Iraq War Redux & US Evil Realpolitik
Mike Whitney in “Black Flags Over Mosul” posted on June 12, 2014:
An army of Sunni fighters affiliated to al Qaida crossed the Syrian border into Iraq on Tuesday, scattering defensive units from the Iraqi security forces, capturing Iraq’s second biggest city of Mosul, and sending 500,000 civilians fleeing for safety.
Events on the ground are moving at breakneck speed ... The political thread that held Iraq together has snapped pushing Iraq closer to a full-blown civil war.
Here’s an excerpt from the New York Times:
”The militants freed thousands of prisoners and took over military bases, police stations, banks and provincial headquarters, before raising the black flag of the jihadi group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria over public buildings. The bodies of soldiers, police officers and civilians lay scattered in the streets.”
"The Iraqi security forces–whose training by the US military cost an estimated $20 billion–dropped their weapons and fled at the first sign of trouble. Now the streets, government buildings, schools, hospitals, airports and military installations are in the hands of the al Qaida-splinter group called the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS. The group is now in possession of helicopters and tanks that were left behind by al Malaki’s soldiers.
"Tens of thousands of civilians have left the city in cars and on foot carrying whatever they can in small trunks and plastic bags. Iraqi news stations report that the roads and checkpoints are clogged with people fleeing for safety to Kirkuk or Baghdad. According to Bloomberg: “Dead bodies are scattered around western Mosul due to the fighting. The city is empty and most shops are closed.”
Gary Leupp in “Two Occupations Ending in Hopeless Disasters” reminds us that in 2001 Iraq was a secular and modern country without any significant presence of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. He estimates that civilian deaths caused by the Iraq War and Occupation between 2003 and 2011 reached well over half a million. Half of the Christians in the country had to flee for their lives. External and internal refugees numbered 4 million out of a country of 23 million. 4,488 U.S. soldiers died serving in Iraq during that period. The status -- and safety -- of women and gays declined profoundly. Corruption of government was rampant. Social, economic and infrastructure conditions deplorable.
How horrific and tragic that after all the Iraqi people have been through they are now subject to slaughter by brutal jihadist terrorists.
Shamus Cooke in “How Obama Lost Iraq” finds it suspect how Obama has been refusing aid and now stalling aid to Iraq and Maliki’s government to repel what Cooke calls “the most powerful terrorist group in the world.” Cooke asks why Obama who has approved airstrikes in eight other countries to fight terrorism is suddenly slow on the uptake when it comes to the desperate appeals from Iraq.
Cooke explains how Iraq has been asking for help for a year to combat ISIS -- Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, steadily strengthening on the border between Iraq and Syria.
Iraq is a supposed ally of the US. However other allies of the US -- Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia -- declares Cooke, “have been giving at least hundreds of millions of dollars to the Islamic extremist groups attacking the Syrian government.”
Cooke accuses the mainstream media of disinforming the citizenry about the ISIS terrorists, pretending that “ISIS sprang from a desert oasis, rather than the pocket books of the U.S. allied Gulf States.”
Robert Parry in “Blaming Obama for Iraq’s Chaos”:
Though U.S. assistance to Syrian rebels has so far been limited to light arms and non-lethal supplies, U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been the principal supporters of radical Sunni jihadists who have flocked from around the Middle East to wage war against Syria’s government, which is run by Assad, an Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.
Robert Fisk in “Iraq crisis: Sunni caliphate has been bankrolled by Saudi Arabia”:
From Aleppo in northern Syria almost to the Iraqi-Iranian border, the jihadists of Isis and sundry other groupuscules paid by the Saudi Wahhabis – and by Kuwaiti oligarchs – now rule thousands of square miles…
Under Obama, Saudi Arabia will continue to be treated as a friendly “moderate” in the Arab world, even though its royal family is founded upon the Wahhabist convictions of the Sunni Islamists in Syria and Iraq – and even though millions of its dollars are arming those same fighters. Thus does Saudi power both feed the monster in the deserts of Syria and Iraq and cozy up to the Western powers that protect it.
The Obama administration, accuses Cooke, aforementioned, has looked and is looking the other way from this “buildup of Islamic extremism” since the US, NATO and its Gulf allies earnestly want to topple the “secular” Syrian regime of Assad. Terror groups threatening both Iraq and Syria have been profoundly strengthened by “Gulf State cash, foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia and illegal guns trafficked with the help of the CIA.”
The Obama administration lamely covers for itself by calling the Syrian so-called “rebels” it enables as “moderates.” The real moderates were and are a “tiny and ineffectual minority” explains Cooke. “The big dogs in this fight are the Sunni Islamic jihadi groups who view Shia Muslims as heretics worthy of death and other religious and ethnic minorities as second-class citizens polluting their Islamic caliphate.”
Cooke cites journalist Patrick Cockburn as maintaining that ISIS is “the most successful jihadi movement ever” controlling major territory between Iraq and eastern Syria.
The Iraq government is Shia-dominated. Both Bush and now Obama according to Cooke saw and see Iraq and its “Shia-ness” as a potential “pawn of Iran”. Many Iraqi fighters, horrified by Sunni extremists masscreing fellow Shia in Syria, rushed to help Assad’s army fight the Sunni “rebels.” Hezbollah fighters did the same thing.
Iraq is therefore on the US geo-political “shit list” because of its friendliness to the Syrian and Iranian ENEMIES of the US. Obama at one point asked Iraq to refuse Iran use of Iraqi airspace through which Iran was flying military weapons to Assad. Iraq refused.
Cooke points out that US politicians have been suddenly demonizing the Iraqi president as being too “authoritarian”. This sudden objection to his long-standing authoritarianism is convenient propagandizing to cover up craven US collusion with the ferocious Sunni terrorists. Authoritarian rule does not bother the US when it comes to allies such as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states explains Cooke.
US hypocrisy is once again breeding shameless propaganda to hide vicious and heart of darkness realpolitik. The lives of Iraqi people are once again disposable to geo-political imperialist deadly game-playing.
Cooke maintains that the US establishment wants Iraq to remain a broken and weak country. It more than likely would prefer it to be partitioned, based on “ethnic-religious regions”, Shia, Sunni and Kurdish. This goal Vice President Biden has been talking about for years.
Cooke maintains that the events in Iraq and Syria have proven that the Bush-Obama “war on terror” is “not only a complete failure, but a fraud” and declares the bottom line truth simply:
Bush and Obama have not waged a war against terrorists, but wars against independent nation-states.
Cooke cites the devastation of the secular nations of Iraq, Libya and Syria. They were free of terrorism until the US military intervened in the name of “regime change”.
The war on terror has done nothing but destabilize the Middle East, create more terrorists, and drain the U.S. economy of billions of dollars it could have otherwise used towards jobs and social programs.
The heart of darkness of the US war-mongering political and military establishment and its corporate overlords is capable of infinite evil.
How many of us good citizen Americans will take the latest propaganda ride and ignore the present realpolitik: one more nation state RE-THROWN, this time, under the proverbial bus for profit and power? Another diabolical ends-justifies-the-means choice of our government enabling the destruction of global millions and jeopardizing our own lives and welfare with its inflammatory and vengeance-earning global provocations?
The blood is on our hands with an endless amount to come if these monsters lacking human decency and honor are not stopped.
[cross-posted on open salon]