Tag Archives: Middle East

Every Presidential Election Since The Iraq War Has Featured Candidates Who Supported It, by Caitlin Johnstone

The Iraq War was truly a bipartisan clusterf*ck, supported by an overwhelming consensus of the high and the mighty. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The most powerful government on earth has still yet to have a single presidential election that doesn’t feature a prominent candidate who supported one of the most evil things that government has ever done.

The United States has done many, many profoundly evil things throughout its history, but the 2003 invasion of Iraq is surely in the top ten. It killed over a million human beings, destabilized an entire region, led to the rise of ISIS and Al Nusra and facilitated a rush of new Middle Eastern interventionism, all to no benefit for the American people whatsoever, and it is utterly unforgivable.

Yet there have been no consequences for it. No real changes of any kind were made to American military, governmental, political or media institutions to ensure that a similar atrocity never happens again, because the drivers of US foreign policy had every intention of doing it again. There weren’t even any real political consequences for it, as evidenced by the fact that politicians who supported it have been ascending to Democratic and Republican presidential nominee status ever since.

This is insane. The fact that every electoral contest for commander in chief of the most powerful military in the history of civilization has featured at least one candidate who supported one of the most evil things ever done in the blood-soaked history of their nation is too insane to really put into words. And it says so much about the state of the US political system today.

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The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War, by Sam Jacobs

This is a good review of the history surrounding 9/11. From Sam Jacobs at ammo.com:

With American military personnel now entering service who were not even alive on 9/11, this seems an appropriate time to reexamine the events of September 11, 2001 – the opaque motives for the attacks, the equally opaque motives for the counter-offensive by the United States and its allies known as the Global War on Terror, and the domestic fall-out for Americans concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties on the homefront.

Before venturing further, it’s worth noting that our appraisal is not among the most common explanations. Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants at Al-Qaeda, and the men who carried out the attack against the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon are not “crazy,” unhinged psychopaths launching an attack against the United States without what they consider to be good reason.

Nor do we consider then-President George W. Bush to be either a simpleton, a willing conspirator, an oil profiteer, or a Machivellian puppet whose cabinet were all too happy to take advantage of a crisis.

The American press tends to portray its leaders as fools and knaves, and America’s enemies as psychopathic. Because the propaganda machine hammered away so heavily on the simple “cowardly men who hate our freedom” line, there was not much in the way of careful consideration of the actual political motives of the hijackers, the Petro-Islam that funded them, the ancient, antagonistic split between Sunni and Shi’a, the fall-out from the 1979 Iranian revolution or the 1970s energy crisis, the historical context of covert American involvement in the Soviet-Afghan War and the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s, nor the perceived “imperialist humanitarianism” of American military adventures of the 1990s in Muslim nations like Bosnia, Iraq, Somalia and Kosovo. Alone, none of these factors were deadly. Combined, they provided a lethal combination.

It is our considered opinion that the events of 9/11 and those that followed in direct response to the attacks – including the invasion of Iraq – were carried out by good faith rational actors who believed they were acting in the best interests of their religion or their nation. There are no conspiracy theories here; sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

This opinion does not in any way absolve the principals from moral responsibility for the consequences of their actions. It does, however, provide what we believe to be a more accurate and nuanced depiction of events than is generally forthcoming from any sector of the media – because we see these principals as excellent chess players who, in the broad sweep of events, engaged in actions which are explicable.

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Foreign Interventionism, 9/11, and the Perpetual War on Terrorism, by Jacob G. Hornberger

Ron Paul got booed in a presidential debate for suggesting that the 9/11 attacks were blowback for US interventions in the Middle East, but that was exactly what they were (if they weren’t a false flag, which is certainly a possibility). From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

With today being another anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it’s important to recall why it was that that deadly event came about.

No, the terrorists didn’t attack us because they hated our “freedom and values,” as U.S. officials and American interventionists claimed after the attacks. Instead, the attacks occurred in retaliation for what the U.S. national-security establishment, specifically the Pentagon and the CIA, had been doing to people in the Middle East prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Recall the Persian Gulf War in 1991, when the U.S. government intervened in a conflict involving their old partner and ally, Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. Iraq had gotten in a territorial dispute with Kuwait, which ended up with Iraq invading Kuwait.

U.S. officials felt that they could not let Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait to stand, which is somewhat strange given that the U.S. government supported Iraq when it invaded Iran in the 1980s. Without the congressional declaration of war the Constitution requires, the U.S. government went to war against Iraq, killing multitudes of Iraqi people in the process and wreaking untold destruction across the country.

During the conflict, the Pentagon ordered the destruction of Iraq’s water-and-sewage treatment plants, after a study revealed that such destruction would help spread infectious illnesses within the Iraqi populace.

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Trump’s Distractions or Is the Empire in Retreat? by Tom Luongo

Some of us voted for Trump because we thought he’d pull us out of our stupid wars. Trump hasn’t done so, but he hasn’t started any new wars either. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

Things continue to spiral out of control in the U.S. as the myth of policing fails and anti-civilizational forces move into the power vacuum.

And while I’m still completely committed to the end of the U.S. empire and its imperial edicts, It’s also not lost on me what’s happening, who’s making it happen and how they are taking advantage of this.

I warned you President Trump’s near atavistic pursuit of U.S. ‘enemies’ in places like Syria, Iraq, Iran and Venezuela would turn the world against us. Look at the protests for George Floyd across Europe and tell me things haven’t changed.

The empire is the problem. It’s a lesson Justin Raimondo taught me at Antiwar.com twenty years ago. And it’s only now that that idea has reached any kind of critical mass.

Are we going to dismantle the empire in an orderly fashion or a chaotic one? The animals on the streets have cast their vote. What’s yours?

And while Trump has made a hash of foreign policy in so many ways, I also told you that he was smart enough to only play the crazy Ivan role up the to point of actually starting a shooting war.

This is his greatest accomplishment as President. Sadly, it shouldn’t be that great an accomplishment.

And all detractors need to remember this, including me. He hasn’t ended existing wars, but he hasn’t started any new ones. And the U.S. political apparatchiks in D.C. have been braying for wars for nearly four years.

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What Does Winning Mean in a Forever War? by Patrick J. Buchanan

The ones who “win” from US forever wars are defense and intelligence contractors. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

When a Wall Street Journal editorial warned this week against any precipitous U.S. withdrawal that might imperil our gains in Afghanistan, an exasperated President Trump shot back:

“Could someone please explain to them that we have been there for 19 years. … and except at the beginning, we never really fought to win.”

Is that true? Did we “never really” fight to win during our 19-year war in Afghanistan, except when we first ousted the Taliban in 2001?

At one point in this longest American war against al-Qaida and the Taliban, Barack Obama surged 100,000 U.S. troops into Afghanistan.

The issue here is with the terminology.

In the forever wars of the Middle East, what does “winning” mean?

To those of us who grew up in the mid-20th century, victory was Gen. MacArthur standing on the deck of the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay as top-hatted Japanese diplomats signed the articles of surrender.

Victory was unmistakable and irreversible.

Five years after V-J day, however, came Korea, a war that lasted three years and ended in deadlock, stalemate and a truce along the 38th parallel, where the North-South war had begun in June of 1950.

Vietnam also came to be called a “no-win war.”

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The Real Reason Russia Teamed up with China…Here’s What Comes Next for American Preeminence and the Dollar, by Vladimir Pozner

The US essentially drove Russia into China’s loving arms. From Vladimir Pozner at internationalman.com:

russia and china

Editor’s Note: Vladimir Pozner is Russia’s most influential political TV talk-show host, journalist and broadcaster.

Pozner has hosted several shows on Russian television, where he has interviewed famous figures such as Hillary Clinton, Alain Delon, President Dimitri Medvedev and Sting.

Pozner has appeared on a wide range of networks, including NBC, CBS, CNN and the BBC. He has worked as a journalist, editor (Soviet Life Magazine and Sputnik Magazine) and TV and radio commentator in a long career covering many major events in Russia.

Pozner has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and Ted Koppel’s Nightline. He has also worked for the Institute for US and Canadian Studies, a Soviet think tank.

He co-hosted a show with Phil Donahue called Pozner/Donahue. It was the first televised bi-lateral discussion (or “spacebridge”) between audiences in the Soviet Union and the US, carried via satellite.

In 1997, he returned to Moscow as an independent journalist.

Doug Casey’s friend Mark Gould sat down with Pozner in Moscow to help us better understand the relationship between the US and Russia.

International Man: Do you see a resurging Russia and a restoration of Russian Empire, or simply a national state resurgence?

Vladimir Pozner: Certainly not. Russia is not a resurging empire. There is no way it’s ever going to be an empire again.

Empires have this universal feature of disappearing forever, whether it’s ancient Rome or whether it’s the UK or whatever. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.

It’s not going to come back, and people have to come to terms with that. Russia has been an empire since the days of Peter the Great— we’re talking about the 18th century. It is used to being an empire. The Soviet Union was an empire.

The loss of an empire is painful. It’s like when you lose a leg but have phantom pains—the leg isn’t there, but it still hurts.

Well, that’s what’s going on. Psychologically, it’s difficult to accept. So, you have a certain degree of nationalism, chauvinism—and it’s part of growing out of what you were once upon a time and becoming something else.

Is that happening in Russia? Yes.

Is it painful? Yes, it’s painful. Is there a deep divide between the older generation and the younger generation? There’s always a divide, but in this case, a very deep divide.

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Strategic Remix for the Middle East, by Alastair Crooke

Alastair Crooke tries to make sense of the always confusing Middle East. From Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The End of an Era. When the first World War came to its end, intimations of an end to the European Era were already evident in symptoms: aching diplomatic joints, straitened perceptual political vision and the general financial health of the patient about to turn acute, as the constipated monetary policies of the Central Banks ushered in the Great Depression. But ‘life’ went on: European men and women wildly danced the Cancan throughout the 1920s; It was Cabaret, party time. No one wanted to acknowledge the omens of what lay afore them.

Last month, an Israeli academic opined that the future shape of the Middle East lies in the hands of three ‘insider’ states: Iran, Turkey and Israel. It was an interesting observation. None are Arab; and it implied an incremental US disengagement, and a modest ‘king-maker’ role for Russia.

What makes this statement intriguing is the focus on just three states and the downplay of external intervention as the key ‘shaper’ of the future strategic ‘map’. Implicit here is that all three are flexing their military muscles. But diplomats and political analysts usually prefer to stay at the plane of politics and national interests. They dislike the fact that the outcome of military contestation, per se, can determine political outcomes, and thus validate or negate national interests. It is offensive to diplomacy. But often, it is just so. The region at this time is not really susceptible to a direct conceptual approach: So, the focus on the outcome of military contestation, trials of strength, and then on the other – quite different dynamic – of Covid-19 and its economic effects, makes more sense than traditional purely political calculus of interests.

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Russia Is Defeating The U.S. In The Middle East Oil Game, by Simon Watkins

Russia is playing, and winning, the long game in the Middle East. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

MBS Putin

Historically, Russia goes to great lengths to hide or disguise its strategic intentions but it clearly feels empowered enough in the Middle East to very obviously stake its claim in the region – excluding, for the time being only, Saudi Arabia – by stating that a slew of Russian companies are to spend up to US$20 billion on oil projects in Iraq in the near term. “Since [U.S. President Donald] Trump outlined the new U.S. foreign policy of not engaging in conflicts abroad unless they were directly aligned with U.S. interests [October 2019], and then effectively withdrawing from Syria and from supporting the Kurds, Russia and China have felt that they can bring forward their plans to bring Iraq within their geopolitical arc of influence,” a senior source who works closely with Iraq’s Oil Ministry told OilPrice.com last week. “They know that provided that they do not impinge on Saudi Arabia and, at a pinch the UAE and Kuwait, or launch attacks against U.S. personnel, then they can basically do whatever they want anywhere else, hence this announcement from Russia last week,” he added.

Before this announcement – which specifically mentioned Zarubezhneft, Tatneft, and Rosneftegaz as companies interested in pursuing specific but as yet unnamed projects, in addition to those Russia companies already active in the country (including Lukoil, Bashneft, and GazpromNeft) – Russia had adopted its usual stealth approach to building up its presence in Iraq. “It is incremental colonialism, beginning one day with one relatively small contract being taken up by some Russian company nobody has heard of, then more Russian companies turn up in the same place under ‘contractor’ terms having been engaged by the company you gave the original contact to, then security companies turn up to guard all of the personnel, and suddenly you have a major Russian occupation of part of your key oil and gas infrastructure,” the Iraq source underlined,

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The American Chaos Machine, by Danny Sjursen

It is inevitable, given the trend towards decentralized violence, that any attempt at centralized violence such as the US’s many invasions would result only in chaos. From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:

U.S. Foreign Policy Goes Off the Rails

In March 1906, on the heels of the U.S. Army’s massacre of some 1,000 men, women, and children in the crater of a volcano in the American-occupied Philippines, humorist Mark Twain took his criticism public. A long-time anti-imperialist, he flippantly suggested that Old Glory should be redesigned “with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.”

I got to thinking about that recently, five years after I became an antiwar dissenter (while still a major in the U.S. Army), and in the wake of another near-war, this time with Iran. I was struck yet again by the way every single U.S. military intervention in the Greater Middle East since 9/11 has backfiredin wildly counterproductive ways, destabilizing a vast expanse of the planet stretching from West Africa to South Asia.

Chaos, it seems, is now Washington’s stock-in-trade. Perhaps, then, it’s time to resurrect Twain’s comment — only today maybe those stars on our flag should be replaced with the universal symbol for chaos.After all, our present administration, however unhinged, hardly launched this madness. President Trump’s rash, risky, and repugnant decision to assassinate Iranian Major General Qassem Suleimani on the sovereign soil of Iraq was only the latest version of what has proven to be a pervasive state of affairs. Still, that and Trump’s other recent escalations in the region do illustrate an American chaos machine that’s gone off the rails. And the very manner — I’m loathe to call it a “process” — by which it’s happened just demonstrates the way this president has taken American chaos to its dark but logical conclusion.

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Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who Is Really in Charge of the U.S. Military? by Cynthia Chung

Do any of the elected officials in the US, from the president on down, have any significant control over what the government does? From Cynthia Chung at strategic-culture.org:

“There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold.”

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person.  The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of ‘official government statements’.

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