June 14, 2014

The late Saddam Hussein was certainly right when he predicted that America’s invasion of Iraq would become “the Mother of All Battles.” Eleven years later, it continues.

This week saw the collapse of two divisions of Iraq’s government army, a full 30,000 men running like chickens before the relentless advance of the fighters of ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and Shams (Syria). The same puppet army trained and equipped for a decade by the US at a cost of $14 billion. An evil portent of what awaits Afghanistan’s US-led army and police.

Remember when President George W. Bush boasted, “mission accomplished?” Was not the wicked Saddam Hussein lynched by US Shia allies? Wasn’t the dreaded al-Qaida defeated and its leader, Osama bin Laden, assassinated? Remember all that crowing from Washington about “draining the swamp” in Iraq?

As soon as the US knocks down one challenger to its domination of the Mideast – which I call the American Raj – another rises up. The latest: ISIS, a fierce jihadist force that now controls large parts of Syria and Iraq.

ISIS is a combination of Sunni jihadist groups fighting the Shia-backed Damascus government of Bashar Assad( a US enemy backed by Shia Iran), and resurgent units of Saddam’s old Ba’athist army, led by Izzat Ibrahin al-Douri, the last surviving member of Saddam’s inner circle, and a handful of al-Qaida in Iraq.

They are battling to overthrow the US-installed Shia regime in Baghdad of Nuri al-Maliki, an Iranian ally. There are suspicions ISIS may be secretly financed by Sunni Saudi Arabia, a US ally.

Wait a minute. My enemy’s enemy is my friend, as the old Mideast saying goes. The US is trying to overthrow Syria’s secular government to undermine its ally, Iran. The US has been using brutal jihadist groups against the Assad regime in Damascus. But now these jihadists in Syria have mostly fallen under the sway of ISIS – which is chewing up the US-backed regime in Baghdad. Confusing, is it not? My enemy’s enemy has become my friend’s enemy.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the stupidest war in US history, which was rousingly backed by Congress and the media, has produced a monumental mess of mind-numbing complexity as Washington trips over its own feet. The ladies advising President Barack Obama on his Mideast policy are hopelessly befuddled.

Washington, now in a major panic over ISIS, is moving towards air strikes against Iraq using warplanes based in Kuwait and the Gulf. The US also has two full mechanized combat brigades in Kuwait. Republicans are calling for US ground forces to re-enter Iraq to shore up the widely detested Maliki regime.

While Washington dithers, its little Kurdish protectorate in northern Iraq is threatening to send its combat-effective ‘pesh merga’ fighters to battle ISIS. But this is making both Turkey, which opposes any Kurdish state, and Iran, with its own Kurdish problem, very uneasy. Iraq used to be part of the Ottoman Empire. Its vast oil reserves are a constant enticement to energy-deprived Turkey.

This awful mess can be directly traced to neoconservative strategists in Washington clustered around Vice President Dick Cheney. In 2002, their primary goal, according to Cheney, was to wreck Iraq, the most industrially advanced and progressive Arab state, so removing a major foe of Israel, and then grabbing Iraq’s oil.

Following the time-tested Roman imperial formula of ‘divide et impera’ (divide and rule), Washington played Iraq’s long downtrodden Shia against its Sunni minority, igniting a wider Sunni-Shia conflict in the Arab world, notably in Syria.

In fact, Israel emerged as the sole strategic victor of the Bush/Cheney war against Iraq. That war, so far, has cost the US 4,500 soldiers killed, 35,700 wounded, 45,000 sick and over $1 trillion. Iraq lies in ruins, likely shattered beyond all attempts to put it back together. No senior American or British official has faced trial for this disastrous, trumped-up war.

Nuri Maliki has totally excluded Sunnis from power in Iraq, and uses brutal secret police and torture to repress them. Small wonder he faces a major uprising. Iraq’s oil-based economy remains in ruins. Many Iraqis believe their now wretched nation was far better off under Saddam Hussein, as brutal and clumsy as he was.

Interestingly, efforts by ISIS to forge an Islamic state in a merged Syria and Iraq is one of the first major challenges to the foul Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916 under which the British and French Empires secretly colluded to divide up the moribund Ottoman Empire’s Mideast domains. Today’s artificial Mideast borders were drawn by the Anglo-French imperialists to impose their rule on the region. Iraq and Syria were the most egregious examples.

ISIS appears set on erasing the British-French borders and re-creating the unified Ottoman province (Turkish: vilyat) of Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In the West, the neocon-dominated commentariat calls ISIS terrorists. In the Mideast, many see them as anti-colonial fighters struggling to reunite the Arab world sundered and splintered by the western powers. The western powers are now preparing to strike back.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2014

This post is in: 9/11, Al-Qaida, Iraq, Mideast, Oil, Syria


  1. This awful mess can be directly traced to neoconservative strategists in Washington clustered around Vice President Dick Cheney. In 2002, their primary goal, according to dubai visit visa agents in hyderabad Cheney, was to wreck Iraq, the most industrially advanced and progressive Arab state, so removing a major foe of Israel, and then grabbing Iraq’s oil.

  2. Steve_M. says:

    Bush and Cheney are among the most evil people ever to govern the US. The fact that their decisions caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis does not cause them to lose any sleep and they can still look at themselves in the morning. I will go so far as to say that they are just as evil as Saddam Hussein was – maybe worse, in some ways,

  3. Back to the drawing board. It did not work as planned. Now some other tactic has to be dreamed up. By engaging Iran they may be able to get Iran in a position, that they can force its central bank under the same umbrella, where all the others are, except for the extra two more hold-outs, Cuba and north Korea. That is what seems the ultimate aim, so world power can then slip into private hands and the 1% can then use the 99% as their slaves. We are almost there now. May God have mercy on our posterity.

  4. The more I think about this, the more it doesn’t make sense. How did ISIS manage to recruit, train and organize all those people in it’s army without attracting anyone’ attention. How is it they are better trained than the Iraqi army? Did the Americans do a really shitty job of training them? Normally a rebel army is slaughtered in its’ first battle. What happened here?

  5. Zeeshan7 says:

    This article is a very precise and accurate description of this conflict for anyone trying to understand the last decade of developments in the Levant and how important historical milestones of the previous century tie into it. The unlikeliest of allies, Iran and the US, seem to be coming together to combat a common enemy in Syria and Iraq, perceived to be a greater threat than each other. This may even signal a compromise between Israel and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, because any Sunni in the conspiracy fueled Middle-east will tell you that Iran’s anti-Israel rhetoric is only rhetoric. The widely held belief is that Shia Iran wants religious dominance of the middle-east and will switch away from the anti-Israeli tirade if the US helps it acquire regional status. In short, a US alliance which breaks away from traditional Saudi Arabia and moves to Iran. In exchange Iran will maintain regional stability and guarantee US access to the vast Iraqi oil reserves. Former CIA operative Robert Bear in his book, ‘Sleeping with the Devil’ outlined an interesting case for the US to move their oil dependency away from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. The Levant seems to be switching gears toward a full-blown sectarian conflict, with Saudi Arabia wary of what side to take, as neither Islamist nor pro-Iranian governments are an attractive option. Curiously, this entire conflict seems to be centered where it once began in the early part of the twentieth century.

  6. solum temptare possumus says:

    It behooves me to point out that the Shiat Ali, and the Sunni…HATE each other….a shame to the 99% of Muslims who are moderates; fitting easily into western democratic values.
    Far be it for me to point out to the idiotic neocons, that pulling out of the Middle East would expedite the resolution to this problem. I put my money on the Passionate Shiat Ali! (Iranians and Lebanese Hezbollah)
    The ‘oil’ will still flow, and if it diminishes in volumes to the West; the outcome will be fortuitous; Pax North America will survive handsomely.
    With the Gulf of Mexico ‘poly carbon fluids and the carbon fluid sands of Alberta, and the Shale Gases (Methane/Ethane/Propane), (Crude oils…various densities) across North America; WE DO NOT NEED MID EASTERN OIL!!!
    Let them eat their oil…or at the very least get rock bottom dollar per barrel of crude oil=(42 US gallons=42×3.785 litres/US gallon=158.97 litres)
    This will propel the ‘alernative energy’ sector to making North America “TRULY” Independent of Imported Oil.
    Then watch the Innovation and Entrepreneurial Genesis take affect!
    Again, we will be the envy of the World…the Constitutions and Charter of Rights that will make North America…the ‘ONLY’ place immigrants will seek to come to; a safe haven to raise their children…accepted as equals no matter their upbringing or taught home religion. This is the American/Canadian Dream…and we can provide it for those fortunate to make it to our shores.
    I seek to see the positive in these times…we cannot save all peoples, but we can accept those that want to raise ‘our’ citizens as free thinking individuals; free to practise their beliefs, with compassion and understanding and tolerance for all citizens.
    ad iudicium

  7. It’s amazing how much clear things are after a snifter of brandy…
    I had thought the Middle East was in for a ‘little heartburn’. With the movement to the forefront of the ISIS, the ME may have reached a ‘critical mass’ condition that could have far reaching elements that could affect Putin in Crimea.
    There are serious problems with people living in abject poverty with such huge financial resources, not available to them. It makes people grasp fundamental religion.
    At the same time, the Americans, who are largely responsible for the current mess… are safely isolated from it by a distance of 10,000 miles… 9/11 was their only glimpse of it… and many of them believe that it was caused because the ‘others’ were envious of their way of life!

  8. They had an interesting story of Russia Today about how America’s adventures around the world have nothing to do with grabbing the oil, but to take it off the market so American companies can raise their prices and drive their profits into insane levels. In ever country America has screwed with their oil production has collapsed and now American oil companies make more money in one week than the average American makes in one year.

    Look at the countries where America has destabilized the country or sanctioned it. Iraq Syria Egypt Libya Russia Iran Afghanistan. (Remember the pipeline from Turkmenistan?)

    • Steve_M. says:

      I see your point, but you give some poor examples to support your theory. Egypt and Syria are not major oil producers (if fact, they are net importers), while Afghanistan produces no oil at all.

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