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Iraq, America and the Gulf states

12/16/2008

In Iraq's Future I wrote,

American withdrawal from Iraq is not an option to be considered, but a fact in the making.The consequences of American withdrawal and how to deal with them must be considered carefully and soberly, not only by American policy makers, but by Middle East leaders.

Destabilization of Iraq following American withdrawal would have the most profound consequences on the surrounding Gulf states. Iraq in civil war offers endless opportunities for mischief. It could become a staging area for Al-Qaeda attacks, or Iraq could be "stabilized" by neighboring Iran, leading to Shi'a hegemony. Restive Iraqi Kurds could support risings among their brethren in Iran and Turkey. Everyone in the Middle East, but particularly those living in the Gulf states, have reason to be concerned. All the above seems trivially true and obvious.

While writing the article about Iraq's future, I happened upon the latest editorial in Gulf News. It is one of a long series of articles that you can find in almost every journal published in the Middle East, condemning the United States occupation of Iraq and offering barely disguised support for the bloodthirsty barbarians whom it pleases Middle East media to call "resistance" or "fighters." Here is a long quote from the Gulf News editorial:

It must have been very painful, for the US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, to stand in front of his country's military commanders in Iraq to announce bluntly that their mission, in effect occupation, has reached its "endgame".

For five years, that "game" has left a trail of destruction and misery, bombing Iraq, a country that sits on the world's second largest proven oil reserves, into "stone age" poverty, according to former Secretary of State James Baker. Yet that game has failed to achieve the US strategic objectives of creating a country that can be a launching pad for the American vision of a larger Middle East, with an Israeli central role, that serves US interests of political, military and economic hegemony.

To minimise the adverse impact of that failure, due to Iraqi resistance, Gates called upon Arab countries, particularly Gulf Cooperation Council states, to come to Washington's rescue.

They want the Arabs to bear Washington's failures and finance them. Although that call is not new, it carries this time an urgency as the US administration watches its dream turn into a nightmare. The US withdrawal will also leave their allies, who currently rule Iraq, to an uncertain future.

It is the endgame of the "crusade", a label that Bush himself used to describe the March 2003 invasion.

If you want to discredit anything in the Middle East, connect it to Israel somehow. No further explanation is needed. From the American point of view, of course, the reality might look different. Wasn't Saddam Hussein and his regime a result of the failure of the Arab world and Arab policy or lack of it? Didn't the Gulf States beg America not only to pay the costs, but to pay in lives to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein? Didn't America bear the expense of the Seventh fleet and the deployment in Saudi Arabia to keep the Gulf safe from Saddam Hussein and the Mullahs of Iran, and to make it safe for a network of oil-plutocracies who build ski resorts in the desert and artificial islands? Didn't the UAE build this good life by gouging American and European consumers for oil priced at nearly $150 a barrel, until the world economy could take it no longer and collapsed?

What is the "resistance" that the editors are talking about? It is murder of Muslims for the most part. What will this "resistance" be resisting precisely, after the United States withdraws from Iraq? What would happen, and will happen, to all these "Takfir" regimes with their fancy resort hotels and artificial islands if Al-Qaeda has its way?

After the Iraq invasion fell apart, the prudent thing for the United States to do, and the best thing President Bush could have done for his reputation in history, would have been to withdraw. That is what the Iraq Study Group (ISG) recommended. But the United States did not withdraw, but instead announced the surge. Why is the United States still in Iraq, having nearly bankrupted itself in a thankless war, and why did President Bush commit himself to remaining in Iraq after the Iraq study group report recommended precipitous withdrawal? The answer is not hard to find.

Following the ISG report, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice traveled to the Middle East and the Gulf States GCC forum. This is what she found:

...One by one, the foreign ministers said they felt convinced the United States was about to fold and leave Iraq. In turn, they would then have to make their own deals with the Sunnis in Iraq and with one another. Their big fear was what they called a Shia Crescent--a half-moon-shaped swath of large Shia populations running from Iran, through Iraq and into Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, among other countries -- that would threaten the Sunnis of the region.

Rice received an earful. "America is going to give up," one foreign minister told her. Bush was going to redeploy and talk to Iran and Syria. They went so far as to say that they were worried that the president was going to make a separate peace with Iran. That would be like Nixon going to China or Reagan going to the Soviet Union. Such an outreach would upset the regional balance of power.

"You don't need to be thinking about pulling your forces down," said one of the foreign ministers, "you need to think about doubling your forces." (Source: Bob Woodward, The War Within, New York, Simon and Schuster, 2008 p. 258)

No Zionist dogs were involved in the decision to remain in Iraq. There was no "crusade." The same Mr. Bush who is reviled as if he were worse than Hulagu the Mongol, risked his prestige and the resources of his country to answer the call for help issued by these Gulf states. The American people sent their sons and daughters to fight "resistance" in Iraq and they paid for continuing this expensive war at the express behest of the Gulf states, just as they bore the burden of freeing Kuwait in 1991.

The "reward" of the American people and their president is given almost every day in editorials like the one in Gulf News, excoriating the American devils. The shoes that were thrown at President Bush in Iraq were symbols of depravity and barbarity. Even more telling is the great wave of empathy in the Arab world for the shoe thrower and what he represents. A Saudi has reportedly offered $10 million for these shoes and lauded the demonstration on behalf of "freedom."

Frustration and disappointment at US incompetence in Iraq, at the cruelty of soldiers and the needless waste of lives is certainly legitimate and justified. Pretending that the Arab world had no stake in the success of the invasion is unfair and incorrect. Making an Arab national cause out of humiliating the United States and its leaders because they did what the Arab states insisted that they must do is unspeakably vile.

The statesman and leaders who say one thing in public and the opposite behind closed doors, editors of Gulf News, and all the other anti-American demagogues in the Middle East surely know that their actual freedom was paid for in U.S. lives and dollars. But like rebellious children, they are so secure in the ever-necessary support and generosity of their "parent," that they feel free to attack the United States from the safe shelter of their luxury. Like every spoiled and willful child, they are sure that the parent is indestructible, gives unconditional love and will remain forever.

Of course, it is not true. Nothing is forever. The United States really will leave Iraq because it has no choice. The effort to stabilize Iraq will fail without Arab support. Those who stand off from helping secure the future of Iraq and make believe it is not their war and not their problem are living in a fool's paradise. The American soldiers will go home, as hard as it may be to believe, and they will not return. The populace, inflamed by a constant barrage of anti-American propaganda, will fall prey to every sort of pernicious ideology. They will "resist" not only their own government, but all those of surrounding states. They will join with every adventurer and fanatic and be tools for their schemes. All the worst nightmares of the kings, sheiks, emirs and tycoons of the Gulf states, as well as those of every decent person in the Middle East, will come true. Iraq will become a witches' cauldron constantly brewing hellish barbarism. The safe and pampered world of luxury hotels and easy living that supports the callous ingrates of the Gulf states will disintegrate in the face of chaos brought on by "resistance" and "freedom fighters" -- scum of the earth who will destroy their countries in the name of this religion or that ideology -- but mostly for plunder.

If the hate America crowd get their wish, the oldest set piece history drama in the Middle East will be re-enacted, the one that was first understood by ibn Khaldoun. The Arab world will achieve an empty sort of freedom: The desert will triumph over the city. In a century, there may be nothing left of the cities of the UAE or Qatar or Saudi Arabia except sand blowing in the ruins. The hypocrites of the Arab world will have brought down their own world on themselves.

Ami Isseroff

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000736.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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Replies: 3 comments

Mr Ami Isseroff :

Thanks a lot - This is a very interesting and intelligent article. And it gives information that we in far away places lack. Iraq is of grave concern to every human being in this small Planet.

Please continue writing and reporting on Iraq and I will point at your notes from my website of Rational non-Religious Prophecies :

Prophesizing.com

Vicente Duque

Posted by Vicente Duque @ 12/27/2008 09:17 PM CST

Glad to find mideastweb! I believe myself to be one of the majority of the population in the U.K who does not practice its Church of England roots.Your views that Arab Nations called in West to remove Saddam from Kuwait "I see is a truth" Many lives have been lost by Western Nations rightly or wrongly in the name of peace and human rights "West is seen as greedy for profit and poor morality" Arab, Muslim Nations should make their peace between themselves and show by example and conviction that no man shall corrupt its beliefs in a 'Right and Just society to all that live within the East' The West has morals but to much freedom and rights and weak religon and made the mistake of financing and allowing Israel to abuse its fellow man. 6,000,000 jews died..35-45 million died also to right a wrong.

Posted by Mickwik @ 12/29/2008 01:17 AM CST

Sadly your remarks are in direct contrast to statements made by the U.S. left and media (I won't speak for other outlets, though I could name a few).

To their logic, at least a year or so ago was that there would be no bloodbath or too bad if their is should the U.S. withdraw from Iraq (NYT). So many refuse to look directly at reality and prefer to imagine the ugly pieces away or blame the "Great Satan (little one too I might add)."

We expect change overnight and if that doesn't happen support dries up and/or the endeavor is described as a failure. I don't have a good feeling about the next few years, we had better be prepared to actually stand up and remain standing...this is reality, not the 24/7 news cycle.

Posted by Blandly Urbane @ 12/29/2008 08:06 PM CST


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