January 11, 2020

What ever happened to Iraq? Is it not an independent country with a democratic government thanks to the 2003 US invasion? So says Washington.

The murder of senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani suddenly shone a strobe light on ‘independent’ Iraq, and what we saw was not pretty.

Welcome to the new Imperialism 101.

Iraq’s population is estimated around 39 million. The pre-war Iraq of 2003 was broken into three parts by the US-British invasion: the Shia majority; Kurds in the north; and Sunnis, with scatterings of other ethnicities. Iraq remains fragmented into hostile groups.

Its Shia are confusingly allied to the US and Iran. The killing of Maj. Gen. Soleimani by the Americans has thrown this alliance of convenience into confusion. Iraqi Kurds are close to the CIA and Israel’s Mossad intelligence. The Sunnis are left adrift, without any foreign patrons except for other feeble Arab states.

The US maintains a modest garrison of 5,000 infantry in Iraq and 3-5 air bases, as well as the gigantic fortified US Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone which contains one of the world’s largest CIA bases. Angry mobs demonstrating in front of the embassy triggered off the chain of events that led to Trump’s murder of Gen. Soleimani. That an impeached president should be murdering foreign figures is a question that Congress must ask.

Before he was murdered, Osama bin Laden called this monster Baghdad embassy and its twin in Kabul, `crusader fortresses.’ That is indeed their role, and to serve as the nerve center for all Mideast operations by the US. Iraq enjoys some of the world’s largest oil reserves. Where the profit from Iraq’s mammoth oil exports go remains a closely guarded secret.

Combined with Saudi Arabia – also controlled by the US – Iraq gives Washington control of the bulk of Mideast oil. The US no longer relies on oil from the Mideast, being self-sufficient – at least for now. But dominating the Mideast gives the US huge influence over China, Japan, India, and Europe, all of whom import oil from there. This is the main pillar of US world power and the supremacy of the dollar.

Returning to Iraq, Washington has imposed an air exclusivity zone there. Real control of flat, largely barren Iraq comes from the air. US war planes based there and in Qatar can blast anything that moves in Mesopotamia. Imperial Britain ruled Iraq the same way, using the RAF to smash all opposition to the British-installed puppet ruler in Baghdad. In the 1920’s Churchill even authorized the RAF to use poison gas against rebellious Iraqi Kurds (as well as Afghan Pashtun tribes).

US-ruled Iraq is not allowed to have a real air force, only a handful of light aircraft. The same ban applies to Afghanistan. Iraq’s so-called army, a mob of unruly militias of the type the Ottomans used to call ‘bashi-bazouks,’ is of little military value though partly equipped by US weapons. They are increasingly being attacked by US warplanes.

The US really runs Iraq from three large air bases that were the target of the recent bloodless Iranian missile attacks. Iraq’s current US-approved prime minister Abdul-Mahdi and its feeble parliament have voted for the ouster of all US forces from Iraq. Good luck to them. Washington will likely ignore Iraq’s supposedly ‘democratic’ government and continue to act as the sultan of Iraq.

Iraq has become the central military base and inexhaustible oil reservoir for the US that was envisaged by the Bush administration and its neocons. That is a major step in the total US domination of the Mideast and its energy resources.

Israel has achieved its long sought goal of removing Iraq from the confrontation over Palestine. With Egypt under a US-imposed dictator, that leaves only demolished Syria to stand up to Israel. The Saudis are gleefully stabbing their ‘brother’ Arabs in the back, as they always have done.

Never in the past half-century have we seen the Arab states so pathetically feeble. Never have we seen Israel so strongly guiding US Mideast policy, including the murder of Gen. Soleimani.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2020

This post is in: Iraq, USA

3 Responses to “HOW THE US RUNS IRAQ”

  1. As time goes by I feel the whole middle east situation does not really have much to do with oil or strategic importance. Britain and France (both of them evil empires) went and redrew the borders how they saw fit after WW1, proving they did not care about self determination. They made sure to make Palestine and by extension Israel happen. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all came from the middle east which is itself rooted in ancient Mesopotamia. I sometimes feel that Britain, France and later the USA have had intentions of sorts to cleanse this area so to speak. The people who decided that war was the good option of course have not said any of this. I have no idea what they were hoping to achieve, maybe they just wanted to plant their flags in Mesopotamia and say we did it, its ours. Britain, France and USA never had anybody tell them how to run their affairs, never had anyone establish leaders in their countries. The USA should know better, given how it was founded, but never learns. They cannot resist the temptation to play empire, hopefully it does not last much longer and the USA can be what it should be. Just my opinion, cheers.

  2. I agree with Eric that the US doesn’t actually need Iraq’s oil right now, but the US companies that have moved in to exploit the country’s petroleum resources need that oil to make their own huge profits. The oil field service companies like Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s old firm) are doing the best of all. Interesting that Eric also shares my belief that Israel was behind the killing of Gen. Soleimani. I suspect that Prime Minister Netanyahu told Trump to have him killed or else Israel would use its Mossad to do so.

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