to a mere regular summit of [EU] and [non-EU] Mediterranean countries with a joint presidency — which may yet be dropped — and a small secretariat.” [30]

After the so-called German objections, it was also widely reported that Nicolas Sarkozy has given the assurance of the French government to Chancellor Merkel and Germany that the Mediterranean Union will be a project for the entire EU. Yet, on the opposite shores of the Mediterranean Sea there were voices refuting this.

Colonel Qaddafi, the leader of Libya, expressed his opposition to the so-called diluted version of the Mediterranean Union that Paris and Berlin agreed upon and demanded a full union. The Jamahiriya News Agency of Libya quoted Colonel Qaddafi as saying: “The idea of true cooperation between the countries located around one sea on the lines of President Sarkozy’s initiative deserves support...” [31]

Later Colonel Qaddafi would publicly make a reversal, voicing his opposition to the Mediterranean Union. Qaddafi would boycott a summit co-chaired by Egypt and France (the co-presidents nations of the Union of the Mediterranean) in July, 2008. [32]

Before its official acceptance in 2008, the proposal for a Union of the Mediterranean was presented as a joint Franco-German initiative to the rest of the EU bloc. [33] The Franco-German proposals, like many other political documents, are deliberately vague. The French government distributed a paper to other EU countries earlier in January of the same year outlining joint initiatives in agriculture, energy, the environment, migration, transport and 10 other areas. Yet, none of this was mentioned in the less than two-page Franco-German paper.

Paris and Berlin will chair the EU involvement in the Mediterranean Union. [34] The Mediterranean Union will also be managed by 2 directors or co-presidents, one from a non-EU Mediterranean nation and the other from an EU member state.

In 2008, during an EU summit, held from March 13 to March 14, 2008, the project was approved unanimous by the entire EU and was handed over to the European Commission for implementation with no public consolations with EU citizens. The project from its beginnings in 1995 as part of the Barcelona Process was part of a united EU endeavour to control the Mediterranean.

Paris has pretended that it originally wanted the project to only include the nations of the Mediterranean littoral as members, while Berlin argued that the EU would be divided amongst its northern and southern members because of the project.

From the outset the project was funded by the entire EU as a part of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The whole project is based on the foundations of establishing a free-tree zone between the EU and the nations of the Mediterranean and the Arab World. There are clear indications that Berlin and the EU are being untruthful about the whole process including claims that Germany opposed French economic ties with Libya. [35]

The EU has stage-managed the whole project by creating false opposition or a counter-discourse within the EU to the Mediterranean Union. Additionally, there is a deliberate attempt to downplay the whole process and its ramifications. The European Commission has claimed that the process of trade between the EU and the Mediterranean has merely generated substandard results because of the inefficient governments of the nations of both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Southern Mediterranean. Brussels and EU officials have also downplayed the Mediterranean Union as a reinvigorated Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. The mainstream media and journalists in the EU have merely repeated these claims verbatim. Little is said, however, about the EU’s geo-strategic aims of securing the vast natural resources and energy reserves of North Africa and the Middle East.

The role of corporations in the Union of the Mediterranean

An additional dimension to this deceit is the role of multinational corporations. In a stage-managed event, Berlin was presented to the public as prevailing in demands not to allow further EU funds to be allocated to the Barcelona Process and the Mediterranean Union. This has actually opened the door for the corporate private sector, which is one of the main forces behind the whole project. As part of the false compromise France requested for approximately 14 bn Euros from multinational corporations. [36]

In fact on May 27, 2010 financial institutions and private investors were invited to the Marseille Provence Chamber of Commerce and Industry to discuss financing and investment in the Southern Mediterranean and Eastern Mediterranean countries, specifically in the energy, water, transport, and urban development sectors. [37] The Secretary-General of the Union of the Mediterranean, Ahmed Masadeh, was present.

Also present at the meeting was the EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, and the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank, Philippe de Fontaine Vive. [38]

Since 2002, the European Investment Bank has also been involved in this as part of the ENP through what are called Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP) programs. These FEMIP programs are extended to Algeria, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Jordon, Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, and Tunisia and encourage “the opening-up of the economies of Mediterranean partner countries.” [3]

In the words of the European Investment bank, this is done through focusing “on two priority areas: support for the private sector and creating an investment-friendly environment.” [40]

The globe will be divided into poor and rich. People are not only being alienated and estranged from the products of their labour, but they are on the path of ultimately being alienated and estranged to the system of governance that controls their lives through unaccountable supranational organizations.

The global economic crisis has resulted in an induced anomic state in Europe and other regions, which provides the perfect order for re-organizing the social and economic order. In this aspect the Mediterranean Union is one phase within a global roadmap towards re-institutionalizing feudalism under a global elitist compact. Yet, all global elites will not be equal in this compact.

From the Eurasian Heartland a challenge is rising from the elites of the triple entente of Moscow, Tehran, and Beijing, who have watched uneasily as the US and EU inch closer in different ways towards their domains.

PART IV - The Mediterranean Union: The Geo-Strategic challenge from Russia and Iran

 

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

 

NOTES

[1] Viviane Reding, February 10, 2008 Interview about the Treaty of Lisbon and the E.U.”, interview by Christian F. Trippe, Journal, February 10, 2008.

[2] European  Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. Do you want to work in another EU Member State?” (Belgium: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 2006), pp.5, 7-9, 11-14, 15-25, 33.

[3] Ibid., pp.9, 27-29; The European Union-Eight (E.U.-8) are the nations, aside from Malta and Cyprus, that joined the E.U. on May 1, 2004: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia; The European Union-Eight Plus Two (E.U.-8 +2) is a grouping of the E.U.-8 with the addition of Bulgaria and Romania, which both joined on January 1, 2007.

[4] Ian Traynor, Government wants personal details of every traveller”, The Guardian (U.K.), February 23, 2008.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Germany, US deepen anti-terror cooperation”, Agence France-Presse (AFP), March 11, 2008.

[8] European Commission, The Policy: What is the European Neighbourhood Policy?” Accessed March 12, 2007: <http://ec.europa.eu/world/enp/policy_en.htm>.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Fulya Özerkan, Mediterranean project vs. EU: An illusion or reality for Turkey?” Turkish Daily News, May 30, 2007.

[11] Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and the Geostrategic Imperatives (N.Y.C., New York HarperCollins Publishers, 1997), p.204.

[12] Council of the European Union, A Secure Europe in a Better World: The European Security Strategy, (Brussels: Consilium, December 12, 2003), p.1.

[13] Prime Minister’s Office (10 Downing Street), UK–France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Co-operation, November 2, 2010:
<http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/statements-and-articles/2010/11/uk%E2%80%93france-summit-2010-declaration-on-defence-and-security-co-operation-56519>.

[14] European Union, A Secure Europe, Op. cit., p.9.

[15] Ibid., p.8.

[16] Ibid., p.1.

[17] Ibid., p.7.

[18] Ibid., pp.7-8.

[19] Ibid., p.12.

[20] February 10, 2008 Interview”, Op. cit.

[21] Fiona Galea Debono, Malta determined in its Med. vocation - President”, Times of Malta, November 23, 2007.

[22] Tom Pfeiffer, ed. Ralph Boulton, EU wants Morocco ties within a year”, Reuters, January 22, 2008.

[23] European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation (MEDEA), Arab Free Trade Area (AFTA)”, Accessed January 22, 2008: <http://www.medea.be/index.html?page=2&lang=en&doc=286>.

[24] Trade Deal”, Gulf Daily News, vol. 30, no. 344, February 27, 2008 p.1; Mandeep Singh, New push for Mideast free trade deal”, Gulf Daily News, vol. 30, no. 344, February 27, 2008, p.32.

[25] Arab League silent on Middle East peace process”, Agence France-Presse (AFP), October 9, 2010.

[26] Robert G. Kaiser, Bush and Sharon Nearly Identical On Mideast Policy”, The Washington Post, February 9, 2003, p.A01.

[27] Vince Little, Permanent U.S. Army command taking shape in Kuwait”, Stars and Stripes, February 19, 2008.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ingrid Melander et al., EU leaders to endorse Mediterranean Union: draft”, ed. Philippa Fletcher, Reuters, March 14, 2008.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Gaddafi says Med Union risks running into sand”, Reuters, March 15, 2008.

[32] Mediterranean Union is launched”, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), July 13, 2008.

[33] Stephen Castle, Sarkozy and Merkel draft agreement detailing role of nations on EU’s southern border”, International Herald Tribune, March 12, 2008.

[34] Germany and France present proposal for chairing Mediterranean Union”, IRNA, March 12, 2008

[35] Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, The Mediterranean Union: Dividing the Middle East and North Africa”, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), February 19, 2008.

[36] Melander, EU leaders”, Op. cit.

[37] European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) Info Centre, UfM projects in the spotlight at Marseille investors’ forum”, May 14, 2010:
<http://www.enpi-info.eu/mainmed.php?id=21566&id_type=1&lang_id=450>.

[38] Ibid.

[39] European Investment Bank, “Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership (FEMIP)”, Accessed September 13, 2010:
<http://www.eib.org/projects/regions/med/>.

[40] Ibid.



Alexander's Commentary

A Future?

After a long editorial silence, it is time again for a comment on world affairs.

Whilst reading through the m

read more ...
Support Our Work