Actually, the Nice horror was the demented suicide of a mentally impaired wretch who recently got fired, divorced and arrested for road rage, not a planned jihadi terrorist attack.
Beyond that, the real jihadi threat is rooted in blowback, and combatting it is a domestic police function. So enough militatistic bellicosity already!
The inconvenient truth is, Washington and its NATO vassals have brought bombs, drones, occupations and slaughter to towns and villages throughout the greater middle east for upwards of three decades. It is that senseless intervention and aggression that has fueled the rise of vengeful barbarians who operate under the ideological cover of a twisted Sunni jihaddism.
In fact, it was the Bush/Clinton/Obama wars which gave rise first to al-Qaeda and then to ISIS. In very substantial degree Washington trained them, armed them and then incited them to their anti-western rampages.
The Imperial City's insidious doctrine of "regime change" also destroyed the states of Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan, thereby giving the jihadi vast lawless territories from which to operate and to even establish a murderous medieval caliphate in the desert backwaters of western Iraq and northern Syria..
The frightful violence that has been episodically erupting in France owing to internal cadres and in the US owing to copycats does not originate in the religion of Islam. The latter confession is 1384 years old, but it was only 25 years ago that meaningful jihadi terrorism first impinged on the west.
Donald Trump and tens of millions of voters are naturally appalled and angered by what appears to be an escalating terrorist threat. But in light of the latest episode in France it would be well to consider exactly what happened in 1991, and how Washington and the west foolishly brought this plague upon the world.
In 1991 the earth moved. The cold war ended and the nuclear sword of Damocles was removed from its perch over mankind. The totalitarian menace of the Soviet Union disappeared and its vast military establishment was demobilized, abandoned and mainly sold for scrap.
It was the moment for Washington to do the same. That is, to disband NATO----whose only justification had ever been containment of an exaggerated Soviet threat on the central front----and to demobilize and radically shrink its globe spanning war machine.
But what General Eisenhower had warned about exactly 30 years earlier-----the deeply entrenched and unchecked military-industrial-congressional complex-----was not about to let world peace breakout. Instead, it launched two maneuvers in 1991 to perpetuate itself and renew its raison d'etre.
To wit, in a secret national security directive drafted by Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and his neocon minions, Iran was declared the new global enemy to be demonized and contained. That indictment was wholly unwarranted even then, and over the next 25 years it metastasized into massive tissue of lies about Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons and terrorist ambitions.
More importantly, Washington ostracized and debilitated the very indigenous force of the region----the so-called Shiite Crescent running from Iran through southern Iraq to the Alawite (Shiite) regime of the Assads in Syria to the Hezbollah controlled provinces of Lebanon-----that was the natural, blood enemy of Sunni extremism.
Indeed, pursuant to their hegemonic pretensions, the neocon claque which seized power in Washington under Bush the Elder ash-canned a 13 century-old counterforce to any religiously driven outbreak of Sunni expansionism.
At the same time, Bush was bamboozled into a military intervention in a meaningless spate between two local potentates over directional drilling rights that was gussied-up into a false doctrine about oil security.
Save for those two profoundly wrong-headed and destructive maneuvers and all that flowed from them, there would be no al-Qaeda and Islamic State today, and jihadi terrorism would have been but a shadow of its current extent.
Needless to say, the implications are epic. Hundreds of millions of innocent people in the middle east, Europe and the US are now fearful, and sometimes tragically in harms' way, owing to the grievous misdeeds of our Washington based War Party rulers.
Let's start with what history has now proven in spades regarding the phony excuse of energy security. To wit, the cure for high oil prices is the global market, not the 5th fleet.
The real price of oil is lower today than it was in 1990 when Bush said Saddam's alleged aggression "will not stand". Yet that happy outcome has nothing whatsoever to do with the thousands of bombs we have dropped since then or the millions dead and maimed or the trillions of tax-dollars Washington has wasted on its multiple wars and far-flung military presence in the region.
On the on hand, technology and business enterprise have generated vast alternatives to Persian Gulf oil on both the supply and conservation side of the energy ledger. On the other, it is an unassailable historic fact that whatever regime controls the oil reserves under the middle east sands will produce it because every regime in that region always needs more money, and desperately so.
Saddam produced all he could extract and exported all he was allowed by the West. So did Kaddafi. So do the Kurds in the north of the old Iraq and the Shiite government in Baghdad which controls the bigger fields in the south.
Even the Islamic State produces every oil well we have not yet bombed to smithereens. And once the sanction were lifted, the purportedly America-hating Iranians have raised production by 1 mb/d just in the last year.
In short, every single military intrusion Washington has undertaken since the February 1991 invasion of Kuwait has nothing to do with the economics of oil. Nor has it enhanced the security of gasoline and heating oil supplies in Lincoln NE and Springfield MA by one wit.
Indeed, the real dirty secret of this matter is that even if the contemptible House Of Saud were to fall, Saudi Arabia's 10 million barrels per day would----apart from any short-term disruption----- make its way onto the world market.
That's because the eastern provinces where all the oil fields are located are primarily Shiite. Their Iranian cousins would absolutely come to their protection, and be more than happy to share in the $150 billion per year of oil revenues at today's prices.
All along, therefore, oil has been about the rule of markets, but Washington is about the perpetuation of the state and the aggrandizement of its warfare branch. It is the latter, not protection of nature's bounty under the Arabian sands, that brought the American Imperium to the Persian Gulf and that generates today's jihadi blowback in the region and rest of the world.
Moreover, that proposition is not just supposition. It was 500,000 American troops on the Arabian peninsula and "crusader boots" in the land of the two Islamic holy places that changed everything in 1991.
Until then, the Sunni Mujahedeen in Afghanistan were Washington's very own mercenary terrorists. Washington had recruited, transported, trained, armed and paid them throughout the 1980's to carry on the anti-Soviet fight by proxy.
Osama bin-Laden was the offspring of Charlie Wilson's war and the CIA payroll. He was heralded in the West as a freedom fighter.
Bin-Laden is also a testament to the perils of the Warfare State. America did not need to fight the dying Soviet Union in the Hindu Kush, and not just because Alexander the Great had proved the pointlessness of such a campaign two and one-half millennia earlier.
What was killing the Soviet Union was the asphyxiating regime of socialism, state bureaucracy and totalitarian rule. But 1980s' CIA director Bill Casey was mesmerized by the nostalgia of his OSS days during WWII, and his neocon confederates were ex-Trotskyites and statists who did not remotely understand that markets and economic freedom ultimately will out.
Yet having fatuously and unnecessarily created the small time nuisance of the mujahedeen, the Washington War party turned it into a monster by virtue of the first gulf war and the subsequent campaign against Saddam Hussein, which eventuated in opening the gates to hell during the second gulf war.
So under the false guise of “oil security”, Washington plunged the American war machine into the politics and religious fissures of the Persian Gulf, and launched itself on the path to destroying the very institutions that had kept Sunni extremism in check. Namely, the secular Baathist regimes of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Assad clan in Syria.
To be sure, these regimes were an unsavory amalgam of socialism, nationalism, authoritarianism and vast corruption. But they brooked no armed threat to their rule, and understood that the state had to be secular if the sundry ancient sects and schisms of Islam and other religious minorities within their borders, including Christians, Druse, Copts and Jews, were to peaceably co-exist.
Apart from false issue of oil security, the small potatoes conflict between Iraq and Kuwait, which occasioned the elder Bush's intervention, had no bearing whatsoever on the safety and security of American citizens.
As US ambassador Glaspie rightly told Saddam Hussein on the eve of his Kuwait invasion, America had no dog in that hunt.
Kuwait wasn’t even a country; it was a bank account sitting on a swath of oilfields surrounding an ancient trading city that had been abandoned by Ibn Saud in the early 20th century.
That’s because he didn’t know what oil was or that it was there; and, in any event, it had been made a separate protectorate by the British in 1913 for reasons that are lost in the fog of diplomatic history.
Likewise, Saddam's contentious dispute with Kuwait had been over its claim that the Emir of Kuwait was “slant drilling” across his border into Iraq’s Rumaila field. Yet it was a wholly elastic boundary of no significance whatsoever.
In fact, the dispute over the Rumaila field started in 1960 when an Arab League declaration arbitrarily marked the Iraq–Kuwait border two miles north of the southernmost tip of the Rumaila field.
And that newly defined boundary, in turn, had come only 44 years after a pair of English and French diplomats had carved up their winnings from the Ottoman Empire’s demise by laying a straight edged ruler on the map. So doing, they thereby confected the artificial country of Iraq from the historically independent and hostile Mesopotamian provinces of the Shiite in the south, the Sunni in the west and the Kurds in the north.
In short, it did not matter who controlled the southern tip of the Rumaila field—–the brutal dictator of Baghdad or the opulent Emir of Kuwait. Not the price of oil, nor the peace of America nor the security of Europe nor the future of Asia depended upon it.
But Bush the Elder got persuaded by Henry Kissinger’s economically illiterate protégés at the national security council and his Texas oilman Secretary of State that the will-o-wisp of “oil security” was at stake, and that 500,000 American troops needed to be planted in the sands of Arabia.
That was a catastrophic error. The arrival of crusader boots on the purportedly sacred soil of Arabia offended and reactivated the CIA-trained Mujahedeen of Afghanistan, who had become unemployed when the Soviet Union collapsed.
In due course this feckless intervention enabled the neocons to pursue their deplorable doctrine of regime change to it's logical end. That is, the destruction of the tenuous Iraqi state and the resultant rise of the Frankenstein that became ISIS.
In fact, the only real terrorists in the world which threaten normal civilian life in the West are the rogue offspring of Imperial Washington’s post-1990 machinations in the middle east.
The CIA's Mujahedeen mercenaries mutated into al-Qaeda not because Bin Laden suddenly had a religious epiphany that his Washington benefactors were actually the Great Satan owing to America’s freedom and liberty.
His murderous crusade was inspired by the Wahhabi fundamentalism loose in Saudi Arabia. This benighted religious fanaticism became agitated to a fever pitch by Imperial Washington’s violent plunge into Persian Gulf political and religious quarrels, the stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia, and the decade long barrage of sanctions, embargoes, no fly zones, covert actions and open hostility against the Sunni regime in Bagdad after 1991.
Yes, Bin Laden would have amputated Saddam’s secularist head if Washington hadn’t done it first, but that’s just the point. The attempt at regime change in March 2003 was one of the most foolish acts of state in American history.
The Younger Bush’s neocon advisers had no clue about the sectarian animosities and historical grievances that Hussein had bottled-up by adroitly parsing the oil loot and strategically wielding the sword under the banner of Baathist nationalism. But Shock and Awe blew the lid and the de-baathification campaign unleashed the furies.
Indeed, no sooner had George Bush pranced around on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln declaring “mission accomplished” than Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a CIA recruit to the Afghan war a decade earlier and small-time specialist in hostage-taking and poisons, fled his no count redoubt in Kurdistan to emerge as a flamboyant agitator in the now disposed Sunni heartland.
The founder of ISIS succeeded in Fallujah and Anbar province just like the long list of other terrorist leaders Washington claims to have exterminated. That is, Zarqawi gained his following and notoriety among the region’s population of deprived, brutalized and humiliated young men by dint of being more brutal than their occupiers.
Indeed, even as Washington was crowing about the demise of Zarqawi, the remnants of the Baathist regime and the hundreds of thousands of demobilized Republican Guards were coalescing into al-Qaeda in Iraq, and their future leaders were being incubated in a monstrous nearby detention center called Camp Bucca that contained more than 26,000 prisoners.
As one former US Army officer, Mitchell Gray, later described it,
You never see hatred like you saw on the faces of these detainees,” Gray remembers of his 2008 tour. “When I say they hated us, I mean they looked like they would have killed us in a heartbeat if given the chance. I turned to the warrant officer I was with and I said, ‘If they could, they would rip our heads off and drink our blood.’ ”
What Gray didn’t know — but might have expected — was that he was not merely looking at the United States’ former enemies, but its future ones as well. According to intelligence experts and Department of Defense records, the vast majority of the leadership of what is today known as ISIS, including its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, did time at Camp Bucca.
And not only did the US feed, clothe and house these jihadists, it also played a vital, if unwitting, role in facilitating their transformation into the most formidable terrorist force in modern history.
Early in Bucca’s existence, the most extreme inmates were congregated in Compound 6. There were not enough Americans guards to safely enter the compound — and, in any event, the guards didn’t speak Arabic. So the detainees were left alone to preach to one another and share deadly vocational advice.
…….Bucca also housed Haji Bakr, a former colonel in Saddam Hussein’s air-defense force. Bakr was no religious zealot. He was just a guy who lost his job when the Coalition Provisional Authority disbanded the Iraqi military and instituted de-Baathification, a policy of banning Saddam’s past supporters from government work.
According to documents recently obtained by German newspaper Der Spiegel, Bakr was the real mastermind behind ISIS’s organizational structure and also mapped out the strategies that fueled its early successes. Bakr, who died in fighting in 2014, was incarcerated at Bucca from 2006-’08, along with a dozen or more of ISIS’s top lieutenants.
The point is, regime change and nation building can never be accomplished by the lethal violence of 21st century armed forces; and they were an especially preposterous assignment in the context of a land rent with 13 century-old religious fissures and animosities.
In fact, the wobbly, synthetic state of Iraq was doomed the minute Cheney and his bloody gang decided to liberate it from the brutal, but serviceable and secular tyranny of Saddam’s Baathist regime. That’s because the process of elections and majority rule necessarily imposed by Washington was guaranteed to elect a government beholden to the Shiite majority.
After decades of mistreatment and Saddam’s brutal suppression of their 1991 uprising, did the latter have revenge on their minds and in their communal DNA? Did the Kurds have dreams of an independent Kurdistan that had been denied their 30 million strong tribe way back at Versailles and ever since?
Yes, they did. So the $25 billion spent on training and equipping the putative armed forces of post-liberation Iraq was bound to end up in the hands of sectarian militias, not a national army.
In fact, when the Shiite commanders fled Sunni-dominated Mosul in June 2014 they transformed the ISIS uprising against the government in Baghdad into a vicious fledgling state in one fell swoop. It wasn’t by beheadings and fiery jihadist sermons that it quickly enslaved dozens of towns and several million people in western Iraq and the Euphrates Valley of Syria.
Its instruments of terror and occupation were the best weapons that the American taxpayers could buy. That included 2,300 Humvees and tens of thousands of automatic weapons, as well as vast stores of ammunition, trucks, rockets, artillery pieces and even tanks and helicopters.
And that wasn’t the half of it. The newly proclaimed Islamic State also filled the power vacuum in Syria created by its so-called civil war. But in truth that was another exercise in Washington inspired and financed regime change undertaken in connivance with Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
These Sunni plutarchies were surely not interested in expelling the tyranny next door; they are the living embodiment of it. Instead, the rebellion was about removing Iran’s Alawite/Shiite ally from power in Damascus and laying gas pipelines to Europe across the upper Euphrates Valley.
In any event, ISIS soon had troves of additional American weapons. Some of them were supplied to Sunni radicals by way of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. More came up the so-called “ratline” from Gaddafi’s former arsenals in Benghazi through Turkey. And still more came through Jordan from the “moderate” opposition trained there by the CIA, which more often than not sold them or defected to the other side.
So that the Islamic State was Washington’s Frankenstein monster became evident from the moment it rushed upon the scene 30 months ago.
But even then the Washington war party could not resist adding fuel to the fire. Whooping up another round of Islamophobia among the American public after the vastly exagerated Yazidis episode, they forced the Obama White House into a futile bombing campaign for the third time in a quarter century.
But if bombing really worked, the Islamic State would be sand and gravel by now. Indeed, as shown by the map below, it is really not much more than that anyway.
The dusty, broken, impoverished towns and villages along the margins of the Euphrates River and in the bombed out precincts of Anbar province do not attract thousands of wannabe jihadists from the failed states of the middle east and the alienated Muslim townships of Europe because the caliphate offers prosperity, salvation or any future at all.
What recruits them is outrage at the bombs and drones being dropped on Sunni communities by the US air force; and by the cruise missiles launched from the bowels of the Mediterranean which rip apart homes, shops, offices and mosques containing as many innocent civilians as ISIS terrorists.
The truth is, the Islamic State was destined for a short half-life anyway. It was contained by the Kurds in the north and east and by Turkey with NATO’s second largest army and air force in the northwest. And it was surrounded by the Shiite crescent in the populated, economically viable regions of lower Syria and Iraq.
So absent Washington’s misbegotten campaign to unseat Assad in Damascus and demonize his confession-based Iranian ally, there would have been nowhere for the murderous fanatics who pitched a makeshift capital in Raqqa to go. They would have run out of money, recruits, momentum and public acquiesce in their horrific rule in due course.
But with the US Air Force functioning as their recruiting arm and France’s anti-Assad foreign policy helping to foment a final spasm of anarchy in Syria, the gates of hell have been opened wide. What has been puked out is not an organized war on Western civilization as western politicians like Hollande so hysterically proclaim in response to the mayhem of each new incident.
It is just blowback carried out by that infinitesimally small salient of mentally deformed young men who can be persuaded to strap on a suicide belt.
Needless to say, bombing won't stop them; it will just make more of them.
Ironically, what can stop them is the Assad government and the ground forces of its Hezbollah and the Iranian Republican Guard allies. Its time to let them settle an ancient quarrel that has never been any of America’s business anyway.
But Imperial Washington is so caught up in its myths, lies and hegemonic stupidity that it can not see the obvious. After decades in the region, it has done everything wrong that could be done.
It has destroyed the Baathist states that kept religious fanaticism in check; it has alienated the vast crescent of Shiite forces, which are capably armed and have never advocated or launched terrorist attacks in the west; and it has aligned itself with a few thousand corpulent, tyrannical princes in Saudi Arabia and the gulf petro-states who would have a shorter tenure this side of Paradise, if the people were given a choice, than did the Romanovs.
The truth is, the Fifth Fleet and its overt and covert auxiliaries should never have been there—–going all the way back to the CIA’s coup against Iranian democracy in 1953. It was in the name of protecting the oil fields that the Washington war machine installed the monstrous Mohammad Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne and thereby inaugurated 25 years of plunder and Savak terror.
Likewise, it was the Washington war machine that decided upon the “tilt to Saddam” in his 1980s war on the Islamic Republic, and which provided him with satellite based tracking and targeting services when he rained chemical weapons on barely armed Iranian forces.
The truth is, there never were any Iranian “terrorists” at time the Berlin Wall fell. What existed was the smoldering hostility and nationalism that had arisen among the Iranian people after four decades of Washington intervention in their internal affairs, and a theocratic Shiite regime that had come to power owing to Washington’s foolish embrace of a brutal megalomaniacal tyrant.
Even then, the rulers of Tehran had been ratified twice in honest elections. And they were far more civilized, constitutionally-minded and economically egalitarian than the absolute monarchs of the House of Saud, whose gluttonous opulence was unspeakable and whose medievalist Wahhabi regime of religious fanaticism has recruited, trained, motivated and dispatched more jihadi terrorists than the Iranians ever have.
And that gets to the heart of why there is no 'world war' emanating from Islam aimed at the west and America. The Islamic nations are at war with themselves, and have been for centuries, not with us.
To stop the episodic incursions of jihadi terrorism-----organized or "inspired"------in the west, Washington does not need to make the desert glow in the backwaters of the upper Euphrates valley. It only needs to vacate the region, and invite the Iranians and their Shiite Crescent allies to finish the job.
The caliphate would be gone in no time. Then, there would be no war zone for recruiting, training and radicalizing the alienated young Muslim men of Europe to return to their home communities on missions of murder and mayhem.
At length, there would be no jihadi fighters and martyrs "heroically" resisting the bombs and drones of the US Air Force to "inspire" copycat acts of violence in the US homeland, or to disseminate social media videos and propaganda that appeal to the alienated and mentally troubled losers who have been responsible for most of the recent "terrorist" episodes in the US.
But for that constructive resolution to come about Washington's two Big Lies would need to be decisively refuted. Namely, that the Iranian regime has been hell-bent on obtaining nuclear weapons and that it is the leading exporter of terrorism in the middle east.
As to the first, the Iranian nuclear agreement is a decisive refutation of the War Party’s hoary claim that Iran is hell-bent upon obtaining nuclear weapons.
This deafening but untruthful narrative was long ago debunked by the 2007 National Intelligence Estimates (NIEs). These authoritative findings were issued by the nation’s 16 top intelligence agencies in November 2007, and they held that what had possibly been a small-scale Iranian weapons research effort was abandoned in 2003 and never restarted. That NIE verdict has been reiterated several times since then.
Not surprisingly, it was also these NIE findings that stopped cold in its tracks George Bush’s plan to bomb the alleged Iranian nuclear sites in late 2007. In his memoirs the Great Decider admitted that it would have been hard to explain to the American public why he was launching another war to eliminate an alleged Iranian WMD threat when his own intelligence agencies had just concluded it did not even exist!
Indeed, it was the same crowd of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Bolton, Feith et.al. which had falsified the WMD claims against Saddam Hussein that had been beating the war drums so loudly about the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.
And, as it has turned out, they had resorted to the same kind of falsified intelligence which the first time around had generated the infamous “curveball” pictures of biological weapons labs that were actually pasturized milk plants.
This time it was a bunch of falsified drawings and plans mysteriously found on a laptop computer that had been turned over by a Iranian dissident group called the MEK, which, ironically, had long been allied with Saddam Hussein and had been on the State Department terrorist list from 1997 to 2012.
So it needs to be shouted from the rafters at the outset that all the arm-waving and screeching against the Iranian nuke deal by the GOP war-mongers and the Israeli lobby is grounded in a Big Lie. The whole Iran-is-after-the-bomb narrative is just WMD 2.0.
Indeed, the War Party has been so shrill and unrelenting in promulgating this trumped-up story that the other side of the equation is hardly known to the American public. Namely, that the overwhelming weight of the evidence over more than three decades—–including information obtained by the IAEA during the course of extensive investigations—-is that Iran’s primary aim has been to obtain enrichment capacity for its civilian reactors.
In fact, when an incipient weapons research program was shutdown in 2003, the Ayatollah Khamenei took a decisive step to remove all doubt inside the Iranian government. He issued a fatwa (ban) against the possession of nuclear weapons by the Islamic Republic.
This anti-WMD edict was in keeping with a similar fatwa against biological and chemical weapons issued by his predecessor, the Ayatollah Khomeini, in the midst of Iran’s war with Iraq in the 1980s. At the time, Saddam was dropping these horrific weapons on Iranian battle forces—-some of them barely armed teenage boys—- with the spotting help of CIA tracking satellites and the concurrence of Washington.
Thus, the real history demonstrates an Iranian posture that is wholly contrary to the War Party’s endless blizzard of false charges about its quest for nukes. However benighted and medieval its religious views, the theocracy which rules Iran does not consist of demented war mongers. In the heat of battle they were willing to sacrifice their own forces rather than violate their religious scruples to counter Saddam’s WMDs.
At the end of the day, the War Party’s narrative is a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Finally, there is the second giant lie that has been used to complete the demonization of the Iranian government. That is the utterly false claim that Iran is an aggressive would be hegemon that is a fount of terrorism and is dedicated to the destruction of the state of Israel, among other treacherous purposes.
That giant lie was almost single-handedly fashioned by Bibi Netanyahu and his coterie of power-hungry henchman after the mid-1990s. Indeed, the false claim that Iran posses an “existential threat” to Israel is a product of the pure red meat domestic Israeli politics that have kept Bibi in power for much of the last two decades.
But the truth is Iran is no better or worse than any of the other major powers in the Middle East. In many ways it is far less of a threat to regional peace and stability than the military butchers who now run Egypt on $1.5 billion per year of US aid.
And it is surely no worse than the corpulent tyrants who squander the massive oil resources of Saudi Arabia in pursuit of unspeakable opulence and decadence to the detriment of the 27 million citizens which are not part of the regime, and who one day may well reach the point of revolt. And when it comes to the support of terrorism, the Saudis have funded more jihadists and terrorists throughout the region than Iran ever even imagined.
In this context, the War Party’s bloviation about Iran’s leadership of the so-called Shiite Crescent is especially obnoxious. Yes, the Iranians support the Assad government in Syria, but that’s a long-standing alliance that goes back to his father’s era and is rooted in the historic confessional politics of the Islamic world.
The Assad regime is Alawite, a branch of the Shiite, and despite the regime’s brutality, it has been a bulwark of protection for all of Syria’s minority sects, including Christians, against a majority-Sunni ethnic cleansing. The latter would surely occur if the Saudi supported rebels, led by ISIS, were ever to take power.
Likewise, the fact that the government of the broken state of Iraq——an artificial, non-sustainable 1916 concoction of two stripped pants European diplomats (Messrs. Sykes and Picot of the British and French foreign offices, respectively)——–is now aligned with Iran is also a result of confessional politics and geo-economic propinquity.
For all practical purposes, the Kurds of the northeast have declared their independence and the western Sunni lands of the upper Euphrates have been conquered by ISIS with American weapons dropped in place by the hapless $25 billion Iraqi army minted by Washington’s departing proconsuls.
Accordingly, what is left of Iran is a population that is overwhelmingly Shiite, and which nurses bitter resentments from decades of Sunni repression under Saddam. Why in the world, therefore, wouldn’t they ally with their Shiite neighbor?
Likewise, the claim that Iran is now trying to annex Yemen is pure claptrap. The ancient territory of Yemen has been racked by civil war off and on since the early 1970s. And a major driving force of that conflict has been confessional differences between the Sunni south and the Shiite north.
In more recent times, Washington’s blatant drone war inside Yemen against alleged terrorists and its domination and financing of Yemen’s governments eventually produced the same old outcome. That is, another failed state and an illegitimate government which fled at the 11th hour, leaving another vast cache of American arms and equipment behind.
Accordingly, the Houthis forces now in control of substantial parts of the country are not some kind of advanced guard sent in by Tehran. They are indigenous partisans who share a confessional tie with Iran, but which have actually been armed by the US.
And the real invaders in this destructive civil war are the Saudis, whose vicious bombing campaign against civilian populations controlled by the Houthis are outright war crimes if the word has any meaning at all.
Finally, there is the fourth element of the purported Iranian axis—–the Hezbollah controlled Shiite communities of southern Lebanon and the Beka Valley. Like everything else in the Middle East, Hezbollah is a product of historical European imperialism, Islamic confessional politics and the frequently misguided and counter-productive security policies of Israel.
In the first place, Lebanon was not any more a real country than Iraq was when Sykes and Picot laid their straight-edged rulers on a map. The result was a stew of religious and ethnic divisions—-Maronite Catholics, Greek Orthodox, Copts, Druse, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, Kurds, Armenians, Jews and countless more—– that made the fashioning of a viable state virtually impossible.
At length, an alliance of Christians and Sunnis gained control of the country, leaving the 40% Shiite population disenfranchised and economically disadvantaged, as well. But it was the inflow of Palestinian refugees in the 1960s and 1970s that eventually upset the balance of sectarian forces and triggered a civil war that essentially lasted from 1975 until the turn of the century.
It also triggered a catastrophically wrong-headed Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 1982, and a subsequent repressive occupation of mostly Shiite territories for the next eighteen years. The alleged purpose of this invasion was to chase the PLO and Yassir Arafat out of the enclave in southern Lebanon that they had established after being driven out of Jordan in 1970.
Eventually Israel succeeded in sending Arafat packing to north Africa, but in the process created a militant, Shiite-based resistance movement that did not even exist in 1982, and which in due course became the strongest single force in Lebanon’s fractured domestic political arrangements. After Israel withdrew in 2000, the then Christian President of the county made abundantly clear that Hezbollah had become a legitimate and respected force within the Lebanese polity, not merely some subversive agent of Tehran:
“For us Lebanese, and I can tell you the majority of Lebanese, Hezbollah is a national resistance movement. If it wasn’t for them, we couldn’t have liberated our land. And because of that, we have big esteem for the Hezbollah movement.”[
So, yes, Hezbollah is an integral component of the Shiite Crescent and its confessional and political alignment with Tehran is entirely plausible. But that arrangement—-however uncomfortable for Israel—–does not represent Iranian aggression on Israel’s northern border. Instead, it’s actually the blowback from the stubborn refusal of Israeli governments—–especially the rightwing Likud governments of modern times—–to deal constructively with the Palestinian question.
In lieu of a two-state solution in the territory of Palestine, therefore, Israeli policy has produced a chronic state of war with nearly half the Lebanese population represented by Hezbollah. The latter is surely no agency of peaceful governance and has committed its share of atrocities. But the point at hand is that given the last 35 years of history and Israeli policy, Hezbollah would exist as an unfriendly presence on its northern border even if the Shah or his heir was still on the Peacock Throne.
At the end of the day, there is no reason for the vast war machine of Washington and its vassals to be in the middle east at all. The terrible violence it has inflicted on the region has generated far more terrorists than all the fiery sermons and social media propaganda that a few thousand Sunni fanatics have ever been able to muster.
So if the Donald wants to really stop the blowback, eliminate the copycats and lone wolves and reduce the unjustified but palpable fears of terrorism among American voters, he only needs to do what Eisenhower did in 1952.
That is, go to Tehran, make a deal and then bring Washington's vast, destructive and unaffordable war machine home.