Things have shaped up in Iraq exactly as they should have, considering how it all started. Of course, where and how it started is as debatable as what to do about the mess that has been made. The media loves to place the full blame on Bush for the Iraq debacle, but those of us who keep a watchful eye on Muslim world affairs, know very well that Bush inherited a policy towards Iraq that came out of the Jack Abramoff Congress, and he could not have escaped his duty to invade Iraq, just like Clinton couldn’t avoid bombing Iraq regularly, and for some very strange reasons. Anyone who is incensed by the fact that we invaded Iraq based upon uncorroborated lies that were proffered and circulated by the media claiming that Iraq had WMD, should be equally angry that we also bombed Iraq during the Clinton administration for some pretty strange reasons, once while the President was sleeping, and another time to distract us from the Clinton/Lewinsky affair. The point here is not that Clinton is as bad as Bush, or vice versa. The point is that whoever was making our foreign policy decisions on the Middle East was determined to destroy Iraq, and they have nearly succeeded. It took more than 10 years and the loss of lots of innocent life, and national treasure to get it done, but never the less, Iraq is a success story for the pro-Israeli crew who wrote the plan, and saw to it that US leaders followed and stuck to the plan, no matter what. Whereas the newly elected Congress is saying that the US must withdraw the troops some time soon, or immediately, we shouldn’t let it escape our minds that many of these same Congress people voted to go to war, and they never saw fit to provide any oversight that may have prevented what we see today, from happening.
Any opportunity prior to the actual 2003 invasion, to bomb and incrementally weaken and destroy Iraq was taken, and Congress said and did nothing because it was their policy, and they had earmarked the money for Iraq’s destruction and regime change. When people complained about the fact that there were too many civilian casualties resulting from the cavalier preemptive bombing of Iraq prior to the invasion, we were told that it was all Saddam Hussein’s fault because he was violating his post Desert Storm UN commitments. This is not to mention Madeline Albright’s sanctions regime that probably killed more Iraqi civilians, mostly children, than the US soldiers have actually killed in combat operations. Has the similarity between Albright’s campaign to kill off the Iraqis with starvation and disease and Condoleezza Rice’s campaign to starve the Palestinians to death, and make it impossible for them to receive medical care, or to have an economy, dawned on anyone? These women represent two different political parties, yet they served, and serve one master and it’s not Bush, and it wasn’t Clinton.
If the mission wasn’t accomplished when Bush said it was, it’s clear that it is accomplished now, at least the destruction and regime change aspects of the plan. Iraq is a mess. It seems plausible that Israel thought it would have nothing to fear from its plan to destroy Iraq via the US, except perhaps a little PR problem that might result from claims to the American public during the election campaigns, that the US recklessly killed its own children, 3000 of them, to appease Israel. They also perhaps thought this would be a problem easily fixed by getting rid of the Secretary of Defense, and offering a few meaningless concessions on Palestine, to be offered once any real threat from the Islamic movements in Palestine had been neutralized by a re-entry into Gaza, and a massacre. This is not to discourage the recent progress made in respect to Palestine/ and Israel in respect to the cease fire and possible prisoner exchange. It is merely to suggest that we could have had a cease fire some years ago, and also a prisoner exchange that might have prevented some of the massacres.
What they did not, and could not have anticipated, is that the war on terrorism would, rather than eliminate, frighten and intimidate the real and legitimate Islamic movement factions and their supporters in the region, thereby preventing them from moving to fill the numerous vacuums in power, legitimacy and leadership in the Muslim/Arab world, created by war on terrorism fatigue, that these movements would be undaunted and that they would not only challenge the weakened status quo, but actually defeat the status quo in legitimate, and scandal free election contests, making them arguably the most powerful players in the region, having not only won political legitimacy, but also due to the fact that they are popular movements. They could, on their own, without any further erosion in government power, take the region into full scale and unconventional wars against the entrenched powers, overthrowing most of the Arab and some other governments. That they have not means only that it has never been their plan to wreak havoc in the region, with the hopes of establishing an Islamic caliphate as accused. This radical Islamic fascist caliphate lie is a lie that equals the WMD lie in its intent, and in its complete and utter untruth, and absurdity.
It may not have been a far fetched dream to imagine that an attack on the US, and a subsequent military onslaught against the Middle East, including an Iraq invasion and wars with Syria and Iran that would purge the region of any Islamic tendencies, would position Israel geo-politically to reign, mostly unchallenged over the Muslim/Arab world. It was a far fetched and unattainable reality. What we are witnessing instead of a Middle East that has been sanitized of Islam and that is weak and vulnerable to Israel, is a Middle East that is wrought with defiance, and an eagerness to fight back. The populations have had enough, and are ready, willing and able to fight and defeat Israel and any other power over the short or long term if pushed any further into more suffering and its predictable result, which is usually some form of hopelessness.
In 1999, in a paper I authored entitled, “Terrorism, Sanctions and Resistance: Barriers to Realignment?” published in the Middle East Affairs Journal, I suggested that at some point the US would be faced with an opportunity and a challenge in the Middle East that would ask, “Is it time for the US to realign?” and here we are. Is it time for the US to reassess its interests in the Muslim/Arab world, and as a result of this reassessment and its predictable result, might it be time for the US to decide that Islam is not an enemy of the American people or the West, and that it may be time, not only that we end our ideological opposition to Islam and Islamic activism, but that we also seek to realign our allegiances, understanding and accepting that it’s not Europe, or China or Israel that is best suited to protect the US interest in the Muslim/Arab world, and that it might instead be the Islamic movements that will offer the only hope of stability in the region? Such a realignment would not mean that Israel, or other historic allies would become enemies, it only means that they would remain our allies and be joined in that distinction along with other new US allies, perhaps not so conventional, yet perhaps much more able. If we agree that the US has one primary interest in the region, and that this interest is served by stability, it is clear that Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia nor Jordan can guarantee this essential requirement, while the Islamic movements, along with their primary state supporters, Syria and Iran, can.
It is rumored that the Iraq Study Group will recommend that the US bring Syria and Iran into deliberations on the future of Iraq. If so, they have understood what we are facing in Iraq, and if this is one of their recommendations, it is a sign that they have not only realistically assessed the situation; they have anticipated a solution that can work. Iran and Syria bring the influence of their proxies to the discussion with them, even if we don’t see them sitting there at the table. These proxies are the power brokers on the ground. They can bring the insurgency to a halt, and they can end the sectarian violence, since they have the unique distinction of being both Sunni and Shia and popular amongst both. No one has the credibility among the people that these groups have, and no other entity is capable of addressing both the ideological and the practical issues related to insurgency and civil war that are troubling Iraq. Syria and Iran are also able to assist with training the Iraqi military police, and providing temporary security with their own resources, leaving the US military to plan and carry out a re-tooling operation that could transform the war into a peacetime mission aimed primarily at reconstruction, and building diplomatic relations. None of our traditional regional allies can offer any of these things, and time has shown that they are not capable, hence the present situation. Presently, in my view, there is no role for the UN in Iraq. The UN, once the situation is stable, is perhaps best suited to organize the humanitarian aspects of Iraq’s recovery. Through its various agencies it is able perhaps to take responsibility for public health, food distribution, housing, and disease control, and to work with the private sector and the population on projects aimed at developing a civil society than accommodate diversity, and that promotes religious freedom and tolerance.
It’s time for a change in our Iraq policy, and in our general approach to the Muslim and Arab world, its governments and its people. We must learn how to make new friends, and to keep the old. We must also learn how to be a friend, which will be no easy task after being poisoned by years of self serving Zionist propaganda, and tricks, along with years of Arab and Islam bashing, and lying as public policy. Still, we can move forward and salvage US credibility through re-alignment, and re-tooling that is aimed towards effective cooperation with the regional powers and the people, that can result from our efforts to stabilize and reconstruct Iraq as a peacetime project carried out with the cooperation of the popular movements, the governments and the people of Iraq and the region.