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25 December 2006

Comments

Hakim

I'm curious to know what "things" you have in mind as the possible reasonings for this statement,

"... we need the open and clear backing of the countries in this region who know better than we what is happening and why."

Besides, this war is a war-mongering opportunist's dream because of the classes and sub-classes which integrate or disintegrate the region. Perhaps this is why we resolve to questions like,

"Why the special emphasis for sunnis? After all the fuss made about rescuing shias in Iraq, now that the boot is being aimed at Iran, are the sunnis now in favour?"

These questions which surface often after observing 60 days of political shuffling in the media.

joe90

As Bush-Blair try to instigate civil war and internecine strife,
here is a comment from the messegeboard at MediaLens.org on the subject of Christian communities being put at risk by the Butchers of Beruit and Baghdad
http://members5.boardhost.com/medialens/msg/1166959216.html>"Foreign Office rap for archbishop" ?

And on the latest attempts to return Middle East oil to its rightful owners, the investors and shareholders of Wall St and the City in London. Usually known as western imperialism, but has recently been known as spreading stability, peace and democracy in the region, only after no Iraqi WMD was found, however -
http://www.counterpunch.com/shahid12232006.html>Chaos by Design
An "Islamic Civil War"
By
M. Shahid Alam
CounterPunch.org
23-24 Dec 2006

And
http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=22&ItemID=11673>End of the strongmen
Do America and Israel want the Middle East engulfed by civil war?
by
Jonathan Cook
ZMag.org
20 Dec 2006

If you can't beat 'em,
start a civil war among 'em!

George Carty

Another possible reason why American hawks may want Sunni/Shi'a civil war is that they hope that it will discredit Islamism on both sides of the sectarian divide, just as the carnage of the Thirty Years' War discredited the politicization of Christianity in Europe.

Raashid

They're in a bit of a pickle then aren't they? If Iran comes out on top, you get a modern Persia which is intellectualy strong (relative to Araby) and opposed to Israel, if the Sunnis come out on top, well, you get the more intolerant of the two, who are are... more opposed to Israel!
As usual the West thinks it can merely transpose its own history on to that of Islam's. In matter not, what the outcome of any sectarian conflict in the Middle East, or even if there is one or not. The people are inherently opposed to Israel whatever stripe their beliefs.

George Carty

Raashid, what do you think Blair's plan is? As you mentioned, Iran and the Arabs are both as bad as each other from a Zionist POV, and from a Western POV Sunni Islamists are worse than Shi'a Islamists (al-Qaeda draws from the Sunni community, although their own theology is more Kharijite).

I'm starting to think it's about oil after all. Blair and Bush fear Iran may attempt to annex the Shi'a parts of Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which would give it a stranglehold on the Middle Eastern oil fields (together with the shipping choke-point at the Straits of Hormuz.

Raashid

In the case of Blair (like Bush) I don't believe he has any great strategic sense as such. I think most of his policies are as much in hope they'll somehow work out rather then being based on any analysis as such.
That's why he went ahead with the invasion of Iraq. I remember back in 1991 many strategists warned Bush Sr. that toppling Saddam Hussein could turn Iraq into a Lebanon X10. And so it has come to pass. There was no analysis to debunk that idea in 2003, the decision to invade was made more out of sentiment. Like most of the politics in Western democracies these days, a few fancy slogans is all people have the attention span for.
In the end, whoever has to clean up the mess made by the dynamic duo will be reduced to damage limitation. I see a return to the Cold War-era staus quo approach: Prop up dictators like the Gulf Royals and Mubarak in Egypt as the lesser of evils, whilst periodically bashing recaltricant ones like Assad in Damascus, but not too hard so he falls over.

junglecitizen

I think personally that this is part of a wider re-alignment of the western powers with a Saudi Arabia / Sunni insurgent alliance.

This recent story, based entirely on 'leaks' from UK government sources (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6232735.stm) appears to be an attempt to smear Iran and by extension the parties making up the Iraqi government. It's quite cunning how they've painted the previously quite open links between SCIRI and the Iranian government as something secret and nefarious.

My prediction is that at some point in the near future the Iraqi government will 'collapse', probably due to unreasonable demands from the Americans with regards to curbing Iranian influence. The collapse will be blamed on 'Iranian interference', justifying military action against Shi'a groups.

This could be the trigger for a Saudi-US-UK anti-Iranian alliance to declare war on 'Iranian elements' within Iraq, bomb Iran (neocons cheer), and weigh in on the Sunni side. Yes, this would mean indirectly supporting the Sunni Ba'athist militia allies of Saudi Arabia, but with Saddam gone, that probably won't be noticed by too many people.

The biggest catch with this is that if they lose this war (as they have been doing lately) there is a hell of a lot more at stake than previously, both for the Iraqi population and for the entire world economy - Saudi's oil would be a prime Iranian target.

It has to be remembered that many of the US Republicans that drive this conflict genuinely believe they are fighting the clash of civilisations, good versus evil, with the kingpin of the evil civilisation being Iran. On the right in America, attacking Iran is almost viewed as a righteous obligation, rather than a rational strategic move. For that reason they may be blind to the obvious and terrible risks of such a strategy.

(Another possible motivator: Leaks from Saudi officials suggest they want rid of the Iraqi government, and if that means war with Iran, so be it. They are angry about the killing of Sunnis, and they blame it on Iran and the Iraqi govt - And if Saudi want something to happen, they have some extremely powerful oil-based bargaining chips.)

(I should also say most of this is inspired by Juan Cole's very impressive reasoning on his blog (http://www.juancole.com/)...)

ainelivia

junglecitizen, think this is amazing, someone should be writing the book before it happens. with the democrats holding the strong position in the US government at the moment, do you still believe that the Reppublicians and GB would still attempt this?

junglecitizen

ainelivia: "junglecitizen, think this is amazing, someone should be writing the book before it happens."

I don't think it's so predictable I'd want to set it in stone (after all, I'm no professional)... but the momentum does seem to be toward an anti-Iran stance, and that simply isn't compatible with continued support for the Iraqi government.

Juan Cole (who I mentioned in the comment) has been uncannily correct on a number of things Iraq related in the past. As mentioned the idea is based heavily on his analysis.

Ultimately it's only a prediction, and in a very unpredictable region: I'd like to be wrong, to be frank, since most of the possible results are very nasty indeed.

ainelivia: "with the democrats holding the strong position in the US government at the moment, do you still believe that the Reppublicians and GB would still attempt this?"

I think they would, if they thought it necessary. The White House appears to believe that the President has absolute power over the military (although others would dispute this). It could certainly cause one almighty showdown with Congress.

And as time passes I'm becoming more and more convinced that the US administration gets a lot of its motivation not just from oil/power/greed (as most people assume) but also from Islamophobia and a genuine belief that they are fighting a critical clash of civilisations against some kind of evil/barbarian conquering force. What finally swayed it for me was the credible allegation that they'd been internally distributing (and providing to troops) a disturbing and frankly racist tract entitled 'The Arab Mind' - plus their clear links with right wing radio hosts, right wing Israeli politicians, and hardline think tanks who certainly do believe these things. I may be wrong, but I can't think of a better explanation for their recent policies.

ainelivia

As you said in the para beginning "as time passes", I tend to agree with you. I'd like to think it isn't some "conspiracy of power" and that US policies are merely reactive. Though it seems we have not moved away from that kind of thinking and cohesive force this creates within a population.

I'm hoping for the almighty showdown with Congress, and for those who disagree with the present policies to voice their dissent, loudly.

As to the Juan Cole analysis, yes, I too would like him to be wrong. Though I'd like to see the analysis, "fictionalised" in some way to bring it to the public's attention. I feel that this would have some effect on public opinion, and put forward possibilities before any of us, anywhere, have to suffer the consequences.

You wrote, and I agree, "a genuine belief that they are fighting a critical clash of civilisations against some kind of evil/barbarian conquering force." However,if I turn this around, is this not the same "genuine belief" that seems to operate in somewhere like Iran for instance? That the Iranian government are using a similar propaganda to "militate" their population's thinking against the US. I find it paradoxical that both countries governments are using this to push their wish to engage in "war".

joe90

Here are a few good articles on the idea that the US is trying to foment a 'civil war', of sorts, in the parts of Asia where all the oil is -

http://www.counterpunch.com/shahid01042007.html>Cracks in the Empire
Has Regime Change Boomeranged?
By
M. Shahid Alam
CounterPunch.org
04 Jan 2007

The article below has an unofficial map of a US preferred 'post-civil war Oil-Asia' which has been used by a few US institutions -
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20070104&articleId=4347>The "Demonization" of Muslims and the Battle for Oil
by
Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research,
4 Jan 2007

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